State News

New information released in unsolved Rhoden family massacre

PIKETON, OH (WCMH) - Preliminary autopsy reports in the Rhoden family murders were reviewed by reporters Wednesday thanks to an Ohio Supreme Court ruling in favor of journalists fighting for access to evidence.

The preliminary autopsies, redacted until now, indicate Christopher Rhoden Sr. died first and was shot through a door.

The autopsy states he was shot nine times in the head, chest, stomach and forearm, possibly a defensive wound. HIs ex-wife Dana Rhoden was shot five times in the head. 

All 3 of their children, 16-year-old Chris junior, 19-year-old Hanna and 20-year-old Frankie, along with his fiancé 20-year-old Hanna Gilley and cousin, Gary Rhoden, also died of gunshot wounds to the head.

Chris senior’s brother Kenneth Rhoden was shot once in the eye.  All were killed quietly, hours before police and neighbors heard or realized. 

On Union Hill Road on Wednesday, all was calm and all was quiet, but “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out” signs indicate where the horrific, execution-style murders took place in this rural area of Pike County April 22, 2016. 

Less than one-fourth of a mile from where the mobile home of 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr. once sat, we spoke with Rhoden’s neighbor. 

“8:45am I let the dog out. I saw an ambulance going up the road followed by the sheriff and a state trooper. I figured somebody had a heart attack,” he said. 

The man didn’t want to give his name because of speculation the Rhoden family murders were carried out by the Mexican Cartel.

“I personally feel that it was a job done by people out of Latin America. I’ve been to the Canal Zone a couple of times and when I was down there I could get you killed for 50-cents and get change back,” said the neighbor. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine’s office is investigating the mass slaying and Dewine has said Cartel involvement is one possible theory. 

“Whoever did it, did it in the middle of the night. They did a professional job and they left. They were probably out of the country before 8 in the morning,” the neighbor said. 

Local and state law enforcement agencies say they are continuing their investigation and asking anyone with information to contact police. 


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