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Homemade silencer last piece of evidence in arrest of 4 family members in 8 murders

After tens of thousands of hours of investigative work over 2-and-a-half years, the final clue in the investigation of the murder of eight people in Pike County came a week ago, according to law enforcement officials.

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That’s when authorities confirmed the existence of a homemade silencer they say was built by the suspects.

“This particular evidence, along with all the other pieces of this giant puzzle, all the other key evidence in this investigation, have led us to today’s charges and arrest,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in announcing charges against six family members Tuesday.

>> Related: Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Rhoden slayings

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Four family members are facing murder charges. Two other relatives are charged with an alleged cover-up of the crime.

DeWine said the state and local murder investigation started the morning of April 22, 2016, when the bodies of the eight victims were found on three separate properties in rural Pike County.

>> Related: The shocking events of the 2016 Pike County shootings

Since then, they received more than 1,100 tips from the public, conducted 550 interviews, tested more than 700 pieces of evidence, and served more than 200 search warrants, subpoenas and court orders.

“We have been patient when it was painful to be, running down every lead, no matter how small,” said Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.

>> Related: Who are the Wagners? Pike County murders investigators want to know

“Members of one family conspired, planned, carried out and then allegedly covered up their violent act to wipe out members of another family. They did this quickly, coldly, calmly and very carefully. But not carefully enough. They left traces, they left a trail. The parts to build a silencer, the forged documents, the cameras, cellphones, all that they tampered with. And the lies, all the lies they told us.”

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