Four ‘Persons of Interest’ Named in Rhoden Family Murder Investigation

On Monday, June 19, 2017, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office issued a press release indicating his office, along with Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, are seeking information on four individuals in connection with the Rhoden family murder investigation.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the law enforcement office that works alongside the attorney general, and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, who have repeatedly asked that anyone with information related to the Rhoden family murders to come forward, have now asked for information specific to these four individuals, all of one family: George “Billy” Wagner III, 46; Angela Wagner, 46; George Wagner IV, 25 and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 24.

Authorities would like to talk to anyone who has had interactions with any of the four Wagner family members, from conversations to business interactions. In particular, authorities are interested in information having to do with vehicles, firearms and/or ammunition, but ask that anyone with any information having to do with the Wagners share that with law enforcement.

George Wagner III had owned property and lived in Peebles, Ohio, just a few miles from three of the four murder scenes, but the 71-acre farm was sold in March 2017 for $165,000. The Wagner family is believed to no longer live in the area and may have relocated to Alaska, according to information in the Ohio AG’s press release.

The Wagner farm and property belonging to George Wagner III’s father were two of three properties searched by teams of law enforcement officers in mid-May 2017.

Information about the ongoing investigation into the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in a single night in April 2016 has been scanty as authorities have been keeping details of the crimes itself and information learned during the investigation to themselves, at least in part to prevent tipping off the perpetrator(s) of the murders.

The Wagner family has ties to the Rhoden family through Hanna Rhoden, 19, one of the eight victims killed the night of April 21, 2017. Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden had a daughter together, 2-year-old Sophia, who was with her father on the night of the murders. Hanna’s newborn daughter, Kylie Rhoden was with her mother the night of the slayings, and was found lying unharmed next to Hanna.

At the time of the murders, Jake Wagner suspected he was the father of Kylie Rhoden, but a subsequent paternity test after the death of Hanna Rhoden proved otherwise. Jake Wagner was awarded custody of his daughter, Sophia, after Hanna’s death.

Related Reading: Victims of Ohio Mass Murder Likely Knew Their Assailants

One Year Later, Still No Arrests in Rhoden Family Murders

The Victims in Pike County, Ohio As Individuals and Their Culture

While Ohio authorities have stopped short of calling the four members of the Wagner family suspects in the murders of Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Dana Rhoden, 37; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Hanna Rhoden, 19; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Hannah Gilley, 20, fiancee of Frankie Rhoden; Kenneth Rhoden, 44 and Gary Rhoden, 38, AG spokesman Dan Tierney wants to the public to know that the information they are seeking about the Wagner family is definitely related to the Rhoden murder investigation.

A $10,000 reward remains in effect and all information provided to authorities will remain confidential. Anyone with information is urged to call either the Ohio BCI tip line at 1-855-BCI-OHIO (1-855-224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff’s office at 1-740-947-2111.


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