OH Pike County: 8 in Rhoden Family Murdered Over Custody Issue 4 Members Wagner Family Arrested#37

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Old and Re-Tired Websleuth
Oct 28, 2009
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George Wagner is accused of killing a family of 8 living on a pot farm in Pike County OH. While first thought to be drug related the killings now could be the result of a custody battle. 3 other members of the Wagner family have been arrested as well. So many twists and turns and Websleuths members are on top of every single thing that happens in the shocking case.

The gruesome slayings have rattled this southeast corner of Appalachian Ohio, a region that culturally identifies more closely with neighboring Kentucky and West Virginia than the state’s northern cities.


Adding to the shock was the discovery of hundreds of illegal marijuana plants on Rhoden’s property, highlighting the region’s dependency on the illegal drug trade as jobs in agriculture and timber have dried up.

Audio 911 Calls


Video Interview with Attorney General DeWine Published 8-13-16

Minors: You may discuss what is covered in the main stream media regarding the custody of minor children. If posting snips from articles regarding the children please redact their names. These babes are innocents. One day they will google their names or those of their parents. And plenty will come up. Let's be respectful of them and the catastrophic loss they have suffered at such tender ages. Thanks.


Leave the politics, both national and local, at the door. There is no room for them here.

Rules Etiquette & Information

CASE NOTES (courtesy of cujenn81) this link contains locations, distance, victim info, relationships and more.

CASE MAP (courtesy of K.L.Puyallup)
Preliminary Autopsy Reports
Final Autopsy Reports source article

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Betty P

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Oct 31, 2008
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Please let me know any correction.

To try to summarize the indictments, it seems to me each of the 4 persons is charged with identical counts:
1-8 aggravated murder of the 8 victims
9- conspiracy to commit the murders with the 3 others, beginning around Jan 1, 2016, including purchasing items, surveillance of the victims, and learning their habits, etc
10-13 aggravated burglary on the 4 homes on the day of the murders.
14 - unlawful possession of weapon(s)
15-17 - tampering with evidence including victim's phones, custody documents from April 3, a silencer, home security video.
18 - forging custody documents on April 3, 2016
19-20 computer hacking of social media and intercepting emails, going back to July 1, 2014, up to May 2017 (when they left for AK?)
21 - obstructing justice by covering up for the others
22 - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity in committing these crimes, involving the 3 others killers, the 2 grandmothers, and a 'John Doe', beginning Jan 1, 2016.

Then JW has a charge of sex with a minor, Hanna Rhoden.

Thanks, Satchie, that's a pretty good summary. I would also add some mention in the tampering or obstructing section where they charge something about a video recorder that was purchased by Jake Wagner in March 2016. Perhaps they mention this because they found proof he purchased it, used it somehow in the planning or execution of the murders, then later disposed of it.

Anyone see any mention in there of vehicles that were used in the crimes? Just thinking about the red truck that was later sold or given to James Manley, then alleged to have been used in the crimes.


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Dec 26, 2013
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My notes from today's presser 11/13/2018:

Yesterday, the Grand Jury indicted four suspects on aggravated murder with death penalty specifications.

The Suspects:
George Billy Wagner III
Angela Wagner
George Wagner IV
Edward J. Wagner

These arrests are the result of an extensive joint investigation into the murder of eight family members by the AG’s office, the FBI, and Pike County Sheriff's Office.

The Victims:
Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40
Dana Manley Rhoden, 37
Hanna Mae Rhoden, 19
Christopher Rhoden Jr, 16
Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20
Hannah Hazel Gilley, 20
Kenneth Rhoden, 44
Gary Rhoden, 38

The evidence will show that the four suspects meticulously planned these murders. They conspired together to kill these 8 people. All four suspects have been charged with eight counts of aggravated murder each (one for each victim) with death penalty specifications.

He won’t be able to say much about motive due to the open prosecution but will say that custody plays a role. He believes the evidence will show that the Wagners came up with an elaborate plan to kill these eight victims in the cover of darkness and made elaborate plans to cover up the murders. The evidence will show that the suspects spent months planning these crimes. They studied their habits and routines. They knew the layouts of their homes. The suspects tampered with evidence--their phones and the surveillance cameras on their properties.

