Are friends, family of Pike County victims obstructing investigation?

Posted at 5:56 PM, Nov 14, 2016

PIKETON, Ohio -- Pike County’s sheriff is issuing a strong warning for the people who killed eight members of the Rhoden family last spring.

Sheriff Charles Reader sent the following statement Monday to I-Team reporter Hillary Lake after a request for an update in the case:

"I will say that I have met with the attorney general, his staff, my staff assigned to the investigation, and the family in the past weeks. I feel strongly that the case is going in the right direction. I would like to urge anyone withholding any information to come forward. I have made it clear that anyone who has lied to investigators or has purposefully mislead them in any manner in this case will be arrested and charged accordingly. The search for killers is my top priority. We are not investigating any one for criminal activity that they feel may incriminate themselves on in speaking with them to solve 8 murders. Come forward, be truthful, or we will be coming to arrest and charge anyone that are obstructing any officials investigating this horrific crime."

A few minutes later, Sheriff Reader sent the I-Team another message asking her to make this addition to his initial statement:

"Including family, friends and neighbors of the victims, if necessary. This case will be solved, we are working for the 8 victims of murder. Anyone that has or attempts, to delay, hamper, or mislead authorities in any fashion will be charged and arrested. Period."

This is the first time Sheriff Reader has mentioned the family, friends and neighbors of the Rhoden family as possibly obstructing the investigation.

Leonard Manly, whose daughter Dana was one of the victims, said he had "held nothing back" from investigators.

"He can question us all he wants to question us, and he ain't going to find out one more thing than what we already told him because we don't know nothing," he said.

Manley added that "someone probably does" know something, pointing out that the family's dogs apparently didn't confront the killers.

"I mean, they wouldn't have gotten in there if they didn't know that dog," Manley said.

Someone shot and killed eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County on April 22, 2016.

Investigators discovered marijuana grow operations at two of the three crime scenes. There was initial speculation from some media, and some people who live in the area that the killers are affiliated with a Mexican drug cartel.

Last month, Sheriff Reader exclusively told Lake that is not the case. He said he believes the killers are local, either living in or near Pike county.

Sheriff Reader said solving this case is his top priority.

He was elected sheriff last week. He was appointed to the position in May 2015 after the former sheriff resigned.