New details of Dixon teens’ electrocution emerge as family mourns boys ‘taken off this earth’

Mom describes how her son was electrocuted in Dixon

Dixon mother Candy Carrillo describes on Tuesday how her 17-year-old son Jacob Hourmouzus died after being electrocuted after grabbing a pipe or gate while trying to rescue a friend near a canal on Monday, April 1, 2019.
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Dixon mother Candy Carrillo describes on Tuesday how her 17-year-old son Jacob Hourmouzus died after being electrocuted after grabbing a pipe or gate while trying to rescue a friend near a canal on Monday, April 1, 2019.

The two 17-year-old boys who died Monday of electrocution while trying to rescue a dog from an irrigation canal in Dixon have been identified, as one of the victims was mourned by family as a generous “grandma’s boy” who loved the outdoors.

The Solano County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims Tuesday as Jacob Hourmouzus of Elk Grove and Jacob Schneider of Dixon.

At about 12:20 p.m., Hourmouzus, Schneider, one other teenage boy and a teenage girl began walking with a dog along a 25-foot-wide canal near Dixon Avenue west of Interstate 80, according to a sheriff’s department news release.

At one point, the dog either jumped or fell from the bridge into the canal for unknown reasons, the sheriff’s office said. Hourmouzus and Schneider apparently jumped into the canal to try to save the dog. As they attempted to pull themselves out of the canal, they reached up to grab onto the bridge, the sheriff’s statement said.

“When doing so, witness reports state the two teenage boys appeared to have been electrocuted and unable to release their grip from the metal bridge,” the news release said.

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The third boy jumped into the canal and knocked the boys off the bridge, the sheriff’s office said. He then pulled Hourmouzus, Schneider and the dog out of the canal, and the girl called 911, according to the sheriff’s statement.

Both electrocution victims were transported to Kaiser Vacaville — one of them by CHP helicopter and the other by ambulance — where they were pronounced dead later Monday, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and CHP said in statements.

The sheriff’s department said Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews arrived on scene and “deactivated power to the energized bridge, making the site safe for investigators.”

The canal is operated by Solano Irrigation District. The sheriff’s office said it will work with the Solano County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the incident and determine how the bridge became energized with electricity.

PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo told The Bee on Tuesday: “Our equipment was not involved in that incident.”

Mother speaks out

Friends kept asking if it was an April Fools’ joke. No, Candy Carrillo had to reply, her 17-year-old son Jake’s reported death Monday wasn’t a prank.

The Dixon High School senior would have turned 18 in May and was figuring out what his life’s next chapter would be, with some thought of working as an operating engineer like his stepfather.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday near the canal where her son was killed, Carrillo said Hourmouzus was a generous young man who loved the outdoors.

“It’s my understanding he was trying to rescue a friend and they grabbed onto a pipe or gate that had live wires and they were electrocuted,” Carrillo said. “ ... I was told they were riding four-wheelers, just out and about in the orchard, and then one of the dogs got in trouble, went across the water. They tried to save the dog, and in doing so ... they grabbed onto a bridge or a gate, and when they grabbed onto it, it was hot with electricity and he was electrocuted.”

A statement Tuesday morning by the principal of Dixon High School confirmed both victims were students at the school, but did not identify either of them at the time.

Hourmouzus was vocal and generous with his friends and family, his mother said. When a friend was evicted from an apartment, Hourmouzus gave up half his bedroom to welcome him in.

Hourmouzus split time between his parents’ homes in Vacaville and Elk Grove. He loved outdoor sports including dirt biking, BMX racing, skateboarding and snowboarding, Carrillo said.

Hourmouzus was “a total grandma’s boy,” his paternal grandmother Joy Branco said. Two weeks before his death, he had driven to Visalia on his own to visit Branco and her husband Larry. He got a chest tattoo of a rose with the name “Joy,” telling his grandmother she was the only girl whose name would be tattooed on his body.

“He didn’t drown,” Carrillo said. “He was electrocuted at 17 1/2 years old ... that’s too soon for any young person to be taken off this earth.”

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