Woman Found Dead in Virginia Cave: Autopsy Underway

Woman Found Dead in Virginia Cave After Fall

A tragic incident unfolded on Friday afternoon in southwestern Virginia, when a woman was discovered dead inside a cave. Authorities believe that she had fallen roughly 100 feet. The incident is currently under investigation.

The cave is located in Staffordsville, a rural community in Giles County, which sits along the West Virginia border, about an hour’s drive from Roanoke. Sheriff’s deputies, fire officials from nearby Pearisburg, and a county rescue squad all responded to a 911 call at around 4:15 p.m. on Friday. The call reported that a woman had fallen within a cave in the area, leading them to her lifeless body.

Upon arriving at the scene, responders quickly realized the need for additional specialized resources. Giles County Emergency Services stated in a news release that another emergency response crew and a technical rescue cave team were called in to assist with the recovery efforts. Eventually, they were able to extricate the woman’s body.

The woman has been identified as 38-year-old Autumn Nicole Draper, who lived approximately 30 miles from the cave in Fairlawn. According to CBS affiliate WDBJ, Draper was identified through DMV records.

The circumstances surrounding why Draper was inside the cave and how she fell from such heights remain unclear. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has documented over 4,400 caves throughout the state, with around a dozen developed as “show caves” for tourism purposes.

Giles County alone boasts at least 253 caves, according to the Virginia Speleological Survey, a volunteer organization that studies caves and owns a nature preserve in the area. Some of the largest caves in the county are 718 feet deep and over 118,000 feet long, although the average length is shorter at 1,287 feet.

Virginia’s caves have a long history of human use, including shelter, religious purposes, moonshine production, mining, scientific research, recreation, and commercial attractions.

As the investigation into this tragic incident continues, authorities will work to determine the events that led to Autumn Nicole Draper’s fatal fall within the cave.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!