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Ohio Gov. John Kasich vows 'pre-planned execution' shooter will be caught

Republican presidential hopeful and Ohio Gov. John Kasich is calling the slaying of eight family members in rural southern Ohio "a horrible set of murders."

Authorities tight-lipped on possible suspects, motives for shooting that killed 8

Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he is confident the perpetrators of a shooting that killed eight will be found and 'justice will be delivered to them.' (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican presidential hopeful and Ohio Gov. John Kasich is calling the slaying of eight family members in rural southern Ohio "a horrible set of murders."

Seven adults and a teenage boy, all members of the Rhoden family, were found fatally shot Friday at four different properties near Piketon, about 96 kilometres south of Columbus. Authorities were still trying Sunday to find out who targeted the family and why.

Kasich says he's been getting updates on the case as he is campaigning out of state for the Republican presidential nomination.

The governor told CBS over the weekend that he is confident the perpetrators will be found and "justice will be delivered to them."

Attorney General Mike DeWine said at a news conference Sunday that the killings were "a sophisticated operation."

"This was a pre-planned execution of eight individuals," DeWine said.

Authorities are urging residents to be cautious in a rural Ohio county as the search continues for whoever fatally shot eight members of a family at four different properties 2:00

Authorities remain tight-lipped about details of the investigation, any suspects or motives for the crime. They said marijuana operations were found at three of the crime scenes, but didn't say if the deaths were linked to pot.

A statement issued Monday by DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said autopsies on all eight victims have been completed, but no further information was released.

Residents shaken

Residents of Piketon are rattled by a rare major crime in the rural southern Ohio community.

Kayla Hay says she's a former co-worker of one of the victims. She says she never heard 37-year-old Dana Rhoden say anything about being frightened or concerned about anything bad happening.

Outdoors shop owner Todd Beekman says at least one customer has come in to stock up on ammunition after hearing about the shootings.

Pike County is an economically struggling area in the Appalachian region about 130 kilometres east of Cincinnati. (CBC)

More than a dozen counsellors, clergy and school psychologists are on hand to help at a southern Ohio school district, where one of the eight people fatally shot was a high school freshman.

Scioto Valley Local School District Superintendent Todd Burkitt said Monday that 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr. was a student at Piketon High School. He says the teen's siblings — 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden and 20-year-old Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden — also were once students there. 

The three were among eight Rhoden family members found fatally shot. Burkitt describes Christopher Rhoden Jr. as someone who was loyal to his friends and family.

Investigators say they've questioned more than 30 people.

More than 100 tips have been given to investigators, who've set up a number for people to call as police seek information about the crimes. A Cincinnati-area businessman also put up a $25,000 US reward for details leading to the capture and conviction of the killer or killers