Medical Examiner releases cause of amish teen's death

FREDRICKSBURG, Ohio - Police in two Ohio counties are investigating the death of a 15-year-old girl who was shot while riding home from a party in a horse and buggy.

The incident was reported to authorities as a possible crash at 10:47 p.m. Thursday.

The Holmes County Sheriff's Office said Rachel Yoder of Fredricksburg was returning home from an employee Christmas party after dropping off a friend at her home at about 10 p.m., when she was apparently shot in the head near the intersection of County Road 229 and Township Road 614 in Salt Creek Township.

She was heading west on CR 229 at the time, and the buggy carried her to her house in the 15900 block of Salt Creek Road, where she fell out along the buggy path – about three miles from where the shooting occurred.

Deputies said Yoder's brother went out to check on the horse and buggy after noticing it going in a circle, and found his sister lying on the ground unresponsive.

According to investigators, it first appeared Yoder fell out of the buggy and struck her head, but a CT scan at the hospital revealed that she had sustained a gunshot wound.

Yoder died Friday at 1:22 at Akron City Hospital, according to the medical examiner's office.

Deputies said they were able to follow a trail of blood droplets from Yoder's house in Wayne County to the CR 229/TR 614 intersection in Holmes County.

Investigators from sheriff's departments in Wayne and Holmes counties, as well as the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification were out diagramming the scene and collecting evidence all day Friday. CR 229 was closed to traffic for parts of the day.

Officials were back out in the fields Saturday searching for more clues.

"Determination of the cause of the shooting has yet to be made but deputies are treating the investigation as a homicide until or unless it can be proven accidental or otherwise," said Holmes County Sheriff Tim Zimmerly in a news release.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office has scheduled an autopsy for Saturday.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Holmes County Sheriff's Office at 330-674-1936.

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