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Fredericksburg, OH — A 15-year-old Amish girl named Rachel Yoder was riding home alone Thursday night after attending a Christmas party at a nearby produce farm. Inexplicably, as she approached her home, she fell out of the buggy onto the ground. Her brother found her after he saw her horse and buggy circling around her.

The teen died of an apparent head injury. At first, authorities reportedly believed that she had fallen out of the buggy and hit her head. A hospital examination revealed that, in fact, she had been shot in the head.

Wayne County sheriff’s Capt. Douglas Hunter said his department traced a trail of blood along the road the girl had traveled back about three-eighths of a mile into neighboring Holmes County – an area of farms and rolling hills. Although the site of the shooting had been pinpointed, the cause was unknown.

The residents in the area were left to speculate for days. Then, Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly said a family who lived about 1.5 miles from the site of the teen’s fatal gunshot wound contacted authorities with the probable cause.

It turned out that a member of the family who came forward had been cleaning a muzzle-loader rifle when he made the fateful mistake of firing it into the air. Investigators believe that, a moment later and 1.5 miles away, that round would strike Rachel Yoder in the head, killing her.

A neighbor of the unidentified shooter confirmed the single shot fired about the time of the girl’s demise. Zimmerly said that state investigators are now checking the rifle for a ballistics match.

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“In all probability, it looks like an accidental shooting,” he added. No charges have been filed.

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  • Anonymous

    If the ballistics confirm the cause of death, it’s sad that this girl had to dire because some ignorant dipshit couldn’t be bothered to follow basic gun safety rules.

  • I agree with you – although a lot of people fire guns into the air for New Years,it is a fact that the rounds falling back to the ground have enough velocity to penetrate a residential roof,or a human skull.

  • Anonymous

    Where in hell do people do that?? Guns are great and all but you’d get arrested in half a minute if you randomly shoot guns off around here.

  • Anonymous

    It’s actually pretty common in and around Los Angeles for people to shoot into the air in celebration.  Houston too; several years ago a blogger was on his back deck when a spent bullet came ripping through the foliage around his deck and  thumped down on a trajectory that just missed his head (if I recall the story correctly).


  • Michigan baby! People here clean their guns in anticipation of New Years.

    I don’t do it, not a fan of guns and think shooting them unless to defend oneself or supply food for the family is rather pointless.

  • LeaveMeBe

    How horrible! One Easter when my kids were small, we were all out at our family ranch just hanging out in the fenced yard when there was this buzzing/zipping noise that drove straight through the yard. It took about 1 second for me and the rest of the adults to realize it was a bullet. We yelled for the kids to get down and dragged them into the house as quickly as possible while my husband, brother and dad jumped in a truck and took off to find out where it came from and WTF was going on. Turns out some punk teens were across the road, about 3/4 to a mile away on a hill, just randomly shooting a rifle at trees and shit. The posse who went hunting them scared them so badly I wonder if they ever got the stain out of their underpants. I know I just threw my underpants away and didn’t even bother to try washing them.

  • Anonymous

    Hatcher et al did some research on that either during or shortly after WWII.  If the bullet is fired straight up or at a slight angle from the vertical, it will fall back to earth base first at about 150 ft/s due to aerodynamic drag.  (“Slight angle” is somewhere around fifteen degrees, but I don’t remember exactly where.)  They found that if the bullet can yaw enough to get the point foremost as it descends its return velocity will be high enough to allow it to cause serious wounds if it hits even a protected individual.

    The moral?  If one must fire into the air, fire blanks.


  • Anonymous

    Damn, I’d be pretty pissed if I got shot for no reason. I would feel better if I was at least being a complete asshole when I was given a new subdermal implant. Gun control laws around here are extremely strict, so I’m not too worried about randomly gaining a new piercing.

  • Sam

    Before actually reading the article i just thought “Drive-by shooting on a buggy? Now THAT’s hardcore”

    1.5 miles away. If i had to beat the odds in a million to one shot, i’d really rather it be winning the lottery, thank you very much. RIP Rachel.

  • Anonymous

    OH geez! The Amish are people that never bother anyone! I’m glad it was an accident & not on purpose at least.

    This is so sad & unnecessary.  I hope the Amish community struck by this tragedy can forgive the shooter. Hell the shooter must be feeling absolutely horrified & remorseful.

