On Tuesday evening, authorities announced that they had arrested an Ohio family of four in connection with a gruesome massacre of eight members of another family, which occurred two years ago.
George “Billy” Wagner III, Angela Wagner, George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner were all arrested for allegedly killing eight members of the Rhoden Family execution-style in April 2016.
Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his older brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; Christopher’s former wife, Dana Manley Rhoden, 38; their three children, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Hanna Rhoden, 19, and Chris Rhoden, Jr., 16; and a cousin Gary Rhoden, 38, and Hannah Gilley, 20, were all killed in their homes April 22, 2016.
The murderers occurred at four different homes in Pike County, and most of the victims were asleep when they were killed.
Two others were also arrested in connection with the murders.
Rita Newcomb and Fredericka Wagner, mothers of Angela Wagner and George “Billy” Wagner, are accused of forging custody documents.
Two other people were also arrested today in connection with the alleged cover-up of the #PikeCounty homicides. Anglea Wagner's mother, Rita Newcomb, and Billy Wagner's mother, Fredericka Wager. pic.twitter.com/WRuagVXMAB
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) November 13, 2018
“There was an obsession with control of the children,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said at a Tuesday news conference.
Specifically, 4-year-old Sophia Wagner, who was the daughter of Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden, was at the center of what took place.
According to Cinncinnati.com:
“They did this quickly, coldly, calmly and very carefully – but not carefully enough,” said. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.
Prosecutors allege Angela Wagner purchased several items in the months leading up to the deaths of the Rhoden family and Hannah Gilley.
“…specific shoes from Walmart, ‘brass catcher(s),’ items with which to build ‘brass catchers,’ ammunition, a magazine clip, a ‘bug’ detector, and or items with which to build a ‘silencer(s),’ and/or various other items in preparation for these crimes,” the indictment states.
Brass catchers are used to collect discharged bullet casings.
Prosecutors also say members of the family forged custody documents in their efforts to keep Sophia Wagner.
The attorney for the Wagners, John Kearson Clark, in a statement said his clients were innocent and looked forward to their trials. Clark said the family hopes the true culprits were brought to justice.
“They are hopeful for a thorough vetting of the facts,” Clark said.
Authorities have repeatedly said the killers worked to cover their tracks, adding complexity to what is the largest homicide investigation in Ohio history. DeWine reiterated that point Tuesday saying authorities estimate that they conducted tens of thousands of hours of investigative work, followed more than 1,100 tips from the public and conducted 550 interviews.
Also, the New York Post reported back in September:
Jason Kearson Clark, a lawyer for the family, told the Dayton Daily News there was no animosity between the families.
“Despite what has been said and alleged, the Wagners were on friendly terms with the Rhodens,” Clark said. “Therefore, the Wagners had no reason to wish them harm.”
The attorney said last year the family was being “harassed while the real killer or killers are out there.”
“The authorities [using the media] want the public to believe that the Wagners are responsible and have absconded,” Clark told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If that were true, why would the Wagners have come forward on their own and agreed to give whatever limited information they had?”
Furthermore, the family had moved more than 4,000 miles after speculation rose against them for committing the crime.
“Really the point to moving up here was to basically get into a better environment so they wouldn’t talk about us,” Jake Wagner told The Enquirer in July 2017. Sophia is getting older, so she wouldn’t hear it. And then it followed us here.”
A time for arraignment had not been scheduled as of Tuesday evening. However, each of the persons charged is in various jails in both Ohio and Kentucky.
Article posted with permission from Sons Of Liberty Media
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