COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities on Monday asked for information about four former Ohio residents who may have moved to Alaska as part of their investigation into the unsolved slayings of eight family members last year.
Investigators said they’re seeking details on personal or business interactions and conversations that people may have had with the four, who once lived near the victims in southern Ohio.
“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 four were named as George “Billy” Wagner III, Angela Wagner and their sons George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner. None was named a suspect.
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Jake Wagner was a long-time former boyfriend of Hanna Rhoden, one of the eight victims, and shared custody of their daughter at the time of the massacre.
Jake Wagner and Angela Wagner told the Cincinnati Enquirer this month they were not involved in the April 2016 killings.
“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.
In May, investigators searched property in southern Ohio recently sold by the Wagners. The family, formerly of Peebles, is believed to be living in Alaska.
“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.”
Authorities suspect there were multiple attackers who were familiar with the victims’ homes and the surrounding area. The motive behind the April 22, 2016, killings remains a mystery.
Besides Hanna Rhoden, those killed in the attack were her father, Christopher Rhoden Sr.; her mother, Dana Rhoden; her brothers Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Christopher Rhoden Jr.; Frankie Rhoden’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley; a cousin, Gary Rhoden; and Kenneth Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden’s brother. They ranged in age from 16 to 44.
DeWine’s office has said Christopher Rhoden Sr. had “a large-scale marijuana growing operation,” leading to speculation the killings were drug-related.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/andrew-welsh-huggins
This story has been corrected to show the father’s name is George “Billy” Wagner III, not George “Billy” Wagner IV.