Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Rhoden Family murder suspects arrested

Rhoden Family murder suspects arrested

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Tuesday called it "the most freakish story I've ever seen": the arrests of four members of the Wagner family in the April 2016 execution-style slayings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Ohio.

A husband, wife and their two sons are charged in the brutal slayings of eight OH relatives in a 2016 massacre that authorities say was preceded by a custody dispute.

Michael Brice-Saddler, The Washington Post •.

The arrests are the culmination of a massive investigative effort since seven adults and a 16-year-old boy was found dead in 2016 at four homes near Piketon. Authorities have yet to give a suspected motive for the killings.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the new development on Tuesday afternoon. "Today is that day".

The others arrested were Wagner's father, George "Billy" Wagner III, 47; his wife, 48-year-old Angela Wagner; and George Wagner, 27. An attorney has said previously the family cooperated with investigators. It is unclear if they have retained attorneys.

Sheriff Charles Reader says Pike County is a resilient community, and much more than the place where eight people were murdered.

Clark told The Cincinnati Enquirer that the family was being "harassed while the real killer or killers are out there".

"He said that he was gonna go out and get some decent shotgun shells for it 'cause that's all they have is a shotgun", Conklin said.

Manley cried into her phone as she waited for help to arrive.

Autopsy reports suggested the murders were calculated and brutal with the coroner saying all but one of the victims was shot a few times. The eighth was found at a fourth location that was a 10-minute drive away.

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The victims were Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his ex-wife Dana Rhoden, 37; their three children, Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden, 20; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; and Hanna Rhoden, 19; Frankie Rhoden's fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20; an uncle, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; and a cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38. That child, along with a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old, survived the killings.

DeWine says he can't release many details about the motive but he did say the custody of young child played a role.

"There certainly was obsession with custody, obsession with control of children", he said. "I just might tell you this is just the most freaky story I've ever seen in being involved in law enforcement", DeWine said. They were brutally and viciously executed.

The Wagners had been "the prime suspects for some time", DeWine said, though he declined to say when the family was identified as suspects.

It appeared some of the victims were killed as they slept, including Hanna Rhoden, who was in bed with her newborn nearby, authorities said. The four suspects are also charged with conspiracy, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice.

The six arrests are the result of a joint investigation led by the Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Pike County Sheriff's Office. The Wagner's had since moved to Alaska.

Reader, Junk and DeWine all agree this is one of the biggest cases OH has ever seen.

The evidence found on October 30 was physical evidence, DeWine said, noting that the final piece didn't tip the case, but was a part of a long, cumulative process, more "like a thousand-piece puzzle". "It's just wonderful." Officials repeatedly stated they could not give details because of the ongoing prosecution.

Officials Tuesday noted that the families of the victims are still coping with the deaths of their loved ones, and that the suspects' alleged actions left a stain on the county.

"They did this quickly, coldly, calmly, and very carefully. But not carefully enough", Reader said.

Four members of the Wagner family were arrested on Tuesday in connection to the murders of the Rhoden Family in 2016. "It's been tough to be patient at times, but we kept our eye on the goal - justice for the victims".

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