Arrests needed in ‘tragically evil’ Pike Co. shootings, pastor says

Four months and eight deaths later, the residents of Pike and Adams counties still talk about the case daily, said Pastor Phil Fulton, of Union Hill Church in Adams County.

He says the surviving members of the Rhoden family grew up going to this church.

Fulton says there are many questions left unanswered.

“Until they make an arrest, and have some closure, it’s going to stay that way,” Fulton said.

In total, the April slayings claimed the lives of: Hannah Hazel Gilley, 20; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Christopher Don Rhoden Jr., 16; Hanna May Rhoden, 19; Dana Lynn Manley Rhoden, 37; Christopher Don Rhoden Sr., 40; Gary Dwayne Rhoden, 38; and Kenneth Wayne Rhoden, 44.

“The greatest hope I’ve got is they’ll make the arrest of those who actually committed the crime,” Fulton said. “I want them to find who actually done it. There’s probably a big trail behind this that goes who knows where.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine also provided some updated comments to the investigation.

“Clearly, this was a serious commercial operation,” said DeWine, of the marijuana plants found growing on two properties where bodies were found.

DeWine would not confirm whether there are any connections to international drug cartels.

DeWine did say the murders were “well planned” and executed by more than one person. He said at least one person involved was familiar with the properties where the bodies were found.

Pastor Fulton said he continues praying for the Lord to “direct the law enforcement.”

“Give them eyes to see, ears to hear, the things that they need to make the arrest of those who committed this tragically evil, grotesque act,” Fulton said.

Fulton said those capable of killing eight people at close range, will likely do it again.

“Because if they’ve done it once, they’re not going to stop. They’ll do it again … They’ve sent a message,” Fulton said. “No doubt that message has went far and wide.”

Fulton said the April deaths are a stark reminder to the dangers of drug dealing.

A $10,000 reward remains for information leading to an arrest.

Surviving members of the Rhoden family, a 4-year-old and 4-month old, are under state protection.

“We’re in the fourth month now. They’ve confiscated the trailers … surely they could have found something by now,” Fulton said.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader had previously said the surviving members of the family were in danger.

No arrests have been made yet for the killings.

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