By Tom Corrigan
Despite some news and social media reports claiming otherwise, a spokesperson for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) said “there is no evidence” to connect a body found Monday in Pike County with the two-year old, unsolved murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in April 2016.
BCI public information officer Jill Del Greco said, at the request of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, BCI is investigating the crime scene where the body of Violet Rhoden Taylor, 37, was discovered. According to several media reports, Taylor is a cousin of the Rhoden family, victims of a mass murder in Pike County over two years ago. Del Greco said BCI investigators are treating Violet Rhoden’s death as “questioned,” meaning the cause of death has not been confirmed and may or may not have involved foul play. On Friday, Del Greco said BCI will not be releasing any further formation until the investigation is further along.
Violet Rhoden’s body was found on Lapperell Road near Stewart Hollow Road according to media reports. Del Greco said identification of the body would have come from the Pike County Coroner’s Office.
Just over a week after eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered execution-style in four homes in Pike County, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine spoke with the Daily Times.
“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’s comments about a lengthy investigation certainly have turned out to be true. Theories about what happened abound on the Internet. There are several Facebook pages devoted to the murders and theories about the murders, but the bloody crime officially still falls into the unsolved category.
Even just a little over a week after the murders, DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader reported more than 100 total items of evidence were sent to the BCI crime laboratory for DNA, ballistics, latent prints and trace analysis. BCI and Pike County Sheriff investigators had conducted 128 witness interviews and witness contacts as part of the ongoing investigation.
The original official report has since been released and the narrative speaks of a grizzly scene that greeted deputies when they arrived 7:51 a.m., April 22, 2016.
“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.
“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.”
Authorities continue to request that those with information call 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or 740-947-2111.
Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 EXT. 1931