16-Year-Old Girl Killed by Lightning Strike While Hunting with Her Dad

A 16-year-old Florida girl was killed when she was suddenly struck by a bolt of lightning while out hunting with her father, police said.

Baylee Holbrook — an avid hunter and student at Palatka High School — was on her latest outing with her father, Matthew on Tuesday afternoon when lightning struck a tree they were next to in Putnam County, News4JAX reported.

The blast knocked both father and daughter unconscious. When Matthew became alert he found Baylee not breathing, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

Matthew provided CPR on his daughter until paramedics arrived to take her to a trauma center where the teen died on Thursday morning.

“At 9:32 this morning, Baylee Holbrook entered into the arms of Jesus,” the Trinity Baptists Church said in a statement, extending its condolences to the family. “Matt, Casey and Kylee are grateful for the outpouring of love and support.”

Baylee Holbrook, 16, died after getting struck by lightning on Tuesday.
Baylee Holbrook, 16, died after being struck by lightning on Tuesday.

Baylee’s social media accounts show she was an avid golfer and photographer, but what she seemed to enjoy most of all was hunting.

Her Instagram account was filled with successful alligator, deer, turkey and boar hunts she enjoyed alongside her father and friends, with the teen’s favorite trips centered around turkey hunting season.

“Nothing on this earth compares to chasing these birds,” Baylee said in one of her last posts, showing off the turkeys she hunted in March.

Holbrook enjoyed turnkey hunting the most while outdoors in the woods.
Holbrook — here with her father, Matthew — enjoyed hunting turkey, alligator, deer, and boar.

Close family friend and pastor Willie McKinnon echoed that what Baylee loved the most was to go into the woods and hunt critters with her father.

“She loves to deer hunt, she loves to hog hunt, she loves to turkey hunt and she loves to gator hunt,” McKinnon told First Coast News. “Hunting, fishing, she loves boating, she loves being in the woods.”

The hunter’s passing came just hours after her classmates and fellow community members rallied for her recovery Wednesday night inside the high school.

Hundreds had gathered for a prayer vigil as they shared stories about Baylee, who many friends also described as a Bible-loving teen who always looked out for them.

“She always wanted to make sure that we went to bed with a Bible verse if we were having a bad day or she would tell me, ‘Hey, it’s going to be OK. It’s OK to not be OK, but God’s got you,’” friend Kaitlyn Sanders told News4JAX.

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