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Two 16-Year-Olds Allegedly Pushed A Log Off A Cliff And Killed A Woman Taking Photos

Victoria Schafer died after being struck by a 74-pound log while taking photos in an Ohio state park.

Posted on October 12, 2019, at 12:21 p.m. ET

Meghan Gauriloff / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Hocking Hills State Park

Two Ohio teens are facing charges of reckless homicide after a photographer was killed by a falling log last month, authorities said Thursday.

Victoria Schafer, 44, died on Labor Day after being hit by a falling log in Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio, about an hour south of Columbus, according to the Hocking County Sheriff's Office.


Victoria Schafer

Schafer, a photographer, had been taking senior photographs for students on the stairs at Old Man's Cave when she was struck by a log in what the sheriff's office said was "not a natural occurrence."

Detectives received information about the possible involvement of two teens and said they were able to obtain confessions from the boys, who are both 16 and were not named due to their age.

Both teenagers are from Logan, and allegedly admitted to forcing a 74-pound log off a cliff, causing it to fall more than 75 feet and hit Schafer, Hocking County prosecutor Benjamin Fickel told local news outlet WLWT5. Calls to Fickel were not returned Saturday.

The pair were taken into custody Thursday and transported to the Multi-County Juvenile Detention Center to await court proceedings.

Fickel said that the tip investigators received was about a text message one of the teens sent to a classmate, saying he and a friend had done "something serious at the park."

“Clearly [they] should have known better than to throw a 74-pound log off a cliff or to push it off a cliff. Whether there was any intention to hurt anyone I really don’t know, I can't speak to that with the information that we have," Fickel told ABC6.

Fickel said both boys could be charged as adults as more information is gathered in the case.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, whose investigators have been working with other law enforcement to track down tips in the case, did not respond to requests for comment. The Hocking County Sheriff's Office declined to comment further in the case.

Schafer is survived by her husband and four teen children. Her sister, Catherine Muth, told BuzzFeed News the family will release a statement soon.

Tara Gillum, a friend of Schafer's, told WLWT5 that Schafer would have advocated for forgiveness in the tragedy.

"Last night, when people in here were talking about it, that seemed to be the recurring thing was that, ya know, she 100% would've forgiven," Gillum said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.