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Cops search for gunman in execution-style slayings

Investigators interviewed more than 30 people hoping to find leads in the deaths of the seven adults and 16-year-old boy whose bodies were found in homes southwest of Piketon on Friday.
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Update 1:50 p.m. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader provided an update from the ongoing investigation into the execution-style killings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County. 

Attorney General DeWine has spoken with Cincinnati-area businessman Jeff Ruby, who has offered $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any person(s) responsible for the murders in the Pike County multiple homicide case.  

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff's Office at 740-947-2111.

 

Original Story

Authorities urged residents to be cautious as the search continued Saturday for whoever fatally shot eight members of a family at four different properties.

Investigators interviewed more than 30 people hoping to find leads in the deaths of the seven adults and 16-year-old boy whose bodies were found in homes southwest of Piketon on Friday.

10TV obtained cell phone video showing a man being taken into police custody at gunpoint Friday. The man was not arrested and isn't being called a person of interest in the case.

All victims were shot in the head, authorities said, and it appeared some were killed as they slept, including a mother in bed with her 4-day-old baby nearby. The infant and two other small children were not hurt.

Authorities didn't release the victims' names but said they're members of the Rhoden family. People who know the family identified one of the victims as Dana Rhoden.

Investigators said none of the deaths appeared self-inflicted, so they believe at least one assailant is at large.

"We do not know whether we're talking about one individual or two or three or more," Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

Law enforcement officials say whoever is responsible for the killings should be considered armed and dangerous.

A motive for the slayings isn't known, but authorities urged surviving members of the Rhoden family to take precautions. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader also recommended area residents be extra wary.

"This really is a question of public safety, and particularly for any of the Rhoden family," DeWine said.

Reader said Friday night that authorities had met with more than 100 relatives and friends of the Rhoden family at a church.

DeWine dismissed a report that the people authorities questioned included a person of interest.

The first three homes where bodies were found are within a couple miles on a sparsely populated stretch of Union Hill Road, while the eighth body, that of a man, was found in a house farther away on Left Fork Road..

Authorities didn't release any information on what kind or how many weapons might have been used or whether anything was missing from the homes.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and local law enforcement worked through the night, talking to individuals, gathering information, and executing search warrants.  Evidence from the crime scenes is being processed and analyzed through the weekend.

The investigation is still in its early stages, and no arrests have been made, according to the AG's office.

Agents with BCI have been asked to lead the investigation at the request of Sheriff Reader.  Agents and staff from BCI's Special Investigations Unit, Crime Scene Unit, Criminal Intelligence Unit, and Cyber Crimes Unit, and Crime Victims Services are part of the ongoing investigation. 

Multiple other agencies are assisting BCI and Pike County as well. 

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff's Office at 740-947-2111.