Authorities refuse to release Rhoden family's autopsies

The Pike County Coroner's Office and Ohio Attorney General have refused to release final autopsy reports of eight family members murdered in April, according to the Columbus Dispatch

The two offices cited security concerns as the reason for their refusal to disclose the autopsy records of the Rhoden family, the Dispatch reported Tuesday. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told Dispatch reporters that releasing the records to the public could have consequences that negatively impacted the ongoing investigation of the massacre.

“Our ability to judge the veracity of information coming in, our ability to judge the credibility of information coming in, all goes away once that is public,” Dewine is quoted as saying to the Dispatch. “We believe the law says they do not have to be released.”

WCPO reported in June that more than 24 investigators were still dedicated for solving the murders, but were hesitant to release updates for fear of compromising the case. At that time, they had already combed through 700 tips and 100 pieces of evidence, relocated the four mobile homes in which the bodies were found to a secure site and spent over $150,000.

A source quoted in the Dispatch report Tuesday argued that releasing the autopsy reports could actually help the case by allowing “great public knowledge” to spot details or make connections that investigators had failed to notice — and, in the age of Serial, there are certainly recent cases of armchair detectives influencing the outcome of criminal investigations.

For now, however, the investigation appears to remain closed.

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