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Downers Grove

Benet senior killed by lightning in Downers Grove park three days before graduation

A 17-year-old Downers Grove resident was struck and killed by lightning Thursday afternoon at O'Brien Park.
A 17-year-old Downers Grove resident was struck and killed by lightning Thursday afternoon at O'Brien Park.

DOWNERS GROVE – Preliminary autopsy results indicate a 17-year-old Downers Grove resident was struck and killed by a lightning strike Thursday afternoon, the DuPage County Coroner's Office confirmed Friday.

Jennie Dizon, a senior at Benet Academy in Lisle, was found on the ground just east of the sled hill at O'Brien Park, 6909 S. Dunham Road, unconscious and not breathing, around 5:21 p.m., Downers Grove police said. She was pronounced dead on the scene at 5:45 p.m., police said.

Preliminary autposy results incidate "electrocution consistent with a lightning strike," but "final cause and manner of death are pending," according to the coroner.

Benet Academy released a statement Friday afternoon:

"Benet Academy is mourning the loss of senior Jennie Dizon, daughter of Eric and Marietta Dizon and sister of Emmeline '15 and Michael '17, who passed into eternal life last evening, apparently having been struck by lightning during a thunderstorm. Throughout the day today, Benet's chaplain, campus minister, counselors, administrators, and teachers have been available in the Chapel, in their offices, in classrooms, and throughout the school building to offer assistance, comfort, and consolation to our students and members of the school community. Please join the entire Benet Family in remembering Jennie and the Dizon family in prayer."

Benet Academy's and Dizon's Class of 2013 is set to graduate on Sunday.

It's unclear why Dizon was in the park, as police have said the investigation is ongoing.

A severe thunderstorm hit the Downers Grove area around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, bringing lightning along with heavy rain and winds.

A lightning strike was confirmed just four miles north of O'Brien Park during the storm Thursday. That incident, in the 4500 block of Highland Avenue, caused minor damage to a house, but no injuries.

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