2 teens arrested in photographer’s death at Hocking Hills State Park

The juveniles, ages 16 and 17, were taken into custody Thursday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on charges of reckless homicide.

Victoria Schafer, 44, of Chillicothe, was standing on the stairs near Old Man’s Cave around 5:30 p.m. Sept. 2 when she was struck by a falling section of tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and investigators later found evidence the incident was not a natural occurrence.

>> Reward offered in death of woman struck by piece of tree

The teens’ arrest follows information reported to the ODNR of the pair’s alleged involvement in Schafer’s death.

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

>> Ohio photographer killed by falling tree branch at state park, officials say

The teens are being held at the juvenile detention center in Lancaster. Their names were not released.

A reward up to $10,000 was being offered by Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in Schafer’s death. it’s not clear whether anyone will be receive that reward if the teens are found guilty.

ODNR is leading the ongoing 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.

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.