LOGAN — While family and friends are grieving the loss of their loved one that died in the Hocking Hills on Sept. 2, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is seeking information related to her death.
Victoria Schafer died from the impact of a six-foot, 120-pound free falling log projectile from a 75-foot cliff at Old Man’s Cave on Labor Day. According to the death certificate, Schafer was walking down the trail steps at Old Man’s Cave and was struck from a free falling log from above.
Schafer, 44, of Chillicothe, was at Old Man’s Cave with six teenagers for their senior photography session when the incident occurred.
The immediate cause of death is blunt force trauma to the head, neck and thorax. According to the death certificate and ODNR officials, this is an ongoing/pending investigation.
Schafer was the third victim this year to die at the Hocking Hills State Park.
David Roorbach, ODNR Public Information Officer, told The Logan Daily News that officers have evidence suggesting the falling section of tree was not a natural occurrence. ODNR is asking for the public’s help — anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact ODNR at 614-799-9538.
Roorbach could not confirm if there are any suspects, but said, “Our investigation is ongoing.”
Hocking Hills State Parks has become one of the most popular areas for hiking trails with millions of people from around the world visiting each year. While there have been numerous accidents and deaths throughout the years, this has been one of the worst with three recent deaths; and four rope rescues just this summer.
Schafer is survived by her husband Fritz Schafer; and her four children, John, Emily, Madelyn and Grace.