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The Pike County shootings occurred on the night of April 21—22,when eight people — all belonging to the Rhoden family — were shot and killed in four homes in Pike CountyOhionear the village of Peebles50 miles 80 km from Columbus and 60 miles 97 km from Cincinnati. Their bodies were found later on April Seven of the victims — six adults and a year-old boy — were discovered to have been shot execution-style in three adjacent houses, while the eighth victim, an adult, Adult singles dating in Polk found shot to death in his camper in nearby Piketon.
Three young children, including two infants, were left alive during the killings. At least two shooters are believed to be responsible. Investigators believe the murders were premeditated, and that the perpetrators were known to the Rhoden family. On April 25, the Ohio Attorney General 's office confirmed the presence of marijuana growth and cockfighting operations at some of the crime scenes, but did not confirm a direct connection to the killings.
The ensuing investigation soon became the largest in Ohio's history.
In Novemberfour members of the Wagner family, known to the Rhodens, were arrested in Ohio and Kentuckyand charged with the eight murders. Edward "Jake" Wagner was an ex-boyfriend of victim Hanna Rhoden and father of her three-year-old daughter. The bodies were first discovered on April 22,after Bobby Jo Manley,  a sister of victim Dana Rhoden, came to feed pets at the homes. Her brother, James Manley, went to check on their sister Dana, and discovered the third crime scene, where the police found three more victims when they arrived.
At p. Three young children—ages three, six months, and four days—were unharmed during the shootings,  with the four-day-old being found in bed with her mother's body.
Seven adults and a year-old were among those slain. The eight victims were identified as:   . The bodies of the victims were taken to the Hamilton County Coroner's Office in Cincinnati, where autopsies found that all but one of the victims were shot multiple times. Death certificates released on May 28 clarified that six of the eight victims were shot in the head only; Christopher suffered gunshot wounds to the head, torso and limbs, and Dana was shot in the head and neck.
Bruising was also found on some of the bodies, indicating the victims were beaten as well. The offices of the county coroner and the Ohio Attorney General announced that the full final autopsy reports will not be released to the public, citing security concerns.
On August 12, a similar lawsuit was filed by The Columbus Dispatch. In both cases, DeWine called for mediation, which attracted criticism and accusations that it was a Ohio (OH). delay tactic. A lawyer representing both newspapers said there was no legal basis for law enforcement's withholding of information from the public. In a filing on September 6,DeWine responded to The Columbus Dispatch ' s lawsuit against the coroner's office, saying:.
Public release of information known only to law enforcement and the killer s directly threatens the success of the investigation. Among other consequences, releasing this type of information impedes investigators' ability to separate genuine le from fake, which wastes resources; makes it difficult to analyze confessions, which are fact-checked against information known only by investigators; and devalues information provided by witnesses who come forward after public release.
Amidst lawsuits by media outlets, the coroner's office released heavily redacted versions of the final reports on September 23, On April 28, Gary Rhoden was the first of the victims to be buried, with his funeral proceedings being held in South ShoreKentucky.
Funerals for the remaining victims took place on May 3 at West Portsmouth   where there was a high level of security. Ohio Governor and U. Police believe that more than one shooter may be responsible for the killings, since two of the crime scenes were within walking distance, a third Adult singles dating in Polk about a mile away, and the fourth about eight miles away. Investigators briefly considered the possibility of a murder—suicidebut it was discredited as none of the victims' deaths appeared to be suicides.
All of the victims were members of the Rhoden family. Surviving family members were urged by police to take precautions, and all residents of Peebles were advised to stay inside their homes the following night. At least five search warrants were executed, and more than 50 people were interviewed in connection with the killings.
On April 25, a spokesperson for DeWine's office also confirmed that cannabis was discovered at the three crime scenes on Union Hill Road, including an indoor grow house in which hundreds of cannabis plants were being grown, as well as chickens and equipment consistent with breeding chickens for cockfighting.
Cannabis problems are a common occurrence in Pike County: in22, cannabis plants were seized by authorities in Latham15 miles 24 km west of Piketon; and a major cannabis growth site was discovered by police in Augustwith about 1, cannabis plants being destroyed by investigators. In both cases, police suspected connections to Mexican drug cartels.
On April 26, Dana Rhoden's father, Leonard Manley, stated that the victims knew their killer sciting the presence of Dana's two protective dogs. There was no indication that the dogs tried to attack anyone during the shootings, and there were no s of forced entry at any of the crime scenes. Some family members have acknowledged brothers Kenneth and Christopher Rhoden Sr. On May 3, following the funerals of the last six victims, authorities towed away at least three vehicles from property belonging to the Rhoden family; a spokeswoman for Mike DeWine said they were towed "as part of the investigation".
