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Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent says

By Basoodler, Apr 25, 2016 | Updated: Apr 25, 2016 | | |
Rating:
5/5,
  1. Basoodler


    PIKE COUNTY, Ohio —

    As the investigation into the shooting deaths of eight members of a Pike County, Ohio, family extends into day No. 4, more questions are emerging about the family, who committed these crimes and what’s next for the three young children who were spared in these killings.

    The victims — all members of the Rhoden family — were found Friday at four different locations in Pike County, which is about 100 miles east of Cincinnati.

    We have multiple reporters in Pike County today, and we will provide updates throughout the day as new information becomes available.

    1. What clues at the scenes led investigators to determine these were planned, sophisticated, “execution-style” killings?

    The dead included seven adults and one 16-year-old male, most of whom were executed while in bed. All appeared to be shot in the head “execution-style,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

    “This is a pre-planned execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation and those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said. “We don’t know if it was one or two (shooters).”

    Autopsy results are expected to be released Tuesday or Wednesday.

    “This investigation is very large, probably the largest in Pike County we have ever been a part of,” Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said.

    Reader said he suspected the killings were targeted and none of the victims appeared to be suicides. All the killings occurred during the nighttime hours.

    According to Wikipedia, an execution-style murder — also known as Chicago-style murder and execution-style killing — is an act of criminal murder where the perpetrator kills at close range a conscious victim who is under the complete physical control of the assailant and who has been left with no course of resistance or escape. Oftentimes, the victim is put on their knees.

    2. What was the size of the grow operation discovered that determined it was professional, not for personal use?

    DeWine said marijuana grow operations were found at three of the four crime scenes, but he did not disclose the amount of drugs found.

    Authorities also wouldn’t say publicly whether they thought the killings were drug-related, but an official with knowledge of the operation told CNN’s Nick Valencia: “This operation was not for personal use; it was for something much bigger than that. It was a very sophisticated operation.”

    “We have received over 100 tips, we have conducted over 50 to 60 interviews … over 100 personnel were involved in this investigation. Five search warrants have been executed, four crime scenes have been worked,” DeWine said.

    Also, 18 pieces of evidence are at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s state crime lab.

    3. Why were the children spared by the killers? Where are the children now?

    In all, three children — the 4-day-old, a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old — were found unharmed at the scenes, officials said.

    It is unclear at this time why the children were spared. What does that indicate about the killer(s)? Reportedly state authorities are caring for the children.

    4. Who are the Rhodens?

    The identities of the eight people killed are: Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

    The Rhoden family is a large family spread across several counties in southern Ohio.

    Both Christopher Rhoden Jr. and another victim, Frankie Rhoden, 20, worked at Big Bear Lake Family Resort, according to Facebook pages, including “Remembering Frankie Rhoden.” And two victims, Frankie Rhoden and Hannah Gilley, were engaged, according to the “Remembering Frankie Rhoden” Facebook page.

    Reader said the family did not have prior criminal contact with his office.

    At Sunday’s press conference, Reader said he warned other Rhoden family members to be on guard, but “for other citizens, I don’t believe there’s an issue.”

    A relative of the Rhodens didn’t want to give his name because he fears for his safety, but described the slain Rhoden family as “good people, good hard-working people … never bothered nobody. Takes a cold-hearted person to do something like that and hopefully they’ll be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

    5. What is the profile of the perpetrator(s)?

    No suspect or suspects have been apprehended.

    While survivors of the family are asking for the public’s help in finding those responsible and investigators continue to seek for answers, no details about the perpetrator or perpetrators’ profile have been released by authorities.

    Authorities said at least one suspect is believed to be at large, and should be considered armed and dangerous. Investigators also said the killings were “planned and sophisticated.”

    Authorities are asking for help from the public to assist in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call (855) BCI-OHIO, or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 947-2111.

    6. How did the killers gain entry into the residences in the middle of the night?

    Details of how the killer or killers gained entry into residences have not been released to the public but we are working to obtain more details from the investigation through public records requests.

    Seven of the deceased were found in three Union Hill Road homes in Piketon. The eighth was found within a 10-minute drive from the other victims.

    Two recordings of the first 9-1-1 calls that Piketon police received Friday were released.

