Must Reads 2016

Must Reads 2016: Pike County killings captured the nation's attention

The Dayton Daily News is highlighting the best work of 2016 with the year-ending Must Reads campaign.

The execution-style killings of eight people in rural Pike County in April captivated the state and the country. For months, investigators have searched for answers.

Here's a look at the scene in Pike County and the aftermath.

» Complete Reading: Must Reads 2016

April 23: "After murders, a rural town on edge"

Residents of this rural Appalachian community spent Saturday in a state of shock and fear after the execution-style killings of eight people, as law enforcement continued its investigation for a motive and the person or persons who committed the slayings.

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April 25: "Timeline: The shocking events of the Pike County shooting"

The series of events in Pike County, presented in an interactive timeline.

>>> PHOTOS: Scenes from Pike County on April 25, 2016

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April 27: "DeWine on Pike County shootings: 'It's a cold-blooded massacre'"

As funeral arrangements were announced Wednesday for the first of eight members of a Pike County family found murdered in their homes last week, state and local officials braced the public for a massive and lengthy investigation to find the killers.

“This is an old fashioned, cold-blooded, calculated massacre of eight human beings,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

>>> PHOTOS: Scenes from Pike County on April 25, 2016

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May 14: "Pike County shooting victims: A closer look at the 8 who died"

A look at the eight victims of what Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called the “execution style” murders at four locations in Pike County on April 22.

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May 7: "Sheriff: 3 Mexican cartels active in Dayton area"

Whether or not drug cartels were involved in the deaths of eight Pike County family members last month, they are active in southern Ohio, where three Mexican cartels have been tied to the distribution of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.

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May 7: "Drugs and death in southern Ohio"

These wooded hills have seen more than their share of death and illegal drugs.

Last summer, the nation’s attention was gripped by the heroin-linked deaths and disappearances of six women from the city of Chillicothe. Now there is a manhunt underway for whomever executed eight members of a Pike County family.

Both tragedies have drawn national and international media attention to a poverty-stricken part of the state that is now plagued by drug overdoses, unsolved deaths and unanswered questions.

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Oct. 22: "Six months later, skepticism, rumors abound in Pike County"

Six months later, these wooded hills are holding tight to their secrets.

Neighbors say it’s much quieter on Union Hill Road than it was when Chris Rhoden Sr. and his family raised fighting roosters, bred dogs and salvaged cars for sale. Chris Jr. would tear up and down the road on a four-wheeler.

The mobile homes where the father and son and six members of their family were found shot to death April 22 are warehoused, along with dozens of vehicles, at a chemical plant outside of nearby Waverly.

>>> PHOTOS: Scenes from Pike County six months after a massacre

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