First Arrest Made in Unsolved Ohio Family Killings: Victim’s Brother Accused of Evidence Tampering
Eight family members were fatally shot in April 2016 in rural Ohio
For more than a year, there have been no arrests in the April 2016 massacre of the Rhoden family in which many of the eight family members were fatally shot multiple times. Police say that the victims were shot “execution-style,” and none appeared to be a suicide. The killer – or killers – are still at large.
But on Tuesday, police charged a witness with two felony charges of vandalism and tampering with evidence in the unsolved case.
James Manley, the brother of one of the victims, allegedly destroyed a GPS device that was being used in the investigation. PEOPLE confirms the charges.
In a police affidavit, Major Alan Lewis with the Pike County Sheriff’s Office says a GPS tracking device was placed on Manley’s pickup truck. According to Lewis, Manley’s wife, April, admitted her husband later smashed it on a sidewalk.
Neither the Pike County Sheriff’s office or the Ohio Attorney General returned PEOPLE’s calls to determine why Manley’s vehicle was being tracked with a GPS device.
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Manley, 40, did not enter a plea during an arraignment hearing. He was booked into the Ross County Jail, and is being held on $80,000 bond. His next court date is May 22. It is unclear if he is represented by counsel.
“The charges Manley faces are not uncommon when a witness destroys such a device used in a government investigation,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Eight members of the Rhoden family were killed on the morning of April 22, 2016.
Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, Dana Rhoden, 37, Frankie Rhoden, 20, Hanna Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, Gary Rhoden, 38, Kenneth Rhoden, 44 and Hannah Gilley, 20, were all found shot to death in four homes near Piketon, Ohio. Two of the homes were in walking distance of each other off of a rural highway. The third house was over a mile away, while the fourth was located on a different road.
At the time, police noted that marijuana grow operations were found at three of the locations.