Coroner rules Rocky Fork gorge death accidental

Confirms gun and suicide note were found

By Jeff Gilliland -

The death of a man whose body was found Monday at the bottom of a 70-foot cliff on Cave Road has been ruled accidental, Highland County Coroner Dr. Jeff Beery said Thursday.

Beery said it was a strange set of circumstances that led to the death, adding, “I never had a case quite like that before.”

“It looks like he checked in at a cabin for a stay, wrote a suicide note and got a gun … I think he stumbled and fell and accidentally killed himself,” Beery said.

“That was the feeling we had,” the coroner added. “It’s hard to know for sure, but we felt it was accidental.”

Beery said a gun was recovered near the body, but there was no gunshot wound to the victim.

He said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and a cervical spine fracture.

The deceased was identified as Braden Bensinger, 37, of Cincinnati.

The body had been laying where it was found since sometime around 6 to 11 p.m. the day before, according to Beery.

The coroner said he feels comfortable saying the death was not part of a homicide.

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

Jackman said that upon arrival, emergency responders found a deceased male at the bottom of a sheer cliff they estimated to be 70 to 80 feet 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.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

Confirms gun and suicide note were found

By Jeff Gilliland