PIKE COUNTY — One year after eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in their beds as they slept, the Ohio Attorney General and local law enforcement officers continue to search for answers.
Pike County residents wonder if the killers will be caught.
"Yes I do think it is going to be a lot harder to find them,” said Annie Wilburn, a Piketon resident. “I really don't know if they're going to find them at all."
Stephanie Stanley, a reporter with The Pike County News Watchman newspaper, has tracked this case from the beginning and says it's been tough to deal with.
"People were slain in their beds with babies beside them,” Stanley said. “And it was crushing."
The key to this case may lie with what investigators found here when they responded after the murders – two commercial-sized marijuana grow operations.
Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine says some people in Piketon are reluctant to talk out of fear of retaliation. Others may be purposely withholding information.
"It's going to be better for them if they come forward if they do it on their own accord than if we have to drag them in,” DeWine said.
The Rhodens lived at multiple locations along Union Hill Road in Pike County.
DeWine says given the remoteness of the Rhoden family homes, the killers must have known the area well.
During a news conference in April, DeWine and the county sheriff unveiled a poster of the victims and information about a $10,000 reward for information.
Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said he has a message for the killers:
"You came in like thieves in the night and took eight lives...some being children,” Reader said. “The most horrific way I have seen in my 20 plus years. We are getting closer. We will find you. The family and the victims will have justice one day."
Law enforcement officers have conducted nearly 500 interviews and received almost 900 tips making this the biggest case the Bureau of Investigation has ever handled, according to the attorney general.
A reporter the local newspaper told us there have been many theories about who could have done it. Everything from Mexican drug cartels to rival factions within the victim's family.
"People keep swinging back to was it someone within the family?” Stanley said. “We hear that quite a bit.”
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