Preliminary autopsies in Piketon murders released


One of the persons murdered in the massacre of the Rhoden Family in Pike County Friday night was shot nine times. Preliminary findings of autopsies performed on the bodies on behalf of the Pike County Coroner, Dr. David R. Kessler, and the Hamilton County Coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco, show the ages of the victims as 16, 19, 20, 20, 37, 37, 40 and 44 and included three females and five males in no particular order.

The preliminary autopsy report shows all sustained fatal gunshot wounds to the body including the heat, torso and extremities.

One victim suffered a single gunshot wound, one suffered two gunshot wounds, two victims each had three gunshot wounds, while one victim suffered four, another five and, one victim was shot nine times.

The report maintains it is part of an ongoing investigation, and, as a result that is the only information available at this time.

Both coroners and their staffs took the opportunity Tuesday to send out a message – “We would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of the Rhoden and Gilley families.”

As of Tuesday, the amount of evidence from the scene has now grown to 79 pieces. Law enforcement participating in the investigation has been numbered at more that 215 individuals and they have followed up on more than 300 tips.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader have released the following update in the ongoing investigation into the execution-style killings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County telling the media 61 additional items of evidence have been sent to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) crime laboratory for DNA, ballistics, latent print, and trace analysis. These items are in addition to the 18 high-priority items submitted for testing previously, for a total of 79 pieces of evidence.

Additional search warrants were served on Monday in connection with the investigation, however the number of search warrants and locations are not being released at this time.

Since Friday, more than 300 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.

To date, more than 215 law enforcement officials have contributed to the investigation. From the Attorney General’s Office this includes: special agents, analysts, prosecutors, and laboratory personnel. This also includes authorities from the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Pike County Prosecutor’s Office, Pike County and Hamilton County coroner’s offices, and additional manpower from 23 sheriff’s offices and other law enforcement agencies, including significant assistance from the Piketon Police Department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are also providing limited assistance on an as-needed basis.

One victim was shot 9 times

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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