Two juvenile teens were arrested today (Thursday) for reckless homicide in connection with the death of a Chillicothe woman Sept. 2 at Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Victoria Schafer, 44, was on stairs at the popular park around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 when a tree branch fell on her, according to an ODNR release. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The ODNR took the juveniles, ages 16 and 17, into custody, the release said.
The agency, whose Division of Parks and Watercraft operates the Hocking Hills park complex, “began investigating the two teens after receiving information about their alleged involvement in Schafer’s death, the release said. “Investigators later found evidence suggesting the incident was not a natural occurrence.”
ODNR appreciates “the public’s valuable contributions to this case and the perseverance and determination of the investigators,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said in the release.
The teenagers as of Thursday night were being held at the juvenile detention center in Lancaster, the release said. Because of their ages, ODNR is not releasing the names of the suspects. The release didn’t say whether they’re male or female.
ODNR is leading a continuing investigation with the assistance of the Hocking County Prosecutor, Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, Hocking County Coroner, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio State Highway Patrol, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers, the release said.