One year later, no arrests in Pike County killings

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

COLUMBUS, OH (WDTN) – One year after an entire family was gunned down in their Pike County homes, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says no arrests have been made and investigators are still working to unravel the mystery surrounding the shocking murders.

Seven adults and one teenager were shot and killed, on April 22 2016.

Police found their bodies at four homes near Piketon.

DeWine insisted it’s not a cold case, assuring investigators are getting closer to cracking the case.

“We have made significant progress in this case. But we are not to the point where we can announce any arrests,” DeWine said.

“My commitment that I made at the time of the murder remains. I believe this case will be solved. We will remain in pike county until it is in fact solved.”

There’s speculation drugs may have been a motive in the killings. Authorities found marijuana growing operations at two of the homes.

But authorities today would not comment specifically on a motive, who exactly they’re looking for, what they have so far, or how much longer it will take.

Through tears, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader addressed the killers, telling them justice will be served.

“You came in like a thief in the night and took eight lives – some being children – in the most horrific way I’ve ever seen in my 20 plus years,” Reader said.

“We are getting closer. We will find you. The families are the victims will have justice one day. We are coming.”

DeWine said they know “a whole lot more” now, than they did before; and he noted some cases take months – even years – before a suspect is arrested.

He said officials have “a lot of potential leads” and believe there are people in Pike County who have information about the case.

He said it’s better for them to volunteer those details than for authorities to have to “drag them in”.

Reader noted, however, some witnesses are reluctant to come forward.

“The fear of retaliation from whoever these killers are, that’s real and people feel that,” Reader said.

“Are they still coming to us? Yes. Are they still giving us tips? Yes.

“But if you’re asking if people still fear that they can be retaliated against, by killers that we yet have in custody – I would say absolutely.”

Both Reader and DeWine said they understand the frustration the family and the community may feel given no suspects are in custody.

But they insisted there’s been progress – they just can’t say what exactly that progress is, as the investigation remains open.

Authorities have received more than 800 tips, and conducted more than 400 interviews.

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