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Woman killed by lightning strike identified, San Diego daughter says 'pain is unbearable'

Woman killed by lightning strike
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 18:34:48-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The woman and her two dogs who was killed by a lightning strike in Pico Rivera Wednesday has been identified.

The lightning strike in Pico Rivera occurred around 8:50 a.m. when 52-year-old Antonia Mendoza Chavez was walking along the San Gabriel River, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Chavez and her dogs both died at the scene.

Her daughter Joana, who lives in San Diego, sent ABC 10News a statement Friday:

My name is Joana. I am the daughter of the late Ms. Antonia Mendoza Chavez. My sister and I are devastated after the tragic and untimely passing of our beautiful beloved mother. It feels so surreal and it's really difficult to comprehend. The pain in our hearts is unbearable.

My mother was a beautiful soul, a devout catholic and a hard working woman who came to this country for a better life for her and her family. She loved pampering her 2 little fur babies, "luna" and chubi" and she never missed morning walks with them. She loved spending her days off with her pups, talking with her daughters and watching classic Mexican black and white movies.

She hadn't been to her home in Mexico in almost 25 years. She was so excited that she was so close to finally being able to go and had already started planning her visit. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to go back.

Our family has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with the cost of returning her to her home in Mexico for which she so greatly yearned. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Deaths by lightning are very rare in California. There have only been nine fatalities in the state since 2006, and this was the first one this year, according to the National Weather Service.

"There's a one-in-a-million chance of something like this happening, and it happened," Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Patrick Morey told the Los Angeles Times.

Chavez's family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.