And I heart radio, we bring you the best podcasts from the Ron Burgundy show to the Breakfast Club to stuff you should know really all of today's biggest names. But each of these shows started with an idea and now we want yours. We're looking to you for the next great podcast. Simply go to the next great podcast, Dotcom, to get the details and submit your pitch will select up to 10 semifinalists and give them a thousand dollars to produce a pilot.
Then listeners from across the world will vote on their favorite to decide the next great podcast. Enter today at next. Great podcast, Dotcom. That's next. Great podcast, Dotcom. Why shouldn't the next great podcast come from you? My name is Langston Karmen and I'm a black man who loves conspiracy theories.
That's why I, along with the beautiful oppressor's that I heart radio and big money players, have a brand new podcast called My Mama Told Me where each week me and a special guest will explore all the twisted conspiracies that the white man is keeping secret. So listen to my mama told me starting August 18th on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or anywhere else Podsednik has. Welcome to the Pickton Massacre, a production of I Heart Radio and Katy Studios, the bodies of seven adults and one 16 year old boy were found in four different locations along a country road in Pike County.
A small town nightmare comes to life in rural Ohio. Eight members of the road and family gunned down in cold blood in their sleep. Just a nightmare scenario.
All of them shot in the head execution style. It's absolutely shocking.
The brutal murder sparked a two and a half year investigation comprising state, local and federal authorities.
Then Attorney General Mike DeWine comments on what ends in a stunning series of arrests at the start of this case, where members of the Wagner family, we believe the evidence will show, conspired together to kill these eight people.
It's a crime that shocks a once quiet community and leaves a haunting legacy that may lie at its very heart.
There are survivors and they are very young. We're talking three children, one as young as four days old, a six month old baby and a three year old. And when the reporters were asking, were all of them asleep at the time, they said no. This is the Python massacre episode three, Hannah and Jake. Over the course of the first two episodes, we've covered the details of the road and murders and learned about the family accused of carrying them out the Wagners.
I'm Courtney Armstrong, a producer at Katie's studios with Stephanie Lydecker and Jeff Shane. We worked on a documentary about the road murders back in twenty nineteen here. Stephanie, if we're going to talk about the road in deaths and then we also need to talk about their lives. So often when it comes to crime victims, it all becomes about their murders and so little about who they were prior. By all accounts, the rodent family was a very happy, close knit family.
In fact, they lived just miles from one another. They were close enough that they all lived on the same road, which speaks to just how tight knit they were. And this family went back generations in Pike County. Everyone we talked to pretty much said the same thing about them. They were all very hardworking, very kind and very generous. And we probably heard this the most about the matriarch of the family, Hannah's mother, Dana Roden. Here's one of Dana's oldest friends, Becky Ryder.
She is a very nice person, just a great mother and a great wife or husband. And she's just around.
And as we listen to Becky describe Dana Road, we began to see a vivid portrait take shape, a trusted friend, a caring nurse at a nearby assisted living facility and a surrogate mother to some of the local kids. Brittney was one of them. A lifelong friend of Dana's son, Chris Jr., she reminisced about Dana with Stephanie Gibb.
Short short hair, brown hair. She always had like Curly. And sometimes she would put, like, purple streaks in her hair, brown streaks, like, I don't know if she like that kind of weird stuff. Lumps in here. Like, I always looked at her like, what are you doing to your hair? See, now I do that to my hair.
She would be very proud of you.
Yeah, she would. She'd laugh at me. And Dana always sort of looked after everybody else's kids. She would kind of be the mama bear.
Yeah. One time we were all riding and I was I was on the four wheeler with Chris while we were all riding in. I actually got in a wreck because the four wheeler, like, I don't know what happened to it, like it just completely messed up. And we flipped down a hill and Chris went and got his mom and his mom, like, came up in the woods. It was like freaking out. And then she took care of me, gave me some she gave me some water, you know, being the whole mom, like, are you OK?
