Trailer seized from Pike Co. crime scene, victim’s brother charged

Eight members of the Rhoden family were found shot at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles south of Columbus, in April of 2016

Pike County massacre investigation
Courtesy: WCMH

PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (AP/WCMH) – Authorities investigating the slayings of eight relatives in southern Ohio have taken a trailer linked to the family of one victim’s ex-boyfriend. Additionally, the brother of one of the Pike County massacre victims has been charged with tampering with evidence and vandalism.

The trailer was taken from one of multiple sites that authorities searched late last week. Bernie Brown, who owns property in Peebles where the trailer had been stored, said its owners needed a place to keep household items after recently selling their Adams County farm.

Whatever significance the trailer might have hasn’t been publicly disclosed.

No arrests have been made, and family members have pleaded for anyone with information that might help solve the case to come forward.

Authorities have executed several dozen search warrants in the lengthy investigation. One of the most recent was issued in April and allowed investigators to put a tracking device on a truck driven by 40-year-old James Manley, of Pike County.

Manley is the brother of Dana Rhoden, who was found dead, along with seven others in rural Pike County on the morning of April 22, 2016.

He is charged with one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and vandalism, a fifth-degree felony.

According to a statement from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, Manley is accused of destroying a GPS device used in the investigation.

“The charges Manley faces are not uncommon when a witness destroys such a device used in a government investigation,” the statement said.

According to court documents, the device was placed on a red pickup truck owned by Manley by court order. On April 28, 2017, less than a week after the device was placed, it stopped transmitting location data.

On May 15, BCI agents went to Manley’s home to give notice of the court order.

According to court documents, Manley’s father opened the door and yelled something to the effect of, “You b*****ds, that thing’s not on the truck!”

Manley’s father told the agents the device was destroyed, according to court documents.

An arrest warrant was issued for Manley on Tuesday.

Leonard Manley, whose adult daughter and grandchildren were slain and who is related to the driver of the tracked truck, said he wants justice, but it seems to him that investigators are “grasping at straws.”

“It’s like a wound and then you pick at it,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “and they are starting to pick pretty hard.”

The Pike County sheriff and the Ohio attorney general’s office won’t discuss details of any searches or other parts of the investigation into the massacre of the Rhoden family.

The victims were Kenneth Rhoden, 44; Christopher Rhoden, Sr., 40; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; their three children, 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden, Jr., and 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden; a cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden; and Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, 20-year-old Hannah Gilley.

They were found shot at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles south of Columbus. Three children were found unharmed.

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