Additional vehicles were towed the next day as well. They were all dropped off at the base of operations set up by the investigative task force. As of May 12, more than tips were submitted during the investigation and interviews were conducted. On May 12, DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader announced the state's intention to relocate the mobile homes where the killings occurred to a secure location, in order to preserve evidence and protect the mementos of the Rhoden family. As of October 6, the homes were being stored in a warehouse that was once part of a chemical processing company.
On August 4, during a court hearing relating to the custody of the 6-month-old and 4-day-old children left alive, Sheriff Charles Reader confirmed investigators' early suspicions that more than one shooter was involved in the killings. He also said that the two children remained in "grave danger" because of the investigation, and that the investigation was possibly the largest in the BCI's history. The men, in reality, were suspected of another shooting death in Londonderry, Ross County, Ohio.
Reader issued a statement saying that they were unaware of a link between the case and the New Mexico arrests, that there was no evidence confirming it, and that New Mexico authorities had not contacted them about a suspected connection.
KVIA later retracted the error. On August 20, DeWine announced new information regarding the investigation. He confirmed family and community members' suspicions that the perpetrators were familiar with the victims, their homes, and the surrounding area. He also announced that the U. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies had become involved with the investigation. In addition, DeWine speculated that residents in the area have more knowledge than what they are sharing with investigators.
On August 23, officials in Kenton County, Kentuckylocated Adult singles dating in Polk miles km from Pike County, reported similarities between the Ohio shootings and a double homicide in Kenton County that occurred two weeks before. The victims, a well-known drug dealer and his girlfriend, were found fatally shot execution-style in their bed.
The uncaught Kenton County killers, who were believed to be familiar with the Adult singles dating in Polk home, also left any children in the house unharmed. On September 28, WXIX-TV reported that the Rhoden family houses, all seized by the state as part of the investigation, were not being guarded properly. A news team had spent six weeks, starting from August 14 and ending in late September, watching the warehouse. Their surveillance reportedly turned up an absence of uniformed officers guarding the building, as well as a lack of security cameras and an unlocked, open main gate.
On October 1, DeWine said that investigators were getting le in the case and that the state had enough physical evidence for prosecution. He also appealed to the public, explaining that there are people who know more about the shootings. On November 14, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader issued a statement urging people with knowledge of the killings to come forward. He followed up with a second statement threatening to arrest anyone who may be obstructing the investigation, including relatives, family friends, and neighbors. Reacting to the second statement, Dana Rhoden's father, Leonard Manley, said that he "held nothing back" during the investigation.
On January 20,DeWine, on behalf of the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Program, denied a request by family member David Weisel to recover lost compensation related to the massacre. Police originally stated they were searching for suspects in the murders; however, it was later clarified they were looking for evidence in the case and not suspects.
Police also searched an Adams County property once owned and recently sold by Edward "Jake" Wagner, an ex-boyfriend of victim Hanna Rhoden and father of her 3-year-old daughter, but not the father of her 4-day-old daughter who was unharmed during the killings. On June 20,Ohio police Ohio (OH). that they were seeking additional information on Jake Wagner, as well as his parents Billy and Angela and brother George.
The family was living in Alaska at that time and police wanted to learn of interactions that members of the public had with the family, specifically conversations pertaining to vehicles, firearms and ammunition. Rita Newcomb, Adult singles dating in Polk, of South Webster, mother of Angela Wagner and Fredericka Wagner, 76, of Lucasville, mother of Billy Wagner, are accused of perjury and obstructing justice for allegedly misleading investigators; Newcomb also is charged with forging custody documents to cover up the crimes.
In December of she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of obstructing official business in connection with the investigation of the April homicides. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the forgery, obstruction of justice and perjury charges against her. On April 21,five years to the day that the bodies of the Rhoden family were found shot to death, Edward "Jake" Wagner pled guilty to eight counts of aggravated murder, felony conspiracy, four counts of aggravated burglary, unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance, multiple counts of tampering with evidence, forgery, unauthorized use of property, interception of wire, oral communications, obstruction of justice, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
The State of Ohio agreed, as part of the guilty plea, not to seek the death penalty for him or his father, older brother and his father's wife. He faces life imprisonment. Law portal Ohio portal. Rhoden family talks". Archived from the original on October 28, Retrieved October 28, The shooting happened sometime overnight April 21, and into the dark morning hours of April Retrieved November 25, Authorities have declined to discuss how many vehicles were towed or how they factored into the largest investigation in the state's history. Retrieved April 26, Retrieved April 25, FOX News.
April 22, Retrieved April 22, May 4, Retrieved May 5, The New York Times. ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved May 6, Chicago Tribune. April 23,Adult singles dating in Polk, Ohio (OH).
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