Roosters for cockfighting in individual cages were discovered at one of the properties where eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered, Ohio’s Attorney General said on Monday. Also, hundreds of marijuana plants were found at three of the crime scenes.
Mike DeWine, the Attorney General of Ohio, said that the roosters kept in individual cages was akin to illegal cockfighting operations. On the other hand, Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk said that some of the several hundred marijuana plants were sheltered in a large grow-house. “It wasn’t just somebody sitting pots in the window,” the Washington Post quoted Junk as saying.
Junk added that the law enforcement officials were familiar with the family only for the reasons. “Altercations with people, that sort of thing,” he said. “Nothing like this.”
All of the eight victims from the Rhoden family were fatally shot in the head on Friday in Piketon. This included a young mother who was sleeping beside her newborn. The baby, along with another infant and a toddler, were spared. The other victims include 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr., 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden, and 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden.
Two of the four homes where the murders took place were within walking distance of each other.
The Attorney General’s office on Monday confirmed that one of the murdered victims received a threat via Facebook. Autopsies of all the eight murders are complete but the authorities have not yet revealed the motive.
Extensive cultivation of marijuana in the sparsely populated Ohio is not uncommon. Piketon, which is about 60 miles south of Columbus and 90 miles east of Cincinnati, is located in Pike County and home to only 28,000 people. This poverty-stricken corner of Appalachia has a high rate of unemployment, the Fox News reported.
According to DeWine, the investigators are examining 18 pieces of evidence, including DNA and that five search warrants have been produced. A businessman in the Cincinnati area has been offered a reward of US$25,000 (AU$32,320) for providing information.