Cops Say Fear Is Holding Back Witnesses in Ohio Massacre

No one has been arrested nearly a year later
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2017 7:29 PM CDT
A poster asking for information about the unsolved killings of eight family members in southern Ohio on April 22, 2016, is displayed at the Ohio Attorney General's Office during a press conference on...   (Andrew Welsh-Huggins)
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(Newser) – Fear in the community is holding back information about the unsolved massacre of eight family members in southern Ohio nearly a year ago, investigators said Thursday. Some of that fear is of retaliation by the killers, and some is fear of witnesses incriminating themselves over their own criminal activity—likely involving drugs—unrelated to the slayings, investigators said. "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind or in any investigator's mind that there's information that may be part truth, but not all the way true," said Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader. Witnesses who come forward will be treated fairly, said Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office is leading the investigation. The focus is on the homicide, not those individuals' crimes, he said, per the AP.

On April 22, 2016, investigators found seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family shot to death at four homes near Piketon. A newborn, another baby, and a young child were unharmed. One of the victims, Christopher Rhoden Sr., operated a commercial marijuana growing operation on his property "with the purpose of distributing the marijuana," according to DeWine's office. Reader on Thursday pleaded for more donations to the reward fund, stuck at $10,000 for several months, for information leading to a conviction. The sheriff hinted that the victims' involvement in drug crime may be holding people back from donating. Both DeWine and Reader said they expect an arrest someday, with DeWine saying "significant progress" has been made and the case is still his office's top priority. Despite a massive investigation, no arrests have been made and no suspects identified. (Read more Ohio stories.)

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