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

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

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.”

 

 

10-year-old boy with autism arrested at school

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 1:54 AM

Child arrested (stock photo)
jabejon/Getty Images

Luanne Haygood, the mother of a 10-year-old boy with autism, is angry that her son was arrested earlier this month at his Florida school for allegedly punching and kicking his teacher six months ago. Okeechobee County school resource officers put the child in handcuffs at Okeechobee Achievement Academy, but Haygood said the school district isn’t properly equipped to deal with autistic children.

“He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on,” she can be heard saying in the video that she recorded of her son’s arrest. “He’s scared to death. He’s 10 years old.”

>> Watch Haygood's video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

Haygood watched as her son was removed from his classroom for allegedly leaving a paraprofessional with scratches and other marks back in October. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant on allegations of felony battery on a school board authority.

“I was extremely angry. That I felt like this was a power play. I felt like this was a this is what you get. You can’t do anything about it. We’re going to arrest your son if he can’t abide by the rules,” Haygood told WFOR, adding that her son's disability is the reason behind his behavior. “To go and have him arrested on school grounds in front of other students, in front of personnel, during school hours – they could’ve come to my house at any time to tell me what was going on.”

>> Read more trending news

The boy reportedly spent one night in juvenile detention, according to the Washington Post. The child was then released on house arrest and is expected to appear in court next month.

Haygood said the incident would never have happened if the school had the proper services to address his disability.

“I want something done," she told WFOR. "I want other kids to not have to go through this.”

According to CNN, the school district released the following statement:

"It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest.

"The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists. As a team, these individuals develop interventions, conduct assessments, and offer support both at school and in the home in order to assist students and families.

"The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules. It is our hope that we can continue to work with all families to help their students improve both behaviorally and academically."

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Related

Daytime burglars steal thousands in guns, electronics from Dayton home

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 11:37 PM

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A man returned home from work Friday evening to find his doors unlocked and thousands of dollars in electronics, weapons and cash missing.

Police were called around 5:30 p.m. to the 1800 block of East Fifth Street in Dayton on a report of a daytime burglary. The suspect or suspects are believed to have entered through a side window on the first floor, which was broken, according to a Dayton police report. 

Items stolen include a small fireproof safe containing $3,800; four flat-screen televisions and other electronics, including an Xbox, DVD player, sound bar and cable boxes.

Weapons also were taken, including two collector knives and 12 guns: a 9mm Glock, two 44mm Rugers, a silver 40mm Smith & Wesson, four rifles and four shotguns, the report stated. 

The value of the stolen items is in excess of $10,000 during the burglary in broad daylight. A crew was requested to the home to try to find evidence leading to a suspect or suspects.

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Dayton man tells police he has no idea why neighbor attacks, stabs him in alley

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

A 29-year-old Dayton man said a neighbor attacked and stabbed him Friday afternoon in an alley but he didn't know why.

Police were called around 3:40 p.m. to the 20 block of Ridge Avenue, where the victim was with medics. He suffered a stab wound to his left arm, a cut on his right hand and a cut to his left eye and some head injuries, according to a Dayton police report.

The victim initially said he didn’t know who attacked him and said he tried to fight back until his girlfriend told him the man had a weapon, described as a small folding pocket knife. He and his girlfriend then ran home, and that’s when he realized he had been stabbed, according to a Dayton police report.

Medics took the victim to Grandview Medical Center, where he admitted his attacker was a man in his 50s who lives in the same block. He told police he lied because he feared retaliation and didn’t want to press charges, according to the report.

No arrests were made and the incident remains under investigation.

HAVE A TIP? Contact the 24-hour line 937-259-2237 or newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Police turn to cameras to monitor Middletown park

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 2:47 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 7:52 PM


            Signs Middletown police will place at Goldman Park along with security camera. MIDDLTOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

Citing complaints and disturbances in past seasons, Middletown police are installing video security cameras at Goldman Park in time for Middletown Youth Softball’s opening day.

“Over the past few years we have encountered quite a few complaints at Goldman Park during the Middletown Youth Softball season. We receive quite a number of complaints from parents of disturbances and other problems through out the summer. We’ve had to dedicate too many officers each summer to the park,” Middletown police posted to Facebook on Friday.

The solution is the installation of recording cameras at access point to the part on Highland Street, police said. The cameras are to be in place and working in time for opening day next Saturday.

“This is something that will help us identify those who cause problems for those who are there to have a good time with their families and enjoy the park. Our stance is zero tolerance for crime, fighting and drinking in the park” police said.

And there is a final warning, “We may not catch you in the act, but the cameras will. If you’re causing problems there, you will be banned from the park and probably arrested. The park is for families and ball players who want to have a fun summer, not problem people.”

Police officials could not be reached for comment today.