    The first call came from a woman named Bobby at 7:49 a.m. Friday. She told dispatchers she’d come to feed animals and used a key to gain entry into the house in the 4000 block of Union Hill Road and “found them all dead.”

    The home is where two males were found dead — her brother-in-law Chris Rhoden and cousin Gary Rhoden. It was one of four locations where bodies were found Friday. The woman said in the 9-1-1 call there was “blood all over the house” and someone “beat the hell out of them.” The men were found lying on the floor in the back bedrooms.

    She reported that no one else was in the home and broke into tears, according to the 9-1-1 recording.

    A man is heard in the second 9-1-1 call, recorded at 1:26 p.m. Friday.

    The man was at a residence in the 700 block of West Fork Road. He told the dispatcher he walked in and called out for his cousin before finding him dead with a gunshot wound.

    The news of the other deaths had already been reported by the time this death was discovered.

    “All that stuff that’s on the news, I just found my cousin with a gunshot wound,” the caller tells the dispatcher.

    7. What is the drug history of Pike County?

    In August 2012, Ohio law enforcement officers found “a major marijuana grow site in Pike County with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel,” according to a press release DeWine’s office issued at that time.

    Investigators discovered about 1,200 marijuana plants — which were destroyed — and they also found evidence of two abandoned campsites they believe belonged to Mexican nationals.

    It has not been indicated by authorities that there is any connection between this incident in 2012 and the operations found on the Rhoden properties.

    Piketon is a community of 2,158 in Pike County, which has 28,217 residents, according to the 2015 census. The county is classified by the Appalachian Regional Commission as “distressed” and the unemployment rate is among the highest in the state, according to the county website.

    Community members said news that investigators found marijuana growing operations at three of the four crime scenes is not entirely surprising.

    “I’ll tell you, the drug scene in this area is just so bad that you never can tell,” said Chip Moore of Piketon.

    “That’s Pike County. … It’s one of those things that everywhere, really,” said Surienna Nye of Piketon.


    4-25-16
    http://m.daytondailynews.com/news/news/7-mysteries-from-the-pike-county-murders/nrBb6/


    (this is about a 20 minute drive from Chillicothe Ohio, where last year women just started disappearing who were heroin addicts.. Suspected unknown serial killer... And a 20 minute drive North of Portsmouth Ohio .. The place that was an entire episode of intervention called hill Billy herion)

Comments

  1. Basoodler
    Re: Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent sa

    Pike county, Ross county and Scioto county Ohio are all three glaring examples of why our drug laws need to change NOW!

    Three extremely rural farm counties that form a straight line down the center of Ohio and form the point at the bottom of the state bordering Kentucky and West Virginia......

    Who have had the most extreme drug related violence in the nation in the last few years.. You would think that that were in Mexico..

    It must stop... Laws must change
  2. AKA_freckles
    Re: Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent sa

    Basoodler thank you for pointing out the most important lesson we can learn from this. Its not about guns, god, or family. Its about our stupid ass drug laws that create and facilitate this kind of behavior.
  3. Basoodler
    Re: Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent sa

    4 possible motives in Pike County Ohio murders


    PIKE COUNTY, Ohio — No arrests have been made in the Ohio shooting investigation of eight execution-style killings of members of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio.

    Large-scale marijuana grow operations were discovered at three of the four murder scenes.


    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called our newsroom Monday afternoon to discuss the case, and said the possibility of a Mexican drug cartel connection has not been ruled out — and that investigators are looking at everything.

    Here are four possible motives:

    Mexican drug cartel?

    In 2010, state officials announced the seizure of 22,000 marijuana plants in the village of Latham — 15 miles west of Piketon — and said they suspected a connection to Mexican drug cartels.

    Then in August 2012, Ohio law enforcement officers found “a major marijuana grow site in Pike County with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel,” according to a press release DeWine’s office issued at that time. Investigators discovered about 1,200 marijuana plants — which were destroyed — and they also found evidence of two abandoned campsites they believe belonged to Mexican nationals.

    Additionally, the marijuana grow operations that authorities discovered appeared to be for commercial use and not personal use.


    “We’re running these leads out,” DeWine told CBS News. “But there’s many different theories.”

