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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."
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.
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."
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.
"People keep swinging back to was it someone within the family?” Stanley said. “We hear that quite a bit.”
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 4:18 AM
Investigators with the Lacey Police Department said a man walked into the restaurant and ordered a cup of coffee, but was upset over the 97-cent price.
After he received his coffee, the man poured it into his to-go mug and then demanded a refill from the manager.
Investigators said the manager asked the man to leave after he got verbally abusive about the price of the coffee.
The man then got upset and threw the cup of hot coffee into the manager’s face and fled.
Do you know this guy? He threw hot coffee in the employees face this morning. pic.twitter.com/a9HuD9Sd6T— Lacey Police (@LaceyPolice) May 25, 2018
Police said the manager had burns on her neck. KIRO reported that the manager was being treated for third-degree burns.
The man is being sought for simple assault, according to Lacey Police.
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 7:53 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 11:51 PM
COLUMBUS — UPDATE @ 11:50 p.m.: The alert for the 79-year-old Columbus man has been canceled.
An Endangered Missing Adult Alert has been issued for a Columbus man.
Stanley Lapcynski, 79, suffers from dementia and was last seen around noon Friday when he left his residence but did not return.
He stands 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a Home Depot shirt and blue jeans.
He is believed to be driving a dark green 2001 Chevrolet Aveo with Ohio plate FFW4599.
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 4:27 PM
MIDDLETOWN — A Middletown woman pleaded no contest to a lesser degree arson charge Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court.
Last week, Georgia Osborne, 35, was charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17. She used a lighter to catch a blanket on fire while she sat on the concrete floor, according to the police report. She sneaked the lighter into the jail, the report said.
Osborne, represented by attorney James Calhoun, pleaded no contest to arson and criminal trespass and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for eight days served.
Middletown Municipal Court Judge James Sherron initially said he would release Osborne on probation if she met with representatives from Access Counseling, provide a negative drug screen when she returns to court in two weeks, and not be charged with additional crimes.
But after meeting with Calhoun, the city prosecutor and a representative from Access Counseling, Sherron changed his mind. The judge revoked Osborne’s probation and sent her back to jail.
After reviewing Osborne’s criminal history on his computer, Sherron noted that in 17 years, she had 53 cases in Middletown court.
“Is that something to be proud of?” Sherron asked her.
“It’s embarrassing,” Osborne said, burying her face in her right hand.
Osborne said she has a 4-month-old son and she had hoped to live with her mother, who was at the court hearing.
Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:44 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:56 PM
OAKWOOD — Oakwood school officials released details of its investigation into a threat made on social media to the school.
A concerned parent said a one-call alert was made from Principal Paul Waller, who said an Oakwood student posted a threat on social media but had removed the threat. Details of the threat were not made available.
The school district issued the following statement regarding the incident.
“On Friday, May 25, Oakwood High School administrators were made aware of a possible threat of violence at the school that had been sent via Snapchat by an OHS student. Upon learning of the threat, administrators immediately reported this communication to the Oakwood Safety Department, and officers were sent to the school.
“Police investigated and determined it was not a credible threat. No weapons were found. The student who sent the message was taken into custody by OSD. The case will be referred to the Montgomery County Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office for potential charges.”
As part of the schools’ safety plan, students are taught if they see or hear something to say something, officials said. “Students followed that example today and reported the message to administrators,” the statement said, allowing the district and police to intervene.
“We understand situations such as this are concerning to parents, students and the Oakwood community. Oakwood Schools safety procedures, which have been put in place in the best interest of our students and staff, were followed. All are safe and classes have continued in session as normal.”