More details in Pike search


More details emerged over the weekend in regard to reports that investigators searched three properties in Adams County and Pike County looking for evidence related to the unsolved killings of members of the Rhoden family, according to various media reports.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s SWAT team assisted the Pike County Sheriff’s Department Saturday to execute a search warrant for evidence at a 71-acre property about 10 miles from the scene of the execution-style slaying of eight Rhoden family members more than a year ago, according to WLWT.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the property belonged to a former boyfriend of one of the victims, 18-year-old Hanna Rhoden, who was found shot to death next to her 5-day-old baby girl, who was not harmed.

Another search took place over the weekend at a farm in Piketon that belongs to relatives of the former boyfriend, the Enquirer reported.

The Enquirer also reported the third property searched was a used car lot in Adams County owned by a man named Brian Brown.

A spokesman for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said late Saturday he was wrong when he said members of the office’s SWAT team searched for suspects in the case, according to the Enquirer, saying investigators were actually searching for evidence related to the case.

No arrests were made in connection to the searches, according to Fox 19, and WLWT reported it’s unclear what, if anything, was found during the searches.

The searches are part of a joint investigation between Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the sheriff’s offices of Adams, Pike counties, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections special tactics and response team, according to the (Hamilton) Journal-News.

Rhoden family members issued a plea last month on the first anniversary of the killings for anyone with information to contact police, the Associated Press reported. The amount for information leading to a conviction remains at $10,000.

The AP reported that on April 22, 2016, investigators found seven adults and a teenage boy shot to death at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles south of Columbus.

According to the AP, Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, Dana Rhoden, 37, Frankie Rhoden, 20, Hanna Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr. 16, Gary Rhoden, 38, Kenneth Rhoden, 44 and Hannah Gilley, 20, were found shot to death in four homes near Piketon.

Christopher Rhoden Sr. operated a commercial marijuana growing operation on his property “with the purpose of distributing the marijuana,” according to DeWine, whose office is leading the investigation.

DeWine has said whoever killed the Rhoden family members was familiar with the victims, their homes and the surrounding area, and the Pike County sheriff has said more than one person was involved in killing the family.

The Ohio Supreme Court recently received the unredacted autopsy reports from those killed as it considers media lawsuits seeking access to those full reports from the unsolved case.

Court filings indicated the reports from the Pike County coroner have been submitted under seal following the justices’ April 19 request for them.

The Columbus Dispatch and The Cincinnati Enquirer separately sued for access to the full autopsies.

Authorities want to shield information, arguing its release could compromise their investigation. The coroner says victims’ relatives raised concerns about sharing details of how their loved ones died.

Authorities scour farms, car lot; no arrests made

The Times-Gazette

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