11-year-old Girl Scout dies in freak accident when 35-foot tree falls on her during hike at Indiana campground

Isabelle Meyer suffered fatal head and abdominal injuries when the tree fell on her and was declared dead at a hospital


                            11-year-old Girl Scout dies in freak accident when 35-foot tree falls on her during hike at Indiana campground

A young Girl Scout was killed and three others injured after a tree fell on them while they were walking along a road at a southern Indiana campground.

The 11-year-old, Isabelle Meyer from Jasper, another juvenile, and two adults, aged 50 and 55, were hiking at Camp Koch at 6180 E. State Road 66 on Monday, June 24, when a 35-foot tall tree uprooted and fell on them, according to Dubois County Free Press.

A nearby nurse and other Girl Scout leaders immediately responded to the scene to render aid, with emergency responders, deputies from the Perry County Sheriff's Office, and Indiana State Police troopers arriving soon after. 

Isabelle was pronounced dead at an Evansville hospital after suffering head and abdominal injuries. The other juvenile, a 10-year-old girl from Bonville, did not suffer any significant injuries and was treated and released.

The injured adults, identified as Melinda Garmen, of Mt. Vernon, and Judy Kicklighter, of Evansville, have been hospitalized and were reported to be in serious but stable conditions.

Speaking about the incident, Perry County Sheriff Alan Malone said the victims had been out on a morning hike and were coming down a fairly steep incline towards a mess hall when the tree fell.

He said the ground was saturated and that it was raining at the time of the accident, but they did not know why the tree fell. He also said that the area was not under any severe weather warnings. "Nobody at the scene yesterday that was able to give us a statement indicated any kind of lightning strike or anything like that," he said.

He fought back tears as he spoke about Isabelle's death, saying, "They were there to have a good time. But speculation that they were doing anything wrong? No," before adding, "We prepare for this but it is never easy."

Isabelle's mother, Amanda Sue Peters, confirmed the 11-year-old's death on Facebook. "Please pray for me and my family. My oldest daughter was the girl that died and I'm completely heartbroken and not ok right now. Why do bad things happen to good people," she wrote.

The Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana released a statement addressing the tragic death which said they were  "deeply saddened to learn of the terrible incident" and that there was "nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls and volunteers."

They announced that they were cooperating with authorities and that they "ask for privacy for the individuals and their families as they grieve and mourn this tragic loss."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise donations to cover Isabelle's funeral expenses. It has already raised $12,227 of a $7,500 goal at the time of writing.

Her funeral services will be held at 10 am on Monday, July 1, 2019, at Precious Blood Catholic Church in Jasper, with burial to follow in Fairview Cemetery in Jasper, according to her obituary.

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