WAVERLY, Ohio -- More than one shooter was involved in the Pike County massacre, and the sheriff worries that the surviving Rhoden family members - especially the children - are still in danger.
Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader made those revelations at a court hearing Thursday, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Reader said publicly for the first time that investigators are looking for more than one shooter in the killing of eight family members on April 22. Attorney General Mike DeWine's office confirmed that later Thursday. Until then, authorities had implied that but never declared it.
"It makes perfect sense," said Amanda Davidson, a Pike County resident. "Can you imagine one person carrying all that out?"
The sheriff said he fears that the three children who were in homes where the killings took place are especially at risk.
Reader testified at a hearing in Pike County Juvenile Court to determine whether custody proceedings for 9-month-old Ruger Rhoden and 3-month-old Kylie Rhoden, who are in foster care, should be closed to the public.
“I believe if the information about the minor children is released, it would put the minor children or their caregivers in grave danger,” Reader said. "I do not want to ever find victims 9, 10 and 11 and have them be those three minor children."
Members of the community said Thursday that, although the murders are months behind them, the lack of closure in the case has kept it at the back of their minds.
"I think we all just want to know what happened," Davidson said.
The judge in Thursday's hearing did not make a decision about whether or not the custody proceedings should be closed to the public.
"It seems like it just happened, really, because you do think about it a lot," said Pike County resident Vivian Adams. “If I lived down (near the scene), I would be scared to death. I would move. I would go somewhere….I wouldn’t stay there. I would be so afraid.”