Pike County murders: Search ongoing at family horse farm

Who are the Wagners?

PIKE COUNTY — Investigators will return Thursday to a Pike County horse farm in connection to the Rhoden family massacre.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation began a search Monday morning at Flying W Farms off Camp Creek Road in southeastern Ohio.

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The property is owned by Fredericka Wagner, the mother of George “Billy” Wagner III. Billy, his wife, Angela Wagner, and their sons, George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner, are accused of the execution-style killings of eight members of a Pike County family April 22, 2016.

Steve Irwin, senior public information officer for the attorney general’s office, confirmed Wednesday night the search is connected to the slayings. However, he was unable to release details regarding the focus of the search, nor whether any further arrests or charges were expected as a result.

“It’s a sealed search warrant,” he said.

Pike Co. Murders: New Evidence

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Hamilton County and city of Portsmouth Fire Department are assisting the BCI.

“We anticipate being there through tomorrow (Thursday) at least,” Irwin said.

Former Attorney General Mike DeWine, now governor, said a custody battle involving Sophia, the young daughter of one of the victims, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, and one Jake Wagner, of played a central role in the killings.

Also killed were Hanna Rhoden’s parents, Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, and Dana Manley Rhoden, 37; brothers Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Frankie’s fiancee Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20; uncle Kenneth Rhoden, 44; and cousin Gary Rhoden, 38.

Fredericka Wagner and Angela Wagner’s mother Rita Newcomb were accused of helping cover up the Pike County homicides. They both were charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, and Newcomb also was charged with forgery. However, in June the charges against Wagner were dropped.