Clothing Found During Knox County Search

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Search teams continued to scour portions of Knox County on Thursday for clues pertaining to three people who have been missing now for over a week.

Meanwhile, community members waited for investigators to release information about a piece of clothing that was recovered by search teams late Wednesday night. 

A blue sweat outfit was found shortly before midnight near a pile of leaves, 10TV's Tino Ramos reported.

The discovery drew attention because one of the missing people, Kody Maynard, was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, Ramos reported.

Maynard, 11, his mother, Tina Herrmann, 32, and a family friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41, vanished last Wednesday and have not been heard or seen from since.

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Some of Wednesday night's search efforts were focused on wooded areas near Herrmann's home in Apple Valley.   It was there that teams noticed the clothing, Ramos reported.

"We were looking in a dirt pile down there," said search team member Rebekah Neighbarger.  "We just saw the (clothing) and hollered for the other people.  Then we took a look at it and everybody said to call the sheriff, so that's what we did when we found it."

Knox County Sheriff's deputies removed two bags of evidence from the area early Thursday morning.  Aside from the piece of clothing, it was not immediately clear what else was found.

There has been no cell phone or bank activity from either of the missing women since last Wednesday, said Knox County Sheriff David Barber.

Barber said authorities were holding out hope that the three would be found alive, but he said those chances were growing slim.

"The reality that these folks may not be alive is becoming more and more prevalent," he said.

Deputies on Wednesday provided the public with more detailed descriptions of the clothing that Maynard and his mother were last seen wearing.

Maynard was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, a gray T-shirt, jeans and black shoes, while Herrmann was wearing a white ball cap, a tan, hooded sweatshirt, dark sweat pants and tennis shoes.

Investigators did not provide a description of Sprang's clothing.

A fourth person, Herrmann's teenage daughter, also vanished last week, but authorities rescued her on Sunday morning from the Mount Vernon home belonging to Matthew Hoffman.

Sarah Maynard, 13, was found bound and gagged in the home's basement, investigators said.

Deputies said the teenager was recovering from the ordeal with family members.

Hoffman, 30, has been charged with kidnapping the girl and was ordered held earlier this week on a $1 million bond.

Investigators said Hoffman has not been cooperative in their efforts to learn more about the case.

Watch 10TV News and refresh for continuing coverage.

Previous Stories:

November 17, 2010:  Sheriff: Reality 3 Missing May Be Dead 'More Prevalent'
November 17, 2010: Knox Co. Search Enters Seventh Day
November 16, 2010: Suspected Kidnapper Bought Trash Bags, T-Shirt, Tarps
November 16, 2010:  Families Still Hopeful 3 Will Be Found Alive
November 15, 2010: Mother Of Suspected Kidnapper Says He Is 'Loner'
November 15, 2010: Sheriff: 3 Missing People Could Be Dead
November 15, 2010:  Police Block Off Park As Mount Vernon Search Continues
November 15, 2010:  Suspected Kidnapper's Past Includes Arson Conviction
November 14, 2010:   Missing Girl Found Safe; Man In Custody
November 13, 2010:  Search For 4 Grows More Intense
November 13, 2010:  Support Growing To Find Missing Family, Friend
November 12, 2010:  Search Continues For Missing Women, Children
November 12, 2010:  4 Missing From Knox Co.; Discovery Of Pickup Prompts Kenyon College Lockdown