PIKETON — Eight people were found dead Friday at four crime scenes in rural Ohio, and at least most of them were shot to death, authorities said. No arrests had been announced, and it’s unclear if the killer or killers are among the dead.
Seven of the victims, including two children, were slain in “execution-style killings” at three homes along a rural road, authorities said.
Details on the death of the eighth person weren’t immediately available, but the body was found in a fourth location, said Jill Del Greco, spokeswoman with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Attorney General Mike DeWine plans to provide an update on the eight deaths at a news conference scheduled for 4 p.m.
DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader had said earlier that seven victims were believed to be members of the same family. All were shot to death, they said.
There is not an active shooter and no arrests have been made, DeWine and Reader said. Authorities are trying to determine a motive, identify the deceased and determine if the killer or killers are among the deceased individuals or on the loose.
A dozen BCI agents were called Friday morning to Pike County, an economically struggling area in the Appalachian region some 80 miles east of Cincinnati.
Goldie Hilderbran, 65, said she lives about a mile from where she has been told the shootings took place.
“I first heard about it this morning from our mail carrier,” Hilderbran said.
Hilderbran said the mail carrier told her deputies had stopped her from delivering mail in the area they had blocked off.
“She just told me she knew something really bad has happened,” Hilderbran said.
Governor John Kasich, campaigning in Pennsylvania for his Republican presidential bid, said his office was monitoring the situation in Pike County.
“Reports we are receiving from Peebles are tragic beyond comprehension,” Kasich wrote on his Twitter account.
The FBI in Cincinnati also said it was closely monitoring the situation and has offered assistance to the Pike County sheriff’s office if needed.
Peebles High School imposed a precautionary lockout Friday morning after authorities notified the superintendent of shootings that had occurred a few miles away, according to Regina Bennington, secretary to the superintendent for the Adams County Ohio Valley Schools district.
High school officials said the school was back to normal operations later Friday morning.
Piketon is the site of a Cold War-era uranium plant that was closed in 2001 and is still being cleaned up.