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Four people arrested over murder of eight Ohio family members

A family of four has been arrested for the gruesome slayings of eight people from another family in rural Ohio two years ago.

George ‘Billy’ Wagner III, 47; his wife Angela Wagner, 48; and their two sons, George Wagner, 27, and Edward Wagner, 26, were all arrested on Tuesday in connection to one of the state’s most notorious crimes.

The Wagners were all charged with planning and murdering the Rhoden family in Piketon in southern Ohio back in April 2016. 

It is the first break in a case that left the rural community reeling and surviving family members wondering if answers would ever come. 

Edward Wagner

George ‘Billy’ Wagner III, 47; his wife Angela Wagner, 48; and their two sons, George Wagner, 27, and Edward Wagner, 26, were all arrested on Tuesday for the murders of the Rhoden family in Ohio in 2016

The arrests are the culmination of a massive investigative effort since the seven adults and a 16-year-old boy were found dead at four different homes.

The victims were Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his ex-wife Dana Rhoden, 37; their three children, Clarence ‘Frankie’ Rhoden, 20; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; and Hanna Rhoden, 19; Frankie Rhoden’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20; and a cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38.

Three children were found unharmed.

The Wagner family, who lived nearby and whose son fathered Hanna May Rhoden’s child, moved to Alaska after being questioned over the killings multiple times.

They took the toddler with them. 

Christopher Rhoden Sr. had ‘a large-scale marijuana growing operation’, which initially lead many to speculate that the killings were drug-related. 

Autopsy reports suggested the murders were calculated and brutal.

Christopher Rhoden Sr. is the only victim who was believed to have been awake when they were shot. 

The father-of-three sustained nine gunshot wounds in his forearm, torso and cheek.

Sharing a trailer with Christopher Sr. was his brother Gary, who was shot twice in the head and a third time in the face. His autopsy report says a ‘muzzle stain’ was left on his head, suggesting at one point a shot was fired while the gun was pressed against him.

Dana Rhoden was carefully shot four times around her head and a fifth time from under her chin. 

She was sharing a trailer with Christopher Jr. and Hanna who were both shot in the head multiple times. Hanna was in bed with her five-day-old child at the time.

Frankie Rhoden and Hannah Gilley were also shot in the head, but their six-month-old child, who was sleeping between the couple, was spared. Hannah was shot five times in total, with one shot hitting her left eye. 

Kenneth Rhoden was shot only once, with the bullet entering his right eye. 

A message was left with a lawyer who has been representing the Wagners in the investigation. 

An attorney has said previously the family cooperated with investigators.