PIKE COUNTY, Ohio — Four family members have been arrested in the murders of eight people in Pike County in April 2016.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Pike County Sheriff Charles S. Readerand Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk announced the arrests Tuesday afternoon. A press conference is planned for 4 p.m.
Seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family were found shot to death at four homes near Piketon in southern Ohio on April 22, 2016.
The following four members of the Wagner family, of South Webster, were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon and are charged with planning and carrying out the murders:
- George “Billy” Wagner III, 47
- Angela Wagner, 48
- George Wagner IV, 27
- Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26
Authorities in the past have said they suspected multiple attackers who were familiar with the victims’ homes and the surrounding area about 70 miles south of Columbus. The motive remains a mystery.
Redacted autopsy reports show most victims were shot multiple times.
DeWine’s office has said one of the victims, Christopher Rhoden Sr., had “a large-scale marijuana growing operation,” leading some to speculate the killings were drug-related or even connected to Mexican drug cartels.
Other victims in the massacre included Christopher Rhoden’s 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; and a cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden.
The last victim to be discovered, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden, who was the brother of Christopher Rhoden Sr., died of a single gunshot. Three children were found unharmed.
More details about the investigation and arrests will be released to members of the media at the news conference.