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4 possible motives in Pike County Ohio murders

Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 12:33 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 2:58 PM

No arrests have been made in the Ohio shooting investigation of eight execution-style killings of members of the Rhoden family last week in Pike County, Ohio.

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Large-scale marijuana grow operations were discovered at three of the four murder scenes.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the Dayton Daily News on Monday that the possibility of a Mexican drug cartel connection has not been ruled out and that investigators are looking at everything.

Here are four possible motives:

Mexican drug cartel

In 2010, state officials announced the seizure of 22,000 marijuana plants in the village of Latham -- 15 miles west of Piketon -- and said they suspected a connection to Mexican drug cartels.

In August 2012, Ohio law enforcement officers found “a major marijuana grow site in Pike County with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel,” according to a news release that DeWine’s office issued at the time. Investigators said they discovered about 1,200 marijuana plants, which were destroyed, and they also found evidence of two abandoned campsites that they believe belonged to Mexican nationals.

The marijuana grow operations that authorities discovered appeared to be for commercial use and not personal use.

“We’re running these leads out,” DeWine told CBS News. “But there’s many different theories.”

The marijuana grow operations were not simply a few random plants in a field somewhere, the Columbus Dispatch reported from an interview with Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk. He told Dispatch reporters that at least one was indoors and there appeared to be several hundred plants.

“It wasn’t just somebody sitting pots in the window,” Junk told the Dispatch.

"CBS This Morning" reported that the street value of the marijuana found is nearly $500,000.

“There’s a drug problem in most areas around here,” Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said.

Family feud

The identities of the eight people killed are Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

While nothing has been ruled out, it is unlikely that it was a random act of violence or a crime committed by another member of the Rhoden family, authorities said.

“This is a pre-planned execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation, and those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said. “We don’t know if it was one or two (shooters).”

Reader said the victims did not have previous criminal contact with his office.

Seven of the victims were found in three Union Hill Road homes in Piketon, while the eighth was found within a 10-minute drive from the other victims, most of whom were executed while they were in bed. All were killed during the nighttime hours.

Three children -- a 4-day-old, a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old -- were found unharmed at the scenes.

At Sunday’s news conference, Reader said he warned other Rhoden family members to be on guard.

Leonard Manley, the father of victim Dana Rhoden, called whoever committed the murders “a bunch of scumbags” who know the family.

“Whoever done it knows the family,” Manley said. “(Because) there were two dogs there that would eat you up. But I ain’t going to say no more.”

Manley, who is still shaken up about the the loss of this relatives, said his daughter was a kind person who would “give you the shirt off her back,” and people in the area were aware of her kindness.

He learned about the deaths Friday morning from another one of his daughters, who discovered the victims and called him, Manley said, noting that he’s taken the sheriff’s advice and has armed himself.

Facebook threat

DeWine said his office has “received over 100 tips, conducted over 50 to 60 interviews (and) over 100 personnel were involved in this investigation.”

Two of those individuals interviewed were Isaiah Jones and Rusty Mongold.

Jones told CBS News that he was detained at gunpoint during a traffic stop. He was questioned for six hours, then released.

“I really want people to know I had nothing to do with it,” a tearful Jones said. “These were also friends of mine and that I went to school with.”

Mongold, Jones’ friend, said in a Facebook post that he had nothing to do with the shooting and that he went to the sheriff’s office to clear his name and submit a DNA sample.

The recent Facebook post stemmed from an April 12 Facebook post that alluded to a “kid that hit (Mongold) with his car” and wanting to “beat his skull in,” a perceived threat against the youngest murder victim.

A commenter asks if it’s Chris Rhoden, and Mongold responds, “Yes.”

Cockfighting ring

DeWine said that he can’t definitively say that the Rhoden family was involved in cockfighting.

But when he visited one of the crime scenes Friday, he said he noticed roosters in cages that are normally associated with cockfighting.

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 autposy 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.

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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.

EARLIER

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. 

Read more at clickorlando.com