The Piketon Massacre

The Piketon Massacre

The most notorious mass murder in Ohio’s history happened on the night of April 21, 2016 in rural Pike County. Four crime scenes, thirty-two gunshot wounds, eight members of the Rhoden family left dead in their homes. Two years later a local family of four, the Wagners, are arrested and charged with the crimes. As the Wagners await four back-to-back capital murder trials, the KT Studios team revisits Pike County to examine: crime-scene forensics, upcoming legal proceedings, and the ties that bind the victims and the accused. As events unfold and new crimes are uncovered, what will it mean for all involved? What will it mean for Pike County?


July 22, 2020 1 min

On the night of April 21, 2016 in rural Piketon, Ohio - eight members of the Rhoden family were viciously murdered execution style in their homes. Two years later in 2018, their neighbors, the Wagners, were arrested and charged with committing the largest massacre in Ohio’s history. Shocked by the arrests, this once close-knit and religious community remains divided and unable to cope. Was a respected and reputable Piketon family r...

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On the night of April 21, 2016 eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in their homes. Episode one explores the crime that decimated an entire family and left residents of the small town of Piketon, OH reeling. We examine what lead up to the crime, look into the details of Ohio’s largest murder investigation, and the potential motives that drove the alleged killers.  

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August 5, 2020 26 mins

In April 2016, after eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in their homes, Ohio authorities launched the largest homicide investigation in the state’s history.  For over two years, residents of the small town of Piketon lived in fear, as rumors circulated about who the killers could be. 

Then, on November 13th, 2018, six members of a local family were arrested in connection with the brutal massacre.  In episode two, we me...

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August 12, 2020 28 mins

Four members of the Wagner family are in prison, awaiting death penalty trials for allegedly murdering of eight members of the Rhoden family. Two other family members have been arrested for supposedly conspiring to pull off the crime.

In episode three, we talk to friends of the Rhodens who shed light on the victims’ lives in the months leading up to the murders. We’ll also explore the relationship between Hanna Rhoden and Jake Wagne...

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August 19, 2020 31 mins

On November 13th, 2018, six members of the Wagner family were arrested in connection with the Rhoden family massacre, in Piketon, Ohio. While authorities claim that a custody dispute between Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden was the central motive, there are others that think that perhaps law enforcement officials may have the wrong people in custody.

Episode four explores some of the alternative theories surrounding the “Piketon Massacr...

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August 26, 2020 32 mins

In the aftermath of the arrest of six members of the Wagner family in connection with the Rhoden murders, many people across the country were shocked by the brutality of the massacre. But, for the Piketon, Ohio area, this grisly crime wasn’t exactly an anomaly.

In episode five, we take a dive into the dark history of the Piketon, Ohio community. We investigate a wave of murders that were eerily similar to the Rhoden case, a spate of...

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September 2, 2020 31 mins

Ohio law enforcement officials spent over two years investigating the Rhoden murders. During that time, they received over 1,100 tips, conducted over 500 interviews and served nearly 200 search warrants.  

Episode six explores this exhaustive investigation, how authorities honed in on the Wagners, and how they think the family allegedly pulled off the gruesome massacre. We’ll also look at the Wagner’s moves in the two years followin...

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September 9, 2020 35 mins

With the Wagner family attempting to start a new life in Alaska, the investigation into the Rhoden murders in Piketon, Ohio moves forward.

Episode seven tracks authorities’ moves as they narrow in on their suspects. We'll also explore another surprising move made by the Wagner family and the discovery of a key piece of evidence that leads to their arrests.

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September 16, 2020 35 mins

With Fredericka Wagner and Rita Jo Newcomb spared jail time in connection with the Rhoden murders, we turn our focus to the four other family members awaiting their days in court.

In episode eight, we look at what life in prison is like for Billy, Angela, George and Jake Wagner, the four accused “trigger pullers” in the Rhoden murders. George has requested solitary confinement and Angela’s phone and mail privileges have been revoked...