Are you OK? Do I need to call the ambulance?
So that was always a good thing.
Dana met her husband, Chris Rowden, senior, when she was in high school and they fell in love immediately. A few years later, they got married. Here again is Becky Ryder speaking to producer Jeff Shane, she remembered meeting Dana as a young wife who had found the man of her dreams.
Dana, you heard Christina was already married, so they got married in high school. Then she got married really young. Was that uncommon?
Uncommon. But for her, she knew that the man she loved and she knew she want to be with him forever.
Stefan Lykins knew Chris Senior as a devoted family man and a skilled craftsman, she spoke to our producer, Jeff, about him. I tell you, if you could see some of the stuff, some of the the things that he built, like the decks, he was an amazing carpenter. He built this one that had all kinds of intricate you know, he he designed them, you know, just his imagination. You know, he could if you know, if they said money's no object, you would be amazed at, you know, the things that he could do together.
Dana and Chris Senior raised three kids, Frankie Hannah and Chris Jr. But after more than 20 years of marriage, the relationship began to fall apart.
Dana and Christine, you got divorced, but they continued to live on the same property, working together to take care of the children, they still had each other's back, no matter what their fate is always for kids.
19 year old Hannah Rowden was Chris Senior and Dana's only daughter.
She was great. She was funny. She was really funny. She was really, really nice. She knew everyone. Everyone knew her. And she just, like, talked to everyone. But she was not she wasn't stuck up or anything like that. And she lived life to the fullest. But after her murder in 2016, it became clear that Hannah's life and the events leading up to her death were much more complicated than anyone in pectin could have known.
All of this starts six years earlier. In the summer of 2010, Hannah had recently turned 13 and she starts dating a local boy named Jake Wagner. At the time, Jake was just shy of 18. The relationship moves quickly, three years later, Hannah and Jake begin planning to start a family, and in November 2013, Hannah gives birth to their baby girl, Sofia.
She was a great mom. Like sometimes she would bring her her baby to school, like the shooter was coming to mind in Chris's class because we had American government together and she'd always bring the baby in there and let our teacher, Mr. Kirino, see the baby. We talked to a relative of the Wagner family. She asked us not to use her name, but shared her thoughts on what Jake was like as a father to Sophia. Jake was always very hands on all like he would always be playing like the baby, you know, nonstop.
And he always kind of made sure that she had what she needed, just very active with her and very protective of her. It seemed like, you know, like if anything bad were to happen, I guess he was on it like he was there for her. He was ready to do whatever needed to be done in order to make sure that she was OK.
While raising a family is difficult for the young couple, they make things work. Hannah stays in school while Jake works as a truck driver with his brother, George Wagner. The couple in Sofia split time between the Rowden and the Wagner households. For everyone involved, it's a dream scenario. Angela Wagner, Jake's mother, is already a grandparent, but she's excited to be spending time with the newest addition to her family.
Her grandchildren will be absolutely adored her. They love her. They always wanted to go with her and she would go out of her way to make sure that they were taken care of or, you know, on the holidays. Despite losing their clothes and eating, she could give them and everything like that.
Dana, rodent's friend Stefan told our producer Jeff that Dana was just as elated.
Was she excited to be a grandmother again? Oh, my gosh.
Yes, those babies were alive in 2015.
Things seem to be going well for Hannah and Jake. They have a wedding date set and even had rings tattooed on their fingers.
Throughout that time, Hannah became very close with the Wagner family. So much so that after the murders, Angela Wagner tells the press that Hannah was like a daughter to her and her entire family. So if that's the case, what could possibly have gone wrong?
Well, we have a little bit of insight into that, thanks to a signed affidavit that Jake Wagner submitted. And this is just from his perspective.
But what he claims is that he and Hannah split in April 2015, which is a year before the murders. He claims that Hannah actually was the one to break up with him because she thought he was working too much. And his perspective was that he wanted to stay at home wife and a full time mother to Sofia, which Hannah was just not ready to do, which again, that is his account.
