Tonight the family of eight-year-old Jacqueline Valdez is mourning her death. The little girl was electrocuted yesterday morning while at her house in Pomona Village, Stann Creek District. Jacqueline was plugging in an exposed electrical extension cord when she was shocked. Jacqueline was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital but it was too late. Giovanna Moguel has the story.
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: 8 year old Jacqueline Valdez had dreams as high as the stars hoping that one day she would be a pilot or even an astronaut. However, these dreams disappeared in the blink of an eye when she was unfortunately electrocuted to death in her home in Pomona Village, Stann Creek. Her bereaved father, Edwin Valdez, says he was at work when he received his wife’s call.
Edwin Valdez, Father of Deceased: “My wife called me and it was a quick call. All she said was the baby got electrocuted. So, I left work. Rushed from work in my vehicle to home. When reaching there I observed my baby was motionless. My wife was bringing her in her arms. So, we rushed her to the Southern Regional Hospital but the moment I held her in my arms I had a feeling that she was already gone because she was motionless and her body was like blue.”
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Valdez says that Jacqueline and his wife, Wilma Portillo, were inside their store “Jackie’s Shop” which sits some 80ft in front of their home. Protillo was tending to customers when Jacqueline decided to go to the house and help her mom by washing the dishes. According to Valdez, this was part of Jacqueline’s daily routine.
Edwin Valdez, Father of Deceased: “This is what she always does every morning. Helps her mom with the chores in the house before she says she wants to go and watch TV. That’s the way we trained her. So she asked for permission for V but her mom told her no but for some reason or another little Jacquelne didn’t obey what her mom said because it looked like she washed dishes because when we got there, or when my wife got there the dishes were cleaned. The house inside was swept and it looked like after she washed the dishes she made the decision that she wanted to see TV so she went and she plugged in an extension cord and when she connected the extension cord to the outlet and then she wanted to connect the TV to the extension cord that is when this incident happened.”
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: It is believed that when Jacqueline tried to plug the extension cord into the outlet that’s when she got electrocuted due to her clothes being drenched in water.
Edwin Valdez, Father of Deceased: “When my wife didn’t see or hear anything about her, that’s when my wife left the shop, walked all the way to the home and she found her lying in the middle of the house, laying down facing downwards.”
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The extension cod was a homemade one that was stowed away in a corner of the house. Valdez says that normally he or his wife would assist Jacqueline whenever she wanted to watch TV since there were no outlets nearby. However, little did she know that it was the wrong cord.
Edwin Valdez, Father of Deceased: “The extension cord is a homemade extension cord. It was taped with electrical wire and you know kids are kids and there was a reason her mom didn’t. Her mom told her not to watch TV because we knew that the TV wasn’t accessible at the moment and there was no actual cord, any outlet to connect the TV right there and then. That’s the extension cord we usually use for our own use like for when you use tools or when you do our little constructions at home. That’s not the cord we usually use.”
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Valdez says that the family has a specific cord that they use to plug the TV into. However, his son had used it the night before and had not placed it back. Jacqueline was the youngest of three siblings and was the only girl. Valdez says she was a very energetic and loving child.
Edwin Valdez, Father of Deceased: “Jacqueline will be remembered in the neighbourhood and in the church by all members and family members as a loving girl. Always quiet and obedient. Very smart, she wasn’t really the type of girl that was running up and down, she was just always, when we go anywhere she would just be sitting by our side and not giving any trouble that’s why it has really impacted us and the neighbourhood of what happened.”
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Jacqueline was excited that she was going to start Standard 3 next week at Holy Angels Primary School. A post mortem was conducted in Belize City today which concluded the cause of death to be acute respiratory failure due to acute pulmonary edema due to electrical injury. While the family’s faith in God is keeping them grounded during this difficult time, Jacqueline’s sudden death will remain etched in the Valdez’ family’s memories. Jovanna Moguel for Love News.