OH - Victoria Schafer, 44, killed by falling tree, Hocking Hills SP, Sept 2019 *Arrests*

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by ErinC, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. ErinC

    ErinC Well-Known Member

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    HOCKING HILLS, Ohio - An investigation is underway into the mysterious death of a woman who was taking photos at Hocking Hills State Park.

    She was killed by part of a falling tree, but authorities say it appears it didn’t fall naturally.

    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) says photographer Victoria Schafer, 44, of Chillicothe was taking senior pictures of six high schoolers near Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills when part of a tree fell on her, killing her.

    Authorities won’t say how the branch fell, or if it was already cut, but say it does not appear to be natural.

    “I would say we have information to support that the section of the tree that struck the victim did not fall by natural means,” said Captain Schaad Johnson of ODNR.

    Criminal investigation underway in death of woman at Hocking Hills State Park

    Investigation finds branch that struck & killed woman at Hocking Hills was 'dislodged' from cliff

    Officials: Falling tree that struck, killed woman at Hocking Hills State Park not 'natural'

    So odd. I grew up hiking in this park and the idea of someone doing something like this saddens me to no end.
     


  2. AzPistonsGirl

    AzPistonsGirl Detroit to the Bone

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  3. flute4peace

    flute4peace Well-Known Member

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    Say what? Someone’s sitting in a tree waiting for a person to walk by so they can throw a branch down on them?

    (I have a really foggy brain right now, apparently)
     
  4. Blondie in Spokane

    Blondie in Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Lol I was wondering what they were trying to insinuate too!

    This is from Erin’s first link:

    “ODNR now says a group of people may have been responsible because there were people on top of the cave, which is where the section of the tree fell from.”

    We do have evidence to support that individuals, and we have descriptions of them, were on the top section above where this incident happened and dislodged this section of tree,” Johnson said.

    ”They are now asking anyone who was in Hocking Hills on Labor Day and saw anything suspicious to please contact them. Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting in the investigation.”
     
  5. TGIRecovered

    TGIRecovered Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like the same mentality of someone (or a group) who drops rocks from an overpass until they hit and kill someone.
    I’m glad they were seen and I hope they are caught and held responsible for what they did.
     
  6. Blondie in Spokane

    Blondie in Spokane Well-Known Member

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    That’s exactly what I thought when I first read about this.....tossing huge rocks from an overpass at oncoming cars.

    Good to see u TGI!
     
  7. ErinC

    ErinC Well-Known Member

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    From what I've been able to make of it, this is exactly what happened. They dropped the branch off of the cliff thinking they were funny, and it struck her. ODNR investigating Schafer's death as branch may have been dislodged She was a well-known local photographer who was taking senior pictures for students at the time. I'm guessing the students are the ones who witnessed the people throwing the branch :(
     
  8. realanastasia

    realanastasia Well-Known Member

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    I initially speculated that some of the students themselves might have been involved—but I guess that’s not very likely in light of the fact that LE’s looking for witnesses/asking for public assistance, right?
     
    LaborDayRN, ErinC, Hazelnutty and 3 others like this.
  9. BlackCloud

    BlackCloud Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised...our world is full of psychos o_O
     
  10. Gardenista

    Gardenista On Time Out

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  11. ErinC

    ErinC Well-Known Member

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    I did wonder about that, if perhaps the students had been goofing off and one thing led to another led to tragedy. But I would agree that LE wouldn't be in need of witnesses had that been the case- I also would think that a student would have cracked by now, high school seniors not being a demographic known for keeping information to themselves for long. It will be interesting to see if the reward is useful.
     
  12. Ann99

    Ann99 Well-Known Member

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    Update this morning
    Mother of four killed at Hocking Hills, husband seeking answers

    “He said that according to the death certificate, the log is 70 inches long and weight about 120 pounds.

    "We've been told, through the investigation that it could not have been an accident by nature. Somebody had to move this -- they've been calling it a branch or log -- but it was originally a branch that had been cut up," Fritz Schafer said.
    ***

    That’s a very big heavy log. Almost 6 feet.

    I hate to think of it.
     
  13. ErinC

    ErinC Well-Known Member

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  14. TTF14

    TTF14 Spaceship Headlight Pattern Expert

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    This sounds to me like two teens who may not have meant to actually kill this teacher, but a reckless prank got out of hand..... I'd be willing to bed they were part of the group she was chaperoning.
     
  15. ErinC

    ErinC Well-Known Member

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    That's what I got out of it as well. I couldn't find any articles that went into any more depth, it will be interesting as time goes on.
     
  16. ErinC

    ErinC Well-Known Member

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  17. Ann99

    Ann99 Well-Known Member

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    Logan teens arrested for Hocking Hills reckless homicide may face additional charges


    “Asked if he thinks the teens have shown remorse Fickel said “I have seen some other things, I have heard some other information that leads me to believe they were anything but remorseful. I am not going to disclose at this time since I have not confirmed those statements but it’s very concerning but it is almost disgusting to hear some of the things they were saying and doing.””
     
  18. hotsytotsy

    hotsytotsy Well-Known Member

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  19. hotsytotsy

    hotsytotsy Well-Known Member

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  20. realanastasia

    realanastasia Well-Known Member

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    Wow, they're named as Jaden W. Churchheus and Jordan A. Buckley in this article, which says both are 16 years old and which identifies the new charges as murder, involuntary manslaughter, AND felonious assault. It also says the two will be tried as adults. I can only imagine the prosecution has a boatload of evidence that indicates premeditation, conspiracy, disregard for human life, etc. in order to ratchet up the charges so much from the original charge of "reckless homicide."

    An earlier article said the ODNR (Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, I imagine, which would be the organization that runs the state park where the death occurred) wasn't releasing the names of the two teens charged with "reckless homicide" because of their ages. See this article: Two teens arrested in death of woman at Old Man's Cave

    I believe they're the same age now as when initially charged, though, so unless Ohio law says minors can be publicly named if they're charged with a capital offense (like murder) OR if they're going to be tried as adults, I can't imagine why the sudden about-face on this...?
     

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