Teen admits pushing log that killed woman in Hocking Hills

The log was pushed off a cliff then struck and killed a Dayton man’s mother who was taking photographs at an Ohio state park.

LOGAN, Ohio — A teenager has admitted helping to push a log off a cliff that struck and killed a married mother of four who was taking photographs at an Ohio state park.

Jaden Churchheus, 17, pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 44-year-old Victoria Schafer. Under terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped murder and reckless homicide charges against him.

Schafer’s oldest son, John Schafer, is a Dayton resident.

Victoria Schafer was taking photos at the foot of the stairs at Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park on Sept. 2, 2019, when Churchheus and another teen pushed the log, which weighed 74 pounds (33 kilograms), off a cliff at the top of the stairs, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

A judge recommended Churchheus serve a minimum of 3 years in a juvenile detention facility when he is sentenced.

The other teen charged in the case is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 25.