UPDATE: Charges dismissed against brother in unsolved Ohio massacre

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UPDATE 5/22/17 @ 8:40 p.m.
WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) -- A judge in Ohio has dismissed evidence tampering and vandalism charges against the brother of one of eight victims of an unsolved massacre.

Prosecutors asked for the dismissal Monday so they can take the case to a grand jury and keep additional evidence out of court.

The charges accused James Manley, of Peebles, of destroying a GPS tracking device.

Investigators trying to solve the slayings placed the device on Manley's truck last month.

Manley turned himself in last week. He hasn't been named a suspect in the killings.

His lawyer thinks investigators are trying to pressure Manley and wants to know what evidence prosecutors have.

Manley's sister was among eight members of the Rhoden family shot near Piketon in April 2016. No arrests have been made in the slayings.



UPDATE 5/17/17 @ 1 p.m.
WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) - The brother of one of eight victims of an unsolved southern Ohio massacre has appeared in court for a hearing on evidence-tampering and vandalism charges over allegations he destroyed a GPS tracking device.

Forty-year-old James Manley, of Peebles, appeared in Pike County Court on the felony charges Wednesday.

A judge set an $80,000 bond. Court records don't indicate if Manley has an attorney.

Investigators trying to solve the slayings placed the tracking device on Manley's truck last month.

Manley was jailed after turning himself in on Tuesday.

Manley's sister, Dana Rhoden, was among the eight members of the Rhoden family killed in April 2016. They were found shot at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Columbus.

No arrests have been made in the slayings.



UPDATE 5/16/17 @ 4:20 p.m.
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – The brother of one of the victims in the Rhoden family massacre has been charged with tampering with evidence.

James Manley, 40, is also the uncle to three other victims of the eight who were killed just over a year ago in Pike County.

Authorities say he destroyed a GPS tracking device that was being used to track his pickup truck in recent weeks.

Investigators have taken custody of a trailer owned by the long-time boyfriend of one of the victims.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, agents with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been using a GPS device to track a 1997 Chevrolet K2500 truck owned by Manley. It was issued April 21 and was valid for 45 days.

It does not name Manley, but does state authorities believe the truck was used to commit aggravated murder.

The revelation comes just several days after investigators descended on a trio of farms near the murders.

As WSAZ already reported, this is what Leonard Manley, the father of both James as well as victim Dana Manley Rhoden, said on Saturday.

"I'm happy. I was even happy when they were busting all the drugs. I'm a lot happier they are saying at least they found some evidence.”

According to the Enquirer, when agents went to remove the GPS device from the pickup on Monday, Leonard told them James removed it last week when he found it. James now faces felony tampering and vandalism charges for destroying that GPS.

Leonard says his son failed a polygraph test several weeks ago. He told the paper he feels authorities are “grasping at straws” and is tired of their harassment.

Leonard said James and Dana were extremely close and there's no way he could be involved.

But agents told him, James texted Jake Wagner at 2 a.m. the day of the massacre.

Jake was the boyfriend of one of the victims and recently sold one of the properties searched during the weekend. A trailer linked to the Wagner family was seized Friday night.

The owner of the property told the Enquirer that Wagner and his older brother had asked to store their household goods after they sold their farm in Adams County because the new owners were moving in and they had nowhere to take them. An enclosed trailer was taken by authorities but several other vehicles and storage containers were left.

"A lot of things run through your mind at night,” Leonard said. “I've had a lot of sleepless nights."

Manley declined to be interviewed by the newspaper Monday night.

The Pike County prosecutor told WSAZ all search warrants and affidavits in the case remain sealed and are not publicly available. Messages left with the Ohio Attorney General's office were not returned.



UPDATE 5/16/17 @ 3 p.m.
PIKETON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Attorney General's Office says a man has been charged with impeding a murder investigation.

James Manley, 40, of Pike County, is charged with tampering with evidence and vandalism.

According to a release, Manley is alleged to have destroyed a GPS device being used in the investigation.

The charges Manley faces are not uncommon when a witness destroys such a device used in a government investigation.

The device was being used to investigate the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in April 2016.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/16/17 @ 11:40 a.m.
PIKETON, Ohio (AP) - Authorities investigating the slayings of eight family members in southern Ohio have taken a trailer linked to the family of one victim's ex-boyfriend.

The trailer was taken from one of multiple sites that authorities searched late last week.

Bernie Brown owns property in Peebles where the trailer had been stored and says its owners needed a place to keep household items for a bit after recently selling their Adams County farm.

The Pike County sheriff and the Ohio attorney general's office won't discuss details of the investigation, including any searches.

No arrests have been made in the April 2016 slayings of seven adults and one teenage boy from the Rhoden family.

They were found shot at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles south of Columbus.



UPDATE 5/13/2017 @ 8:45 p.m.
ADAMS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) — The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office confirms a search in Pike County is related to possible evidence in the murders of the Rhoden family, WLWT reports.

Multiple law enforcement agencies continued searching at two properties near where members of the Rhoden family were killed this week.

Investigators were searching at a property on Camp Creek Road in Piketon Saturday.

The Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office were all on scene, FCSO confirmed.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says they assisted Pike County in serving a search warrant for possible evidence that would assist in the Rhoden murder case.

The farm they searched Friday is approximately 10 miles from the scene of the April 2016 slayings of eight members of the Rhoden family.

On April 22, 2016, investigators found seven adults and a teenage boy shot to death at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles south of Columbus. Three young children were unharmed.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/12/2017
ADAMS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Multiple law enforcement agencies are on the scene of a farm near where eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in April 2016.

WSAZ has learned the farm is about 10 miles away from where the murders took place.

The area is just outside of the Peebles area on state Route 32.

There is no word at this time if this has anything to do with the Rhoden case.

Eight members of the Rhoden family were found dead April 22.

The Pike County Sheriff's Office, Adams County Sheriff's Office, Ohio BCI and Ohio Department of Corrections are on scene.

We have a crew at the scene.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



 
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