In an exclusive interview with The Daily Times, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine updated the investigation into eight execution-style murders involving eight members of the same family in May in Pike County and said he believes more than one person was involved.
Someone out there knows something. In these cases, doesn’t someone usually crack?
“We would assume it involves more than one person,” DeWine said. “We don’t know that, but we assume that based on the facts of the case. Someone will talk at some point. The information we need, we will get some day. I’m not predicting when that is going to be.”
DeWine said the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has had over 100 pieces of evidence processed at the crime lab.
“We have received thousands of pieces of information, and part of the job is managing that information, processing it. Keeping it in a way that you can retrieve it,” DeWine said.
He said in some ways, the investigation of a case such as the one in Pike County is the same as it would have been 100 years ago.
“You try to put the pieces together. You try to string evidence together,” DeWine said. “Most of the work of investigators is slow, laborious, probably not very exciting, but that’s the way you solve cases. You solve cases, my experience has been, by good old-fashioned hard case work and that’s what we’re engaged in.”
He said he knows there is a desire on the part of the public and the media to know what the status of the case is.
The facts are seven bodies were found in three mobile homes on Union Hill Road and an eighth body found several hours later on Left Fork Road. All had been shot.
He said the place where the investigation is being conducted is as most people expect it to be.
“It’s pretty much what you imagine,” DeWine said. “We have a command center. We have charts on the wall. We have information that’s up on the wall. It’s got all the things you might expect to see on TV. It really is true. This is how you do it. You take it one step at a time. Ultimately it just gets back to old-fashioned police work. That’s what we’re engaged in now.”
Is there any progress being made in the case?
“We’re making progress,” DeWine said. “We’re certainly not ready to announce anything nor to making an arrest. This is an investigation that I thought was going to take a while. In any case, any homicide where you have a bod and you have no witnesses, by definition, it becomes a complicated case. In this particular case, unfortunately, we have 8\eight bodies and in some respects it makes it eight times more complex.”
DeWine said it is actually eight cases in which investigators have to learn as much as they can about all the people the victims came in contact with. He compared it to working on a 1,000 piece puzzle. It is one piece of information at a time.
“At some point you begin to see a picture,” DeWine said.
DeWine praised his team from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). He said the investigation is easier because of the relationship they have with Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.
“We have probably had some 90 people working on the case,” DeWine said. “That’s not at the same time, but they have spent some time on it. On any average day, we probably have 20-25 people working on the case. When it’s done it will probably be the biggest, most complex case that BCI has ever handled – certainly in regard to the number of hours spent on it.”
Is social media speculation something you have to deal with on a regular basis?
“We’re going to pull information from wherever that information is,” DeWine said. “We’ll take it from any source.”
DeWine said his investigators have received over 700 tips.
“We try to run those down,” DeWine said. “So we’re constantly searching for more information. If anyone in the Pike County area wants to come forward with more information we’d love to have it.”
DeWine said anyone with information can call the BCI Hotline or the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and remain anonymous.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.