Exclusive: Rhoden evidence warehouse raid targeted chemical company

Exclusive: Rhoden evidence warehouse raid targeted chemical company

WAVERLY, OH (FOX19 NOW) - In a Facebook post this morning, Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader finally disclosed the purpose of Monday night's raid of the Rhoden evidence warehouse. The sheriff's office is using part of the warehouse to store the four mobile homes where eight members of the Rhoden family were shot to death last April.

Deputies were on scene at Hadsell Chemical company when FOX19 NOW arrived about 10 p.m. Monday.

Deputies wearing uniforms and what appeared to be undercover agents gathered at the warehouse, collecting boxes of what appeared to be evidence.

Reader, in an 11:07 a.m. Facebook posting, Reader wrote: "To alleviate the mis [sic] reporting of Fox 19 ' Jody Barr , AGAIN, he reported the Hadsell Chemical building being "raided" last night, this is the facts: my office was in receipt of a civil Writ of Possession for Personal Property against Hadsell Chemical Processing LLC. WE DID NOT EXECUTE A SEARCH WARRANT and DID NOT "RAID" anyone."

Reader issued the statement after multiple attempts to reach him that started around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Initially, a message left for him with the sheriff's Pike County dispatchers went unreturned. At 12:43 a.m., a call and message left on the sheriff's cell phone went unanswered and unreturned. We were eventually able to reach Reader through a text message at 12:56 a.m.

The text message was the only explanation we could get from the sheriff after the multiple attempts to have him explain what his office was doing at the warehouse.  

The warehouse became front-and-center in the Rhoden family massacre in May.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Pike County Sheriff's Office decided to rent space there to house the four mobile homes where eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered April 22.

Investigators said the eight were killed in their beds as they slept in four separate mobile homes.

No arrests have been made in the slayings.

In September, Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader told FOX19 NOW investigative reporter Jody Barr that he'd leased some space in the warehouse for $15,000 to store the Rhoden homes inside. That lease is up in May.

Reader also leased space outside to store dozens of pieces of equipment, ATVs, enclosed trailers and vehicles that belonged to the murdered family members.

On Monday night, we watched as deputies took boxes out of the warehouse and loaded them into an enclosed trailer outside.

That trailer was taken to the Pike County impound lot and locked inside a garage there.

Just after we got to the warehouse, two Pike County ambulances pulled up to the warehouse gate and spent several minutes talking with a deputy who was posted there awaiting the medics' arrival. The deputy eventually allowed the EMS units inside the gate. Once inside, the ambulances parked along the western wall of the warehouse.

The ambulances spent more than an hour at the warehouse.

Deputies would not tell us why they were there or why the sheriff's office appeared to be raiding the warehouse. At one point, a man who identified himself as "Deputy Brad Swinning," walked out to the right-of-way and would not answer questions about what the sheriff's office operation dealt with at the warehouse.

"I can't disclose any information at this time," Swinning said before walking back to the warehouse gate.

Around 10:45 p.m., a source called to tell us that a sheriff’s office staffer radioed that he needed crime scene tape inside the Rhoden evidence warehouse.

About a minute later, we saw two uniformed deputies, including Chief Deputy James Dixon, walking inside the chemical company's office with large rolls of crime scene tape.

Around midnight, the Pike County Crime Scene Collection truck left the warehouse with a generator-powered light rig attached to the back.

Another Chevrolet truck left the warehouse with the sheriff's enclosed trailer.

Both trucks went to the Pike County impound lot where deputies backed the enclosed trailer into a garage there.

Deputies locked the garage and then the main gate of the impound lot property.

The county's Crime Scene Collection truck went back to the Rhoden evidence warehouse a short time later.

One marked sheriff's office truck was still in the parking lot at 3 a.m.

We attempted several times to reach someone from the Ohio Attorney General's Office to find out if the agency was involved, as well as, the target and purpose of the raid.

Spokesman Dan Tierney, who is assigned to handle media calls related to the Rhoden investigation, told FOX19 NOW that he'd been out of the office for the last several days and could not offer any information on the raid.

Tierney referred us to the AG's spokeswoman, Jill DelGreco for comment.

We placed multiple calls to DelGreco's state-provided cell phone and left messages seeking information. Those were not returned overnight.

On Tuesday morning, Lisa Peterson, a spokeswoman with the attorney general's office said their agency and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation wasn't involved in the raid.

She also said she had no further information.

Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader declined comment on the raid through a text message, but told FOX19 NOW's Barr in the text message at 12:58 a.m. the raid was "Not related to the Rhoden case. No further comments."

Aside from the Rhoden evidence, the only evidence we could find of another operation located at the warehouse is the Hadsell Chemical Processing company and a Relevant Compounding, a chemical compounding company. Reader's Facebook posing indicated the raid was related to a civil case involving Hadsell Chemical Processing.

No one was available from either business on scene Monday night for comment.

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