Funeral held for 6 family members found slain in Ohio

Mourners gather around caskets at Scioto Burial Park during funeral services for six of the eight

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CBS) — A funeral has been held for six family members who were found slain with two other relatives at their homes in southern Ohio.

Caskets were loaded onto six black hearses after Tuesday’s services at a West Portsmouth church. The hearses then led a procession of more than 150 vehicles to a nearby hillside cemetery.

Eight members of the Rhoden family who were murdered in Pike County, Ohio on April 22, 2016. CBS NEWS
Eight members of the Rhoden family who were murdered in Pike County, Ohio on April 22, 2016. CBS NEWS

Seven adults and a 16-year-old boy from the Rhoden family were found dead April 22 at four properties near Piketon. No arrests have been made.

Some mourners arrived at the church wearing bright orange T-shirts saying “Rhoden Proud, Rhoden Strong” on the front and “In Loving Memory” on the back with the victims’ names.

“Nobody should ever have to bury a whole family. … It’s just really sad. It’s something that shouldn’t ever happen to anybody,” one family member told CBS Columbus affiliate WBNS.

One car had “Fly High Rhodens” and the date they were found dead scrawled in the back windshield.

A victim’s advocate speaking for the family said he hopes the healing can begin soon.

David Dickerson, who works for the Pike County prosecutor’s office, called the funeral extremely somber and said the family is grateful for the support they’ve received.

The Rev. Mark Seevers said he didn’t know the family, but they had requested space at the Dry Run Church of Christ in West Portsmouth and the church wanted to serve them.

“The southern Ohio community is a close-knit family, and even though it was, you know, 20 to 30 minutes away, it rocked our community,” Seevers said. “Everyone is grieving and mourning.”

Still trying to determine who killed the victims and why, authorities have conducted nearly 130 interviews and are reviewing about 450 tips and more than 100 pieces of evidence, Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday.

Authorities said they found a large-scale illegal marijuana growing operation at one of the crime scenes and said pot was being cultivated at some of the other homes, too — something not uncommon in this corner of Appalachia — but they haven’t said whether they believe that to be connected to a motive.

DeWine said he wouldn’t speculate as to whether a threat to the family remains.

“We have no new information that would indicate that there is a threat to any of the members of the family,” he said. “We don’t have any information on that. And we did not when we initially said it other than the fact we had eight people killed.”

The last funeral honors 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; their three children, 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 16-year-old Christopher Jr., and 19-year-old Hanna; and Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden.

The funeral home titled their online obituary simply “The Rhoden Family,” with a section listing how each of those victims was linked to the others and their survivors.

Services for a cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38, were held Thursday in South Shore, Kentucky. Mourners remembered Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, 20-year-old Hannah Gilley, at a funeral Saturday in Otway.

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