Pike County murders: 5 unanswered questions 1 year later

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 5:19 PM

Done camera views of the Pike County murder scenes one year later.

The one-year anniversary of the brutal slayings of eight family members in rural Pike County is April 22. 

Despite intense media scrutiny and around-the-clock work by investigators, there still remain more questions than answers. 

» RELATED: ‘There will always be a scar on this town’

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Here are five mysteries that still remain one year later:

1. Who did this? 

At various times in the investigation there have been differing theories on who killed the Rhoden family. 

After a previous drug bust in the area was mentioned, statements by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine led to speculation that a Mexican drug cartel could have been involved. Commercial marijuana grow operations were found at two of the four murder scenes. 

But DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader have since expressed the belief that the perpetrators – the consensus is that there’s more than one – were local to Pike County.

A reward poster for information about the Rhoden murders hangs in a tree outside the home of Leonard Manley, whose daughter Dana Rhoden, 37, was one of the eight victims in Pike County on April 22, 2016. The case remains unsolved. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Some officials have speculated the suspects were even closer to the family.

Leonard Manley, whose daughter Dana Rhoden, 37, was one of the eight victims, has previously said whoever entered the property had to be familiar to the family’s dogs, or else they would have barked and attacked. 

The victims suffered a combined 32 gunshot wounds – one was shot nine times, two were shot five times each – and some showed soft tissue bruising, suggesting they may have been beaten, according to autopsy reports.

DeWine and Reader would not say at a recent press conference if they believe they’ve interviewed the perpetrator(s). 

MORE ON PIKE COUNTY 

» DeWine says case remains priority 

» Watch: A year in Pike County, from murders to community grief to rebuilding 

» Pike County shooting victims: A closer look at the 8 who died

2. Is the investigation progressing?

DeWine and Reader gave a press conference April 13 and stressed that the case is still a top priority. 

But after more than 800 tips, 400 interviews, 38 search warrants and a dozen investigators constantly on the ground in Piketon, there have been no arrests. 

DeWine and Reader declined to discuss possible motives, a time-frame for the investigation or scenarios that have been ruled out. 

They insist a lack of disclosure about new details will protect the integrity of the investigation — the largest in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation history. They also insist the case is not cold, and that there exists — somewhere in the county, or elsewhere — someone with answers.

“We will find you,” Reader said to the killer or killers. “We will arrest you, and you will be prosecuted.”

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3. Will anyone talk?

The sheriff’s office has hung posters all in various locations around Piketon, advertising a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case. 

Crime Stoppers is accepting donations to increase that amount. 

But Reader admitted at the recent press conference that fear of reprisal is still a real factor in this case. 

He said he’s sure some of the people they’ve interviewed have lied to them, whether out of fear of getting in trouble for criminal activity, or out of fear that they could be next. 

A billboard seeking information about the Rhoden family murders is seen along Ohio 23 near Waverly. Eight members of the Rhoden family were killed in rural Pike County in the early morning hours of April 22, 2016. One year later, the murder case remains unsolved. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

The killings were committed “execution-style,” and whoever did it is still out there. In the immediate aftermath of the crimes, Reader told other members of the Rhoden family to arm themselves for protection. 

DeWine said solving the murders is the top priority, and detectives need information.

“This is a homicide investigation,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t care what you’ve done with drugs – we care, but our focus is on the homicide, and so people should not be concerned about coming forward and disclosing information that may be helpful in the investigation.”

4. What was the motive?

Was the family killed by rival drug dealers or were the murders in connection to other criminal activity? There was evidence they were raising roosters for cock fighting, DeWine has said.

This criminal activity, Reader said, was “minute” compared to their slaughter.

“Regardless of their lifestyle, they were human beings,” he said. 

Was the murder more personal? In the immediate aftermath, several individuals who had expressed prior disputes with Rhoden family members on social media were questioned, but quickly let go. 

There have been more rumors than concrete theories when it comes to motive. 

MORE ON PIKE COUNTY
» Timeline: The shocking events of the Pike County shooting
» Photos: Scenes from Pike County six months after a massacre
» DeWine on Pike Co. shootings: Someone involved ‘knew the territory’
» Ohio covers funeral costs for Pike County murder victims

5. Can the community heal?

Things are quieter now in the rural community, but the specter of these slayings, unsolved, still hangs over the people of Pike County. A billboard with the victim’s faces literally hovers over the sheriff’s office. 

“I see the look of disappointment when I speak with the family, and I look into their eyes and the grieving they still have,” Reader said last week. He said these murders were the worst thing he’s seen in all his years in law enforcement. 

“There will always be a scar on this town,” said Morty Throckmorton, who manages the Smart Mart store in Piketon.

