Rocky Fork fatality victim identified

The female victim in a Tuesday fatal accident at Rocky Fork Lake has been identified as 16-year-old Kearia R. Scott of Hillsboro, according to Highland County Coroner M.D. Jeff Beery.

Beery said he has not made a ruling on the cause of Scott’s death, but that it appears to have been by drowning.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore, 38, of Clarksville, also perished at the scene of the accident when he entered the water in attempt to find Scott.

Beery said it appears that Lagore had a heart issue.

“It is with deep regret that the announcement is made of the death of Natural Resource Officer Jason Lagore, who died while responding to a call at Rocky Fork State Park on February 23, 2021,” the Ohio Department of Natural Resources stated on its website.

“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Officer Jason Lagore, who died in the line of duty last night,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Our law enforcement officers and their families carry a unique and challenging burden of responsibilities, and we are deeply grateful for their service.”

The statement continued:

“Officer Lagore was responding to a call at Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County just before 6:30 p.m. on reports that two people had fallen through the ice near the North Shore boat docks. During the search, Officer Lagore suffered a medical emergency and was taken to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, where he was pronounced deceased.

“A 13-year-old male who fell through the ice was able to get out of the water. He was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The second victim, Scott, was recovered by divers unresponsive. She was transported to the hospital but was later pronounced deceased. The ODNR is leading the ongoing investigation into the incident.

“Officer Lagore was a dedicated officer, having served 15 years with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He was responsible for the first ODNR K-9 academy, led the Division of Parks and Watercraft K-9 training program, and was well respected across the state for his expertise working with K-9s.

“When he wasn’t proudly serving ODNR, Officer Lagore enjoyed deer and turkey hunting, loved history, and enjoyed vacations with his family.”

Officer Lagore is survived by his wife, Michelle, his two young sons, and his K-9 partner, Sarge.

The ODNR asked that the privacy of Lagore’s family be respected during this time, the statement concluded.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.
Coroner: ODNR officer who also perished appeared to have heart issue

By Jeff Gilliland

The Hillsboro Times-Gazette