    The marijuana grow operations found were not simply a few random plants in a field somewhere, the Columbus Dispatch reported from an interview with Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk. He told Dispatch reporters at least one was indoors and there appeared to be several hundreds of plants.

    “It wasn’t just somebody sitting pots in the window,” Junk told the Dispatch.

    CBS This Morning reported the street value of the marijuana found is nearly $500,000.


    “There’s a drug problem in most areas around here,” Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said.


    Family feud?[\b]


    The identities of the eight people killed are: Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

    While nothing has been ruled out, it is unlikely this was a random act of violence or a crime committed by another member of the Rhoden family.

    “This is a pre-planned execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation and those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said. “We don’t know if it was one or two (shooters).”

    Reader said the victims did not have prior criminal contact with his office.


    Seven of the deceased were found in three Union Hill Road homes in Piketon, while the eighth was found within a 10-minute drive from the other victims — most of whom were executed while in bed. All the killings occurred during the nighttime hours.

    Three children — a 4-day-old, a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old — were found unharmed at the scenes.

    At Sunday’s press conference, Reader said he warned other Rhoden family members to be on guard.

    Leonard Manley, father of victim Dana Rhoden, said whoever committed the murders are “a bunch of scumbags” who knows the family.

    “Whoever done it, know the family,” Manley said. “(Because) there were two dogs there that would eat you up. But I ain’t gonna say no more.”

    Manley, who is still shaken up about the the loss of this relatives, said his daughter was a kind person who’d “give you the shirt off her back,” and people in the area were aware of her kindness.

    He learned about the deaths Friday morning from another one of his daughters who found them and called him, Manley said, noting that he’s taken the sheriff’s advice and has armed himself.

    Facebook threat?

    DeWine said his office has “received over 100 tips, we have conducted over 50 to 60 interviews … over 100 personnel were involved in this investigation.”

    Two of those individuals interviewed were Isaiah Jones and Rusty Mongold.

    Jones told CBS News he was detained at gunpoint during a traffic stop. He was questioned for six hours, then released.

    “I really want people to know I had nothing to do with it,” Jones said, crying. “These were also friends of mine and that I went to school with.”

    Mongold, Jones’ friend, said in an April 23 Facebook post that he had nothing to do with the shooting — even going to the sheriff’s office to clear his name and submit a DNA sample.


    That Facebook post three days ago stemmed from an April 12 Facebook post that alluded to a “kid that hit me with his car” and wanting to “beat his skull in” — a perceived threat on the youngest murder victim.



    A commenter asks if it’s Chris Rhoden, and Mongold responds, “Yes.”

    Cockfighting ring?

    DeWine said that he can’t definitively say the Rhoden family was involved in cockfighting.

    But when he visited one of the crime scenes Friday, he noticed roosters in cages that are normally associated with cockfighting.


    Posted: 12:33 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/news...9q/?ecmp=daytondaily_social_facebook_2014_sfp
  4. AKA_freckles
    Re: Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent sa

    Yeah I'm pretty sure we all know what the answer is. And I really doubt anyone who squeezed the trigger will ever be caught. This looks pretty professional.

    I am glad they are looking at many options though.
  5. Basoodler
    Re: Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent sa

    ‘We ain’t got no revenge in our hearts,’ Pike family says


    ON THE PIKE/ADAMS COUNTY LINE - Tears well in Leonard Manley’s eyes with nearly every mention of his slain daughter and her three murdered children.

    But they never spill onto his cheek.

    Manley, a proud man who doesn’t have much but his family, is too proud for that.

    In all the talk around town following the acts of violence that decimated his family, Manley sees a guilt by association forming in speculation about the case. He is fierce in his defense of his daughter, Dana Rhoden, who was 37, and wants to clear the air.

    “They are trying to drag my daughter through the mud and I don’t appreciate that,’’ Manley, 64, said Monday surrounded by family members and stacks of photo albums outside the trailer he shares with

    Manley spoke to The Enquirer in a nearly hour-long interview just a half-mile down the road from the mass slaying and the cordoned-off crime scenes. Sheriff’s cars continually drove past and helicopters whirred above as he, his wife and their relatives struggled to understand who would want his family dead.

    And why.


    Still, he also voiced anger and frustration with authorities trying to solve the unfathomable crime.

