Eight people were found dead, shot execution style in Piketon, Ohio on Friday, April, 22. CNN reported that the bodies were found at four different locations. In a list of names released by Cleveland.com, all of the victims were a part of the Rhoden family, ranging from a 44-year-old man to a 16-year-old boy. ABC News reported that three survivors were found, none older than three and one born four days before the shooting. None of the deaths have been ruled suicides.
On the 911 calls released, a woman said during the call, “I think my brother-in-law is dead…there’s blood all over the house,” according to USA Today. After finding her brother-in-law’s body with her cousin’s, she continued, “I think they are both dead.” She said, sobbing. “It looks like some[one] beat the crap out of them, and I came in and they were laying on the floor.” Another 911 caller said “I just found my cousin with a gunshot wound.”
CNN reported that schools in the area went into lockdown early on Friday, April 22 when the news started to break. CNN affiliate news station WLWT reported that Adams County Ohio Valley superintendent Richard Seas lifted the lockdown in the afternoon because “I was told we are out of danger. We feel sure of that.”
Reports from CNN, ABC News and USA Today say that there will be one pathologist performing all the autopsies. The results of all of the autopsies are expected to last through the weekend.
On the afternoon of Monday, April 25, CNN reported that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, revealed that marijuana farms were found at three of the sites. Each of the farms were reportedly not the average size of personal farms but instead big enough to be part of a bigger operation.
A barista in the town coffee shop, Jamie Smith, said to ABC News, “nobody seems fearful…it’s just a lot of unanswered questions.” On the contrary, another unidentified woman told CNN, “Everybody’s just freaking out…they just want to go into their houses and lock their doors.”
Pike County Sherriff Mike Reader said, “We have a specific family that’s been targeted, but I don’t think there’s been a threat to any other members of the community.” Regardless, DeWine said in a statement, “We’re advising family members to be very careful and take particular caution…This is a matter of public safety, especially for the Rhoden family.”
According to USA Today, there have been 30 people interviewed in connection with the case in Chillicothe, Ohio, a town 40 miles northeast of the crime scenes. Along with the local authorities’ efforts, Jeff Ruby, a Cincinnati-based businessman, is offering a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the culprit’s arrest. On CBS’s “Face the Nation” broadcast on April 23, Ohio Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich called the shootings “a breath-taking[ly] horrible set of murders…all of Ohio and I think a lot of the country is just horrified by what we’ve seen, and I’m confident that at the end of the day we will find the perpetrators and justice will be delivered to them.”
Editor’s Note: Information from USA Today, CNN, CBS News, Cleveland.com, ABC News and WLWT was used in this report.