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

HOCKING HILLS COUNTY — Two teens were arrested Thursday in connection to the death last month of a photographer 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.

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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.

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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.

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