Violent crime low in Pike County, but drugs could be on the rise

PIKETON, Ohio – A week has passed since eight members of the Rhoden family were shot “execution-style” in four separate Pike County homes.

A vigil was scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at the Pike County Fairgrounds to honor the family. Residents said they were still shocked by the slayings.

“We’re a small community, and everybody loves everybody here, and we try to stay close-knit as a family,” resident Helen Sowers said. “And when something like this happens, it affects all of us.”

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, the violent crime rate in Pike County is nearly 98 percent lower than the national average and 66 percent lower than the state average.

Before the Rhoden slayings, the last Pike County death investigation was in October 2015, when a man was killed in a bar fight, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Waverly is a good place to live,” resident Arlene Cline said.

But the one category crime that residents reported seeing more of lately is drugs.

There are “a lot of drugs on the streets, but the cops are trying to clean it up,” Cline said.

Whether or not drugs were related to the Rhoden slayings remains to be seen, but Attorney General Mike DeWine did say investigators found “commercial” marijuana grow operations at three of the four scenes.

According to the sheriff’s office, recent crimes charged in Pike County have included drug possession, trafficking, assault and robbery.

Also, Sheriff Charles Reader said authorities uncovered a marijuana grow operation and processing lab for “shatter,” a concentrated form of marijuana, earlier this year.

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