Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

Mary Staes

Mary Staes

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Mary Staes

On April 22, 2016, a family of 8 was found dead in a shooting across three properties on Union Hill Road. They were all a part of the Rhoden Family. Pike County is 50 miles from Columbus and 60 miles from Cincinnati. Investigators of the Pike County Massacre say members of the Wagner family conspired against and killed the Rhoden family. Four members of the Wagner family are arrested in three different locations.

You can watch the full episode of Missing in Milwaukee on Hometown Tragedy, streaming only on Very Local

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

PIKE COUNTY, OHIO – On April 22, 2016, a family of 8 was found dead in a shooting across three properties on Union Hill Road. They were all a part of the Rhoden Family. Pike County is 50 miles from Columbus and 60 miles from Cincinnati.

The family tree:

– Cousins Christopher Rhoden Sr. and Gary Rhoden were found dead at the same location. 

– Chris’ ex-wife Dana, and two of their three children, Hanna and Chris Jr., were found dead at Dana’s home. 

– Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and his fiancee Hannah Gilley were found at the third property. 

– Hours later, officers find cousin Kenneth Rhoden dead at another home miles away. 

The only child not present at the time of the murders is Hanna Rhoden’s 2-year-old daughter, who is with her father, Edward “Jake” Wagner. Three other small children survive the murders unharmed.

Family feud

After the murders, the Wagner family moves to Alaska, with Jake saying he wanted to shield his daughter from what happened.

In November 2018, investigators say members of the Wagner family conspired against and killed the Rhoden family. Four members of the Wagner family are arrested in three different locations. Jake Wagners’ parents and older brother plead not guilty. Other family members are charged with covering up various parts of the murders.

In 2021, Jake pleads guilty to the murders as long as the death penalty for his parents and brother is taken off the table.

As of Feb. 2022, the cases against Jake’s father and older brother are still ongoing. 

Want to learn more about the Pike County Massacre?

True Crime Podcasts

Listen to the iHeartRadio podcastThe Piketon Massacre which chronicles Ohio’s largest criminal investigation.

True Crime Books

Murders on the Ridge: Mystery in Briar County by USA Today Bestselling Author Andrea Smith is a 2020 fictional mystery based on the events in Pike County.

The Piketon Murders by Ruth Kanton is a 174-page book chronicling the murders and the many players. 

Want more true crime?

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