They have been gathering evidence for two and a half years. On July 2018, a judge and an investigative grand jury met weekly to go over evidence and to come up with ways to discover new evidence. The last piece of significant physical evidence was discovered on October 30, 2018 and the analysis of that evidence was completed just a few days later, on Nov 7th. This last piece of evidence, along with all of the other evidence they’ve collected since the murders, is what led them to today’s charges and arrests.

The suspects have also been charged with a number of other other offenses: conspiracy, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance, unauthorized use of property, interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications, and obstruction of justice. All four suspects have also been charged with forgery for allegedly forging child custody documents. Two other individuals have also been arrested in conjunction with the coverup of these crimes, and they are the parents of two of the Wagners -- Rita Newcomb and Fredericka Wagner. These two arrests are related to an attempt to mislead authorities.

Also, from this article... Pike County: Wagner family arrested in the Rhoden family massacre

"They did this quickly, coldly, calmly and very carefully – but not carefully enough," said. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader. Prosecutors allege Angela Wagner purchased several items in the months leading up to the deaths of the Rhoden family and Hannah Gilley.

"...specific shoes from Walmart, 'brass catcher(s),' items with which to build 'brass catchers,' ammunition, a magazine clip, a 'bug' detector, and or items with which to build a 'silencer(s),' and/or various other items in preparation for these crimes," the indictment states.

Brass catchers are used to collect discharged bullet casings.


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Mar 2, 2017
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pepper 34

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May 17, 2016
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CSr's body showed more decomposition that the other 7 victims. I believe CSr was killed first but I think we should take the information below into account when we try to estimate how much earlier. We don't know what the results are but I think it's safe to assume drug testing was done on all the victims after death... maybe toxicology tests and medical histories compiled, as well. If any of the highlighted items below were present in life, then this will be taken into account by the coroner as to time of death. We can conclude that CSr died first because it makes a lot of sense that he did but we'll have to wait until the trial to have that time difference narrowed down for us, I think.
(The other factors mentioned in the article don't seem to apply in this case but I could be wrong about that. I have no idea, for example, if CSr liked to crank up a space heater or two to warm up the trailer at night, or if he had grow lights on for plants in a back room of the trailer and was found in that room, etc... )

"Endogenous factors included fever, infections, illicit and prescription drugs, obesity and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. When these factors or conditions are identified at autopsy less significance should, therefore, be attached to changes of decomposition as markers of time since death."
Factors and processes causing accelerated decomposition in human cadavers - An overview. - PubMed - NCBI


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Feb 21, 2013
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The last piece of significant physical evidence was discovered on October 30, 2018 and the analysis of that evidence was completed just a few days later, on Nov 7th.
Can we speculate on that significant piece of evidence discovered On Oct 30, 2018....two and a half years after the murders? If it was a silencer that suddenly showed up, where had it been all this time" This is keeping me awake at night.

pepper 34

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May 17, 2016
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Copied and pasted from previous thread.

And to go out further on a limb I might guess that Wagner the 3d lent money to Chris Sr... at an unlawful rate of interest. Chris Sr might have put the money down on Dana's new place rather than doing what he told Wagner the 3d he was going to do with the money. That would have caused a little explosion in Wagner the 3d's head. Jake was probably swerving all over the road when as he rushed home to tell Mom and Dad and Big Brubber that Chris Sr just bought the place down the road from his house for Dana and her kids. Now how would they get custody of S? How many people here guessed that new home for Dana was the catalyst for the murders? Things were already hot custody-wise and that would light the fuse. You bet they'd be looking for any cash they could find in those houses during the murders... probably went through people's pockets and purses, too.
Anyway... just a guess.

Myland commented:
"Or skimming off the top jmo"

Please explain this "skimming off the top to me." I don't know much about this sort of thing. My understanding would be that Wag the 3d loans Chris Sr some money at an illegal rate of interest. Chris Sr. would be expected to pay the entire amount plus interest back on the mutually decided upon due date. Why would Wag the 3d be upset if Chris Sr. skimmed some of the money to keep for himself if they were in some scheme together (no matter what he did with it) as long as he will be re-paid what he loaned-plus? Even if the money was loaned to do something illegal that they both profited from... Wag the 3d still gets all his money plus a large amount of interest back so what would be the problem? Sorry.... I don't borrow or lend money and I don't deal drugs or whatever... so I'm completely in the dark here. Is the problem that money skimmed and spent another way puts the borrower on the spot if he can't pay it all back on time?
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