Final autopsies leave unanswered questions in family massacre case
WAVERLY, OH (FOX19 NOW) - The final autopsy reports for eight family members killed in April have been released following a court battle between the attorney general and an Ohio newspaper.
Most of the Rhoden family members were shot between two and nine times, according to preliminary autopsies released earlier this year. Kenneth Rhoden was the only family member with just one gunshot wound, the final autopsy, which was released on Friday, shows.
Most of the final autopsy reports are heavily redacted. The visible text shows much of the information already documented in the preliminary autopsy.
The coroner declined to connect the number of gunshot wounds to each victim. The cause of death for each family member is named as follows:
- Christopher Rhoden Jr., Age 16: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head
- Christopher Rhoden Sr., Age 40: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head, torso and upper extremity
- Clarence Franklin Rhoden, Age 20: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head
- Dana Rhoden, Age 37: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head and neck.
- Gary Rhoden, Age 38: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head
- Hanna Rhoden, Age 19: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head
- Kenneth Rhoden, Age 44: Single gunshot wound to the head
- Hannah Gilley, Age 20: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the redacted documents "were prepared to balance the current needs of the active investigation with transparency of the law enforcement process."
Seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family were found shot at four homes near Piketon on April 22. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has called the killings pre-planned and sophisticated. No suspects have been named in the unsolved murders.
The autopsies were released Friday after the Ohio Supreme Court ended settlement talks to released the findings.
The complaint from an Ohio newspaper alleged the Pike County coroner is improperly withholding the reports.
The coroner says the autopsies are "confidential law enforcement investigatory records" that aren't subject to public records laws. Ohio's attorney general says he supports that position to avoid jeopardizing chances of catching the killers.
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