COLUMBUS, Ohio — Almost a year has passed since eight members of the Rhoden family were mowed down with gunfire in four separate homes along rural roads in Pike County.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader were optimistic about eventually solving the case, but stayed tight-lipped on particulars at a news conference Thursday.
“I think about this every morning, and it’s the last thing I think about every night,” Reader said. "I see the look of disappointment when I speak with the family and I look into their eyes and the grieving that they still have, and the desire that you, the media, have wanting answers that we just can’t give now.”
The question on everyone’s mind was whether any potential suspects have been pinpointed.
“We’re not going to comment on that,” DeWine said, admitting only that authorities believe more than one killer was involved.
What about a potential motive?
“We’re not going to comment on that,” DeWine repeated.
Questions about any persons of interest and leads that have already been ruled out were also met with “No comment” to “protect the integrity of the investigation."
“We have made significant progress, but that progress cannot be shared with the public,” DeWine said. "It’s like one of those crazy 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles … At some point you get the picture, but we haven’t yet. But we’ve put a lot of pieces in.”
— T.J. Parker (@TJParkerWCPO) April 13, 2017
DeWine insisted the case has not gone cold. However, he and Reader admitted their frustration with believing that there are still people in Pike County who have not come forward with information for fear of retaliation from the criminals.
“We are not to the point of diminishing returns. We are still running things down. We still, on a weekly basis, continue to learn things. We’ve learned a lot, but there’s a lot to know and we continue to do that,” DeWine said.
Reader pleaded with anyone who has the financial means to donate to the Crime Stoppers reward of $10,000 for information that leads to cracking the case. He also had a message directly for the murderers.
"You came in like thieves in the night and took eight lives, some being children, in the most horrific way I've ever seen in my 20-plus years (on the force). We are getting closer. We will find you. The family and the victims will have justice one day. We are coming. We will find you. We will arrest you, and you will be prosecuted,” Reader promised.
Watch the full news conference below:
To date, DeWine said they have received 883 tips, conducted 465 interviews (some with the same individuals repeat times), executed 38 search warrants and completed 60 cyberextractions of cellphone and DVR records.
He would not put a timetable on breaking the case, but pledged that the 10 to 12 Bureau of Criminal Investigation employees in Pike County each week will remain on the case.
"I can only tell you that I am deeply frustrated. However, our job is not to dwell on the frustration,” DeWine said. “We are not going to stop until we are done and we are able to break the case, and that is my commitment."