Authorities urged residents to be cautious in this part of rural southern OH heading into the weekend as the search continued for whoever fatally shot eight members of a family at four different properties.
“The investigation will go wherever the facts take us”, he said.
Details on the death of the eighth person weren’t immediately available, but the body was found in a fourth location, said Jill Del Greco, spokeswoman with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Investigators have yet to disclose a suspected motive in the massacre of the Rhoden family in Pike County, in the Appalachian region of south-central Ohio.
Authorities said all the victims were members of the Rhoden family, but they declined to provide any more information about them. Three children – ages 4 days, 6 months and 3 years – were found in the houses unharmed, the sheriff said.
One victim was a young mom, murdered in bed as she lay with her 4-day-old newborn; the baby, plus two other children, escaped the slaughter. The killings have left rural Pike County reeling.
Local coroner Vernon Collins said five people were dead in two shootings that are possibly connected, the report added.
Police said the victims were a 75-year-old man, an 85-year-old woman and a 31-year-old woman found at one home, and a 59-year-old woman and a 62-year-old man found at another shortly after.
Law enforcement officials said they met with relatives of the victims at a church Friday night and death notifications were being made to other relatives.
“Yes, looks like someone beat the crap out of them”, the caller said.
“We do not know if we are talking about one individual or two or three or more”, DeWine said.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said on Friday he was unsure if there was one perpetrator or more. While responding, deputies were flagged down and sent to two other places, where they discovered bodies.
“Dana loved her family”.
Kendra Jordan, 20, said she often worked nights at a nursing home with Hanna Rhoden and described her as outgoing, amusing and always smiling.
Authorities allow crime scene investigation vehicles to pass a perimeter checkpoint near a crime scene, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Pike County, Ohio.
Gov. John Kasich, campaigning in CT for his Republican presidential bid, said his office was monitoring the investigation, and he vowed that whoever’s responsible will be brought to justice.
Piketon is the site of a Cold War-era uranium plant that was closed in 2001 and is still being cleaned up.
Peebles High School temporarily imposed a precautionary lockout Friday morning after authorities notified the superintendent about the shootings a few miles away, according to Regina Bennington, secretary to the superintendent for the Adams County Ohio Valley Schools district.