SWAT team activated in Ohio family murder investigation

A SWAT team is searching through woods in southeastern Ohio near the scene of where a family was slain. (WCHS/WVAH)

A news conference held Sunday afternoon indicated a SWAT team consisting of 38 members is searching through the wooded areas around the homes of the victims in the southeastern Ohio shootings to make sure there is no evidence overlooked.

The Pike County Sheriff's Department will continue to secure the scene until the investigation is completed.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine are anticipating a very lengthy investigation because of the nature of the crimes.

Police believe they were pre-planned, execution-style murders carried out by a sophisticated operation.

Reader said authorities have received more than 100 tips and conducted 50 to 60 interviews so far. They have more than 100 personnel working on the investigation and have executed five search warrants.

Police are encouraging the public to come forward with information, and there is a $25,000 reward being offered by a private party for any information that leads to an arrest and a conviction.


PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WCHS/WVAH) -- A SWAT team has been activated in Pike County where eight family members were fatally shot in the rural southern Ohio town.

No one else has access to the properties where seven adults and teenage boy were found fatally shot Friday near Piketon, about 60 miles south of Columbus.

An Eyewitness News crew at the scene said the SWAT unit arrived about 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A news conference is planned about 4:45 p.m. Sunday. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader will provide an update on the investigation.

Eyewitness News will have updates tonight at 6 and we will live stream the news conference on


"We want to keep the scenes preserved in case we do need to go back in there and look at it again," said Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike DeWine. The homes will eventually be released back to the families, though authorities are waiting until at least all the autopsies have been completed, she said.

Investigators were still trying Sunday to find out who targeted the tight-knit family known in the area as hard workers, and why. Flags were flying at half-staff at the Piketon Government Center where authorities planned to give an update at an afternoon news conference.

Elsewhere in Piketon, some were on edge.

"I know a lot of people are just scared," said Maggie Owens, a cook at the town's Riverside Restaurant. "You don't hear about stuff like that around here."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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