PIKETON, Ohio (AP) — Investigators are operating under the theory that there were multiple attackers in the slayings of eight people from one Ohio family, authorities confirmed Thursday after months of noting that was a possibility.
Local and state investigators have released few details about the April shootings near Piketon, saying they don’t want to jeopardize chances of catching and convicting whoever’s responsible.
Offering just the slightest bit more detail Thursday, a spokesman for Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed to The Associated Press that investigators are working with the theory that it wasn’t a single attacker.
Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader also referenced the suspicion of multiple “killers” Thursday while testifying in a court hearing related to custody of two of the three young children who weren’t harmed in the attack, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Speaking in support of closing those proceedings to the public, Reader said he believes the children are still in danger and worries that making information about them public would amplify that.
Seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family were found dead at four homes on April 22. A coroner determined all but one of the victims had been shot repeatedly, and some had bruising.
DeWine has said the top-priority case might be the biggest in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s history in terms of manpower and resources.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The victims were 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr.; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; their three children, 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr. and 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden; Frankie Rhoden’s fiancee, 20-year-old Hannah Gilley; Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden; and a cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden.