Baylee Holbrook and her father, Matthew Holbrook, were hunting in the woods in Putnam County on Sept. 26 when lightning struck a tree, hitting both of them, according to a press release from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
The strike caused Matthew to fall unconscious, and when he awoke, he discovered that his daughter wasn’t breathing.
Matthew called 911 and started CPR until rescue personnel arrived. The teen was taken to a trauma center, where she was listed in critical condition.
“Pray for my baby. Every single person put your knees on the ground and pray,” Matthew Holbrook posted on Facebook Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office also said they were rallying around the teen and her family.
“We stand with our community as we rally for this teen. She has proven a fighter and our prayers extend to her, her family and friends,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
On Thursday, deputies gave a tragic update, announcing that Baylee had “peacefully passed away surrounded by her family” at 9:32 a.m.
Baylee, a student at Palatka Junior-Senior High School, was described as having “touched many lives.” Prior to her passing, the school held a prayer around their flagpole for the teen on Wednesday.
“Baylee Holbrook you have touched many lives and you still have many to touch,” Bryanna Hall, who attended the prayer event, wrote in a Facebook post. “Everyone please continue to pray for her, family, and friends.”
Trinity Baptist Church in Palatka held a community gathering for Baylee on Thursday afternoon.
At the time of the incident, the sheriff’s office warned residents that they’d seen an “increase in lightning strikes” in the area. They also reminded the community that “storms can come quickly and lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from any rainfall.”