FREDERICKSBURG, Ohio (AP) — The fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Amish girl who was driving a horse-drawn buggy in northeast Ohio has been ruled a homicide, a medical examiner said Tuesday.
Rachel Yoder was shot in the head Thursday night while traveling from a party to her home in Wayne County, between Columbus and Akron. She died Friday from the wound, Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler said.
Wayne County sheriff's Capt. Douglas Hunter said Tuesday that there had been no arrests. Authorities first thought Yoder may have fallen from the buggy and hit her head, The Cochocton Tribune reported.
The teen was shot while riding alone and returning from a Christmas party for employees, most under 18 years old, who work at an Amish produce farm, Hunter said. He said his department found a trail of blood along the road and traced it about three-eighths of a mile into Holmes County in an area of farms and rolling hills.
The Holmes County sheriff's department then took the lead on the case.
"Here is a 15-year-old girl, minding her own business, who is victimized," Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly told The (Wooster) Daily Record. "It's an isolated incident and we don't know the motive. What more can you do?"
The Associated Press left a message Tuesday at Zimmerly's office seeking further comment.
Yoder was born in nearby Mount Eaton and attended the Old Order Amish Church, The Daily Record said. She is survived by her father, 10 brothers and sisters, 26 nieces and nephews and two grandparents.
Hunter said there was no indication the shooting was related to a rash of beard-cutting attacks against Amish men in a feud over church discipline. Seven Amish men have been charged with hate crimes in the attacks stretching from Holmes County to three other counties in northeast Ohio.
Arlene Miller, the wife of an Amish bishop who was a victim of the beard attacks, said Tuesday there was no talk in the Amish community about those cases being connected to the girl's shooting.
Gun violence in Amish communities is rare but not unheard of. A man shot 10 schoolgirls, killing five, inside a one-room schoolhouse five years ago in Nickel Mines, Pa. The Amish were praised for their forgiveness after the shooting and reaching out to comfort the gunman's widow.