DanHenson1/iStock(LANCASTER, Ohio) — Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the death of a photographer who was hit by a falling tree branch in an Ohio state park last month.
Victoria Schafer, 44, of Chillicothe, Ohio, was taking pictures for several high school seniors at Hocking Hill State Park on Sept. 2 when she was struck and killed by a falling section of a tree. She is survived by her husband and four children.
Detectives from the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to investigate Schafer’s death. The investigators found evidence suggesting the falling branch was not a natural occurrence, according to press releases from the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
“We are not out for vengeance,” Schafer’s sister, Cathy Muth, told Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX-TV in an interview last month. “We just want to know what happened, and we want to prevent it from happening again.”
Investigators later received information about two teenage boys who might have been involved in Schafer’s death. The pair allegedly confessed during interviews with detectives and were taken into custody Thursday on charges of reckless homicide, according to the sheriff’s office.
The teens, ages 16 and 17, are being held at the juvenile detention center in Lancaster, Ohio, while they await court proceedings. Authorities are not releasing their names due to their ages.
“I appreciate the public’s valuable contributions to this case and the perseverance and determination of the investigators,” Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said in a statement Thursday.
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