Homicide

Rhoden family killings: Tips sought on 4 people, including victim's ex

Ohio authorities appealed for tips Monday about the former boyfriend of a young woman killed last year along with seven other members of her family.

"Specifically, information could include, but is not limited to, information regarding vehicles, firearms, and ammunition," Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said in a statement.

The unusual appeal targets Edward "Jake" Wagner, 24, his brother George Wagner IV, 25, and their parents George "Billy" Wagner III and Angela Wagner, who are both 46. DeWine and Reader also took the unusual step of releasing photos of the four.

Jake Wagner’s 19-year-old ex-girlfriend Hanna Rhoden was one of eight members of her family shot execution-style at four locations in rural Pike County April 22, 2016.

Billy Wagner reportedly was friends with another victim, Charles Rhoden Sr., the father of Hanna.

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DeWine and Reader said they were seeking information from anyone who may have had personal or business dealings with the Wagners.

They said the Wagners may have moved recently to Alaska.

None have been named as suspects in the unsolved case.

In May, investigators searched property in Pike County and Adams County recently sold by the Wagners.

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Jake Wagner and his mother told the Cincinnati Enquirer after the searches that they were not involved in the murders.

"Please let's concentrate on finding the real monsters who did this," Jake Wagner said in a combined email from him and his mother, the newspaper reported June 8.

"What has happened to us in the last few weeks has been devastating and will follow us for the rest of our lives," Angela Wagner wrote in an email to the Enquirer. "Hanna was loved by all of us. She was like a daughter to me then and now."

The Enquirer reported Monday that family and neighbors claimed Hanna and Jake Wagner were involved in a nasty custody dispute over their daughter, Sophia. 

Both Wagners have denied that and said they have been interviewed and cooperated in the investigation, the paper reported.

DeWine has said investigators believe the killers knew the victims.

Investigators have also speculated the killings may have been drug-related after finding marijuana growing operations at two of the murder scenes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.