Man dead in RFC gorge

Victim found at bottom of 70-foot cliff

By Jeff Gilliland -

The cause of death of a man who was found deceased Monday at the bottom of a 70-foot cliff on Cave Road is still under investigation, according to Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera said Tuesday.

The victim was a 37-year-old male from Cincinnati, Barrera said.

The sheriff said he did not know how the man got to the bottom of the cliff. He said that according to the coroner, there was no gunshot on the body, but that authorities did find a note.

Lt. Branden Jackman said the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District was originally dispatched to Cave Road at 12:49 p.m. Monday on the report that a subject had fell in the Rocky Fork Creek gorge in the former Seven Caves area.

Jackman said that upon arrival, emergency responsonders found a deceased male at the bottom of a shear cliff they estimated to be 70 to 80 feel tall.

There were access issues due to the height of the cliff, Jackman said, so the Highland County Grain Bin Rescue Team was activated so ropes would be available to reach the victim.

Jackman said 15 to 20 first responders were on the scene, including Paint Creek personnel from its locations in both Hillsboro and on U.S. Route 50 near Rainsboro. He said the grain bin rescue team is composed of emergency personnel from Paint Creek and the fire departments in Leesburg, Lynchburg and Fayetteville.

The body was released to the Highland County coroner, Jackman said.

While Paint Creek was on the scene of that call, Jackman said the district received a call of a female hiker that had broke her ankle in the woods about two miles off of Cave Road. He said the victim was transported to Highland District Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

Victim found at bottom of 70-foot cliff

By Jeff Gilliland