Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader remains optimistic as he faces a new term despite a year seemingly filled with adversity. The year 2016 saw eight members of the Rhoden family murdered execution style in one night, and that occupied much of his office’s investigation time. But that was far from the only thing that occurred in Pike County.
“As far as the last year we were struck with not only the tragedy of the eight homicides of the Rhoden-Gilley family, but it (2016) was filled with tragedy,” Reader said in an exclusive New Years Eve interview with the Daily Times. “We had another off duty officer-involved shooting. We had the individual from Maine who stabbed his brother 11 times and raped his girlfriend, and brought them to Pike County where we captured him. We’ve had children that drowned in waters. A tragedy would strike and no sooner would we deal with that tragedy and catch our breath, something else would happen.”
Reader credits relationships within the law enforcement community and the Pike County community for his optimism as he faces another term.
“I’ve got to credit a great staff, a great community and the relationship I have with law enforcement and the partnership we have with the community,” Reader said.
There is one thing that is obvious when you meet Charlie Reader. No one loves their job more than he does.
“I love what I do. I have wanted to be sheriff for a very very long time,” Reader said. “My whole career has been in Pike County. I’ve lived in Pike County for going on 43 years, and I love my county, and my county loves us back. It’s a great relationship we have, and even with all the adversity in the tragedies that we’ve had, the communities come together. They kind of hold people up and help them back up and push them forward and that’s what has happened in Pike County.”
When the mass murder scenes were discovered in April, law enforcement from surrounding counties responded to the scene to assist Reader in the massive undertaking that investigation entailed.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the relationship that I have with the law enforcement, local law enforcement and the partnership that I have with the community,” Reader said.
While it has seemingly been one adversity after another, that one case remains on the minds of the people of southern Ohio and Reader is reassuring when he speaks about it.
“As far as our murder investigation, it’s not forgotten,” Reader said. “It’s worked every day. I have people permanently assigned to it, as does the Attorney General (Mike DeWine), and we will someday see an arrest made in that case, and then have that case go forward for prosecution. I can’t tell you as to when – whether it’s in three weeks, three months or three years – there is going to be a day where this case comes to a close and then we will be able to do a press conference and let the media, and foremost the Rhoden, the Gilley and the Manley families know that, hey, we’ve done our job – I know you have had to be very, very patient, but in the end, we’ve done our job. We’ve done it right. We’ve found who is responsible and now we can prosecute them.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.