Investigators are probing a threatening Facebook post that mentioned one of the eight victims in the April 22 Pike County family shootings.
ABC News reports that although the Facebook post and whoever sent it is disclosed at this time, it was aimed towards the youngest victim in the Ohio family killings, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr. The family was killed “execution-style” in their Peebles, Ohio home during the overnight hours on April 22. Autopsies revealed that the cause of death for all eight victims was homicide.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said that he’s aware of the Facebook threat. It’s just one of the many different leads that investigators are following up on.
“I’m aware of the Facebook threat. Every piece of information is valuable and our investigators are certainly taking that into consideration.”
Regardless, the suspect(s) is still at large and authorities still don’t have a physical description of any suspects or a motive behind the killings. Investigators found marijuana “grow operations” at three out of the four victims’ homes, but they’re still unsure if that had anything to do with the shootings. DeWine warned the people in the small community of Peebles, located around 6o miles of Cincinnati, to be aware of their surroundings.
“The individual or individuals who committed this crime are obviously very dangerous – we believe they are still at large and we do not know their location. We would advise the people of Pike County not to panic, but certainly to be careful.”
Authorities said that the shootings were not random. The Rhoden family was targeted, and the crime may have been planned in advance. DeWine called the shootings “a sophisticated operation,” while police warned the surviving members of the family to take extreme caution and keep themselves armed. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said that he told the family to arm themselves because it was apparent that the victims were targeted, and he’s not sure if the rest of family is safe or not.
“I cautioned them, told them we will be there. old (them) to be armed. I told (them) to be armed. There’s still killers on the loose, or killer.”
According to DeWine, three young children who were in the homes when the killings took place were left unharmed, including a four-day-old newborn, a six-month-old, and a three-year-old. DeWine stated that what made the crimes even more horrific is that such young children were present at the time.
“I think what makes this particularly grisly is the fact that you have these children involved who were obviously there when the executions took place.”
The eight family members, all shot in the head, some while sleeping, were identified as:
- Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40
- Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16
- Kenneth Rhoden, 44
- Gary Rhoden, 38
- Dana Rhoden, 37
- Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20
- Hannah Gilley, 20
- Hanna Rhoden, 19
Around 18 pieces of evidence are currently being investigated, but for the safety of other family members and the community, authorities aren’t releasing any details. They are still taking any and every lead that comes their way. A Cincinnati business person put up a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of the person or people responsible for the crimes.
Anyone with any information regarding the Ohio family shootings should contact authorities immediately.
[Photo by AP/John Minchillo]