Autopsy: Pike Co. massacre victim shot 9 times

Posted at 12:35 PM, Apr 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-27 06:19:20-04

PIKE COUNTY, Ohio — One of the victims in last week’s Pike County family massacre was shot as many as nine times, according to autopsy results from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office Crime Lab.

Investigators released the preliminary autopsy results early Tuesday afternoon, indicating that all but one of the eight members of the Rhoden family killed in the shootings sustained multiple gunshot wounds.

WATCH in the player below for background on the Rhoden family massacre:


According to Terry Daly, spokesman for the coroner’s office, said the victims sustained gunshots as follows:

> One victim with a single gunshot wound
> One victim with two gunshot wounds
> Two victims each with three gunshot wounds
> One victim with four gunshot wounds
> Two victims each with five gunshot wounds
> One victim with nine gunshot wounds

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The coroner’s office did not say which victims sustained how many gunshot wounds. Investigators also found soft tissue bruising on some of the victims, Daly said.

Dr. Stuart Bassman, a Cincinnati-based trauma and sexual assault counselor, spoke with WCPO Tuesday, saying the number of gunshots can indicate certain psychological factors at play in the killings.

Speculating on the case, Dr. Bassman explained that multiple gunshots, in some cases, could be considered an attempt to send a message or gain insurance that the victims are, in fact, dead.

“The typical thinking is that when someone shoots someone a number of times, it’s done out of anger. But in other instances we have to look at the fear, the threat.

“It’s almost a way of someone getting insurance,” he said. “Though some people conceptualize this as an act of anger, an act of rage, in one instance it could be an act coming out of fear.”

When it came to the shooter or shooters sparing the lives of the three youngest family members found on the scenes — that is, a 4-day-old, a 6-month-old, and a 3-year-old — Dr. Bassman said that could have been motivated by a lack of the possibility of leaving eye witnesses.

But Dr. Bassman also speculated that leaving the youngest family members alive could have been motivated by what he called a “cognitive distortion” in the mind of the shooter.

“(The shooters) in one sense distort their thinking to justify and rationalize their behavior,” Bassman said of cases like these. “In the person’s mind, there’s a sense of saying, ‘But I’m saving the baby.’”

WATCH Dr. Bassman's full comments in the video player here:


Later Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine also said additional search warrants were served Monday with the investigation. DeWine did not release the number of additional search warrants or their locations.

DeWine said investigators examined a total of 79 pieces of evidence, and more than 300 tips have been received by both the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Pike County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities continue to request that anyone with any information in this case contact 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or 740-947-2111.

WCPO photographer Dave Marlo contributed to this report.