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Husband, wife accused of raping children, committing sex crimes over 10-year span

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 3:17 AM

John and Dava Henley of Drummonds, Tennessee, are accused of committing sex crimes against children over a 10-year span.
Shelby County Sheriff's Office
John and Dava Henley of Drummonds, Tennessee, are accused of committing sex crimes against children over a 10-year span.(Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

A west Tennessee husband and wife are accused of committing sex crimes against children over a 10-year span.

>> Watch the news report here

John and Dava Henley are charged with two counts of rape and four counts of aggravated sexual battery. 

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John Henley is also charged with aggravated rape of a child and rape of a child, according to the indictments.

Investigators said in one charge, the couple verbally directed a child to have sex with another child. 

>> Parents charged with murder after 4-month-old son suffocates while in ‘timeout’

The charges stem from incidents that spanned from 2006 to 2016, the indictments said.

The children were between the ages of 3 and 13 when the crimes occurred, according to investigators.

Shelby County court records show the Henleys' home address to be in Drummonds.

While the crimes happened in Shelby County, WHBQ uncovered the investigation likely originated there. 

The Tipton County Sheriff’s Office took an incident report regarding the Henleys in June 2017. It listed two juvenile victims, and the investigation was looking into allegations of forcible fondling and sexual battery.

>> Read more trending news  

A spokesperson with the Tipton County Sheriff's Office told WHBQ that the couple was never arrested there because authorities discovered the incidents happened in Shelby County and passed over the case.

Right now, Dava Henley has a $500,000 bond.

John Henley has an $850,000 bond.

A court date has not been set.

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1 hospitalized after mobile home fire in Clark County

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:24 AM
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 3:11 AM

UPDATE @ 3:15 a.m: One person was transported to an area hospital after a fire occurred at a mobile home in South Vienna early Thursday morning.

TRENDING: No arrests in fatal shooting at Sugarcreek Twp. apartment complex

Fire crews responded to the 10000 block of Buena Vista Road just after 2 a.m. on a fully involved trailer fire, according to initial reports.

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Damage estimates were not immediately available, however, officials said damage to the inside of the trailer was severe.

The occupant that was able to escape the fire was sent to the hospital for observational purposes, officials confirmed. 

The fire remains under investigation. 

INITIAL REPORT 

Crews are responding to the 1000 block of Buena Vista Road on a mobile home fire that occurred early Thursday morning. 

Initial reports indicate the trailer was fully involved just after 2 a.m.

We have a crew on the way to the scene and will continue to update this story with more details. 

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Fort Hunter Liggett tent collapse: 22 injured at California military base, officials say

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:44 AM
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:44 AM

File photo of ambulances.
Kenn Kiser / Freeimages.com
File photo of ambulances.(Kenn Kiser / Freeimages.com)

More than 20 people were injured late Wednesday when a tent collapsed at Fort Hunter Liggett in California, officials said.

Here is the latest information:

Update 2:26 a.m. EDT July 19: According to the military base’s official Twitter account, 22 soldiers were hurt when “a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter landing’s rotor wash blew over a tent structure” in a “remote training area.” Officials said four soldiers were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

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Contrary to earlier media reports, nobody was killed in the incident, officials said.

“This incident occurred during an annual U.S. Army Reserve exercise, Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) that trains Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers,” the base tweeted.

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Air Quality alert issued for some today; stormy pattern developing to end the week 

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 3:37 AM
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:21 AM

Rain and storms come back by the weekend.

>> LISTEN: Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: Fire and Weather

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

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  • Air Quality Alert issued for Butler, Warren County from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. today
  • Temps on the rise to end the week 
  • Much needed rain arrives Friday, lingers into weekend

>> 5-Day Forecast

DETAILED FORECAST

>> ISS will fly over Dayton this week: When to look 

THURSDAY: Butler and Warren counties are under a Air Quality Alert from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Mostly sunny skies are expected with some increase in clouds late in the day and evening. It will be warmer with highs reaching into the middle 80s. There is a chance showers could arrive overnight.

FRIDAY: Expect a chance for showers and storms, especially by afternoon. There is a chance for one or two stronger storms, especially southwest of Dayton by evening. Highs will be in the middle 80s.

>> County-by-County Weather

SATURDAY: Numerous showers and storms are expected scattered throughout the day. Outside of storms, skies will be partly to mostly cloudy with temperatures holding in the lower 80s.

SUNDAY: Expect lots of clouds with occasional showers and storms. Highs will be near 80 degrees.

MONDAY: Partly sunny skies will start the week with a lingering chance for passing showers and storms. Highs will be in the lower 80s.

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