The gruesome findings emerged as investigators reportedly examined a potential Mexican drug cartel connection for the executions on properties used for marijuana growing operations.
Local station 10TV, citing anonymous law enforcement sources, said authorities are examining whether a cartel turf war or family feud sparked the slaughter of eight members of the Rhoden family.
The victims — seven adults and a 16-year-old — had gunshot wounds to their heads, torsos and other parts of their bodies, according to autopsy results. With one exception, each victim suffered at least two gunshot wounds, and one was shot nine times. Some bodies also were bruised from apparent beatings.
The autopsy results did not identify any of the victims.
Police have not made any arrests or identified any suspects for the massacre, which authorities called “pre-planned executions.”
Three of the four crimes scenes held several hundred marijuana plants, prosecutors said.
"It wasn't just somebody sitting pots in the window," Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk told the Columbus Dispatch.
|(L-R) Christopher Rhoden Jr., Christopher Rhoden Sr., Dana Rhoden, Kenneth Rhoden, Gary Rhoden, Hanna May Rhoden, Frankie Rhoden and Hannah Hazel Gilley were victims of the April 22nd shooting.|
The eight victims were Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Gary Rhoden, 38; Kenneth Rhoden, 44; Dana Rhoden, 37; Clarence Rhoden, 20; Hannah Gilley, 20; and Hanna Rhoden, 19.
Two children, and an infant sleeping with one victim, were unharmed and are now under the care of extended family member.
In 2012, authorities seized more than 1,200 marijuana plants, with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel, in Waverly, a town about five miles away from the Rhoden farms.