PIKETON, Ohio (AP) – Several mobile homes where eight relatives were found shot to death in southern Ohio are being moved to a secure location as the investigation into who targeted the family and why enters its fourth week, authorities said Thursday.
The relocation is intended to preserve the gruesome crime scenes as they were found and to help with the investigation and any future prosecution, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said in a statement.
Work to move the four Piketon-area homes to the investigation command center near Waverly began Thursday and will take several days, they said. A county judge approved the moves.
Authorities have interviewed dozens of people, processed more than 100 pieces of evidence and received over 500 tips but haven’t announced an arrest, identified who is responsible or said whether there might be multiple suspects.
Seven adults and a 16-year-old boy from the Rhoden family were found dead at the properties April 22. Two babies and another young child weren’t harmed.
A coroner determined all but one of the victims were shot repeatedly, with one shot nine times. Some also had bruising, consistent with a 911 caller’s description that two victims appeared to have been beaten.
The victims were identified as 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; their three children, 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 16-year-old Christopher Jr., and 19-year-old Hanna; Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, 20-year-old Hannah Gilley; Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden; and a cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden.
Authorities said marijuana growing operations were found at three of the four crime scenes. That’s not uncommon in the area, but it stoked rumors that the slayings were related to drugs – one of numerous theories that have circulated.
Authorities have refused to publicly discuss possible motives or details about the slayings.
The first 911 caller, Dana Rhoden’s sister, told The Cincinnati Enquirer she found some of her relatives’ bodies in their blood-soaked bed and is haunted by the memory of what she saw.
Bobby Jo Manley, 36, started weeping as she recalled taking a 3-year-old and an infant out of a trailer where she found their father, Frankie, and his fiancée dead, the newspaper reported.
Manley told The Enquirer that she and others were questioned by investigators on the morning of the slayings. One investigator asked her how much someone paid her to kill her family, she said. She said she told investigators she didn’t kill her family and wouldn’t “wish this on anybody.”