CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (FOX19) - Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information regarding the death of a 44-year-old Chillicothe woman who died in Hocking Hills on Labor Day.
Photographer, Victoria Keup Schafer, was at the state park taking senior photos.
Schafer was at Old Man’s cave at 5:30 p.m. when part of a tree, located on top of the cave, fell on her leading to her death.
“We were walking up the metal steps and a really loud crack sound occurred and we all just turned around and she was down," one of the students in the group said.
Schafer was reportedly knocked unconscious and died from her injuries.
“She was just really good at remaining in touch with people and caring about them," her husband, Fritz Schafer said.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says a group of people on top of the cave may have been responsible. They would not say how the tree fell nor if it was already cut.
“There were a lot of people in the park that day, and someone knows how this happened – any information is important,” Ernie Large, President of Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers, said. “We encourage anyone who saw something that day, or may have heard about someone who could have been involved to call the Crime Stoppers tip line.”
Crime Stoppers, Schafer’s family and community leaders are hoping this reward and any donations added will encourage people to come forward anonymously.
“Victoria did so much for so many people, yet made it look so simple and effortless. She leaves behind Fritz, her husband of 21 years and four teenagers,” said her sister, Cathy Muth. “Our family and the community of Chillicothe needs answers about how and why this happened, and in doing so, we hope to bring awareness to prevent this senseless tragedy from ever happening to anyone else’s sister, mother, daughter, spouse, or friend.”
Her husband is hoping the reward will lead to an arrest.
“I think it’ll be better for everybody. For the community, for Hocking Hills, even the people involved if they come forward just so we can understand how this happened and prevent it from happening again," Schafer said.
He hopes no other family has to go through what he and their four children have.
“I wouldn’t wish something like this on my worst enemy. It’s just shocking. It’s just so hard to come to grips with. She was so vibrant," Schafer said.
A fund has been set up at the Red Cross Bank for anyone interested in donating.