Six-Year-Old Girl Killed on Electric Fence of Neighbor in Texas

electricityPolice in Elysian Fields, Texas are dealing with a relatively rare form of alleged tort and crime. Marcos Gonzalez is accused of causing the death of six-year-old Ceira Clark by electrifying his fence with 20 amps. Clark lives next door and fell on the fence on the day after Christmas.


Her mother, Brenda Slack, says that she tried to revive her but that the shock was too great on the child.

Police captain Marty Latham did not appear to object to an electric fence in a residential area, but did object to the voltage: “It wasn’t a typical electrical fence that would be powered down. It was running straight through a 110 outlet and there was a lot of amps running through it. People with common sense would put it maybe on a 5… but 20 amps, that’s enough to power half of a house. She didn’t have time to scream for help, close her eyes, nothing.”

It does not appear to be a crime in Texas to have electric fences in residential areas. It should be. In the meantime, the family should sue Gonzalez. The common law has long prohibited the use of devices that can cause serious bodily injury or death in the protection of property. These spring gun or man-trap cases are based on both the immorality of the act as well as the inherent danger to police, fire-fighters and citizens from these devices.

Such cases often involve people who put the voltage too high or fail to add a regulator that pulsates the voltage as in the death of an elderly woman in New York who died trying to free her pet, here.
In the most bizarre instance, a man was injured when on this video he was captured urinating on a fence that he did not realize was electric.

The police are exploring a criminal negligence charge for Gonzalez.

For the full story, click here.

42 thoughts on “Six-Year-Old Girl Killed on Electric Fence of Neighbor in Texas”

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  3. 6 Years later I find this article regarding my daughter and what happened to her. I really can not believe the audacity of her father and his comments.

    For one the neighbor DID NOT notify us that the fence was up, only that he was clearing out the area to put one up. Second, the electric fence was directly wired into the breaker box inside his garage on a 20 amp breaker and erected 2 foot off his property line on someone else property backed to a wooded area where the kids played about 8″ of the ground. Third, there was a total of 5 children playing in the area and 3 adults outside supervising them that day including myself. Fourth, the neighbors and us had never had a problem or conflict. When he talked to us about clearing the area he stated he was having trouble keeping racoons out of his yard. Lastly, she tripped over a stob and fell directly onto the fence. I immediately ran to get her. When I grabbed her the voltage from that fence going through her brought me to my knees. I endured the voltage log enough to trip the breaker and remove her from the line. According to the medical examiner, she died instantly and the voltage caused irreversible damage to her heart.

    Mr. Gonzalez admitted to the investigating officer that he knowingly bypassed the regulator and wired it directly. He also admitted that he knew the children played in that area and normally turned it off during the day, but that day he forgot to turn it off before he left the house.

    To my ex-husband….it is very sad that to this day you still like to make up lies regarding me. From the day we divorced in 2004 and people wonder why I divorced you. If it makes your guilt for your wrongs more bearable then go ahead, but there is only one man who can judge and he is not of this earth. Lies, falsehoods, and slander, it is you who will have to answer to it one day, not I. Instead of running your mouth and wanting to sue Mr. Gonzalez, you should have used all that energy to take what happened and make sure it never happens to another child ever again.

    All the money in the world doesn’t bring her back. The only point left is to do something good everyday in her memory.

    To other looking to erect an electric fence. Display signs, place it inside your property fence, do not wire it directly follow the instructions, notify the neighborhood. There are children killed every year by electric fences due to improper installation.

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  5. I’m in Wisconsin, and there are no laws re electric fences in rurual residential areas. Our neighbor has an electric fence 6 inches off the property line. Someone standing on our property , like our grandsons, reaching for a ball or tripping and falling into it could be dead as well. No on seems to regulate anything regarding electric fences. They are told to stay away, but kids are kids. We did not shoot the neighbors dog when it attacked us 3 times on our property, we knocked on the door and warned them of the consequences if it happened again. poor dog owners and they get multiple chances. A dead child none. We asked the neighbor to take it down and keep fences further into property to discourage deer, he won’t do it just because there is no regulation telling him different. Jerk jerk jerk.
    he says it’s to keep deer out but they jump the fence , he’s just being a jerk.
    Regulations regarding electric fences in close proximity to another residential property need to be installed , regulated and inspected to prevent any tragedy. I believe murder charges should be filed or child endangerment for anyone so Ignorant as to put something deadly out. Totally uncalled for. At least know what u are doing, inspect it , keepit low voltage and mark it sufficiently. Its hard to believe people have no qualms about premeditated injury to another.

    1. It’s not voltage that is the problem but current. If I rub my shoes on the carpet and zap you with my finger, that’s tens of thousands of volts, but the current is very low.

  6. I’m in a semi rural area and we have neighbors coming on the property 3-4:30 am every morning vandalizing so I put 120 volts on the fence because the lower dc line they would ground out and still come in what do you think about that the police cannot do anything because we cannot prove it is them and we cannot afford cameras

  7. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your website. It appears as though some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Thanks

  8. To Scott Clark, I am so sorry for your loss. I was googling to find out if It was illegal to put up an electrical fence in Texas and came across this article.. Its a shame that your daughter had to pay the price for her mother not keeping an eye out for her. I know if that was my daughter I would have made sure she never went close to it… I am thinking about putting up an electrical fence myself only because I have moved into this place where it backs up into 2 apartment complexes.. They have locked their second gated to monitor the flow of traffic.. that is great and all, but now I have kids jumping into my yard all the time when I am not there. I actually caugh them 2 weeks ago and threatened to call the cops.. they were actually in my yard.. They laughed and then jumped out of my yard.. If I had a gun, I am sure I would have shot them so I am sorry, gun or electrical fence.. What is the diffrence.. Kids now a days are so disrespectful!! I hope you have found some peace with you loss. My prayers go out to you. God Bless

  9. Seriously? I live in a residential neighborhood, the neighbors kids are hellions. I only found this article while contemplating electrifying mine to keep them from jumping over our 6 foot fence and tormenting my dogs. One day they’re going to get bit and whose responsibility will it be? Mine. I will suffer for what they do. Their parents don’t care what goes on, they have been asked repeatedly. The police do nothing, merely show up and tell them to keep them on their own side. It is a tragedy that she died. It’s a tragedy that it was where a child could fall on it. My neighbors kids are 10-16 and there’s 5 of them. I have posted no trespassing signs. I have taken all the legal steps. Where oh where is my help? Don’t judge people until you know the whole story. I don’t blame the guy, you don’t know his circumstances.

  10. Apparently this man had previous issues with people respecting his property, so much so that he didn’t think about amps or anything elese but to try and address the problem. I have a similar problem with a rental problem with people jumping over my fence. As soon I fix it back up, a few days later, it is down again. I am prepared to put up a barb wire fence. My question is: It is legal to put up a barb wire fence in a residental area? Are there laws that state what kind of fence you can put up or what kind of material thatyou have to use for your fence? Where can I go to get laws concerning fences, etc. in Texas?

    w.J.

  11. People are oh so quick to talk about the situation despite the fact they don’t have all of the information. It’s been almost two years and everyone is still looking to lay blame somewhere. The parents were NOT notified that the fence had been erected. The fence was not even placed on the neighbors property but just off on the back line. The fence was intentionally rigged wrongfully and without warning signs. Furthermore the children were being watched when the incident happened and no, they never crossed the property line into the neighbors yard. Had the parents known the fence was there the children would never have been allowed to play on the very back of the property. Just because one might think a situation or scenario is safe doesn’t mean it always is. The circumstances were uncontrollable for the childs family but not for the neighbors who also had small children at the time. This situation could have just as easily happened to one of their children as well. The oly difference is the neighbors knew the fence was there and improperly hooked up.

  12. I would just like to point out that not only is half of the information incorrect but also that her name is spelled wrong its “Sierra Rein Clark”.

  13. I agree a little with both Xtreme and Jim. The electric fence is supposed to keep people out and animals in, not kill them. At the same time, my neighbors, past and present , had very young children who were taught never to go near the fence. They never did, but would only have received a nasty fright if they had… they would still be alive. I think that putting something like 20 amps on the fence could make the fence owner criminally liable… Maybe he has never had a shocking experience himself before, or perhaps he was just plain stupid! Either way, he might be used as an example to others not to do something as drastic as that.

    Steve

  14. I do agree that 20 amps in a little high.
    But what was the person doing on his property?
    Has anyone here addressed that question?
    Private property means just that, “PRIVATE PROPERTY”.
    That is exactly why the owner is NOT IN JAIL!
    The parents are guilty of the child’s death because THEY DIDN’T
    CONTROL THE CHILD.
    Any person who owns a dog is responsible for that dogs actions.
    Not so for a child?
    Put blame where blame is due.
    I believe the parents should be charged for child endangerment.

  15. Just to add to my previous post – Last Saturday, sitting in my back garden, a head appeared at the top of the wall. The fence was switched on and one of the brats friends told him to be careful or he would get a shock. Someone else suggested he cut the wire. If he had done that, the security firm would have been alerted. If the fence was not there, or switched off, he would have been over in a flash, and, who knows, if there was nobody home, what would have been stolen. Maybe my throat would be cut by now and I would not be posting this item! A plain wall, and even palisade fencing, on its own does very little to discourage unwanted visitors. However, the fence should NEVER be lethal to animals OR humans. Someone that makes his fence lethal should be shot, let alone imprisoned!

  16. This is unbelievable. I am a fence contractor and there is no need to electrify your fence whatsoever. The purpose for a fence is to either (a)keep animals from escaping your yard….(b)Prevent unwanted people in your yard…..or (c)privacy. I don’t think electrically charging your fence with 20AMPS falls into any of those categories. He should be charged for murder.

  17. I agree that people irresponsibly putting idiotic high currents on fences around their properties should be severely blistered! However, as to the necessity of electric fences, if you live anywhere in South Africa without one, you have an enormously high risk of your house being broken into, and maybe even worse, being bumped off! Don’t believe everything they tell you about how crime disappeared during the world cup. The crime was there!!! Just use fences that are non-lethal. The fence I have will not kill anyone, but certainly make him wish it had!!

    Steve

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