New York : Eight family members were found dead after being shot in the head “execution style in a rural southern Ohio community.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said investigators discovered seven adults and a 16-year-old dead at four crime scenes and the victims included a mother slain while her four-day-old child lay beside her.
“We’re advising family members to be very careful and take particular caution,” CNN quoted him as saying.
Pike County Sheriff, Charles Reader said that officers are searching for the killer or killers, who are probably armed and a danger to surviving family members.
“We have a specific family that’s been targeted but I don’t think there’s been a threat to any other members of the community,” he said. “I’ve given the family precautionary measures to make. They know we’re available,” CNN quoted him as saying.
Reader said that the child, along with a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old, survived the killings. He, however, did not name any suspect or give a motive, but said that all victims were members of the Rhoden family.
The Ohio Attorney informed that the residents are grappling with a kind of violence rarely seen in Piketon, a town of about 2,000 residents 90 miles east of Cincinnati.
“What makes this particularly grisly is you have three children involved who were there when the executions took place,” he said.
Reader said that the sheriff’s office was notified in Friday morning that two bodies had been found in a bloody scene and the Officers were flagged down and told other bodies had been located.
The officers at firs found seven people killed at three residences in the county, two “within walking distance” and the third about half a mile away, he said.
On Friday afternoon, an eighth body was located in a fourth residence about 8 miles away, Reader said.
The authorities are suspecting that there may be more than one killer.
DeWine pressed that deaths are homicides but nobody killed themselves.
“It would appear all of them were shot in the head.It would appear it occurred at night. … The mother was killed in bed with the 4-day-old right there,” DeWine said.
” The Rhoden family was targeted and we’ve talked to the family and expressed our concern. The sheriff’s office will work with them for protection, ” he added.
Meanhile, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation. It sent more than a dozen agents to assist the Pike County Sheriff’s Office after the request for help came.
Ohio Governor John Kasich has called the situation “beyond comprehension” and said the state is working with local law enforcement.
“Reports we are receiving from Peebles are tragic beyond comprehension. We’ll continue to monitor this closely and the state will work w/ local law enforcement however we can, ” he tweeted. (ANI)