    I’m so sorry.

    It’s not even worth jokes about saying condolenses but they won’t read it… 🙁

  • Anonymous

    In Puerto Rico, people go nuts shooting at the air in Xmas, New Year’s & Jan 6 (the Epiphany , 3 king’s day)…

    The deaths that follow are attributed to those lost bullets & alcohol related shootings.

    My neighbor had an AK-47 & he’d shoot it as if he was at war in New Years. My mom used to tell us to come home about 15mins before new Years to try & prevent us from getting shot.

  • Anonymous

    New Mexicans do it:( It’s actually so common in some areas of our city that I’ve avoided living in those neighborhoods even though I like them…I don’t want to get shot accidentally while I’m drunk on champagne and wearing a stupid party hat!

  • wyrosjr

    The Amish may get to a point where they have to move further away from populated areas to preserve their way of life.

  • Anonymous

    While I don’t think vengeance on the shooter is the answer, it’s not cool for the person to get off without at least some community service or something. Especially when you take into consideration the bull shit charges people get arrested for every day. 

  • *cough* hispanics

  • Anonymous

    Really. WTF  If the victim were some twisted CEO, the incident would probably have been take more seriously.

  • Anonymous

    They’re definitely a forgiving lot. They forgave the man that broke into their schoolhouse shooting 10 of the young Amish girls (killing 5, I think)… and that wasn’t an accident. They even met several times with the suspect’s wife and children.

  • too bad the Amish don’t sue…their community will bear this burden alone

  • Anonymous

    I remember reading about that when i was a kid. This information must be taught to all gun owners and anyone who lives in a house with a gun. A little knowledge = a lot of power. Being ignorant gets people killed & puts you in jail.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. The only other acceptable place is in a shooting range so one can practice using one properly.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, this girl is dead because some moron just decides to fire? How do you own a firearm but not know that the bullet can come down and kill someone? I’ve heard of it happening before and it always pisses me off how stupid people can be. I say charge him!

  • Anonymous

    Man, poor kid.  I really feel for her family and friends.

    I used to love going up to Hummelstown and Hershey to visit hubby’s grandparents.  It was so cool to see the buggies driving all over, even right down the middle of town.  It wasn’t so cool on the pretty much single-lane country roads when we got behind one.

  • That’s the only place I go to shoot

  • This sucks! 🙁

  • Anonymous

    She did win the lottery, the “unlucky lottery”.  Sucks.

    I kinda got the impression that the gun was accidentally fired into the air while it was being cleaned. 

    Honestly, I think it took some guts for this guy to come forward. 

  • Anonymous

    For sure, I think the police would be here in about 5 minutes.

  • Anonymous

    I have a gun and have great respect for it

  • Anonymous

    I believe miles are broken down into tenths, not eighths.

    Poor girl and her family. I hope they at least find out what happened. Getting hit by a stray bullet is bad enough but a lot easier to live with than someone intentionally murdering their daughter.

  • Anonymous

    I was starting to think I was the only one in an area where you don’t just shoot at nothing for fun. My area has the most murders in the state, and this just doesn’t happen.

  • Anonymous

    No, you’re not. I live in Florida and I find it just as fucking weird as you. 

  • Kansas City, too.  A girl got killed last 4th of July – stupid people with their guns.

  • I dunno about that, at least in the case of it being intentional you can blame someone and feel anger at someone. Either way the poor girl is still dead 🙁

  • Anonymous

    That is some bad luck. I wonder what the odds are.

  • Anonymous

    they bother me all the damn time! I hate getting stuck behind a tourist behind a buggy during tourist season. Apparently they’re just too quaint to pass. Not all of us are on vacation, you know. It’s possible the tourist is the problem in this equation.  But still.

    Amish… need to stop being pastorally charming.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t tell me you’re like one of the tourists I curse at that can’t figure out how to pass a buggy on a road that doesn’t even have lines painted on it…

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  • Anonymous

    This happed to  alittle child. He was in church and a bullet come through the roof and killed him. Some idiot had shot into the air.

  • I used to live in Amish Country (Lancaster PA) and while I may not necessarily be fond of them based on my experience dealing with them as Customers, I certainly wouldn’t wish anything like this to happen.