Teen, ODNR officer die in double tragedy at state park

Teen, ODNR officer die in double tragedy at state park

HIGHLAND COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A 16-year-old girl and a veteran Ohio Department of Natural Resources officer both died in a double tragedy at a state park late Tuesday.

The teen drowned after falling through ice in the lake at Rocky Fork State Park. Her body was trapped under ice for hours and she was unresponsive when divers found and pulled her from the water about 11 p.m., ODNR officials said.

The 16-year-old teen was found with sonar technology, according to Capt. Sean McAllister, Loveland Symmes Fire Department.

“We were able to locate the missing teen girl and remove her from the water,” the captain said.

Officials say Lagor fell into the lake after suffering a medical emergency.

ODNR announced his in the line of duty death Wednesday morning.

Officer Lagore was with ODNR for 15 years. He is survived by his wife, Michelle, two young sons, and K-9 partner, “Sarge.”

“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Officer Jason Lagore, who died in the line of duty last night,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz.

“Our law enforcement officers and their families carry a unique and challenging burden of responsibilities, and we are deeply grateful for their service.”

Our Dive and Sonar team responded last evening to the tragic event where Officer Lagore died from a medical emergency....

Posted by Loveland Symmes Fire Department on Wednesday, February 24, 2021

“Today, we lost one of our favorite K9 handlers. Officer Jason Lagore was a mentor to many and an excellent Ohio Parks and Recreation officer,” Four Paws Animal Hospital wrote on Facebook. “He died doing what he did best, helping others. Please keep his family and K-9 partner, Sarge, in your thoughts.”

Officer Lagore responded to a call at Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to ODNR.

First responders received reports two people fell through the ice near the North Shore boat docks.

During the search, Officer Lagore suffered a medical emergency and was taken to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, Ohio, where he was pronounced dead.

One of the teens who fell through the ice, a 13-year-old male, was able to get out of the water, ODNR says.

He was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

Divers searched the lake for hours and found the second victim, a 16-year-old female, unresponsive about 11 p.m.

She was transported to the hospital, but she was later pronounced dead as well.

Her name has not been released.

ODNR is leading the ongoing investigation into the incident.

“Officer Lagore was a dedicated officer, having served 15 years with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He was responsible for the first ODNR K-9 academy, led the Division of Parks and Watercraft K-9 training program, and was well respected across the state for his expertise working with K-9s,” ODNR said in their news release.

“When he wasn’t proudly serving ODNR, Officer Lagore enjoyed deer and turkey hunting, loved history, and enjoyed vacations with his family.”

ODNR is requesting privacy for his family.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a tweet ODNR officers have some of the toughest jobs in law enforcement, protecting our natural resources and the visitors enjoying them.

“Officer Lagore ended his watch a hero helping others,” LaRose said in his tweet. “We thank you for your service. Our prayers are with his family.”

In honor of the life and service of Lagore, Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered that the flags of the United States and the State of Ohio be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds in Highland County, and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus.

Flags should remain lowered until sunset on the day of Officer Lagore’s funeral.

FOX19 NOW will continue to update this story as information develops.

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