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Pike County murders: Would investigation be priority for next Ohio Attorney General?

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine hopes the Pike County murders — the largest investigation in state history — will be closed by the time he leaves office in January.

DeWine last year said he hoped to solve the April 22, 2016 shootings before leaving the attorney general’s office.

REPORT: Pike County murders: 8 deaths, 2 years, no answers

“It’s a hypothetical, I certainly would hope we would have the case solved by then, but we have professionals that are working on this case,” DeWine said. “We have professionals that will remain with the attorney general’s office and that will remain with BCI. We hope we don’t get to that point. We hope we solve it before then.”

Because officials have characterized the case as the largest criminal inquiry in Ohio history, the two candidates to become Ohio’s next attorney general face the decision of whether they would continue to consider solving the Pike County murders as the office’s number one priority.

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“Anyone who would predict this nine months before taking office, without seeing the evidence and understanding the posture of the investigation at that time, is a fool, or a poltroon, or both — and not fit for the office of attorney general,” said Dave Yost, the Ohio auditor and Republican candidate for attorney general, in an email.

“Of the publicly available information, the only thing I can say I would have done differently is that I would have released the coroner’s report without litigation,” Yost said, referencing lawsuits that were filed by the news media to obtain the unredacted reports.

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Yost’s Democratic opponent, Steve Dettelbach, declined to comment.

“I’ve spent two decades as a prosecutor,” Dettelbach, the former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Ohio, said by text message. “I don’t and won’t politicize an important murder investigation.”

Hannah Rhoden, 19; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his ex-wife, Dana Rhoden, 37; their sons, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Frankie’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20; and relatives Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and Gary Rhoden, 38 died in the shootings.

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