Eight family members were shot dead "execution style" at four separate crime scenes across Pike County in the Appalachian region of Ohio, authorities said, urging residents to be vigilant as the perpetrator could still be at large.
Some of the victims were reportedly killed while they slept in their beds. Investigators found two babies and one toddler still alive at the crime scenes. One baby, just four-days-old, was lying in the same bed where her mother was shot and killed, officials said.
A statement from the office of Ohio's Attorney General Mike DeWine said the dead included six adults and one 16-year-old boy, all of whom were shot in the head. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said the victims were all members of one family, whose surname was Rohden.
No arrests have been made yet, the statement went on, and "the investigation is in its very early stages and authorities are still investigating to determine a motive, identify the deceased and determine if the gunman is among the deceased individuals or on the loose."
DeWine has deployed dozens of state investigators to bolster local security in the area.
In a joint press conference held on Friday night by DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, Reader said that "we don't know whether we're talking about one individual, or two, or three, or more."
DeWine brushed off reports of a "person of interest" being detained in Chillicothe.
"I would not use the term person of interest," DeWine said. "I will confirm that a number of people are being interviewed and there are several of those who are in Chillicothe." He added that over 30 people had been interrogated, and that authorities were continuing to conduct interviews on Saturday.
Authorities haven't identified individual family members, but during interviews with local news outlets, neighbors said Dana Manley Rhoden, her ex-husband Christopher, and their children lived at the homes where the killings took place.
Leonard Manley said he is the father and grandfather of some of the victims, and told the Chillicothe Gazette that one of his daughters discovered the bodies when she went to Union Hill Road to feed the dogs and chickens. She first alerted authorities to the killings.
"They all used to attend our church," Phil Fulton, pastor of the Union Hill Community Church told the Washington Post. Dana Rhoden reportedly worked at a nursing home for elderly people, and had recently purchased a new mobile home close to the other two trailers where shootings took place, which were occupied by her ex-husband, her son, and her son's girlfriend.
Local schools were placed on lockdown for several hours after the bodies were discovered