By | January 16, 2024

**Woman Found Dead After Falling 100 Feet Inside Virginia Cave**

In a tragic incident that has left the community in shock, a woman was found dead on Friday afternoon inside a cave in southwestern Virginia. Authorities believe she had fallen roughly 100 feet, and the incident is currently under investigation.

The cave is located in Staffordsville, a rural community in Giles County. Situated along the West Virginia border, the county is 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 placed at around 4:15 p.m. on Friday. The call reported that a woman had fallen within a cave in the area, leading emergency responders to her body.

Upon arrival, responders quickly realized the need for additional specialized resources. Giles County Emergency Services issued a news release stating that another emergency response crew and a technical rescue cave team joined the recovery efforts. With their assistance, they were able to extricate the woman’s body.

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

The circumstances surrounding Draper’s presence in the cave and how she fell from such heights remain unclear. Virginia is home to thousands of caves, with a dozen developed as “show caves” for tourism. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has identified over 4,400 caves throughout the state.

Giles County alone boasts at least 253 caves, according to the Virginia Speleological Survey, a volunteer organization dedicated to studying caves. Some of the county’s caves are incredibly deep and extensive, with one reaching 718 feet in depth and another exceeding 118,000 feet in length.

Humans have a long history of exploring and utilizing caves in Virginia for various purposes, including shelter, religious ceremonies, mining, and tourism.

As the investigation into this tragic incident continues, the community mourns the loss of Autumn Nicole Draper. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time.

**About the Author**
Emily Mae Czachor is a reporter and news editor at With a focus on crime and extreme weather, she covers breaking news stories. Emily Mae has contributed to various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, and Newsweek..

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