In just over a week since eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered execution-style in four homes in Pike County, the words of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at a news conference last week show signs of being prophetic.
“We have eight victims – eight human beings whose lives have been snuffed out,” DeWine said. “As I have said before, I anticipate a lengthy investigation. The nature of a case where a body was found, many times means that it is going to take a while. We have eight bodies. You have eight times the many different scenarios and possibilities. So I look for a lengthy investigation.”
DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said Monday, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) agents and Pike County sheriff deputies worked through the weekend, including Saturday and Sunday, on the murder investigation.
Over the course of the investigation, more than 100 total items of evidence have been sent to the BCI crime laboratory for DNA, ballistics, latent prints and trace analysis.
BCI and Pike County Sheriff investigators have conducted 128 witness interviews and witness contacts as part of the ongoing investigation.
Since April 22, more than 450 tips have been received by both BCI and the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, all of which are being investigated. Authorities continue to request that those with information call 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or 740-947-2111.
The original official report has now been released and the narrative speaks of a grizzly scene that greeted deputies when they arrived April 22 at 7:51 a.m.
“I, deputy Morgan Music and Deputy (Jonathan) Chandler were dispatched to 4077 Union Hill Road in reference to a call stating that there were two possibly dead subjects in a residence. Deputy Chandler advised that he needed multiple ambulances due to multiple people down at multiple residences. Myself, deputy ( ) Ball and Major ( ) Evans all arrived on scene at 08:12 a.m.”
At this point, the name Bobby J. Manley is redacted and penciled in has “A subject.”
“A subject approached us and stated, ‘There are two more dead people here,’ pointing to the residence at 4077 Union Hill,” Music said. “Deputy Ball and I approached that home and I observed that the front door was open …
“Upon entering the home I noted a large amount of blood on the living room floor. The home was found to be unoccupied, except for the two deceased males in the back bedroom.”
The report goes on to say both male subjects were lying in close proximity to each other and were obviously deceased.
“After checking the home for any other injured persons and finding none, deputy Ball and I exited the home and I secured the scene at 4077 Union Hill Road,” Music said. “Major Evans was notified of what I had located in the home and I was advised to stay at the scene until relieved.”
What has been one of the most difficult components of the investigation has been the social media scene that has seemingly worked overtime to produce theories and DeWine said he would not address those rumors.
“I want to talk about some of the rumors that have been printed in this country and in some other countries,” DeWine said. “I do not intend to shoot down every single rumor. I do not intent to confirm in part or deny in part. Our priority is to get convictions. Not just arrests, but convictions.
“And when I look at this case, quite candidly, and when our assistant prosecutors look at this case, we look at the case as a case that eventually will have to be prosecuted in court. So we’re not going to do anything – as much as we would like to share information with you. As much as we would like to share information with the public, we have absolutely no attention of doing anything that can jeopardize this case.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.
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