Vigil, fundraiser planned for Rhoden family

Posted at 11:38 PM, Apr 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-28 23:38:32-04

PIKETON, Ohio -- As the community continues to grieve, people from all over Pike County are stepping up to put on a fundraiser for the Rhoden family.

Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, the Pike County Fairgrounds will host the "Pray for Pike County" vigil; it's the first major event in honor of the Rhodens, eight of whom lost their lives in a targeted, "execution-style" massacre last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. Surviving members of the Rhoden family are expected to attend.

Heather Romine, one of the organizers, said the killings are especially disturbing in the rural community of fewer than 30,000 people.

"This is Pike County. This is Piketon. This is the community that you go to sleep with your doors unlocked and windows open," she said.

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With reality starting to set in, she and other organizers said it's time for the entire community to come together.

"This event, we are putting it on to kind of bring back a little glimmer of hope for everyone around here," Stephanie Brownfield said.

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in a candlelight vigil and balloon release. With such a large gathering, safety is a priority, given that no arrests have been made. Organizers said the Piketon Police Department will surround the fairgrounds.

"I am overwhelmed with the amount of people, strangers that I don’t even know, that have stepped up and said, 'Hey, what can I do to help?' We are blessed," Romine said.