Ohio Massacre: 20-Year-Old Mother Hannah Gilley Laid to Rest as Friends Dispute Drug Rumors Surrounding Family
"We're just hoping that they can solve the case," a family friend tells PEOPLE
Hannah Gilley, one of the eight victims of last month’s Ohio massacre, was laid to rest on Saturday.
A long processional of vehicles followed the hearse from the funeral home to the cemetery. They were accompanied by several police vehicles. “We’re just here as a courtesy to make sure nothing does occur,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini told WHIO-TV.
Gilley, the 20-year-old fiancé of Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, left behind a 6-month-old son, Ruger, who was spared in the attack.
Six members of the Rhoden family will be buried on Tuesday in a mass funeral.
Friends and Family Defend Family
As authorities continue to investigate the slayings, questions remain about the motive.
Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said that marijuana grow operations were found at three of the four locations at which the victims were shot. DeWine described the killings as “a pre-planned execution” and “a sophisticated operation.”
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But many close to the family find the drug allegations hard to believe.
“The family that I knew could not have been involved in that,” family friend Heather Romine, told CNN. “It’s just so out of character for them. I don’t think it’s plausible.”
The family’s pastor agrees, citing victim Dana Rhoden’s work ethic. “Somebody who worked as hard as she did is not into drugs,” Pastor Phil Fulton of the Union Hill Church tells PEOPLE. “If you were in the drug business, you would have money coming in and wouldn t need to work that hard.”
Some family members have expressed anger at the allegations. “They are trying to drag my daughter through the mud and I don’t appreciate that,’ ” Dana Rhoden’s father, Leonard Manley, told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Authorities tell PEOPLE that they continue to investigate the killings, but are not sharing additional information at this time. They have not yet named any suspects in the case.
One thing is clear: Police believe that the people responsible are still at large.
“We’re just hoping that they can solve the case,” family friend Joseph Ray tells PEOPLE. “Whoever did this to them, regardless of what they were involved with, needs to be brought to justice.”
• Reporting by KC BAKER