The Pike County, Ohio, murders still remain under investigation, with no suspect or suspects being named by Piketon area law enforcement officials. While Attorney General Mike DeWine and Sheriff Charles Reader remain extremely tight-lipped about the brutal killing of eight members of the Rhoden family, a multitude of speculation and rumors abound both on social media and in the southern Ohio region.
Mike DeWine said the Piketon killer or killers used “calculation, design, and prior thought” to murder the Rhoden family, according to the Chillicothe Gazette.
“The essential fact when you kill eight people in one family at four separate locations, clearly this was planned out, particularly when they are in their bed,” the Ohio Attorney General added. “We are not assuming it [the killer] is one person.”
— Sgt. Freefall (@AP_SgtFreefall) April 27, 2016
Neither DeWine nor Sheriff Reader have shared with the public any details about how many weapons were used in the Piketon shooting or any idea about motive. The fact that “many” of the Rhoden victims in Pike County were killed in their beds is one of the few bits of confirmed information which has been shared with a very on-edge populace in rural southern Ohio.
Some unnamed sources who have spoken to reporters or posted on social media claim a multitude of dogs and chickens were placed around the perimeter to serve as a low-tech security system. Homemade “land mines” or “boobie traps” have also be alleged to have been established in the wooded area surrounding the property. These speculations have not been confirmed by law enforcement officials, but have fueled rumors about a massive marijuana growing operation, which might have angered the Mexican drug cartel.
In August, 2012, a “major marijuana grow operation” with possible ties to the Mexican drug cartel part of an investigation in the rural town, according to a release by the Ohio Attorney General.
While law enforcement officials have stated a marijuana growing operation was found on the Rhoden property, rumors about the amount of pot actually found are staggering — if they are accurate. According to social media posts from folks who live in the region or individuals who have spoken anonymously to reporters, millions of dollars worth of marijuana might have been found inside up to four barns at the Piketon crime scene.
Piketon Shooting Investigation Update And Pike County 911 Recordings Released Video
Pike County law enforcement officials have revealed that upon entering the Rhoden home in Piketon, sheriff’s deputies quickly noticed a “large amount” of blood present on the living room floor, USA Today reports. Two of the male victims were also reportedly found lying in “close proximity” of each other.
The caliber of the weapons used in the shooting have also not yet been released to the public. More local rumors and online speculation claim the victims were all shot in the middle of the forehead “execution style” and the killer or killers “policed their brass,” or picked up all shell casings or rounds fired at the scene. A claim that a round was found which did not match any of the wounds has not been confirmed by police officials, but has caused some to believe maybe one of the Rhoden family members managed to fire back in self-defense.
Rhoden relative Bobby Jo Manley reportedly found Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, and his cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38, inside one of the mobile homes on the Piketon property. Manley, who is heard on one of the 911 recordings, also reportedly found Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, and his girlfriend, Hannah Gilley, also 20, inside another house trailer.
Three young children were found alive at the Piketon shooting scene. One of the babies was allegedly found next to her mother in bed, possibly covered in blood, if unconfirmed rumors are accurate. Two of the children were placed in protective custody, and one was sent to stay with a relative.
James Manley reportedly discovered the body of his sister Dana Rhoden, 37, inside a mobile home a little over one mile away from the first murder scene. Her two oldest children, Hannah and Chris Rhoden, 16, were also found dead inside the trailer. Hanna Rhoden, 19, was reportedly the mother of a 5-day-old infant found in the bed. The body of Kenneth Rhoden, 44, was found inside his home, which was approximately five miles away from the initial crime scene.
“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,” Mike Dewine also said, according to the Dayton Daily News.
[Photo by AP Photo/John Minchillo]