Pike County shootings: All 4 mobile homes moved

Pike County shootings: All 4 mobile homes moved

Clockwise, from top left, Dana Rhoden (Facebook); Chris Rhoden (WCPO); Hanna Rhoden (Facebook); Chris Rhoden Jr. (Facebook)

No arrests have been made in the shooting investigation of eight execution-style killings of members of the Rhoden family last month in Pike County, Ohio.

Friday was the three-week mark of the Pike County shootings.

The Dispatch reported last week that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader met with surviving relatives Thursday afternoon.

Content Continues Below

“We went into that meeting hoping they had an arrest or somebody in custody,” Tony Rhoden told the Dispatch. “They did not.”

The Dispatch also reported that according to sources, Kenneth Rhoden was the only one shot just once and Chris Sr. sustained the most shots, with nine.

Three children -- a 4-day-old, a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old -- were found unharmed at the crime scenes.

The Dispatch reported that the 3-year-old is in the care of his mother, Chelsea Robinson, while the youngest two are in the care of children services.

On Friday, the fourth and final mobile home that housed members of the Rhoden family killed April 22 was moved to investigation headquarters in Waverly, Ohio, escorted by several sheriff’s deputies.

Three mobile homes were moved Thursday in order to secure evidence and preserve family belongings and mementos, said Dan Tierney, spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

“The crew will work on it into the weekend,” Tierney said.

The mobile homes have been stored out of sight at a former chemical plant. Vehicles on the Rhoden properties also were hauled.

Meanwhile, a steady stream of mourners has been making the trip to the Rhoden family grave site at the Scioto Burial Park south of Piketon.

One of them Friday was Cassidy Bowshier, 13, who said she was friends with Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, the youngest of the eight victims.

“My hope is they catch whoever did it, and settle all this, and we see justice for the family,” Bowshier said.

Headstones have yet to be placed at the grave site, which has a sweeping view of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. There are small markers for the graves, and some mourners have left mementos, including a can of snuff and beer cans.

At the Pike County Clerk’s Office, search warrants continue to be received and are immediately put under seal, making them inaccessible to the public. The court order putting them under seal also is under seal, said deputy clerk of courts Hannah Holbrook.

The father of Dana Rhoden, Leonard Manley, reached Friday at his home, declined to comment three weeks after the killings. Manley lives near the properties where the Rhoden family members were killed.

DeWine and Reader announced Thursday that the homes were being relocated to preserve the crime scenes.

The eight victims were Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

Three homes were moved Thursday. The move of the homes was authorized by the court.

Anyone with information and/or video that could assist with the ongoing investigation is asked to contact investigators at 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or 740-947-2111.

DeWine said Thursday that moving the crime scenes also would protect Rhoden family mementos.

“We want to make sure we are preserving them for family members,” DeWine said. “There are pictures in there, and other things, very important to the family members.”

On Union Hill Road, where the trailers were being removed, sheriff’s deputies continued to block access and only allowed local residents to travel on the section of the road where the bodies had been found.

DeWine could not say when Union Hill might reopen or how long the investigation might take.

“On the second day (of the investigation), I think I said this could very well be a long investigation,” DeWine said. “When you end up finding bodies and you don’t have a witness, the nature of these cases is you are putting a puzzle together.

“This will not be solved overnight.”

The attorney general was asked if those who killed the Rhodens were likely from out of the area or local.

“I won’t speculate on who did it,” DeWine said.

DeWine said Tuesday there are 20-plus investigators in Pike County daily. He said that while some video has come into the office, they are seeking more from any residents in the area.

“You can’t let theories get in the way of facts,” DeWine said.

The Ohio Attorney General and Pike County Sheriff are seeking any video from nearby residents or businesses in the Pike County and Adams County region that may be relevant to the ongoing investigation.

Specifically, those with video recorded on April 21 or April 22 are asked to call the BCI tip line at 1-855-BCI-OHIO. DeWine also requests any additional tips to continue to be called in the the BCI tip line.

Space on two billboards along U.S. 23 in Pike County have been donated to publicize the numbers. Investigators have received more than 500 tips so far, but are still urging those with information to contact them.

Vehicles were hauled May 3-4 from the Rhoden family properties. There’s been no word on how many vehicles were towed.

All eight victims have been laid to rest. Three children under the age of 3 in the homes were spared.

Investigators and prosecutors previously said three of the four murder scenes contained marijuana grow operations of a commercial scale, at least one of them indoors.

“This is a pre-planned execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation and those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said during a news conference April 24. “We don’t know if it was one or two (shooters).”

DeWine has said the possibility of a Mexican drug cartel connection has not been ruled out and that investigators are looking at everything.

He said although he would not rule out the fact that members of a drug cartel may have killed the eight members of the Rhoden family, there’s no evidence at this time to indicate that that’s the case.

DeWine added that he can’t definitively say the Rhoden family was involved in cockfighting, but when he visited one of the crime scenes April 22, he noticed roosters in cages that are normally associated with cockfighting.

Additionally, the marijuana grow operations that authorities discovered appeared to be for commercial use, he said, declining to go into specifics. He also declined to say if there are indications that any of the victims were aware of the grow operations.

The marijuana grow operations found were not simply a few random plants in a field somewhere, the Columbus Dispatch reported from an interview with Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk. He told Dispatch reporters at least one was indoors and there appeared to be several hundreds of plants.

“It wasn’t just somebody sitting pots in the window,” Junk told the Dispatch.

Reader said the family did not have prior criminal contact with his office.

“This investigation is very large, probably the largest in Pike County we have ever been a part of,” Reader said.

Seven of the deceased were found in three Union Hill Road homes in Piketon, while the eighth was found within a 10-minute drive from the other victims — most of whom were executed while in bed. All the killings occurred during the nighttime hours.