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Flags ordered lowered to half-staff after officer’s death

February 25, 2021 GMT

HILLSBORO, Ohio (AP) — Flags have been ordered lowered to half-staff in memory of an Ohio natural resources officer who died responding to an emergency call of a brother and sister who fell into an icy lake, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday.

The 16-year-old girl drowned after she and her 13-year-old brother fell through the ice Tuesday in Rocky Fork State Park in Hillsboro, but officials said she was able to get her brother out of the water before she died.

Jason Lagore, an Ohio Natural Resources Department police officer who responded to the call, also died after he suffered an apparent heart attack and fell into the water, authorities said.

“This is a horrible, horrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to both families,” DeWine said.

Lagore became ill shortly after he responded to the emergency call, which took place around 6:30 p.m. Authorities said the children fell through the ice near a private dock down a steep incline on the north side of Rocky Fork Lake at the 2,080-acre park in Highland County

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A contractor who happened to be in the area heard the 13-year-old boy crying for help and called 911. Emergency responders soon arrived but could not save the girl, who authorities said was trapped under the ice.

The girl’s body was recovered about four hours later. The boy suffered hypothermia and was being treated at a hospital. Their names have not been released.

Lagore, a married father with two young sons, was a 15-year-veteran of the force and was responsible for its first canine training academy.

No other injuries were reported, and the deaths remain under investigation by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Division of Natural Resources.