Pot-Growing Found at 3 of 4 Ohio Shooting Sites

Entire state plagued by drug problem: official
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2016 7:00 PM CDT
Pot-Growing Found in Ohio Shootings
Lt. Michael Preston, of the Ross County Sheriff's Department speaks to the media on Union Hill Road that approaches a crime scene, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Pike County, Ohio.    (John Minchillo)

Authorities say they found marijuana-growing operations at three of the four locations where eight family members in rural southern Ohio were found murdered in "execution-style" killings on Friday, the AP reports. They said at a news conference Sunday that it's unclear what, if any, role the growing operations had in the killings. One of the officials, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, initially wouldn't say whether marijuana was found at the homes, saying it might hurt the investigation—but he relented later on, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Asked if a "drug problem" plagues the area, DeWine said the whole state has a drug problem, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader wouldn't comment on a possible motive or number of suspects, and said the investigation will be lengthy. More than 100 personnel in the southern county of Pike are helping to investigate the murders, which DeWine called "pre-planned" and "sophisticated." The perpetrators did "everything they could" to cover their tracks, he added. Quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Reader said "this was not something that just happened. A family was targeted, most of them targeted while they were sleeping." The victims, who ranged in age from 16 to 44, have all been identified. Autopsies on the bodies are expected to be completed Monday. (Read about a horrific 911 call made from one of the crime scenes.)

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