Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has now toured the crime scenes in which eight members of the Rhoden family were brutally murdered on Friday at three locations on Union Hill Road, and one location on Left Fork Road, in Pike County. While the houses were still crime scenes, DeWine did not go inside. Now that they are no longer crime scenes, he visited those houses Wednesday.
“My prosecutor background indicated to me that I wanted to go inside and take a look,” DeWine said. “It’s sort of like getting a frame for the picture. It makes it much easier, as we get additional facts and evidence as they come in, so that you can really understand what the scene looked like and just get a better understanding frankly of the case. It really gives you a frame of reference for everything that you put into that – the evidence we already have and the evidence we’re going to get in the future.”
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon DeWine said there is a tendency to refer to such scenes as “mass shootings,” comparing it to scenarios that have occurred in schools and theaters.
“To me you can call this whatever it is, with whatever term you want to use,” DeWine said. “This is not that type of situation. This is an old-fashioned cold-blooded, calculated massacre of eight human beings. You could have had something like this occur 50 years – 100 years ago or yesterday. So you have to look at it fundamentally different. You are better off to compare this to a calculated well-planned-out murder.”
DeWine was joined by Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, with the message there was to be very limited information available to the public because they do not want to jeopardize the cases as they come forward in the future. Reporters repeatedly asked specific questions about evidence at the scene, and DeWine repeatedly refused to answer those questions, deferring instead to the pursuit of facts which will be imperative when the cases eventually come to court.
“The nature of these cases, at least in my own experience, has been that they take some time to put the pieces together,” DeWine said. “You come upon a body. Or in this case, you come upon eight bodies, in four homes. The killers are long gone. And then it’s the old-fashioned detective work. You just have to put this together one piece at a time. That’s what the men and women that we have here at the command center are doing. Those who are out doing interviews – they’re doing the old-fashioned police work.”
DeWine said the job of the investigators is not to make educated guesses.
“Our job is to find out the truth,” DeWine said. “We’re not only seeking convictions – ultimately what we’re about today – and for however long this takes, is to find out the truth. The people of Pike County and the victims’ families have a right to know the truth and they have a right to know who did it and they have the right to have these people brought to justice.”
DeWine again said there is nothing to indicate anyone in the general public has any reason to fear the fact that the murderer or murderers are on the loose, since it is obvious one family was the target.
“Day to day, I have 13 road units available in this county,” Reader said. “And since this tragic event, with the help of the sheriffs in Ohio, there’s times that I have 10 times my staff in this county. You’ve been out close to the Union Hill Road. You’ve seen that there have been roadblocks and all scenes have been protected since this has happened by either my staff or out-of-county staff – mostly out-of-county staff.”
On Wednesday the schedule of the various funerals began to become available. The Botkin-Hornback Funeral Home announced the schedule for the funeral for Hannah Gilley will be Saturday at 2 p.m. with burial in Hackworth Hill Cemetery. The Daily Times has not been made aware of any other arrangements.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.