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DeWine on Pike Co. shootings: Someone involved ‘knew the territory’

Published: Thursday, August 04, 2016 @ 3:23 PM
Updated: Monday, August 08, 2016 @ 1:47 PM

UPDATE @ 12:52 p.m. Aug. 8


WHIO’s John Bedell recently touched base with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine regarding the investigation into the unsolved April 22 fatal shootings of eight Rhoden family members in Pike County.


DeWine said 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. While investigators have made progress, DeWine said the outcome is still nowhere in sight.


A closer look at the 8 victims


How Pike County manhunt compares to 121 mass shootings


“I’ll tell you we know a lot more today that when we first started,” DeWine said. “We’re still not to the point where we can say, ‘we’re gonna go arrest someone.’ We’re just not to that point yet.”


DeWine has kept a tight lid on releasing details of what investigators are learning. Autopsy reports have been withheld from the public.


“The reason for that is there’s certain facts that only — at this point — only the murderer knows,” he said. “We don’t want to broadcast those facts. Because once you do, it becomes much more difficult to judge the credibility of something someone comes in and tells you.”


DeWine reiterated statements he made at the outset, that “this could be a long investigation.”


“It really is like putting together a big, say thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “We’re putting in pieces. A piece here, a piece here, a piece here. At some point it becomes clear. You start seeing a picture and at some point, you figure it out.”


Thank God they didn’t take the babies


In response to a question on whether the shooters knew the victims, DeWine said certainly those responsible “knew the territory.”


“Someone was involved who knew that area, and probably knew those homes and at least some of the people who were victimized. But beyond that I really can’t say.”


DeWine responded to questions about the marijuana that was found growing on two properties where bodies were found.

 Pike County shooting: The latest 

“Clearly, this was a serious commercial operation,” said DeWine, who would not confirm whether there are any connections to international drug cartels.


“I don’t want to be in a position where we confirm or deny any kind of theory. I don’t think that would be fair as far as our investigation is concerned and our ability to find out who did this,” he said.




The three surviving children of the victims of the Pike Co. shooting massacre in April that left 8 members of the Rhoden family dead, are in danger according to Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.


According to a report from the Columbus Dispatch, Reader testified at a court hearing and said that the Rhoden family, specifically the three children in the homes where the murders occurred, remain in danger.


He also confirmed his investigators are looking for multiple killers, according to the report.


No arrests have been made yet for the killings.


Reader’s testimony came in a hearing to keep proceedings about the surving Rhoden children closed to the public and the media.


Reader told Pike County Juvenile Judge Robert Rosenberger: “I believe if the information about the minor children is released, it would put the minor children or their caregivers in grave danger.”


The judge is considering access to hearings for 9-month-old Ruger Rhoden and 3-month-old Kylie Rhoden, both of whom are in foster care.


Hamilton police investigate shooting death

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

            Hamilton police investigating shooting on Front Street.

Hamilton police are investigating a shooting in the 500 block of Front Street that led to the death of man over the weekend.

Sgt. Brian Robinson said the incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning and that the shooting is still under investigation.

“At about 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, officers heard gunshots in the 500 block of South Front Street. Officers found the victim laying on the steps of 503 S. Front St with gunshot wounds,” Robinson said. “The victim was transported by squad, but died at the hospital.”

SEE: Who’s in the Butler County Jail?

He added that, “HPD detectives are and have been actively investigating the case since the incident’s discovery. Based on the circumstances, investigators feel there are more people who have information on this incident that have not come forward.”

Police are asking for people to contact the detective bureau at 513-868-5811 ext.2002 with any information they may have.

READ: The latest Butler County crime news

The name of the victim is not being released at this time, and the coroner’s office is expected to complete an autopsy of the victim today.

Missing Florida teen considered in danger, may be with man she met on Facebook

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 1:45 AM

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a Florida teen who is missing and considered to be in danger.

>> Watch the news report here

Victoria Stites, of Palm Bay, is 19, but her mental capacity is lower than her age, Palm Bay police say. She is possibly traveling to Jamaica, New York, with a man she met on Facebook.

>> Read more trending news

She was last seen Saturday leaving her Palm Bay home, north of Vero Beach, wearing a green shirt and black jeans, and carrying a purple duffel bag. 

She has blonde/brown hair and brown eyes. She is about 5-foot-7 and weighs 135 to 140 pounds. 

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call 1-800-423-TIPS. 

Man who showed up stabbed to Dayton church remains hospitalized

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Getty Images

UPDATE @ 9:03 a.m. (June 26):

The 28-year-old man that showed up to St. Mary Catholic Church in Dayton with a stab wound remains at Miami Valley Hospital being treated for his injuries, according to a spokesperson.

A condition for the man was not able to be released.

UPDATE @ 9:45 a.m. (June 25):

Police in Dayton responded to a reported shooting early Sunday morning, but it turns out a Hispanic male suffered a stab wound, not a gunshot, according to Sgt. Matthew Locke.

The victim was taken to Miami Valley Hospital for treatment of the injury, which was not considered life-threatening, Locke said.

The emergency dispatch center got two calls related to the incident.

The first call came from the St. Mary Catholic Church on Allen Street where the victim showed up and asked for help.

Locke said the second call came from an address on Church Street, and evidence indicates the stabbing happened on Church Street.

The victim went into surgery and police have not had a chance to interview him.


Dayton police are investigating a shooting Sunday morning, according to Montgomery County dispatchers. 

Crews were sent to the reported shooting in the 100 block of Church Street around 7:24 a.m. 

Initial reports indicate investigators are collecting evidence at the address and found blood on a fence in the area. 

Dispatchers said the number of victims and further details are unknown at this time.

NEW: 7 Florida kids found in 'worst living conditions ever seen’ at home

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 1:21 PM

Melida Jenkins (left) Shameka Jenkins (right)
Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Police in Daytona Beach arrested two women on Wednesday after they found seven children living in a home covered with urine, feces, bugs and black mold.

One officer said the apartment “had the worst living conditions I have ever seen children exposed to,” WKMG reports. 

>> EXCLUSIVE: How did baby Tayla Aleman starve to death?

Sisters Shameka Jenkins, 21, and Melida Jenkins, 27 both face charges of child abuse with great harm. 

Police said the apartment contained walls covered back to back with black mold, bathroom floors coated with flies and “layers and layers of feces,” WKMG reports. 

>> Florida woman forced to marry rapist at 11 years old

Officers found the children trying to get fresh air from a ceiling fan in a room that had dirty mattresses with cockroaches crawling on the floors, according to WKMG. The temperature inside the home was hotter than outside, police said. 

The oldest child is 8 years old and the youngest is an infant, police said. Two of the children are Melida Jenkins and five are Shameka’s. 

Shameka Jenkins told officers that she submitted complaints to her landlord about the apartment “but they would not help her,” according to WKMG. 

The seven children are in temporary custody with their grandmother while the Department of Children and Families investigates.