    “If they tell me she was mixed up in this,” he said, “I would call them a liar and escort them off.”


    ‘I think they should all just leave us alone’

    Dana was the third of his four children. His youngest, Bobby Jo Manley, found her sister dead when she went to feed the family’s dogs and chickens around 7 a.m. Friday. Bobby Jo, who stood by her father during much of the interview, is having the toughest time with the deaths: “She don’t sleep, she don’t eat. She’s pretty busted up,” he said.

    According to Leonard Manley, when Bobby Jo showed up last Friday morning, the front door was locked and the dogs were nowhere to be found. There were at least two pit bulls and a “wolf-dog” and “coon dogs” that lived with his family members. Manley questioned why the killer or killers didn’t shoot the dogs, which he described as fierce.

    “Why wouldn’t they do that?” Leonard Manley said. “Somebody had to know them dogs.”

    Bobby Jo declined to discuss the crime scenes or talk very much Monday, but did say she and several of her family members had talked to investigators repeatedly. The last time, investigators came and woke up her and five other people at 3:41 a.m. Sunday, she said.

    “The Pike County Sheriff’s wanted to ask me the same questions the BCI did,” she said, adding that investigators seem to be fixated on when she found the bodies. They said it was earlier, Bobby Jo says. But she said, she went there around 7 a.m.

    “I think they should all just leave us alone,” she said in a moment between tears.

    Leonard Manley looked up as his daughter sighed.

    “Look, we are just hillbillies,” he said. “We ain’t got no revenge in our hearts.”

    Eight relatives dead, three children spared

    Dana Rhoden, 37, her ex-husband, Christopher Rhoden, Sr., 40; and their three children, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, Hanna Rhoden, 19, and Chris Rhoden Jr., 16 were among eight people each found shot in the head Sunday morning.

    Also killed were Frankie’s girlfriend, Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden’s brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; and Christopher’s cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has called the crime “a pre-planned execution” and “a sophisticated operation.’’ Authorities say they anticipate a long, methodical and difficult probe into the deadliest mass killing so far in 2016 in the United States,

    Investigators found three marijuana growing operations at three locations at the crime scenes, which included three trailers just down the road from Manley’s home Union Hill Road. A fourth scene, and the last body, was discovered a few miles away on Left Fork Road.

    DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader have declined to say if drugs are a possible motive in the killings.

    Leonard Manley said he learned about the marijuana grow sites in news reports Sunday and described himself as stunned.

    “I don’t know nothing about that,’’ he said.

    But of this he is sure, his daughter – who just moved into the trailer just a few weeks ago – could not have been involved in anything illegal.

    Dana Rhoden worked full-time as a nursing assistant at the Hillside Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Peebles, which is about 10 miles west of her home.

    Matthew Smith, the center’s administrator, said she had worked at the 49-bed facility since October and called her “a kind and caring worker” who was loved by patients and co-workers alike. She worked Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an every-other-weekend rotation.

    On Thursday, she worked a double-shift after a co-worker was unable to work. She overslept and arrived at 8 a.m. and worked until about 11 p.m., Hillside manager Heather Frost-Young said.

    Frost-Young, who also went to high school with Dana, described her as bubbly, hard-working and had a huge heart who loved her children.

    “She was just so proud of them,” she said.

    Her father said that description doesn’t surprise him one little bit.

    “My daughter is a loving person, a loving mother,’’ he said, using the present tense. “You go anywhere, you ask anyone about my daughter … they will tell you the same.

    “You go down and ask about Dana; they will all tell you: I spoiled my girl,’’ he said. “They would tell you her dad would do anything for her.’’

    Two children with protective services, one with mother

    Three children were found alive last Friday:

    • Kylie Rhoden, who was five days old on Friday and is the daughter of Hanna Rhoden;

    • Ruger Rhoden, 6 months old;

    • and Ruger’s half-brother, 3-year-old Brentley.

    Ruger and Brentley are both Frankie Rhoden’s sons.

    Kylie and Ruger remain in the custody of child protective services; Brentley is in the care of his mother, Manley said.

    Hannah Rhoden was also the mother to a 2-year-old daughter, Sophia. That child was with a relative the morning of the murders, where she remains, Manley said.

