U.S. officials: slaying of Ohio family members "sophisticated"

By Reuters   April 25, 2016 | 08:40 am GMT+7
Officials in Ohio say the execution-style murders of eight members of a rural family were "sophisticated" and well-planned, and the investigation could take some time.

Eight family members found shot to death at four homes in rural Ohio were specifically targeted for execution in a pre-planned, "sophisticated" operation, authorities said on Sunday as their investigation of the unsolved killings entered a third day.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said it was clear the victims, ranging in age from 16 to 44, were deliberately singled out for attack, most of them while they slept, rather than killed at random or in a crime of passion.

But in their latest briefing to reporters, officials declined to comment on any possible motive or say whether they had identified any suspects. While DeWine at times used plural pronouns, he insisted investigators remained unsure whether they were seeking one or more perpetrators.

"This was a pre-planned execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation. And those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution," DeWine said. "We would anticipate that this could be a lengthy investigation," he added.

The victims, all previously identified as members of the Rhoden family, were found shot in the head in four separate homes on Friday in or near Piketon, a town of some 2,000 people about 95 miles east of Cincinnati in south-central Ohio. They included a mother who was slain in bed with her 4-day-old infant in her arms. That baby and two other small children present during the killings - a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old - all survived, officials said.
 
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