PIKE COUNTY SHERIFF: ‘We are getting closer. We will find you.’

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 5:43 AM

Pike County Murders: Rhoden family makes plea for information

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."

RELATED: In depth Pike County murders coverage

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. 

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

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."

RELATED: Final autopsy reports out in Pike County killings

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.

RELATED: 4 possible motives in Pike County Ohio murders

"People keep swinging back to was it someone within the family?” Stanley said. “We hear that quite a bit.”

Done camera views of the Pike County murder scenes one year later.
 

 

One person transported to hospital after stabbing in Trotwood

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 12:30 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 12:40 AM

ON SCENE:Stabbing reported at Trotwood apartment

At least one person was taken to Miami Valley Hospital early Wednesday following the report of a stabbing at the Wingate at Belle Meadows Apartments in Trotwood.

Police and medics were called late Tuesday night to a report of a woman stabbed.

Crews were dispatched around 11:50 p.m. to an apartment in the 300 block of Outer Belle Drive.

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According to initial reports, a caller heard glass breaking and a woman screaming.

Additional details were not available on scene. We will continue to follow this story.

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Middletown police: Beware tree-trimming scam

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 1:03 AM

Middletown police are warning residents of “unscrupulous tree trimmers” who have been taking advantage of elderly people.

The police department posted its warning Tuesday on its Facebook page.

One incident was thwarted, but the culprits were paid in another incident.

Police remind residents that door-to-door solicitors need a permit in the city. Call police if tree trimmers knock on your door uninvited.

>>>2 elderly residents found dead in apparent murder-suicide in Hamilton

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine offers tips to avoid tree-trimming scams. Beware of a tree trimmer who:

  • Comes to your door unexpectedly
  • Says your trees are diseased
  • Requires a large down payment
  • Accepts only cash or check
  • Says nothing about your right to cancel
  • Starts work immediately

Sidney businessman accused of not paying people in Piqua

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:32 PM

Duaine E. Liette
MIAMI COUNTY JAIL
Duaine E. Liette(MIAMI COUNTY JAIL)

A 57-year-old Sidney businessman is facing numerous felony theft charges after multiple people claimed he hired them to do work but didn’t pay them.

Duaine E. Liette has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Miami County Municipal Court. He was arraigned Friday on four felony theft charges and three misdemeanor theft counts and was released from custody on his own recognizance.

>>>Crime News: Sidney murder suspect could face life in prison

The cases were related to complaints from June 2015, June 2017 and July 2017, in which people stated they were hired to complete work for Liette but never received payment, according to Piqua police and court records.

Piqua police arrested Liette on Thursday at 1037 Broadway St., in Piqua. The house is owned by Sidney-based real estate company American Land Investments, of which Liette is listed as its principal; the business also has the same address as Liette’s residence, records show.

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Piqua police are urging anyone else who believe they may be victims to call 937-440-9111.

Brother is one of two charged in South Lebanon homicide

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6:55 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:20 PM

Christopher and Jacqueline Kirby
WARREN COUNTY JAIL
Christopher and Jacqueline Kirby(WARREN COUNTY JAIL)

A Warren County couple remained in the Warren County Jail on Tuesday, charged with murder in the killing of a relative Friday in South Lebanon.

MORE: 2 arrested in South Lebanon; Woman killed, man in critical condition

Christopher Kirby and Jaqueline R. Kirby, 30, who are married, are charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of aggravated robbery.

Deborah Power, 63, of South Lebanon was found under a blanket and “cold to the touch with blood underneath” by sheriff’s deputies called to a home at 59 W. Broadway just before midnight Friday, according to a search warrant filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Her husband, Ronnie Power, remained in critical condition Tuesday, according to WCPO-TV.

Deborah Power’s parents adopted Christopher Kirby, 38, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell told WCPO.

“Our two defendants were interested in taking some property basically for the purposes of buying drugs ultimately went in and beat our female victim to death, beat our male victim to the point to where he’s in very very critical condition and obviously we’re hopeful that he’ll survive these injuries but it’s still looking pretty dire,” Fornshell told WCPO on Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, Warren County Judge Gary Loxley set bond for the Kirbys at $250,000 each during hearings in Warren County Court.

MORE: Indictment issued in Franklin stabbing

The case began at 11:50 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, when an 8-year-old boy called 911, according to Fornshell.

Deputies responded to the residence -- where the Kirbys also lived, according to earlier reports -- to find Ronnie Power bleeding from the head.

MORE: Murder trial delayed due to defense lawyer problem

After “rendering aid” to him, deputies found the body of Deborah Powers, who also lived there, according to a press release issued Monday by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Deborah Power apparently died of blunt force trauma, but tests are pending, according to Doyle Burke, chief investigator for the Warren County Coroner’s Office.

Ronnie Power’s truck was found the next day at the West Chester Hospital, where he was taken for treatment.

Investigators suspect the Kirbys traveled to the hospital in the truck. They seized clothing and the passenger side seatbelt and took swabs from the truck, according to the search warrant inventory.

The Kirbys are scheduled to return to county court at 3 p.m.Friday.