We don't have the benefit of having Hannah's account or any of Hannah's family's account either.
We spoke with an anonymous Wagner family source and they say that Jake just really wasn't ready to throw in the towel on the relationship, period. He was trying very hard to make sure that they got back together. He still wanted to be with her. He was trying to get back with her, just everything that he could. It's really hard to know what goes on in a relationship behind closed doors. Is it possible that Hannah felt as though she was being controlled by Jake or that she was in over her head and couldn't get out of the relationship?
Is it possible that Jake Wagner's broken heart was really the reason that his entire family allegedly killed her entire family?
Yeah, again, going back to kind of figuring out like the timeline and what might have happened, we're able to kind of piece some of it together through social media. We found a post from July of 2015 where she made a rather cryptic entry on Facebook, posting lyrics to a song about domestic abuse. And the lyrics read, he slowly isolates her from all of her friends. She works really hard, but he takes all of it. She ended the post with her own words saying, End domestic violence, live a happier life.
It is important to note that we don't know for an absolute fact that these posts were about Jake. The timeline certainly matches up. But if they were all about Jake, it raises a number of questions. Was Jake Wagner a controlling and abusive partner?
Though we can't be sure about what went on behind the scenes of Jake and Hannah's relationship. We do know one thing. Hannah was 18 years old when she posted that message and she would be dead within a year. We're going to take a quick break here, we'll be back in a moment. Have you ever wondered if Will Ferrell likes to wear his I voted sticker, I'll even wear it until the next day just to ask with people who are what makes Stephanie Ruhle so passionate about voting?
It's super important. It's about what kind of country, what kind of world you want to live in. Hi, I'm Holly Fahri and I'm hosting a new podcast called Why I'm Voting. You'll hear from Chelsea Handler. So my dad loves to talk about voting and talk about politics nonstop. And then I realized my father had never participated in any election. And Jason Petty, also known as propaganda. That's how democracy failed. You know, that's how our system failed.
Is everyone assuming somebody else and other really interesting guests join me and all these amazing voters on why I'm voting? A new podcast from my heart radio available on the I Heart radio app at Apple, podcasts or wherever it is you listen. Citizen Critic is the podcast where we critique the critics and review the reviews of movies and television like Tiger King, The Shining and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the movie should have been reduced to 90 minutes. Even then, it would have sucked because there is no tie in with the characters.
Really, because you've got to find something next to make a movie and I can edit my own head and have it make sense. Listen to citizen critic on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Let's go back to that summer of 2015, just after Hannah and Jake broke up. That means she starts dating a guy named Charlie Gilli. Charlie is her brother, Frankie's best friend, and the brother of Frankie's fiancee, Hannah Kelly.
Here's journalist Jeff Winckler. There was this period after Hannah had broken things off with Jake Wagner that when she got with Charlie, it was sort of what you would hope for. You know, everyone seemed to like Charlie Gilley, who, you know, by all accounts, was very caring, very loving, very much liked by the family.
Charlie is proud of his relationship with Hannah. He often posts photos of he and Hannah kissing and proclaims his love for her online. However, as fast as things heat up, they fizzle out just as quickly. And by the end of July 2015, the couple breaks up. Now, according to that same affidavit that Jake Wagner signed, he and Hannah continued a physical relationship that entire summer. Brittany told Jeff Shane what she heard about Jake Wagner and Hannah's fraught relationship from Hannah's brother, Chris Jr.
. Chris would always come to school and talk to me about it. What would he say?
Just that his sister is in a shitty situation. He just treats her awfully and she really can't do anything about it because she has a kid with him. He was just say, that's a whole bunch of B.S. and that Jake would just treat her like crap, like, what did you think about that at the time that she needed to get out of that relationship and not be associated with that family?
At some point this same summer, Hannah falls for another boy from pectin, Corey Holdren, according to our Wagner family source, when Jake finds out he's crushed.
