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Published: Monday, April 25, 2016 @ 3:01 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 03, 2016 @ 11:04 AM
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio — Funeral services for six of the eight Rhoden family members killed in execution-style shootings April 22 will be held today.
The services will begin at noon today at Dry Run Church of Christ in West Portsmouth for: Christopher Don Rhoden Sr., 40; Dana Lynn Rhoden, 37; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Hanna Rhoden, 19; Christopher Don Rhoden Jr., 16; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.
Mark Seevers, minister at the Dry Run Church of Christ, said the Roger W. Davis Funeral Home contacted him last week to see if the facility was available for the funeral services.
“We quickly said yes,” Seevers said this morning, as he met with the media prior to the funeral services. “Even though the Rhoden family are not members of our congregation, we wanted to be of service to our community and be of help to them at this time of great tragedy and loss in their lives.”
The facility seats 480 people comfortably, Seevers said, and a large crowd is expected today. There also are a number of security officers on site.
“The southern Ohio community is a close-knit family, and … it’s rocked our entire community,” Seevers said. “Everyone is grieving and in mourning. It’s such a sorrowful tragedy. We wanted to be available; just whatever we can do, we wanted to do it.”
A somber day with overcast skies greeted family and friends Monday at the visitation for the six victims at the Roger W. Davis Funeral Home in West Portsmouth.
Mourners declined to speak with reporters and appeared to be emotional, upset and disturbed by the tragedy.
Scioto County Sheriff’s cars lined the roads near the funeral home. Deputies also patrolled the funeral home’s parking lots.
Volunteers in orange T-shirts policed the area around the funeral home and helped direct traffic and escort family members. The number of mourners outnumbered residents in the neighborhood and traffic at times was bumper-to-bumper.
The visitation and funeral for Hannah Hazel Gilley, 20, was Saturday at the Botkin Hornback Funeral Home in Otway. She was buried in Hackworth Hill Cemetery, Otway.
“It’s certainly a tremendous tragedy for our whole area,” funeral director Paul Hornback said. “In dealing with the Rhoden family that will be handled later in the weeks, I don’t want the Gilley family to be lost in all the shuffle either because they’ve certainly suffered a tremendous loss as well.”
A “Pray for Pike County” vigil to honor the eight victims was held Friday night at the Pike County Fairgrounds.
The first of the eight Pike County shooting victims was laid to rest Thursday in Kentucky.
The funeral service for Gary Rhoden was held at Crockett L. Reed Funeral Home in South Shore, Ky. Burial was at the Miller Cemetery in South Shore.
Gary Rhoden’s father, Kenneth, said his son had no enemies.
“He was just a hard worker,” Kenneth Rhoden said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back. … He liked to fish, hunt, stuff like that.”
Kenneth Rhoden said his son was shot three times in the head, but he wasn’t aware how many times the other victims were shot. Rhoden believes more than one person was involved, saying “it was laid out.”
“I’d like to take them and torture them, for killing the whole family like this,” Rhoden said.
“Somebody had to know something because there were no doors busted down,” he continued. “It’s rough. This is the worst thing I’ve ever went through. They all were good persons, the whole family.”
Funeral arrangements and burial plans started to come in Wednesday, per reports.
The relationships of the victims were released by the attorney general’s office earlier in the week.
Dana Rhoden, 37, and her ex-husband Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, were among the deceased.
Three children the former couple had together also were among those killed:
A brother of Christopher Rhoden Sr., Kenneth Rhoden, 44, was killed. Their cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38, was also shot to death.
Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden’s partner, Hannah Gilley, 20, also was killed in the shootings.
Children surviving the shootings were the following:
Five victims will be buried side by side at Scioto Burial Park in nearby Rushtown, Tony Rhoden previously told the Columbus Dispatch.
The Dispatch reports that the five he spoke of are: his younger brother, Christopher Rhoden Sr.; his niece, Hanna Rhoden; his two nephews, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Christopher Rhoden Jr.; and Dana Rhoden, Chris Sr.’s ex-wife and the children’s mother.
Kenneth Rhoden will reportedly be buried at Mound Cemetery in Piketon.
NewsCenter 7’s John Bedell spoke Monday morning with Leonard Manley, father of victim Dana Rhoden. He said whoever committed the murders are “a bunch of scum bags” who knows the family. Manley, who is still shaken up about the the loss of this relatives, said his daughter was a kind person who’d “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 found them and called him, Manley said, noting that he’s taken the sheriff’s advice and has armed himself.
Both Christopher Rhoden Jr. and another victim, Frankie Rhoden, 20, worked at Big Bear Lake Family Resort, according to Facebook pages, including “Remembering Frankie Rhoden.”
The family released a statement earlier this week asking anyone with information to call the BCI.
“The Rhoden family would like to thank everyone for all of the outpouring of prayers and support for their family,” according to the family statement. “They asked that you continue to keep them in your prayers. They want to thank all of law enforcement from Pike County and surrounding counties for their immediate response — especially sheriff Charlie Reader, the Pike County sheriff — for all of his hard work.
“They’d like to thank the Ohio Attorney General — Mike DeWine — his staff, BCI agents, all EMS services and first responders. Special thanks to Pike County Victim advocate David Dickerson and the victim advocates responding from surrounding counties,” according to the statement.