    Manley said bodies will be released to the funeral home Tuesday morning. A motorcycle club will escort them the roughly 60 miles home back to Pike County, where they will be laid out each in a casket side-by-side for the funeral service.

    Chris and Dana and their three children will be buried together.

    “One funeral,” Manley said. “is enough.”

    Chris Graves is the Enquirer’s local columnist. Contact at her at cgraves@enquirer.com or at Twitter@chrisgraves

    http://www.chillicothegazette.com/s...enge-hearts-pike-county-family-says/83525104/
  6. Basoodler
    Re: Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent sa

    I am going to dig up info on the cartel activity in that area and start another news thread on that.

    It is alarming that Ohio seems to be getting cartel activity.. Especially down route 23, state rt 107, route 127 and route 35 in the southern part of the state.. The town's along those highways are getting really bad and fast


    As far as cock fighting goes, it's pretty fucking common in pike, jackson ,scioto and Athens counties.. It's not so taboo there. There is a lot of money thrown around on those chickens if they are winners. And a lot of wagers are made on fights.

    I doubt anyone would kill an entire family over it though.. It is too cultural "chummy good ole boy" stuff for that
  7. Basoodler
    Re: Pike County massacre: Some killers are 'family annihilators,' former FBI agent sa


    Incident report released in Pike County shooting
    No suspect, no motive in execution-style killing of 8 family members.


    PIKE COUNTY, Ohio —

    No arrests have been made in the shooting investigation of eight execution-style killings of members of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio.

    Large-scale marijuana grow operations discovered at three of four murder scenes
    Preliminary autopsy results released Tuesday
    Cockfighting cages found at crime scenes

    Update @ 3:25 p.m.:

    An initial investigation report has been released in the shooting deaths of eight people in Pike County last Friday. The first deaths were reported about 7:51 a.m. April 22.

    Deputies were first called to a home at 4077 Union Hill Road for a report of two bodies.

    Arriving deputies were flagged down to dispatch additional medic units after more bodies were found at multiple residences.

    Deputies found the front door open at 4077 Union Hill Road, and a large amount blood on the living room floor. Two deceased males were found in a back bedroom.

    Update @ 2 p.m.:

    Sam Quinones is a California journalist and author who lived in Mexico for 10 years and has written extensively about the drug trade. He said although there’s been speculation that the eight Pike County victims may have been killed by Mexican drug cartels, there’s very little precedence of Mexican cartels killing people in the United States who are not part of other cartels. Those types of killings are common in Mexico, but not in the United states, he said, stressing that he doesn’t know who the killers are, and his opinions are based solely on his past reporting. He added that he’s not part of the investigation nor is he second-guessing investigators who are working on the case.

    “When (cartels) do kill in the U.S. it’s typically not as public as the Pike County killings,” he said.

    Besides, Quinones said, (Pike County) is predominantly white, and Mexican drug traffickers tend to go where there are people who look like them — similar to other immigrant organized crime groups — so they don’t stand out, and they tend not to target non-Mexicans.

    “This may have something to do with Mexican drug trafficking,” he said. “However, the history of Mexican drug trafficking in America would seem to indicate something very different.”

    Update@12:21 p.m.:

    We will have a crew in South Shore, Ky., today for the funeral service for one of the victims, Gary Rhoden. We will give you updates on this story as soon as we get answers to our questions.

    FULL REPORT

    Cincinnati-area businessman Jeff Ruby said on Twitter this afternoon he has withdrawn his $25,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of anyone involved in the murders. He cited “recent complex criminal developments” in the case.

    Earlier, Ruby offered $25,000 for information that led to the arrest of anyone involved. He told reporters in Pike County on Monday that he planned to meet with the surviving family members to let them know that he cares.

    “You have a 3-year-old, a 6-month-old and a 4-day-old now without any parents to grow up with, and who knows what their lives could be like?” Ruby said earlier this week. “Their lives will never be the same again. (The killings were a) bloodbath, it was brutal. It was out in the wilderness where these are poor people — I would imagine — who don’t have money, the wherewithal or the importance for it to be a priority because they are not rich and famous. … It’s a small town with little resources and they need somebody who cares to try to help find this animal that killed them.”

