Three Families Seek Custody of Young Children Spared in Piketon Murders

By Andrew Simontacchi, Epoch Times
June 6, 2016 Updated: June 6, 2016

After seven members of the Rhoden family and one woman were shot execution-style in rural Pike County, Ohio, in April, several family members have begun the process to take custody of the two survivors—6-month-old Ruger and his cousin, then-5-day-old Kylie.

At least three families have retained lawyers and started the legal and personal processes in preparation for a custody battle over the surviving infants, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer report.

The two babies have been under the care and supervision of the state since the murders.

Ruger and his older brother, Brentley, lost both parents in the massacre. Kylie’s older sister, Sophia, is currently being taken care of by a surviving parent, who is also looking after Brentley.

The report states that members of the families have submitted background checks and are preparing their homes in order to prove fit to raise the children. They have also agreed to take paternity tests

The victims were 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr.; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden, who were the grandparents to Kylie and Ruger. 

Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Hannah Gilley, both 20, are Ruger’s parents.

Kylie was found next to her dead mother’s body, 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden.

Also slain were Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and a cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden.

The Enquirer reported that authorities have kept much about the case secret, sealing court documents, fearing the remaining family’s safety. Investigators have yet to identity a suspect, but are sparing no one from suspicion.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said that by early May, more than 120 witnesses interviews were collected. More than 100 pieces of evidence were also collected. Those responsible for the slayings covered their tracks well, DeWine said.