Knox Co. Search Enters Seventh Day


UPDATED: Wednesday November 17, 2010 4:19 PM

As search efforts continue in Knox County for three people missing since last week, more details emerged about a man charged in connection with the case.

The mother of Matthew Hoffman said on Tuesday that she was hopeful that her son would include her on his jail visitation list and open up to her, 10TV's Ashleigh Barry reported.

Hoffman, 30, is accused of kidnapping Sarah Maynard, 13, and holding her in his basement for several days.  She was rescued on Sunday morning after authorities swarmed Hoffman's home in Mount Vernon.

Three other people, including the teen's mother and brother, vanished last Wednesday and have not been heard or seen from since.

Hoffman appeared in court on Tuesday via video and was ordered held on a $1 million bond.   He wore what is referred to as a suicide gown after indicating to jail staff that he may try to harm himself, authorities said.

He was scheduled to be in court again next Tuesday afternoon.

Later in the day, Hoffman's mother said that her son has always been extremely smart but often had difficulty connecting with others, including his older siblings.   She said she had no knowledge of the case, nor any information about her son's relationship with Maynard or the three missing people, Barry reported.

SLIDESHOWS:  Vehicles Connected With Case |  Hoffman In Court |  Case Timeline | Tuesday's Search |   Park Search   |   Images From Mount Vernon Neighborhood Four Missing | Search For Missing People | VIDEO EXTRAS: Sheriff David Barber's Nov. 16 News Conference |

Hoffman was known to frequent a Mount Vernon gym, and employees there said nothing about him seemed out of the ordinary.

"He usually stuck to himself and he was very quiet," said employee Carla Black.  "But for the most part he was a really nice guy."

10 Investigates on Tuesday obtained a police report that involved an incident at Hoffman's home on Oct. 24.

Earlier this week, Hoffman's ex-girlfriend told 10TV News that he put his hand around her throat and choked her after she broke up with him.

"I went to my ex-boyfriend's house to pick up my car," the woman said in the report.  "We were in his living room talking and he got upset and he pushed me against the wall.  He grabbed his forearm up against my neck and was choking me.  I (kind of) got loose, then he grabbed me and we fell over his chair and onto the floor.

I was fighting to try and get him off me, but he proceeded to choke me on the ground.  He probably had me pinned down on the ground for about a minute or two.  Finally, he let me up and we talked for a few minutes, and then I left."

Hoffman's ex-girlfriend requested anonymity to 10TV News.

Search teams continued to scour portions of Knox County on Tuesday for clues related to the whereabouts of Tina Herrmann, 32; her son, Kody, 11; and a friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41.

Investigators used dogs to search six specific areas, including the Kokosing Gap trail that runs between nearby Howard, Ohio, and Mount Vernon, 10TV News reported.    Knox County Sheriff David Barber said the searches yielded some evidence, including trash bags and tarp, but he failed to elaborate on the items further.

Authorities released images of three vehicles connected to the case, and Barber asked for people to try and recall if they saw them last Wednesday or Thursday.  The vehicles were a Ford F-150 pickup that Herrmann was driving, a 2008 Toyota Yaris that Hoffman was driving and a silver Jeep belonging to Sprang.

Investigators said they hoped to have photographs on Wednesday showing the clothing that the three missing people may be wearing.

"Hopefully we'll have photographs of the clothing that were worn by Kody, Tina, for sure, and hopefully Stephanie, the last time anyone saw them," Barber said.

Kody A. Maynard is 4 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 70 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Sprang is 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 110 pounds, with blonde hair and green eyes.

Herrmann is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing 122 pounds, with sandy blonde hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Knox County Sheriff's Office at 740-397-3333 or the tip line at 888-363-8477.

Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for additional information.

Previous Stories:

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