In a rural town in Ohio, eight members of the same family was murdered “execution style”, including a mother with a 4-day old baby beside her.
According to authorities, they have found seven adults and a 16-year old dead at four different homes belonging to the Rhoden family. The victims were fatally shot in the head. Some, but not all, of the victims were found in bed, indicating they were shot while they were sleeping.
The victims — one of whom was 16 years old — include a grandmother, grandfather, their two adult children, the girlfriend of one of their children and the brother and nephew of the grandfather, according to police reports.
Identity of the killers is still unknown. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said, the suspect or suspects are still at large and are probably armed and a danger to the 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 added.
The 4-day old baby, a 6-month old, and a 3-year old survived the killing.
“It’s heartbreaking,” State Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “The one mom was killed in her bed with the 4-day-old right there.”
“We’re advising family members to be very careful and take particular caution,” DeWine said. “This is a matter of public safety, especially for the Rhoden family.”
Authorities added that the Rhoden family appeared to be targeted by the killers due the distance where the dead bodies were found. Seven bodies were found in three homes a few miles of one another in a sparsely populated area in Piketown, while the eighth body was found in a house 30 mile away.
Pastor Phil Fulton of the nearby Union Hill church said, “It’s a tragic thing that has happened in our community, ”we’re a rural community out here in the country that’s never had something like this before.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich called the situation “beyond comprehension” and said the state is working with local law enforcement.