He got extremely upset when he found out that she was seeing somebody else and he was hurt. He didn't understand. And every time that I got a chance to talk to him, he would cry. He was like, no, I don't understand why she's why she's been this way, why she won't give me the chance to explain myself like we could work on it. And it would be good to be with her. I mean, it was just always yeah, he was very, very upset about that.
And after I think after after being upset and after that kind of wore off, I think it did turn to anger.
In August 2015, Hannah Summer ends with a big shock. She's pregnant. Unlike her first child, this one is unplanned, adding to the anxiety, she doesn't know who the father is, the potential fathers are. Charlie Gilli, Corey Holdren and Jake Wagner.
For Jake, the pregnancy offers a glimmer of hope. I could just tell by talking to him that when he did find out that Hannah was pregnant again, that it almost was like a sense of relief to him. Kind of I think he thought that that was going to bring them back together. He asked Hannah and was willing to to be there for the birth. He was asking if she needed any help with anything with maybe the child support he was willing to pay, that he had gotten things for the baby.
At one point I'm hearing Angela had bought a crib and just things like that for the child. Yes. And this was before he had any idea if it was even his or not.
But behind the scenes, there are rumors that the once amicable co parenting situation between Hannah and Jake is beginning to fall apart, according to Mike Allen, attorney and legal analyst for Fox 19 in Cincinnati, think soon reach a boiling point two or three weeks prior to the murder.
There's evidence that Jake Wagner's father tried to get Hannah Roden to sign some documents related to custody of her daughter, Sofia, to Jake Wagner.
But Jake's plan seems to backfire. Here again are Wagner, a family member. There was a custody battle. It's basically what it amounted to. There was a custody battle between the daughter. Hannah wasn't allowing Jake to see her or any of the family to see her. And so it kind of just it got out of hand at that point. It just set him off to the point where Jake Kirby had made the comment a couple of times. And I had to tell people about this.
And we had made the comment, you know, that he was going to kill her.
And he told her that, you know, he's like, I'm going to I'm going to have to kill you, like you're not going you're not going to let me see the baby, then you're not going to hug her. And I'm like, Jake, you can't say that. So please just chill out. And, of course, you know, nobody ever thinks like, oh, my God, he's actually considered that right. People say stuff like that all the time is right.
Like, well, especially when they're upset, as he was. I was just completely out of his mind. It really, really upset him.
On April 17th, 2016, in the midst of the couple's custody dispute, Hannah gives birth to a baby girl named Kylie on the birth certificate. She doesn't list anyone as the father. Less than a week later, on April 22nd, Hannah and seven members of her family are found murdered in their homes.
Thankfully, the life of baby Kylie and her two cousins are spared. The brutal murders committed in front of these young children rattled everyone who heard about the story, even seasoned prosecutors like then Attorney General Mike DeWine.
I guess the worst thing I've ever seen when you see a mother, young mother, just gave birth four days before and she's murdered right beside her child. Thank God they did not, you know, harm the baby. But, you know, it doesn't get much worse than that.
Jeff Winckler spoke to us about trying to make sense of the killer's intentions. There was a conscious choice to leave every single young child alive who basically couldn't identify them successfully. I mean, that is probably the most shocking part of the whole ordeal, is that there was a conscious choice by these killers to to spare the children, which sort of displays the cold heartedness of decisions they were making.
Going back to the timeline for a second, following the murder, it was one week that passed and Jake Wagner files for custody for both Sophia and the newborn Kylie. He seems convinced that he is Caylee's father, but acknowledges that even if he isn't, he still deserves partial custody. So the sisters could spend time together.
Yeah, the whole Wagner family was pretty vocal at that time about their need to have custody of these kids.
Angela Wagner told the press that Sophia and Kylie, quote unquote, needed each other and that when they got older enough to understand what happened to their mother, that they will really need each other.
Right. And custody is something as complicated and it varies state by state. So, Stephanie, I know you dug into this quite a bit. Yeah, it's very specific.
