Washington, April 25 (IANS) Marijuana “grow operations” were found at three of four scenes where eight members of an Ohio family were found murdered “execution style,” the authorities said.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Sunday said the Friday killings of the eight victims – all members of the Rhoden family of Piketon – were a “pre-planned execution”, NBC News reported
“It was a sophisticated operation. And those who carried it out were trying to do everything that they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said, as authorities scoured the town of Piketon for a suspect or suspects.
However, authorities have not yet confirmed if the killings were drug related, but an official with knowledge of the operation told CNN: “This operation was not for personal use; it was for something much bigger than that. It was a very sophisticated operation.”
A marijuana grow operation is the cultivation of marijuana, sometimes illegally, for the purpose of sale and distribution.
The victims, aged 16 to 44, were methodically shot in the head while sleeping at four residences, including a mother with a four-day-old infant lying beside her, authorities said.
The newborn, along with a six-month-old and a three-year-old, survived.
The killings happened before dawn, police said.
The victims were identified as Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.