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National Guardsman chasing runaway dog fatally plummets over 100-feet down Kentucky’s steepest waterfall


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A National Guardsman on a hike in Kentucky plummeted to his death over the state’s steepest waterfall Friday while trying to catch his runaway dog, police said.

An “out of town family” found Isaac Lee Turpin’s body after noticing a tactical backpack sticking out of the water at the base of Yahoo Falls around 11:30 a.m., McCreary County Sheriff David Sampson said Sunday.

Officials believe the 23-year-old US Army National Guard sergeant likely slipped while chasing his pup, Cujo, who had broken loose during their walk around the Big South Fork National River park.

Issac Lee Turpin died Friday after falling over the 100-foot drop of Yahoo Falls. Facebook

Cujo was found after the accident and returned to Turpin’s fiancée, family said.

Billed as the steepest waterfall in Kentucky, Yahoo Falls features a 113-foot drop down a large rock house to a shallow pool.

Tragically, Turpin was an avid outdoorsman who frequently hiked and lived just 30 miles from the falls.

Pictures shared on social media by loved ones show Turpin exploring numerous state and national parks with his puppy by his side.

Turpin was chasing his runaway dog when he slipped over the falls, officials said. Facebook
An “out of town” family discovered Turpin’s body after noticing his tactical backpack sticking out of the water. Facebook

“He loved life and touched everyone who knew him. He enjoyed the outdoors, riding his motorcycle, camping, playing his guitar, and spending time with his family and friends,” his obituary states.

Turpin was a decorated National Guard servicemember, receiving the National Defense Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Armed Forces Service Medal.

He was planning a wedding with partner Cherish Menken, who mourned her fiancé on Facebook as “my light I had always prayed for.”

Cherish Menken said Turpin was like “no other human I’ve ever met.” Facebook

“If I could of hand picked someone perfect for me it was you. I’m so lucky with the time I got with you. you balanced me like no other human I’ve ever met,” Menken wrote on Facebook.

“My precious man, no words could ever describe the hole in my heart. I’m so unbelievably devastated.”

Turpin’s tragic fall and death remains under investigation as officials await autopsy results.

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