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Attorney General, Sheriff describe killings as “pre-planned, sophisticated operation”

An aerial view of 4077 Union Hill Road, one of the locations in which eight people died in an "execution-style" killing Friday, April 22, 2016, in Piketon, Ohio. State and local officials are conducting investigations throughout the Ohio town. Photo by Kareem Elgazzar - The Cincinnati Enquirer
An aerial view of 4077 Union Hill Road, one of the locations in which eight people died in an “execution-style” killing Friday, April 22, 2016, in Piketon, Ohio. State and local officials are conducting investigations throughout the Ohio town. Photo by Kareem Elgazzar – The Cincinnati Enquirer

By Mark Carpenter – People’s Defender

In a late Sunday afternoon media briefing, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader described the killing of eight members of the Rhoden family as a “pre-planned, sophisticated operation, well-planned and thought out.”

According to the Attorney General, 100 tips have been followed up on and 50-60 interviews have taken place and are still continuing.  Five search warrants have been executed.  Eighteen pieces of evidences collected at the crime scenes are now at the BCI crime lab being examined.

“This will be a very lengthy investigation and is a very different type of case,” said DeWine, who would not comment on any specifics of the ongoing investigation.  “The goal is to find those responsible but we aren’t going to tell the bad guy(s) everything we know.”

According to both the Sheriff and the Attorney General, the crime scenes are still being maintained and secured, even after evidence has been collected, due to the seriousness of the case.  They also stated that marijuana operations had been found at three of the scenes.

Sheriff Reader urged the public to be patient as work is going on 24 hours a day, following every lead and tip.  “This is going to be a very lengthy process,” said the Pike County Sheriff.  Reader also stated that there was an ODRC team on the scene, searching the wooded areas for any type of clue that may have been left behind.”

Both the Sheriff and the Attorney General reiterated that the Rhoden family had been targeted and Reader stated that he had warned the family to be “armed.”

“We have to do this investigation once and we have to do it right,” said Reader.  Earlier in the weekend, the eight bodies were taken to the Hamilton County morgue for autopsies and the names were released on Saturday.

The dead include:
Dana Rhoden, 37
Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40
his son, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16
Kenneth Rhoden, 44
Gary Rhoden, 38
Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20
Hannah Gilley, 20
Hanna Rhoden, 19

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2016 People's Defender