Pike County Murders: Jake Wagner sought custody of daughter days after Rhoden murders

State News

New court documents show accused murderer Jake Wagner sought custody of a child he shared with 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden six days after she and other family members were killed.

He was granted temporary custody of the child a week later. The child is now in the custody of child protective services, according to court documents.

Ohio Attorney General and Governor-elect Mike DeWine said custody of the child played a major role in the Pike County murders. 

Wagner is one of four family members accused of killing the Rhoden family in Pike County, which the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has described as the largest homicide investigations in the state’s history.

The victims were 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr.; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; their three children, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr., 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden and 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden; Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden; their cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden, and 20-year-old Hannah Gilley.

The recently released documents provide more information about Wagner and Hannah Rhoden’s relationship.

Jake Wagner said he and Hanna were in an exclusive relationship from 2013 to 2015. He said they broke up because he was working too much and didn’t have enough time for Hanna, according to court documents.

Four people have been charged for the murders of the eight family members who were killed in Pike County on April 22, 2016.

George “Billy” Wagner III, 47
Angela Wagner, 48
George Wagner IV, 27 
Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26

The suspects are facing eight counts each of aggravated murder, with death penalty specifications, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Pike County Sheriff Charles S. Reader, and Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk.

They are also charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, unauthorized use of property, obstruction, unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance and forgery.

DeWine said the four spent months planning the killings, studying the habits and routines of the Rhoden family. The Wagners knew the layouts of the homes, knew where the family slept, and were meticulous in the planning, DeWine said.

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