Audio recordings from a 911 call have described the bloody scenes where eight members of an Ohio family were founded murdered in a "pre-planned execution". The out-of-breath voice from a female caller said: "There's blood all over the house" in the released audio, in which she added that it appeared the victims had also been beaten.
"I think they're both dead," she said before breaking down crying in one of the two 911 call recordings released on 23 April by the Ohio state attorney general's office. The calls were released a day after the family members were discovered to have been killed "execution style" at four locations in rural southern Ohio, CBS News reported.
In a press conference on 24 April, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine revealed that marijuana "grow operations" were found in three of the four scenes where eight members of the Rhoden family of Piketon were found. "It was a sophisticated operation. And those who carried it out were trying to do everything that they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution," DeWine said, as law enforcement continues to search for suspects.
According to NBC News, DeWine gave little information would not reveal if a suspect had been identified. "We will continue to provide you with information in regard to what we are doing. What we are not going to be able to do is provide you results," he said. "We will not be telling the bad guys everything that we know," DeWine added, before clarifying that he did not say "bad guys" to imply there was more than one attacker.
Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said investigators have received over 100 tip-offs, conducted more than 60 interviews and collected 18 pieces of evidence with five search warrants. Though the crime scenes had been thoroughly investigated, they remained secured in case officials needed to return, Reader added.
The eight victims were identified as: 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr; 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden; 20-year-old Hannah Gilley; 20-year-old Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden; 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; 38-year-old Gary Rhoden; 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr; and 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden. A 4-day-old, a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old were not injured in the attack.
Seven of the victims were discovered in three homes along the same road in the small town of Peebles, while the eighth victims was found in nearby Piketon, officials said, according to ABC News. DeWine revealed that some of the victims appeared to have been killed while they slept and were found killed in their beds. One of the victims was killed lying next to her four-day-old baby, he said.
Reader said that family members who were not present were advised to arm themselves while the killer or killers were on the loose. "I cautioned them that they were a target and I told them to be armed," he said.
The sheriff said he had never had contact with the family "in a criminal nature" but he and DeWine noted that the area and the state of Ohio have "a drug problem," NBC News reported.
Cincinnati-area restaurant owner Jeff Ruby put up a $25,000 (£17,000) reward on 23 April for any information leading to an arrest, while authorities renewed their call to the public for any information that may be relevant to the investigation.