A family living in Alaska is now claiming that Ohio authorities are ‘harassing’ them in regards to an investigation pertaining to the murders of 8 individuals while the real killer(s) are left to roam free.
The Wagner family previously lived in Peebles, Ohio at the time of the unsolved murders, however, they recently moved to Alaska and state that being labeled as a “special focus” in the murder investigation is nothing more than senseless harassment on the part of the state’s attorney general.
Explaining that the Wagner’s have fully cooperated with investigators, family attorney John Kearson Clark told the Cincinnati Enquirer that authorities are using the media to convince the public into believing his clients are “responsible” the killing and “have absconded.”
“If that were true, why would the Wagners have come forward on their own and agreed to give whatever limited information they had?” Clark stated.
Clark’s harsh criticism of Ohio authorities follows Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader releasing the driver’s license photos of George “Billy” Wagner III, his wife, Angela, and their two adult sons, George and Edward “Jake”.
In addition to releasing the photos, authorities issued a statement calling on the public to come forward with any information on the Wangers, including vehicle descriptions, private conversations and details regarding their ownership of firearms and ammunition.
The Ohio Attorney General’s statement read:
“Investigators are interested in receiving information regarding any interactions, conversations, dealings, or transactions that the public may have had with these individuals, which could be personal, business, or otherwise. Specifically, information could include, but is not limited to, information regarding vehicles, firearms, and ammunition.”
Additionally, investigators are offering a $10,000 reward for information tying the family to the murders.
… John Kearson Clark, told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday that the four Wagner family members provided laptops, phones and DNA samples to investigators, and agreed to be interviewed about the Rhoden family slayings in Pike County in April 2016.
Clark said the family is being “harassed while the real killer or killers are out there.”
DeWine wouldn’t say this week why investigators are focusing on the Wagners, the newspaper reported.
The Wagners have denied any involvement in the shooting deaths of Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his wife, Dana Manley Rhoden, 37; his children, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Hanna Rhoden, 19; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; his brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; cousin Gary Rhoden, 38; and Frankie Rhoden’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20.
Angela Wagner has said her husband and Christopher Rhoden Sr. were more like brothers than friends. Jake Wagner was once Hanna Rhoden’s boyfriend and shared custody of their 3-year-old daughter at the time of the massacre.
Investigators earlier this month searched the Wagners’ farm in Peebles, a farm owned by Billy Wagner’s father, and the family’s packed belongings for the move to Alaska. The family was in Alaska during the searches.
One such neighbor in Alaska saw the request for information regarding the family on social media and stated the following to KTUU.
“Monday morning when I drove by, I see them putting out kids toys and actually I’m gonna let ’em know that we do have bear in this area and to watch their kids,” [Brad Conklin] told KTUU. “I just struck up a conversation with em saying ‘hi welcome to the neighborhood’ and no big deal and 9 o’c’lock comes around and I see that their faces are plastered all over Facebook.”
KTUU said Conklin spoke with Jake and Billy Wagner. They told Conklin that they had a 12-gauge shotgun.
“He said that he was gonna go out and get some decent shotgun shells for it ’cause that’s all they have is a shotgun,” Conklin said.
“They said that they moved up here from Ohio, but they didn’t say anything why that they just wanted to start a new life there just wasn’t more jobs down there, there just wasn’t any work.”
Thoughts on this case? Harassment or reasonable suspicion? Let us know in the comment section below.