Four members of one family have been arrested in connection to the massacre of another family on an Ohio marijuana farm.
The eight victims were found dead in four separate homes on their farm in Pike County in 2016.
George “Billy” Wagner III, 47, and Angela Wagner, 48, were arrested alongside their two sons George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26.
According to Ohio State Attorney General Mike De Wine, they were charged with planning and execution of the murders, along with other offences including conspiracy, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, tampering with evidence, and obstruction of justice.
In a tweet he said: “We believe that the Wagners conspired together to develop an elaborate plan to kill the eight victims under the cover of darkness and then carefully cover their tracks.”
We believe that the Wagners conspired together to develop an elaborate plan to kill the eight victims under the cover of darkness and then carefully cover their tracks. #PikeCounty
— Ohio AG Mike DeWine (@OhioAG) November 13, 2018
Jake Wagner was a former boyfriend of one of the victims, 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden and shared custody of their daughter at the time of the killings.
The 19-year-old was in bed next to her four-day-old when she was killed. The newborn survived, as did a six-month-old and a three-year-old also on the farm.
In a tweet, the attorney general added that: “Our investigation alleges that the suspects studied the victims’ habits and routines. They knew the layouts of their homes. And they knew where they slept.”
Mr De Wine described the murders at the time as a “pre-planned execution”. Authorities have yet to give full explanation of what they believe was the motive for the killings.
Following the four arrests John Clark, a lawyer for the Wagners, said: “We look forward to the day when the true culprits will be discovered and brought to justice for this terrible tragedy. The Wagners are also very hopeful that in the ensuing months there will be a thorough vetting of all the facts.”
The victims were 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40, Dana Rhoden, 37, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, Christopher Rhoden Jr, 16, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, Hannah Gilley, 20, and Gary Rhoden, 38.
The mothers of Billy Wagner and Angela Wagner, Fredericka Wagner and Rita Newcomb were also arrested in connection with the alleged cover-up of the massacre, the attorney general also said on Tuesday.