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'I couldn't even touch my daughter': Monroe mother grieves after daughter electrocuted by power line

14-year-old Elizabeth Jacobsen picked up a downed power line in her backyard, killing her instantly as storms rolled through her neighborhood in Monroe, Michigan.

MONROE, Mich. — Electrical crews on the 1400 block of Peters Street in Monroe, Michigan are cleaning up downed power lines that took 14-year-old Elizabeth Jacobsen's life.

While the lines can be fixed, Elizabeth's mother, Martha Jean Spaulding, says there's a hole in her heart that can't be.

"It's not fair," Spaulding said. "She was a very bright, happy-go-lucky child."

Elizabeth and her friend decided to go for a walk in the backyard after the Monday night thunderstorm, according to the Monroe Police Department.

Claiming they smelled smoke, they were looking in the backyard for the source of the smell when Elizabeth grabbed a downed power line, thinking it was a stick. She was hit with 13,800 volts of electricity, killing her instantly.

"I just wanted to rip that wire off of her," Spaulding said. "I'm CPR and first aid certified and I couldn't even touch my daughter, I couldn't even touch her."

Credit: WTOL 11

Monroe police had to contact DTE power and shut the line down to remove Elizabeth's body.

Monroe police representatives say to prevent incidents like this from happening again, stay inside during storms and if you see downed power lines, turn the other way and leave them to the professionals.

"The best thing to do is just stay out of the area. Stay away from it until emergency crews who are trained to handle those situations can come in and mitigate the situation," John Wall, the administrative commander of the Monroe Police Department, said.

Elizabeth's step-sister had started a GoFundMe to raise money for the funeral costs, but a recent update on the page announced that DTE will cover the costs of the entire funeral. However, the GoFundMe will remain up to help cover the costs of moving out of the home to avoid the constant reminders of Elizabeth.

"This is her blanket, Sofia the First, I don't know what to do," Spaulding said while holding Elizabeth's purple fleece blanket. "Her pop is still by the couch. She made a baked potato and some of it is still on my dining room table. I don't know what to do. I'm numb."

Spaulding says while her daughter will be cremated, there will be a candlelight vigil in the coming days.


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