Ohio Police Make Arrests in Brutal 2016 Killings of 8 Family Members

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Ohio Police Make Arrests in Brutal 2016 Killings of 8 Family Members
Sheriff Charles Reader of Pike County, Ohio, joined a news convention on Tuesday to order arrests in the killings of eight participants of one family, the Rhodens, in rural Ohio two years in the past.Credit ratingCredit ratingJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

When eight participants of the identical family had been figured out shot to death in rural Ohio in 2016, the massacre disturbed and stupefied the neighborhood, and investigators wondered before all the things whether the gunman shall be amongst the wearisome.

When the authorities later announced that marijuana operations had been figured out come the crime scene, it raised the likelihood that the slayings shall be drug-associated.

On Tuesday, after bigger than two years of speculation about why the family used to be done at night, as quite a lot of the victims slept, law enforcement officers announced arrests in the case, which Mike DeWine, the Ohio authorized knowledgeable total, described as “a thousand-piece puzzle.”

A husband, wife and their two adult sons had been charged with aggravated abolish and have to silent face the death penalty if convicted; the couple’s moms had been accused of taking part in a quilt-up. The authorities said the suspects had been buddies with the family that used to be killed.

On Tuesday, Mr. DeWine supplied little reason of the killings, diversified than to claim the crime used to be associated to child custody points.

He said that there used to be an “undercurrent of tools” in the case, but that the killings had been now now not drug-associated, The Associated Press reported. “That is lawful the most ordinary account I’ve ever seen in being fascinated about law enforcement,” said Mr. DeWine, who used to be elected governor earlier this month.

The killings took dwelling in a hilly, reasonably populated region of southern Ohio, about 70 miles east of Cincinnati and a equivalent distance south of Columbus. On April 22, 2016, the Pike County Sheriff’s House of labor figured out seven bodies in three homes come every diversified. One other family member used to be figured out wearisome in a separate dwelling a few miles away. Three young youth had been figured out in the homes unhurt, the authorities said.

The victims had every been shot in the top, officers said. One mother used to be killed in her bed, with her toddler nearby.

The entire wearisome had been associated to the Rhoden family: Christopher Rhoden Sr., forty; his ex-wife, Dana Manley Rhoden, 37; and their three youth, Hanna Would possibly moreover merely Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., sixteen, and Clarence (Frankie) Rhoden, 20. The diversified victims included Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, Hannah (Hazel) Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, forty four; and his cousin Gary Rhoden, 38.

The authorities conducted an intensive investigation, which they said included following up on bigger than 1,100 pointers from the public, conducting bigger than 500 interviews and trying out bigger than seven-hundred objects of proof.

Investigators in the raze realized of a homemade firearm suppressor, which they imagine used to be made by the family suspected in the killings, the Wagners of South Webster, Ohio, come Pike County.

On Tuesday, the authorities arrested George (Billy) Wagner III, forty seven; his wife, Angela Wagner, forty eight; and their sons, George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward (Jake) Wagner, 26. Every used to be charged with eight counts of aggravated abolish.

Jake Wagner is the daddy of Hanna Would possibly moreover merely Rhoden’s older daughter, who used to be staying with the Wagners the night the killings took dwelling. He used to be moreover charged with unlawful sexual behavior with a minor for having sexual contact with Ms. Rhoden when she used to be 15 and he used to be 20, the authorities said.

The moms of Billy and Angela Wagner — Rita Newcomb, sixty 5, of South Webster, and Fredericka Wagner, seventy six, of Lucasville, Ohio — had been moreover arrested. They face charges along side perjury and obstruction of justice.

John Clark, a lawyer representing the Wagners, said in a commentary that his customers had cooperated with the authorities and that the investigation had been mishandled.

“We wait for the day when the merely culprit(s) shall be figured out and brought to justice for this awful tragedy,” he said.

In a news open, Mr. DeWine, the negate authorized knowledgeable total, said that the suspects meticulously planned the slaying the employ of their records of the victims’ properties, routines, snoozing locations and pets.

“These suspects developed a calculated thought to enact the victims in the center of the night and then fastidiously quilt their tracks,” he said. “Their alleged thought used to be sophisticated, but now now not sophisticated ample.”

Andrew R. Chow contributed reporting.

Observe Sarah Mervosh on Twitter: @smervosh.

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