PIKE COUNTY, OH (WCMH/WDTN) — The Pike County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that there were seven adults and one 16-year-old juvenile who were killed execution-style Friday late morning. They were all members of the same family. Death notifications were still being made Friday night.
Three children survived; a 4-day-old, 6-month-old and 3-year-old. The newborn’s mother is among those victims shot. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said it does not appear any of the victims committed suicide.
At a press conference Friday night, DeWine said more than 30 people have been interviewed in connection to the case. Many of them are in the Chillicothe area. At this time, no one is being labeled a person of interest.
DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said they do not know how many suspects may be involved, but they do consider that person or persons to be armed and dangerous. They do not believe there is a threat to the community.
“There is a specific family that has been targeted,” Reader said. The sheriff has spoken to other family members about their personal safety. He also said deputies would be available for anything those family members need.
The victims were found at four different locations within a 30-mile radius.
In an earlier radio interview with Bill Cunningham, DeWine said the victims are Dana Rhoden, her ex-husband, her children and some grandchildren.
Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrived on the scene with several vehicles and described the situation as overwhelming.
According to Lt. Mike Preston with Ross County Sheriff’s Department they are looking for tips and they can be called into the Attorney General’s office at (614) 466-3840.
David Dickerson with the Pike County Prosecutors Office Crime Victims Assistance made a brief statement.
Ohio Governer John Kasich is aware of the developing situation and even tweeted that he will continue to monitor it:
Western Local Schools, including Peebles High School, are on a semi-lock down due to the investigation. That means no students are allowed outside and doors are locked. The district released the following statement:
We’ve had lots of calls regarding the incident that happened this morning on Union Hill. The incident was in the Scioto Valley District and was on the south side of 32, not the north side (our side). THERE HAS NOT BEEN AN INCIDENT AT WESTERN. We have been in contact with the Sheriff’s Department and we are operating with precaution. We are having classes but no students are permitted outside for recess, PE, etc. We are keeping all students inside and doors are locked as always. We are taking precautions to make sure your kids are safe. We are following the procedures suggested by Sheriff Reader. I will update you as soon as I have more information.
Waverly City Schools were on a similar lockdown, but that lock down is now lifted.
In response to the situation that occurred in Western Pike County today, we wanted to notify our parents that Sheriff Reader has ensured us that there are no threats to any school in the Waverly City School District. I will send any further updates if necessary.
High school officials said the school was back to normal operations later Friday morning.