Oxygen’s ‘The Pike County Murders: A Family Massacre’ deals with the horrific events that led to the death of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio, in late April 2016. However, the surviving relatives were relieved to find the perpetrators had left the three children also present at the crime scenes unharmed. While the authorities belive the killers did not harm them as the infants posed no threats, the viewers are left wondering what happened to the survivors.
What Happened to Pike County Survivors?
On April 22, 2016, the tragic events unfolded when Bobby Jo Manley, the sister of Dana Rhoden, arrived to care for the family homes’ pets. The day began like any other for Bobby, who rose around 6:10 am to ready her daughter, then 15, for school. After finishing her maternal duties at 7:00 am, she headed over to the trailer of her brother-in-law Christopher Rhoden, Sr. to feed his dogs and chickens, as she usually did on weekdays. However, she discovered certain peculiarities – the doors were locked and the pit bulls were roaming outside.
She entered using a spare key, revealing a horrifying scene of blood and drag marks. As she entered the bedroom, she was shocked to find the bodies of Christopher Rhoden Sr. and his cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38. Bobby recalled staggering out of the trailer and calling 911 around 7:49 am before knocking frantically on the trailer beside. It belonged to Christopher’s elder son, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, and his fiancée, Hannah Hazel Gilley, 20. However, Frankie’s son, Bentley Rhoden, then 3, opened the door and pointed his ‘Aunt Jo’ toward the bedroom.
Bobby frantically ran inside to find one of the most horrific images of her life — her six-month-old nephew, Ruger Rhoden, was lying in a blood-soaked bed, wearing diapers, in between his deceased parents. The baby was on his hands and knees but not crying. A teary-eyed Bobby recalled how Hannah was still in a fetal position, convincing her that the mother had been nursing her infant son when she was executed brutally. She recounted the heart-wrenching moment of leaning over Frankie’s lifeless body to lift Ruger, carefully enveloping him in a blanket.
She also adorned her hoodie sweatshirt on Brentley in an attempt to shield the children from the harsh reality and the bloody mess. Bravely, with the weight of the tragedy on her shoulders, Bobby swiftly exited the trailer, cradling both children in her arms. The aunt later stated, “I was not leaving those babies in there. All I wanted was to get those babies out of there.” Meanwhile, Bobby’s brother, James Manley, found their sister, Dana Lynn Rhoden, 37; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; and Hanna May Rhoden, 19, deceased in another trailer.
Where Are the Kids Now?
During the late 2022 trial, Edward “Jake” Wagner, one of the convicted killers, recalled walking upon Hanna breastfeeding her infant daughter, Kylie Rhoden, then only four days old. He fatally shot her multiple times in the head as the mother partially fell off the bed. Jake claimed he spared the life of the infant and also positioned Hanna’s body in such a way that the baby could still continue to breastfeed. He alleged he was concerned “Kylie would starve to death” if nobody discovered the bodies in a short while.
Kylie and Ruger were placed in Child Protective Services while Bentley’s custody was given to his biological mother (Frankie’s ex-girlfriend). Neena McConnico, program director for the Child Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center, explained the children will need support and guidance to forget these horrific memories. She claimed, “To have multiple (family members killed) at the same time, it’s incredibly impactful.” She added that the kids require a “steady relationship with a nurturing and positive adult” for them to thrive and heal.