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September 23, 2020 30 mins

With the Wagner family awaiting their day in court, the residents of Piketon are left to wonder how the largest criminal investigation in Ohio’s history will end.

In episode nine, we explore unheard topics such as how the community reacted to the newfound attention and how our team began producing the podcast. We’ll also answer questions submitted by listeners that pertain to the case.

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September 30, 2020 28 mins

The most infamous crime that occurred in South Eastern Ohio is the murder of eight members of the Rhoden family. While four members of the Wagner family have been arrested and charged with the murders, the community knows all too well that in this area, there are often more questions than answers.

In episode 10, we dive deeper into subjects we’ve only previously touched on such as the relationship between Angela and Billy Wagner and...

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October 27, 2020 39 mins

Hey, Piketon Massacre listeners, check out this iHeartRadio & Shondaland Audio podcast – Criminalia.

On Criminalia, hosts Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi explroe the intersection of history and true crime. This season is all about lady poisoners. During the time that Chicago’s most visible criminal element was organized crime, Tillie Klimek was quietly becoming the city’s most prolific female serial killer. She allegedly killed ...

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In 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family were viciously murdered in their homes. Two years later, four members of the Wagner family, were charged with the largest massacre in Ohio’s history. As justice plays out in the courtroom, the KT Studios team revisits Pike County to examine: crime-scene forensics, upcoming legal proceedings, and the ties that bind the victims and the accused.

Starting Wednesday, May 12th listen to The Pike...

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May 12, 2021 37 mins

A photograph shows the Rhoden and the Wagner families embracing, in happier times. What would tear these families apart and cause a tragedy that would shake a community to its core? Just months before death sentence trials were set to begin and in the middle of production of this podcast- a shocking break in the case changes everything. The Piketon Massacre: Return to Pike County explores the ties that bind the two families at the ...

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May 19, 2021 39 mins

Special prosecutors described the Wagners as “cult like.” In episode two, we take a deeper look at the family that’s allegedly behind the massacre, speaking with a Pike County local who has an intimate connection to them. We also dissect the prosecution's theories on the family’s complex dynamics. On the surface, the Wagners may have seemed all American but behind closed doors, they were anything but. What we found out was far dark...

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May 26, 2021 41 mins

In episode three, we focus on the impact that Jake Wagner’s confession could have on his mother, father and older brother. Additionally, we unpack the current state of their trials and the future proceedings that will decide the fate of the family at the center of Ohio's biggest criminal investigation. Will they ultimately protect each other or will it become... Wagner vs. Wagner?

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June 2, 2021 34 mins

It’s been described as the most gruesome, complicated and long-lingering homicide cases the state of Ohio has ever seen. In episode four, alongside forensic expert, Joseph Morgan we look at the varying evidence that is sure to shape the upcoming trials. As we attempt to piece together what transpired in the Rhoden homes, the complicated forensics and crime scenes begin to make sense.

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June 9, 2021 30 mins

The man who helped lead Ohio’s largest criminal investigation, Sheriff Charlie Reader went from being a well-liked public figure to finding himself at the center of a very different crime- one that placed him on the other side of the law. In episode 5, we look at the once beloved sheriff’s career, his involvement in the Rhoden case and his shocking fall from grace. 

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June 16, 2021 35 mins

At the time of the Rhoden murders, Chris Graves was working as a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer. As she began covering the story she had no idea what would transpire in Pike County. In episode six, we sit down exclusively with her as she recounts her experience being the only journalist to interview not only the surviving family members, but also the accused. Her perspective gives us a one of a kind insight into the massacre.


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June 23, 2021 24 mins

About 30 minutes away from Piketon is Portsmouth, Ohio, a once bustling community that fell on hard times and became the epicenter of the Opioid crisis. In episode seven, we talk to local journalist, Nikki Blankenship, who did a deep investigation into the issues her hometown faced, including serious allegations of sex trafficking. What she found was that Pike County isn’t the only tight knit community with secrets.

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