We spoke to a family law attorney in Ohio. And, you know, yes, if you're an unmarried woman, all parental rights go to you. The father does not have any parental rights unless he goes to court and files accordingly. To that point, these papers for custody were filed exactly one week after the murders. That's pretty quick to pull all of your custody documents together in such a short amount of time. I know things vary from state to state, but it's pretty unusual to have that so tidy so quickly.
And some reports have indicated that that may mean that they had been going through the process and that Jake in the Wagner family were compiling documents in such prior to the murders. So it is possible that because he didn't have any rights, could that actually be reason enough to go through with this crime?
Yeah, I spoke to Mike Allen is a former prosecutor now. He's a criminal defense attorney in Ohio. And he told me about how Jake's quick custody filings look from a legal perspective, that's extremely strong evidence for the prosecution.
I mean, six days, less than a week after the killings to go ahead and file, it can take months, you know, maybe a year, a little bit more. A little bit less. It's not something that goes quickly at all. And I think that that is going to be some evidence that's problematic for the defense doing it that quickly after the murders.
Jake seems determined to be a father to Sophia and to Hannah's newborn baby throughout Hannah's pregnancy and even after the birth. Jake Wagner publicly says there's a good chance he's baby Caylee's father. He's so confident that shortly after Caylee is born, he checks her for a hammer index to a Wagner family tree. He still wanted to be involved and still wanted to be there. So it was a very emotional time for him.
So he really wanted to be a part of Hannah's life and Sofia's life and Kylie's baby, Caylee's life.
Absolutely. Absolutely. He was still willing, I guess, to get help with the child, help with whatever he would need in June.
Twenty sixteen, nearly two months after the Rowden murders, Jake Wagner, Charlie Gilli and Corey Holdren all take paternity tests. It's determined that Charlie Kelly is Caylee's father.
With baby Kylie going to her father, Charlie Gilli, three year old Sophia goes to her father, Jake Wagner, the accused, which is interesting when you look at the timeline of events. In fact, on the day of the murders, Jake allegedly picked up Sophia from the road and home. As a result, Sofia's life was thankfully spared. She wasn't even there. Was that just a huge coincidence? Was that fate or does that actually point to a larger plot?
Well, for example, if the Wagners indeed are the killers, then on the very day Hannah and the rest of the Rodin's that they were celebrating the expected birth of Caylee with the baby shower, the Wagners were out shopping at Wal-Mart for items that the prosecutor plans to introduce as evidence at their trial. Right. That's an important trip to Wal-Mart. That becomes a big piece of this case. We've seen those photographs, too, from the baby shower. And everybody looks so happy.
You know, it's really staggering. Let's just say that Jake's dream was to be a family again with Hannah. He was in love with her. He wanted to keep his family together. Why kill her and guarantee that you're traumatizing your child? It doesn't really totally make sense. Journalist Jody Barr analyzed the potential motive the older these kids get, the more they're going to look like their moms and dads who are murdered. And you want that connection. And these families are fighting over that through the court system.
And now on the back end of this, who learned that? Wait a minute, if everything is true that these investigators have alleged in these charging documents and this goes much deeper and as far as the custody is involved here, if that is truly what happened, but this is a case I mean, we're four years removed from this now. I think about this every day in some respect. I mean, if it's you know, you wonder about those kids know how they're doing now, is it got any easier to accept this?
Are those kids do they remember any part of this?
It's a whole I mean, it's generations of a family wiped out. Yeah. Then you think about it on the back end of this. I mean, those kids had to go somewhere. What do you do with those children? What are they telling them? You know, it's just like when you think about the human end of this outside of the investigation and this family, these are going to be hard conversations that they have with these children. Could you imagine explaining this to a kid when they ask for their mom and dad are telling about my mom and dad?