    Sheriffs from 25 sheriff’s offices across the state have offered support to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office to provide resources to the county following the shootings in Pike County.

    Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said at times he’s had 10 times the amount of deputies on the road in his county, because of the help from other counties.

    “We have more manpower now than we’ve had in this county,” Reader said. “It will be that way for a while.”

    Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart said he is sending 10 deputies to Pike County on Sunday, who will remain in southern Ohio through May 6. Their task will be to help guard and secure the crime scenes, he said.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Wednesday his office does not intend to release any information about the investigation that would hinder the chance for prosecution in the case. DeWine and Reader said they toured the various crime scenes Wednesday.

    “I wanted to go inside and take a look,” DeWine said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “You get a better understanding of the case.”

    Reader said, “It’s absolutely shocking some of these scenes.”

    DeWine said that this shooting is not like other recent mass shootings across the country.

    “This is not that type of situation,” DeWine said. “This is an old-fashioned, cold-blooded massacre of eight human beings.”

    DeWine said it will take time to put the pieces of the investigation together.

    “We’re going to follow the evidence wherever it leads,” DeWine said, indicating that the attorney general’s office would go anywhere in the country to find anyone involved in this investigation.

    DeWine said he can’t say how much money has been spent so far on the investigation. However, he said investigators intend to do whatever it takes to provide justice for the victims.

    “We’re going to do what we have to do,” DeWine said.

    The FBI and DEA are both providing technical expertise to the attorney general’s office, DeWine said.

    The children who survived the shootings are doing well, but Reader said that they will not devulge any details on where the children are staying.

    Reader also said his department would provide whatever security measures are necessary at the upcoming funerals for the victims.

    DeWine joined WHIO Radio’s Larry Hansgen Wednesday morning, and said the investigation is “going to take a while.” He said his office has received 300-plus tips.

    “Whenever you have a case where you have a body is found and there are no witnesses there, it’s just very difficult,” DeWine said. “It’s looking like a big, huge jigsaw puzzle. You take one piece of evidence and that fills in part of it, and after a while it starts to become clearer. We’re still in the interviewing stage of this investigation. I don’t expect any breakthrough in the immediate future.”

    DeWine again emphasized this morning that the killings were “orchestrated and well-planned out. Just a brutal crime.”

    “The people of Pike County are very concerned about this, as they should be,” DeWine said. “My commitment to them is that we are not going to leave until we figure this thing out. We have a lot of resources.”

    The few official details released Tuesday of last week’s massacre in Pike County reinforced the brutality with which eight members of the same family were slaughtered by killers still at large.

    The victims suffered 32 gunshot wounds altogether — one was shot nine times, two were shot five times each — and some showed soft tissue bruising, suggesting they may have been beaten, according to preliminary autopsy information.

    The bruising is consistent with initial reports from the 911 caller who first reported the crimes Friday.

    “There’s blood all over the house,” the caller cried, gasping. “My brother-in-law is in the bedroom. It looks like someone has beat the hell out of him.”

    Meanwhile, a fierce thunderstorm whipped up Tuesday night as scores of state, federal and local officials worked through the fifth day of the investigation without an arrest. The rural southern Ohio community went about its business knowing one or more killers are on the loose.

    DeWine and Reader released an update, saying 61 additional items of evidence were taken to the state crime lab for analysis, in addition to 18 “high-priority” items already submitted.

    Investigators continued to serve search warrants, but wouldn’t disclose how many or where.

    Tips to state and local investigators now number more than 300, officials said, and anyone with additional information is urged to call 855-BCI-OHIO.

    To date, more than 251 law enforcement officials have contributed to the investigation, including manpower from 23 sheriff’s offices from across Ohio. FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents provided limited technical expertise.

    Investigators and prosecutors previously said three of the four murder scenes contained marijuana grow operations of a commercial scale, at least one of them indoors.

    DeWine has characterized the killings as “execution-style.” The victims were Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

    Three children under the age of 3 in the homes were spared.

    Some Pike County residents told WHIO’s Mike Campbell Tuesday afternoon that a vigil is being planned for 8 p.m. Friday at the Piketon High School football team’s practice field. There’s also talk of a meal fundraiser that would start around 7 p.m., organizers said.

