Gallia-Meigs officers to join Piketon shootings investigation

By Dean Wright -

PIKE COUNTY — Two auxiliary deputies from the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and deputies from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office will be joining the investigation into the Pike County Rhoden family shootings case in which eight family members were executed.

Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning confirmed the information after an Ohio Attorney General’s press release and press conference Wednesday, although he said that little more information could be given out at this time.

Browning cited the Ohio Revised Code as having a useful section allowing members of law enforcement to team up in such circumstances.

Ohio Revised Code section 311.07 (B) says, “The sheriff of a county may call upon the sheriff of any other county, the mayor or other chief executive of any municipal corporation, and the chairperson of the board of township trustees of any township within this state, to furnish such law enforcement or fire protection personnel, or both, together with appropriate equipment and apparatus, as may be necessary to preserve the public peace and protect persons and property in the requesting sheriff’s county.”

According to a press release from Ohio Attorney General’s Office, AG Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader released the following update in the ongoing investigation into the execution-style killings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County:

Sixty-one additional items of evidence have been sent to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime laboratory for DNA, ballistics, latent print, and trace analysis. These items are in addition to the 18 high-priority items submitted for testing previously, for a total of 79 pieces of evidence.

Additional search warrants were served in connection with the investigation, however the number of search warrants and locations are not being released at this time. Since Friday, more than 300 tips have been received by both BCI and the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, all of which are being investigated. Authorities continue to request that those with information call 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or 740-947-2111.

To date, more than 215 law enforcement officials have contributed to the investigation. From the Attorney General’s Office this includes: special agents, analysts, prosecutors, and laboratory personnel. This also includes authorities from the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Pike County Prosecutor’s Office, Pike County and Hamilton County coroner’s offices, and additional manpower from 23 sheriff’s offices and other law enforcement agencies, including significant assistance from the Piketon Police Department.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration are also providing limited assistance on an as-needed basis.

By Dean Wright

Reach Dean Wright at 740-446-2342 Ext. 2103.

Reach Dean Wright at 740-446-2342 Ext. 2103.