by Aaron Gibson, April 22, 2016
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirmed Friday, April 22 an octuple homicide investigation is underway in Pike County and a suspect may be on the loose.
According to Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, 7 of the victims were found in three homes along Union Hill Road, east of Peebles, on Friday morning.
The eighth victim’s body was discovered shot dead several hours later at a residence on Left Fork Road, Reader said.
“At 7:53 this morning, my dispatch & I received a 911 call advising they needed deputies to the area of 4077 Union Hill Road, that there was two males there, there was blood there and they were possibly deceased,” Reader said in a press conference at the Piketon Government Center on Friday afternoon.
Reader said as deputies were responding, they were then flagged down on Union Hill Road and informed of two more homes with deceased victims.
Due to the number of crime scenes, Reader said he then contacted the Attorney General’s Office to lead the investigation.
The victims are members of the Rhoden family, slain in what the Attorney General’s Office is describing as a series of ‘execution-style killings.’
Officials confirmed one juvenile male, age 16, among the dead.
“Each one of the victims appears to be shot in the head,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “We now have over 30 individuals down here who work for BCI … We would encourage the public to contact us, even if you have just a little bit of something you’re not even sure if it’s valuable.”
DeWine said it appears none of the deaths are self-inflicted and a shooter is possibly on the loose.
Three young children, who were not killed, may also have witnessed the events, DeWine said.
“I think what makes this particularly grisly is the fact that you have these children involved, who obviously were there when these executions took place,” DeWine said.
Reader said the children ranged in age from four days to three years old.
The mother of the four day old was found shot in her bed with the child present, according to DeWine.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is assisting the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies. The FBI in Cincinnati has also said they would offer their assistance in the investigation.
DeWine and Reader urge anyone with information on the eight deceased individuals to contact the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation by calling 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office by calling 740-947-2111.
—Brown County Crime Reporter, April 22, 2016 2:15 PM EST, UPDATED 4:35 PM EST
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