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Family of 4 arrested in the Rhoden family homicides in Pike County, Ohio

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the state will seek the death penalty.

Update, 4:41 p.m.: Mike DeWine said drugs were not the motive in the Pike County killings, but there's "an undercurrent of drugs."

Update, 4:35 p.m.: Children's services have stepped in, due to the involvement of children. Billy Wagner was arrested in Fayette County, Kentucky. Angela Wagner was arrested at her home in Scioto County. Jake and George Wagner were arrested in Ross County. Fredricka was arrested at the family's Flying W farm, which had been previously raided

Update, 4:25 p.m.: Two others have been arrested in connection to the cover-up of the crimes: Rita Newcomb and Fredericka Wagner, mothers of Angela Wagner and George "Billy" Wagner.

"They did this quickly, coldly, calmly and very carefully -- but not carefully enough," Pike County Sheriff Reader said. He said they left parts to build a silencer and forged documents.

Update, 4:14 p.m.: Custody is at the center of the crime, DeWine said. Sophia, 5, is the daughter of Jake Wagner, accused of the killings, and victim Hanna Rhoden.

Update, 4:11 p.m.: Attorney General Mike DeWine said a Pike County grand jury indicted the four family members Monday with aggravated murder. DeWine said they will seek the death penalty.

All four members of the Wagner family are in custody.

Update, 4:07 p.m.: The Wagners' attorney says his clients look forward to their day in court but otherwise declined comment.

"They are hopeful for a thorough vetting of the facts," John Kearson Clark said.

Previous reporting: Four members of a family with close business and family relations with the eight members of another family slain in April 2016 in Pike County, Ohio, have been arrested in connection with those deaths.

Angela Wagner, 48, her husband George "Billy" Wagner, 47, and their two sons, George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward "Jake" Wagner, 26, have each been charged in the gruesome deaths of the Rhoden family and Hannah Gilley.

“Billy” was arrested on Georgetown Road near Spur Road in Lexington, Kentucky, Tuesday afternoon, Lexington police said. FBI assisted Lexington police in making the arrest, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Pike County Sheriff Charles S. Reader and Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk will host a news conference at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

DeWine, who last week was elected next governor of Ohio, had said previously the investigation was laser-focused on the Wagner family, but he previously declined to call them suspects or persons of interest. And neither he nor Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader had provided details about why investigators spent two days searching the Wagners' Ohio property in 2017. Nor did they say at the time what prompted a news release asking the public for information on the Wagners.

Killed in the attack were Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his older brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; Christoper'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.

Frankie Rhoden's fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20, also was a victim.

The killers spared three young children, who were unharmed.

When reached by telephone Tuesday afternoon, Leonard Manley, the father of Dana Manley Rhoden, declined to comment.

A message was left with the Wagner attorney John Kearson Clark, who was in court Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities have repeatedly said the killers worked to cover their tracks, adding complexity to what is the largest homicide investigation in Ohio history.

As of April this year, investigators had received nearly 1,000 tips in the case, conducted nearly 500 interviews and processed more than 100 pieces of evidence.

The Wagners moved to Kanai, Alaska, from Adams County, Ohio, in June 2017, telling The Enquirer the speculation of their involvement in the Rhoden deaths drove them to move 4,107 miles.

“Really the point to moving up here was to basically get into a better environment so they wouldn’t talk about us. Sophia is getting older, so she wouldn’t hear it,” Jake Wagner told The Enquirer in June 2017, standing on the family’s front porch in Kanai. “And then it followed us here.”

Sophia is the daughter of Jake Wagner and victim Hanna Rhoden.

John Kearson Clark, the Ohio-based lawyer for the Wagners, has said authorities were harassing his clients, who had nothing to do with the slayings and who had cooperated fully in the investigation.

"The authorities (using the media) want the public to believe that the Wagners are responsible and have absconded," he told The Enquirer last year.

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