Society

Stray Bullet Kills Amish Teen 1.5 Miles Away

| by Michael Allen

A 15-year-old Amish girl, Rachel Yoder, on her way home from a Christmas party in her horse-drawn buggy was as shot in the head by a stray bullet fired by a man cleaning his rifle 1.5 miles away, an Ohio sheriff says.

She was heading to her home in Wayne County, Ohio, between Columbus and Akron, when she was hit, according to Wayne County sheriff's Capt. Douglas Hunter.

Hunter says his department had traced a trail of blood along the road for about three-eighths of a mile into Holmes County in an area of farms and rolling hills.

Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly says investigators figured out what happened after the gun-cleaner's family came forward and after his neighbors reported hearing a shot at about the time the girl was wounded.

The man had fired the gun in the air about 1.5 miles from where Yoder was shot, Zimmerly says. State investigators are checking the rifle for a ballistics match, he says.

"In all probability, it looks like an accidental shooting," Zimmerly says. No charges have been filed.

Zimmerly said he informed the Yoder family that the shooting appeared to be accidental "Obviously, that makes them feel a lot better than if someone might have been targeting the Amish or (if it was) a random shooting murder."