Mother falls 100 feet to her death inside vast cave

Wednesday, January 17, 2024
 – A Virginia mother tragically plunged 100 feet to her death while exploring a cave last week, officials said.

The 38-year-old woman, identified as Autumn Nicole Draper by local media, was found dead by first responders after they entered the cave Friday, Jan. 12, in Staffordsville, Giles County Emergency Services said.

Police, fire and rescue agencies quickly responded to the scene after they received a call of a woman falling 100 feet, but soon realized they needed “additional specialized resources,” the county’s emergency services said.

The body of the victim, who was reportedly from Fairlawn, was “extricated” from the cave by rescuers with the Giles Sheriff’s Department clearing the scene around 1 a.m. the following morning.

While the investigation is ongoing, relatives mourned Draper’s sudden death.

“My beautiful sister is now with God. My heart is aching and I don’t even know what to say,” according to a Facebook post appearing to be from her brother Brandon Koert.

He also vowed to watch after her daughter and “be the best daddy I can be” to her.

“I promise you I will shower her with love. I will protect her, I will always show up and be there for her,” Koert said in a touching tribute.

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