At 9 p.m. Friday night, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed that about 30 people have been interviewed in reference to a case involving eight people shot to death in Pike County. When asked about a possible report that a person of interest had been detained in Chillicothe, DeWine responded – “I wouldn’t say a person of interest.” However, he did say some of those who have been interviewed were in Chillicothe.
Other than that late development, the only name that has been released from the scene is “Rhoden.”
“There are seven adults and one 16 year old male,” Jill del Greco of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office said. “They were all killed execution style. They did say that all the individuals are believed to be from the same family, which is the Rhoden family, but as far as specific names of the Rhoden family, they have not been released. There are four crime scenes, four residences.”
DeWine confirmed that all were shot in the head.
DeWine said there were more children in the house and one mother was killed in bed. He said she was holding a 4-day-old child at the time. The children are under the care of protective services.
The first seven bodies were discovered Friday morning in three houses on Union Hill Road in Pike County. The Daily Times was informed of the discovery because the original 911 call came to Scioto County, specifically to the Portsmouth Police Department. That call was transferred to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, and once it was determined that the crime scene was in Pike County, it was transferred again.
The status remained the same for several hours.
“There were seven people initially and then there was an eighth person found later in the day,” del Greco said.
DeWine’s office informed the Daily Times that an eighth body was located, but gave no details. However, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini confirmed his office had received a call about a body found on Left Fork Road in the same vicinity of Ohio 772. del Greco later confirmed that was the eighth body and it was related to the earlier discoveries.
“I just got briefed on it,” Donini said. “That is also in Pike County. The cellphone call came in here and we transferred the call to Pike County. The caller told us who he was. Told us who the victim was. We made the determination it was in Pike County. We called Pike County and while we were doing some checking on the name of the victim we found out that we have protection order against him at that address and we searched to find out who we were protecting because of him and we discovered it was an individual in our county and we did a welfare check on the protected party and that person is okay.” Donini told the Times he had sent two deputies to the scene to assist the Pike County deputies. Reader indicated several other sheriffs’ departments in the area were also assisting at the scene.
A joint press conference with DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was held at 4 p.m. with not much additional information, but since the press conference, the family name has been released by DeWine’s office.
According to del Greco there are 30 people from BCI who are there in Pike County along with the Pike County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from multiple other agencies. DeWine indicated they would work through the night.
“There is no one in custody,” Reader said. “I want to urge everyone to be under the understanding that there’s a strong possibility that any individual(s) involved with this are armed and extremely dangerous.”
DeWine and Reader are requesting that anyone with information regarding the eight individuals found deceased in Pike County, call 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at 740-947-2111.
“I want to urge anyone, any citizen that has any information concerning anything involving this horrible act, to contact the Pike County Sheriff’s Office where we have BCI agents there,” Reader said. “We’re following up on every tip that comes in.”
DeWine specifically urged all members of the Rhoden family to exercise caution
“We would encourage the public to contact us, even if you think you have just a little bit of something or you think you’re not even sure if it’s valuable,” DeWine said. “We urge you to contact us.”
For continuing updates go to portsmouth-dailytimes.com.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.