16-year-old girl saved her brother, then drowned under ice at Ohio state park

Officer also died after suffering 'medical emergency' at scene
ODNR investigating possible drowning at Rocky Fork State Park
Posted at 11:17 AM, Feb 25, 2021

HILLSBORO, Ohio — A 16-year-old girl saved her brother’s life Tuesday night after the pair fell through the ice covering Rocky Fork Lake east of Cincinnati, Ohio. Tragically, emergency responders couldn’t save hers.

The 13-year-old boy was freezing and calling for help when a construction worker found him around 6:30 p.m. EST, according to Lt. Branden Jackman of the Paint Creek Joint EMS and Fire District.

His department responded, flanked by crews from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and dive teams trained to carry out rescues under ice.

They retrieved the girl’s body around 11 p.m. EST, Jackman said.

The boy was hospitalized with hypothermia at Highland District Hospital.

“After the fact, it turns out that she got him out before she succumbed,” Jackman said. “Don’t go out on the ice. It caused a very bad tragedy last night.”

The girl’s identity had not been publicly released by Wednesday night. Jackman said the tragedy should remind people not to risk their lives by walking on frozen bodies of water.

“You look at water and you think, ‘Oh, it's just water,’” he said. “Thirty-six-degree water is no different than a three-story house fire. They'll both kill you just as quick.”

ODNR Officer Jason Lagore suffered a “medical emergency” at the scene during the initial phases of the rescue, according to department spokesperson Stephanie O’Grady.

First responders transported Lagore to Highland District Hospital, but he was unable to be resuscitated. Lagore had worked for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for 15 years and was known for his expertise with K-9s.

READ ABOUT HIM: ODNR officer who died at drowning scene was K-9 expert, 15-year veteran

The Highland County Sheriff’s Office is assisting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in its investigation of the incident.

This story was originally published by Abby Dawn at WCPO.