On Sunday evening, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader stood outside the Village of Piketon Government Center to provide an update on the continuing investigation into the shooting of eight people in Pike County. The two emphasized the investigation is ongoing and will likely be so for some time.
During the press conference, DeWine confirmed rumors that marijuana was being gown at three of the locations. No other details were given.
On Friday morning, it was reported that seven bodies had been discovered on Union Hill Road in Pike County. Later that day, an eighth body was discovered at a separate location.
On Saturday it was made known, those that lost their lives as a result of the shootings were, Hannah Gilley, Christopher Rhoden, Sr., Christopher Rhoden, Jr., Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, Dana Rhoden, Gary Rhoden, Hanna Rhoden and Kenneth Rhoden.
Reader said since those discoveries on Friday, more than 100 law enforcement officers and other officials have been in the area assisting with everything from the investigation to road patrols.
Rumors that law enforcement had a person of interest in custody persisted Saturday morning. The Daily Times reached out to DeWine’s office the aforementioned morning, however, officials with the office said they could not comment on the rumor that a person of interest was detained.
“This is the largest investigation we’ve ever had in Pike County,” Reader said Sunday evening. “Be patient, but understand we are working around the clock, working on every lead that comes in, following up on all of the tips and conducting the interviews. We will provide information as we can.”
DeWine said since the investigation started there have been over 100 tips, officials have conducted between 50 and 60 interviews, with interviews continuing. He said there have been 18 pieces of evidence taken from the scenes to the state crime lab for processing.
“This was a pre-planed execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation and those who carried it out were trying to do everything that they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said Sunday evening.
On Saturday, Cincinnati-area businessman Jeff Ruby has offered $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the murders that occurred in the execution-style killings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County.
Dewine, along with Reader, released information sporadically throughout the day Saturday.
On Saturday morning, the Rhoden family released a statement stating they would like to thank law enforcement and victim advocates that responded. The family urged anyone with information to come forward and inform law enforcement.
At a Friday night press briefing, DeWine echoed the families comments, “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. We urge you to contact us.”
Since the incident occurred on Friday, investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and local law enforcement have been on the scene following up on leads and executing search warrants.
Because of the proximity, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini and his staff received multiple calls from residents and national news sources concerning Facebook conversations where subjects have reported that the bodies of five individuals have been discovered dead in Scioto County and that the discoveries are related to current on-going Pike County Multiple Homicide Investigation.
“I would like to emphasize there is absolutely no truth to this rumor. The Scioto County Sheriff’s Office is not investigating the deaths of five individuals found dead in Scioto County,” Donini said. “The Pike County Sheriff’s Office and the residents of Pike County are enduring an unimaginable tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them. The public is asked to restrain from circulating unverified facts concerning the on-going investigation and to do so only hampers the investigation and fuels hysteria within our community.”
Donini said there is no indication that the suspect (s) involved in this multiple homicide investigation is a resident within Scioto County. Donini emphasized, “it would only make common sense that everyone be vigilant and take extra precautions to ensure their safety. Anyone who may have information concerning this investigation is encouraged to contact the Pike County Sheriff’s Office.”
Reader said Sunday afternoon, he and DeWine have spoken with the family and informed them it was evident they were targets of this crime.
“Anything out of the ordinary needs to be reported to local law enforcement so we can check it. If you are fearful, arm yourself, If you feel you need to protect yourself or your family do so and contact local law enforcement,” Reader said. “We have almost 30,000 citizens in Pike County covering 797 road miles and 444 square miles. I took an oath to serve and protect my county and I will do so to the best of my ability.”
Anyone with information on this case is urged to call 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at 740-947-2111.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter.