It was an extremely busy holiday period for the local law enforcement and other emergency responders, including rushing to a deadly hunting accident near Slate Mills, discovering a woman in a frozen field behind Willis Chapel, and investigating a suspected suicide in Huntly.
It was just two days before Christmas that a Culpeper man was shot and killed while deer hunting in Rappahannock County.
Lee Walker, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ director of agency outreach, tells the Rappahannock News that Jamie DeJuan Hill, 48, was pronounced dead on Saturday, Dec. 23, following the apparent accidental shooting that took place that same morning in the vicinity of Slate Mills Road and Grindstone Road near Boston.
Walker says his department was notified by the sheriff’s office and a fish and game officer was dispatched to the scene to investigate.
“A group of hunters were running dogs while deer hunting,” according to the officer’s preliminary report. “A deer ran in between three of the hunters and multiple shots were fired. The victim was struck by a single shot and transported to Culpeper Medical Center.”
The officer, who was notified of the shooting at 9:38 a.m., confirms in the initial report that the victim was wearing blaze orange.
“This is a preliminary report,” according to the department, saying the shooting incident remains under investigation. But speaking by phone yesterday from Richmond, Walker stressed that everything points at this time to it being “an accident.”
He then stressed the importance for hunters, before shooting, to “clearly identify your game and what is beyond.”
A funeral service for Hill, who was employed for 11 years by Lane Construction Corporation, was held this past Tuesday in Culpeper. He is survived by his fiancé, also of Culpeper, and numerous family members.
Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office is awaiting a medical examiner’s report before officially classifying a Dec. 29th death in Huntly as a suicide.
According to Sheriff Connie Compton, a male subject had gone outside late that night to feed his horses and never returned to his home, which is when her office was called. Deputies arrived at the scene and were able to locate the man, who was apparently deceased.
In an unrelated call that same Dec. 29 morning, authorities discovered Huntly dog breeder Sandra L. Stone lying in a frozen field near her home at 24 Black Rock Ford Rd., just behind Willis Chapel.
According to a member of the Chester Gap Volunteer Fire Department, the woman “was responsive” when they arrived on the scene but she later died.
“It doesn’t take long in these temperatures,” said the fireman. Temperatures on Friday morning hovered around 13 degrees in Rappahannock County, with a wind speed of about 10 miles per hour, making the wind chill temperature even colder.
That said, it has not been determined whether Stone died of exposure or if there was some other cause of death. It is also not known how long she was lying in the field before being discovered.
Sgt. Les Tyler of the Virginia State Police, which is leading the investigation into the woman’s death, told the Rappahannock News that troopers received a call for a welfare check at approximately 9:30 that morning. Trooper B.R. Boteler was among the first on the scene “and located the woman outside her residence,” Tyler said.
The sergeant said Stone was transported to the hospital, where she died at 2:29 p.m. that afternoon.
Stone, who was believed to be in her mid-70s, was an owner and breeder of doberman pinschers, according to online listings for the dogs.
Meanwhile, numerous serious motor vehicle accidents were reported in the county over the holiday period, according to Sheriff Compton. This reporter happened on the scene of one such multi-vehicle crash on Christmas morning at Clevengers Corner, where one of the injured persons was ejected from their vehicle and flown by medevac helicopter to the hospital.
Sheriff Compton also said that her department was “out in force” over the holiday period, especially on New Year’s eve, handling any suspected cases of reckless driving or driving under the influence.