Tampering charge leveled in Pike County case


Authorities have charged the brother of one of the eight victims of an unsolved Ohio massacre with tampering with evidence and vandalism, accusing him of destroying a GPS device.

The Ohio attorney general’s office on Tuesday announced the charges against 40-year-old James Manley, of Peebles.

Authorities say Manley destroyed the device being used in the investigation of the slayings. Manley is the brother of victim Dana Rhoden.

Manley’s phone is disconnected, and online court records don’t list an attorney. Manley’s father, Leonard Manley, told the Cincinnati Enquirer his son would turn himself in.

A search warrant issued in April allowed investigators to put a tracking device on a truck driven by James Manley, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, which obtained a copy of the warrant.

The warrant indicated that investigators believe the truck was used in connection with an aggravated murder or by a person intending such a crime, but it doesn’t specify a connection to the Rhoden homicide investigation, and it doesn’t name Manley as a suspect, the newspaper reported.

Leonard Manley, whose adult daughter and grandchildren were slain, said he wants justice, but it seems to him that investigators are “grasping at straws.”

“It’s like a wound and then you pick at it,” he told the Enquirer, “and they are starting to pick pretty hard.”

Authorities have also taken a trailer linked to the family of one victim’s ex-boyfriend.

The trailer was taken from one of multiple sites that authorities searched late last week. Bernie Brown, who owns property in Peebles where the trailer had been stored, said its owners needed a place to keep household items after recently selling their Adams County farm.

Whatever significance the trailer might have hasn’t been publicly disclosed. The Pike County sheriff and the Ohio attorney general’s office won’t discuss details of any searches or other parts of the investigation into the April 2016 deaths of seven adults and one teenage boy from the Rhoden family.

They were found shot at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Columbus. Three children were found unharmed.

No arrests have been made, and family members have pleaded for anyone with information that might help solve the case to come forward.

Authorities have executed several dozen search warrants in the lengthy investigation.

AG: Rhoden brother destroyed GPS

The Associated Press

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