    DeWine called our newsroom Monday afternoon to discuss the case, and said the possibility of a Mexican drug cartel connection has not been ruled out, and that investigators are looking at everything.

    He said although he would not rule out the fact that members of a drug cartel may have killed the eight members of the Rhoden family, there’s no evidence at this time to indicate that that’s the case.

    In August 2012, Ohio law enforcement officers found “a major marijuana grow site in Pike County with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel,” according to a press release DeWine’s office issued at that time. Investigators discovered about 1,200 marijuana plants — which were destroyed — and they also found evidence of two abandoned campsites they believe belonged to Mexican nationals.

    DeWine also would not say if there was forced entry at any of the four homes where the eight victims were killed, if they were tortured or if there was more than one killer.

    DeWine added that he can’t definitively say the Rhoden family was involved in cockfighting, but when he visited one of the crime scenes Friday, he noticed roosters in cages that are normally associated with cockfighting.

    Additionally, the marijuana grow operations that authorities discovered appeared to be for commercial use, he said, declining to go into specifics. He also declined to say if there are indications that any of the victims were aware of the grow operations.

    The marijuana grow operations found were not simply a few random plants in a field somewhere, the Columbus Dispatch reported from an interview with Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk. He told Dispatch reporters at least one was indoors and there appeared to be several hundreds of plants.

    “It wasn’t just somebody sitting pots in the window,” Junk told the Dispatch.

    The identities of the eight people killed are: Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

    “This is a pre-planned execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation and those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said during a news conference Sunday. “We don’t know if it was one or two (shooters).

    “We have received over 100 tips, we have conducted over 50 to 60 interviews … over 100 personnel were involved in this investigation. Five search warrants have been executed, four crime scenes have been worked,” DeWine added.

    Also, 18 pieces of evidence are at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s state crime lab. Reader said the family did not have prior criminal contact with his office.

    “This investigation is very large, probably the largest in Pike County we have ever been a part of,” Reader said.

    On Friday, Reader advised residents “to lock their doors and stay alert.” At Sunday’s press conference, Reader said he warned other Rhoden family members to be on guard, but “for other citizens, I don’t believe there’s an issue.”

    “If you are fearful, arm yourself,” he said, adding residents also could turn to law enforcement for protection.

    Authorities said at least one suspect is believed to be at large, and should be considered armed and dangerous.

    Seven of the deceased were found in three Union Hill Road homes in Piketon, while the eighth was found within a 10-minute drive from the other victims — most of whom were executed while in bed. All the killings occurred during the nighttime hours.

    Three children — a 4-day-old, a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old — were found unharmed at the scenes.

    The first 9-1-1 call that Piketon police received came from a woman at 7:49 a.m. Friday. The woman tells the dispatcher that she walked into a house in the 4000 block of Union Hill Road and “found them all dead.”

    The home is where two males were found dead — one of four locations where bodies were found Friday.

    “There’s blood all over the house,” the woman can be heard saying during the 9-1-1 call.

    She found the two male victims lying on the floor. She reported that no one else was in the home and broke into tears, according to the 9-1-1 recording.

    A man is heard in the second 9-1-1 call, recorded at 1:26 p.m. Friday.

    The man was at a residence in the 700 block of West Fork Road. He told the dispatcher he walked in and called out for his cousin before finding him dead with a gunshot wound.

    The news of the other deaths had already been reported by the time this death was discovered.

    “All that stuff that’s on the news, I just found my cousin with a gunshot wound,” the caller tells the dispatcher.

    Friday night in Piketon, DeWine — at a news conference with Reader — said he would not use the term “person of interest” stemming from the person or persons reportedly detained in Chillicothe.

    The detention in Chillicothe by police and Ross County sheriff’s deputies was just a part of the several interviews occurring as part of the investigation, DeWine said. His statements, in answer to a reporter’s question, counters media reports Friday evening that a person of interest had been detained in Chillicothe.

    “The investigation will go wherever the facts take us,” he said. “Investigations like this can take a while.”

    Authorities are asking for help from the public to assist in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call (855) BCI-OHIO, or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 947-2111.



    http://m.daytondailynews.com/news/news/autopsies-of-victims-in-pike-county-shooting-could/nrBzy/
    4-28-16
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