At least eight people were found dead in southern Ohio Friday, seven of them relatives apparently shot “execution-style,” but at least two babies survived, investigators and local news agencies reported.
“This is not an active shooter situation, however no arrests have been made,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said in a joint statement. Investigators would not confirm whether a gunman was among the dead, but said they were conducting a series of search warrants.
They discovered the remains in four locations, three of them homes along the same road in Piketon.
The two babies, one of them 5 days old and the other 6 months old, lived in one of the homes, a Pike County victims’ advocate told the Chillicothe Gazette. He said many extended family members in the area were frightened for their safety.
Two of the dead were teenagers, Fox 28 in Columbus reports. One relative discovered the horrifying scenes as she came to the homes to feed dogs and chickens, part of her morning routine, a family member told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The family members who died had attended nearby Union Hill Church for years, according to Pastor Phil Fulton. “They kind of dropped by the wayside probably three, four years ago, maybe… The kids seemed friendly, always you know, just good kids, seemed like,” the pastor told WKRC.
Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation sent more than a dozen agents to the scene, officials told Fox 28.
— FBI Cincinnati (@FBICincinnati) April 22, 2016
The FBI in Cincinnati confirmed it offered help to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Adams County Ohio Valley Schools briefly went on lockdown, Fox 19 in Cincinnati adds.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich called the reports “tragic beyond comprehension.”
The bureau sent crime scene investigators, special investigators, criminal intelligence agents and cyber crime investigators.
Police closed off roads around the homes as paramedics rushed to the area. Piketon is in the Appalachian region of Ohio, roughly 75 miles east of Cincinnati and 70 miles south of Columbus.