Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine took time out Monday morning for an exclusive interview with the Daily Times and assured the people of southern Ohio, his people will not leave Pike County until the case involving the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family is solved.
“We’re not going to leave the county until we have solved these horrible, horrible murders,” DeWine said
Since taking office has this been the worst case you have had to deal with criminal-wise?
“It certainly has been the worst tragedy,” DeWine said. “If you go back in the history of the Attorney General’s Office and BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation) my guess is we have never tackled an investigation involving eight people of the same family who were killed. So it’s unusual that way and probably unusual nationwide as well. Some people say – ‘that’s unusual for Pike County,’ yes, but it’s also unusual for the country to have this execution style, four different locations of people of the same family all killed within a relatively short period of time. It’s very, very unusual.”
From what you have seen at the scene with the law enforcement agencies, how is that investigation going?
“Sheriff (Charles) Reader called us Friday morning to come in,” DeWine said. “and to lead the investigation. We came in. The sheriff had the crime scene secured. I think we had up to 13 agents who were in those four different crime scenes. They worked from when they started until about 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning the next day (Saturday).”
What is the current status of the investigation.
“The evidence has been taken to our crime lab, so we have people involved at our crime lab – forensic experts, DNA experts, as well as ballistic experts who are working on those 18 pieces of evidence. The command center has been set up in Piketon – (Piketon Police) Chief (Mike) Blair has been hosting us there at that center. We’ve had as many as 40 BCI agents. I can’t tell you at this moment how many are in (Pike County). We have set up an intelligence unit and it’s pretty much what you would expect to see on TV. We have a room where the work is being done. We have charts, boards up on the wall, exactly what you might expect to see.”
How is the investigation working with multiple agencies involved?
“We really have a great partnership – I really can’t say enough about the sheriff’s men and women – they’re doing a great job,” DeWine said. “They’re working with us as partners and it’s a real pleasure to work with them. That’s where we are. “We’re not going to leave the county until we have solved these horrible, horrible murders.”
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, Left Fork Road.
On Saturday it was made known, those who 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. A chart describing the familial relationships of the decedents can be accessed on the Daily Times Facebook page.
DeWine said Monday afternoon that all eight autopsies have been completed and search warrants have not yet been filed with the court. He said roadblocks leading to the crime scenes will remain in place until the scenes are released by law enforcement. A memorial fund has been established to benefit the family at Fifth Third Bank and donations may be made to The Rhoden Memorial Fund at any Fifth Third Bank.
DeWine said anyone with information on the case should call 1-855-BCI-OHIO or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at 740-947-2111.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.