Family Killed Over Custody Dispute 

Family Killed Over Custody Dispute 

Justice for The Rhoden Family, Pike County, Ohio

Cristal M Clark 

Back in 2016, 8 members of the Rhoden family were killed in Pike County, Ohio, back then so much speculation was going around about the murders that I think that people just got tired of hearing about it simply because it was just speculation. 

The number one tale going around at the time had been that the family were killed in some type of drug war situation, many were pointing their fingers in the Cartels general direction yet not a specific Cartel. Those guys are always falling under some sort of suspicion for shite they did not do. 

Luckily, investigators did not let the matter go, shoved on and have finally been able to bring the guilty parties to justice. 

Turns out, it was in fact not the cartel or anything to do with drugs, as it were, a custody battle had been brewing between Edward Jake Wagner and then 19-year old Hanna Rhoden, who just so happened to the mother of Edward’s child. 

Now one important little tidbit to know is that the Rhoden’s had pit bulls at the compound they lived at and it has been said that the dogs would eat anyone alive that they were unfamiliar with, the dogs were left unharmed during the murders so it had been long suspected that the killer or killers knew the family well enough for the families dogs to trust them. 

Edward did not plan this alone, yea its gets worse, his family helped him plot and then murder 8 members of Rhoden family as they slept. Sadly, the Wagner family for 5 years denied any knowledge or involvement in the treacherous plot and subsequent murders.

In April of 2021, 5-years after the murders, Edward Jake Wagner found himself in front of a Judge in Pike County, Ohio where he pled guilty to the murders. He entered a plea deal of course so as to avoid the death penalty and this is where the truth finally came out.

This also is where you learn that blood is not thicker than water, for Edward turned on his own family. The family is an odd one, they homeschooled the children, they share their monies, in fact, the families closeness has been described as unusual and according to police, the family is cult like, scary and tries to control anyone that they are involved in. 

When they are unable to control and individual, it can become quite dark. The Wagners planned as a family the murders for 4 months, mother, father, brother, gran, the entire fucking family was involved in this plan to murder another family. 

The Wagners invaded the Rhodens’ compound that spring night and killed them with silenced guns as they slept sparing two children, Edward’s child and another child. 

Edward Jake Wagner allegedly began a relationship with Hanna Rhoden when she was 13, impregnating her when she was 15, he was 20 at the time. So, in addition to homicide, he has been charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Additionally, he and his brother were stalking other young women around this time, who have agreed to testify against the entire lot as the remaining cases start hitting the courtroom. 

Apparently Hanna ended her relationship with Edward however, he and his family were not thrilled about that so Edward began to stalk and threaten this poor child, Hanna eventually had a second child with another man, Edward pressured her to falsely list him as the father on the birth certificate. 

Hanna refused to give custody of her baby to Edward who kept pressuring her, with both the support and encouragement of his family. Edward threatened to murder Hanna, she wrote a post on FaceBook at one point giving a clue to the problems, that read “never sign papers ever They will have to kill me first.” Which of course is, precisely how things turned out for Hanna. 

Because of that the Wagners allegedly decided to eliminate Hanna and her relatives so that custody of the child would fall to them. They allegedly bought ammunition, parts for silencers, “brass catchers” to avoid leaving bullet casings behind, and a truck and shoes specifically to use on the night of the killings.

They planned the murders so well, they purposefully made the crime scene look as if it had something to do with drugs, they watched the family for months, learnt the families habits, where each of them slept, what time they would go to sleep, when they would get up. All in all it was quite an elaborate murder plot. 

Edward Jake Wagner’s deal that he struck with prosecutors also ensures that his family members will also avoid the death penalty. 

The prosecution is going after the family strong and hard so it is very unlikely that any of the main defendants will ever see the outside of a prison again.

Cristal M Clark

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