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Crime Expert: Ohio family massacre was a ‘professional hit’ linked to the drug trade

September 26, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Crime Expert: Ohio family massacre was a ‘professional hit’ linked to the drug trade

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Crime Expert: Rhoden family massacre in Ohio likely a ‘professional hit’ linked to the drug trade

The horrific, unsolved slayings of the eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio two years ago have the “aspects of a professional hit,” an expert indicated this week.

Dr. Jennifer Murray’s research builds on the conclusions of an autopsy report published last week in the infamous murders. While no suspects have been charged in the case, Pike County investigators have long alleged that the deaths were linked to the drug trade.

All eight victims including seven adults and one teenager were part of the Rhoden family.

“It has aspects of a professional hit, I don’t think it was a cartel hit or anything,” Dr. Jennifer Murray, a mass killings specialist and associate professor at Indiana State University, said to WLWT-TV last week. “They’re not this cleanly done. Usually, you can see who did it.”

Despite describing the murders as being drug-related, police have not identified a suspect or suspects in the brutal murders. Attorney General Mike DeWine said 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr. managed a “large-scale marijuana operation.”

Last year, DeWine said that officials were “laser-focused” on the Wagner family, who resided near the Rhoden’s at the time of the murders, but later relocated to Alaska, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Edward “Jake” Wagner, Angela Wagner and George “Billy” Wagner III. (Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Pike County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Edward Jacob Wagner shared a child with Hanna Rhoden — the 19-year-old shot two times in the head. However, neither he nor George Wagner, Angela Wagner or their son were identified as suspects. Jason Kearson Clark, the family’s attorney, told the Dayton Daily News there was no hostility between the families.

“Despite what has been alleged, the Wagners were on friendly terms with the Rhoden family,” Clark stated. “The Wagners had no reason to wish harm.”

The lawyer revealed that last year the family was being “harassed while the real killer or killers are out there.”

“Authorities want the public to believe that the Wagners are responsible and have absconded,” Clark said to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If that were true, why would the Wagners come forward and agree to give whatever information they had?”

While the autopsies indicated that the Rhoden family were killed in a sadistic fashion, Murray said professionals might have helped whoever was behind the homicides.

“It’s two years later, and they haven’t indicted anybody. They did a good job and I don’t think the average family knows how to do that. They may have hired someone,” she explained to WLWT-TV.

Investigators believe that there were multiple attackers and that they knew the area well.

“Nobody has seen anything like this,” Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk revealed last week.

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