Investigators speak on unsolved Pike County murders one year later

Rhoden family members killed in the Pike County slayings on April 22, 2016/WCMH

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Investigators spoke about the massacre of eight family members in southern Ohio as the one-year anniversary of the still-unsolved killings approaches.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office is leading the investigation, held a news conference on Thursday with Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.

On April 22, 2016, investigators found seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family shot to death at four homes near Piketon, about 68 miles south of Columbus. A newborn, another baby and a young child were unharmed.

Despite a massive investigation, no arrests have been made and no suspects identified. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction.

Family members still waiting for answers say updates from investigators have dwindled. Glenna Gilley, whose 20-year-old granddaughter, Hannah Gilley, was among those killed, speculated that people with information might be afraid to come forward.

“I’m sure there’s someone somewhere that knows something,” she said.

Gilley, 65, described her granddaughter as a good person and “a wonderful mother.”

Last month, relatives distributed posters with photos of the victims in hopes of turning up local tips.

Reader said he believes those responsible were from the area and not out-of-towners. DeWine said the killers had to be familiar with the land around the properties as well as the properties themselves.

Leonard Manley, whose daughter and three grandchildren were killed, said it was suspicious that any assailants were able to get by his daughter’s two dogs.

There’s long been speculation that drugs provided a motive. One of the victims, Christopher Rhoden Sr., operated a large-scale marijuana growing operation on his property “with the purpose of distributing the marijuana,” according to DeWine’s office.

Three trailers and a camper where the slayings took place were seized by investigators afterward and remain in storage.

Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court is weighing lawsuits filed by The Columbus Dispatch and The Cincinnati Enquirer seeking the full, unredacted autopsies of the victims.

The other victims were Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; and their three children, 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden; 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr.; and 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden.

Also killed were Hannah Gilley, who was Frankie Rhoden’s fiancee; a cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44, Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother.

Kenneth Rhoden died of a single gunshot wound to the head. His body was the last one found by investigators.

The other victims were shot multiple times in the head and, in the case of Christopher Rhoden Sr., in his upper body and torso as well.

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