Police still searching for killer of Ohio family

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 4/22/16, 06:30 pm

UPDATE: Police worked through the night on the slayings of eight family members who were shot dead in homes in a rural southern Ohio county. They released audio from a 911 call made by a woman who discovered two of the bodies, but they have not caught the person or people responsible for the killings.

“There’s blood all over the house,” the caller said. She said she found the bodies of her brother-in-law, Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, and a cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38. The Ohio attorney general’s office said today the other victims were: Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; his fiancée, Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Hanna Rhoden, 19; Dana Rhoden, 37; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

Area residents remembered the Rhoden family today and expressed shock at the horror that had happened in their sparsely populated county, .

“Everyone knows that family; you can’t not know that family,” Kendra Jordan said. “They’re involved in everything, and they’re at every event that’s going on in town. Just about see them anywhere you went.”

An area church has offered support to surviving members of the Rhoden family.

“This is a time, I’ve learned over the years, you put your feelings on hold,” Phil Fulton, pastor of Union Hill Church, told WTTE-TV of Columbus, Ohio. “That’s hard to do, but you embrace the family as you deal with the family. This is where we rely on the Lord.” Fulton said the Rhodens were previously part of his congregation, though not recently.

Police cautioned it could take time to find those responsible for the deaths. A Cincinnati-area businessman has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the killer or killers.

OUR EARLIER STORY (April 23, 6:30 p.m.): Police warned residents of a rural Ohio county to stay indoors tonight after the grisly murders of eight members of the same family.  Seven adults and a 16-year-old in Pike County were shot in the head, some of them while lying in bed, said Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader at an afternoon news conference. The suspect, whom police have not identified, is believed to be at large.

“It’s heartbreaking,” DeWine said. “The one mom was killed in her bed with the 4-day-old right there.” The infant and two other children, ages 6 months and 3 years, survived the attack, which was spread between four different homes. Police said the victims were members of the Rhoden family, and they especially warned other family members to take safety precautions.

Pike County has about 28,000 residents and is in the Appalachian Mountain region of southern Ohio. The first three homes where bodies were found are within a few miles of one another on a sparsely populated stretch of road, while the eighth body was found in a house within 30 miles, Reader said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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