Teen pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Chillicothe woman's 2019 death

Posted at 1:36 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 13:36:44-04

LOGAN, Ohio (AP) — A teenager has admitted helping to push a log off a cliff that struck and killed a married mother of four who was taking photographs at an Ohio state park.

Jaden Churchheus, 17, pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 44-year-old Victoria Schafer. Under terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped murder and reckless homicide charges against him.

Schafer was taking photos at the foot of the stairs at Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park on Sept. 2, 2019 when Churchheus and another teen pushed the log, which weighed 74 pounds, off a cliff at the top of the stairs, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

A judge recommended Churchheus serve a minimum of 3 years in a juvenile detention facility when he is sentenced.

The other teen charged in the case is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 25.