I mean, they're going to get on the Internet one day. They're going to Google it. I mean, you Google Rowden, the worst news possible that any human could ever have is going to come up. And how do you prepare them for that? This is, you know, whatever happened that morning on Union Hill Road, you know, it impacted a lot more than just those eight people who were killed. I mean, you've got their family members and you've got people in that area.
You're going to remember this forever. This is never going away.
Let's stop here for another quick break. We'll be back in a moment. You down with black hair, you down with abolishing the prison industrial complex, you down with puppies, who is in jail with Puppy? You'd be surprised where the comedy group Obama's other daughters.
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That's next. Great podcast, Dotcom. Why shouldn't the next great podcast come from you? The legacy still lingers on with Dana's friend, Stefan. Quite a shame, you know, that Hannah may, you know, just just that maybe they you know, it's oh, it makes me sick. It's really unimaginable. Yes, it is.
You know, no one deserves no one deserves to die the way that they did. And it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that Dana will never see her kids, you know, grow up, go to go to school, get married, have their own children. I'm sorry, it's OK, it's OK to be emotional about it. I mean, it is emotional. It's horrible. Yes, it is a on the one hand you've hurt.
I'm sure you've heard I've heard that like whoever did this, you know, had like some sort of moral code that they wouldn't hurt the children and they wouldn't, you know, harm the kids. But then on the other hand, it's like but they've left all these kids without a family. And so, like, that's almost worse in a way.
Yes. And I feel so sorry for the children, you know, that they will never get to know. Their parents will never grow. They'll grow up without their parents. We know that the Wagners are in prison awaiting trial for these murders, but also that they've pled not guilty to all charges. It's also important to remember that they are innocent until proven guilty.
So if somebody else other than the Wagners committed this crime, who was it and why? During the ensuing investigation, information started to emerge that perhaps there were several other theories that needed to be considered closely.
Here's reporter James Pilcher, who followed the story closely for years.
On the surface, the Rodin's appeared to be, you know, salt of the Earth, all-American, very close knit family. And there were other things that led you to believe that all was now, as it seemed, there had been reports of scuffles with other people in public. There had been reports of run ins with law enforcement.
And it wasn't long before authorities made a shocking discovery that turned the case on its head. Here's then Attorney General Mike DeWine at a news conference a few days after the murders took place.
Let me go ahead and I think it's OK for us to confirm that we did find marijuana in three three locations to grow operations. Later, it was discovered that the Rodin's had a pretty sizable crop of marijuana plants on their on their property. There were indications that they were involved in some drug deals and drug trade with marijuana.
That obviously fueled even more speculation that these were outside operators, possibly was a drug deal gone bad or was somebody trying to take over their turf? All kinds of rumors started to flow after that disclosure. More on that next week. Pectin massacre's executive produced by Stephanie Lydecker and me, Courtney Armstrong, editing and sound design by executive producer Jared Estin, additional producing by Jeff Shane and Andrew Becker. The Python massacre is a production of I Heart Radio and Katy Studios from our podcast From My Heart Radio visit the Heart Radio App, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
Baby, love my baby. Oh, hi, I'm Heidi Murkoff, host of What to Expect, a new podcast from My Heart Radio. When I first wrote What to Expect When You're Expecting I was pregnant with my daughter Emma, and my mission was simple to help parents know what to expect every step of the way. That mission has grown a lot, but it hasn't changed. Fast forward now, Amasa Mom. Hey, guys. We're teaming up to answer your biggest pregnancy and parenting questions.
From breastfeeding to sleep to tackling tantrum. Motherhood is the ultimate sisterhood, but it can be overwhelming if you don't know what to expect. Listen to what to expect on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. Šamaš Are you ready, Mom? I was born ready.
Hey, I'm Steve Greenberg, the host of Hart's new podcast, Speed of Sound. Speed of Sound is a music history podcast that gives you an all access pass into the songs and sounds that have become the soundtrack to our lives. We'll take you back in time and straight through today's charts to tackle Pop's top songs and most sensational scandal filled stories. Listen and follow speed of sound on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts.