Teens Arrested After Allegedly Pushing Log Off Cliff, Killing Photographer

 

Two male teenagers in Ohio were arrested last week on charges of reckless homicide after a 44-year-old Chillicothe woman was killed at an Ohio State Park, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a statement on Friday.

Victoria Schafer, 44, died on Sept. 2 after she was struck by a falling tree branch near Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. At the time, ODNR investigators said they'd found evidence of activity by individuals at the top section of the park where the falling debris had come from.

Schafer succumbed to her injuries and was declared dead at the scene.

ODNR officials said they determined that a 6-foot log had been pushed, or thrown off the top of the cliff, above where Schafer was standing on the steps taking photos for a senior portrait. About a month following the incident on Oct. 8, authorities received a tip from a caller that indicated one of the teenagers had sent text messages to a classmate saying he'd done something serious at the park with another teenager.

Officials with the Hocking County Sheriff's Office and the ODNR were able to locate the two teens, who eventually confessed to being involved in forcing the log over the cliff.

“I appreciate the public’s valuable contributions to this case and the perseverance and determination of the investigators,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said in a news release.

The 16-year-old and 17-year-old suspects have been taken to the juvenile detention center in Lancaster, the ODNR said in the release.

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