Suspect or Suspects in Ohio Massacre that Killed 8 Still at Large: Police
Marijuana "grow operations" were found at three of the four shooting sites, according to the attorney general
The suspect or suspects in last Friday’s slaying of eight people in rural Piketon, Ohio, remain at large.
A police source tells PEOPLE that their offices are being flooded with tips. “Somebody knows something,” says the police source. “We’ll investigate until we come up with an answer.”
Attorney General Mike DeWine is cautioning the public against jumping to definitive conclusions about the slayings of seven adults and one teenage boy from the Rhoden family, who were killed in four separate homes.
Two of the homes were in walking distance of each other off of a rural highway, while the third house was over a mile away, and the fourth located on a different road, according to the AP. DeWine has also noted that marijuana grow operations were found at three of the locations.
“I think we can speculate what the motive was – you talk about revenge, you can talk about drug-related,” DeWine told NBC News. “But frankly, we just don’t know,”
DeWine called the slayings “a sophisticated operation” and a “preplanned execution.”
Authorities are aware of a possible Facebook threat against the youngest victim, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden, but have not yet disclosed the content or verified its legitimacy.
Sheriff Charles Reader has told the surviving family members to protect themselves, in case they are still in danger. “I cautioned them, told them we will be there,” he told CBS News. “I told [them] to be armed.
A Community in Mourning
Whatever the purpose of the killings, they have sent shock waves through Piketon, Ohio – a small town with a population of about 2,000 –.
Christopher, was a student at Piketon High School. School officials called in grief counselors to help students cope with the killings. Outside the building, the flag was at half mast.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
In a small press conference, Principal Jeffrey Reuter said that he was encouraging students to “be as kind as possible” to each other as they move through the grieving process.
“Chris had a good heart. He really did,” Reuter told reporters. “He was as stubborn as you can come. If he wanted to do something he was going to do it nothing was going to stop him.”
Administrators have called in several grief counselors to help students make sense of the killings.
Authorities are offering a $25,000 reward – provided by a Cincinnati businessman – for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers. Anyone with information is urged to call 855-BCI-OHIO or the Pike County Sheriff at 740-947-2111.