The bodies of three people who were missing for more than a week were found on Thursday in garbage bags located inside a hollow tree.
The discovery of Tina Herrmann, 32; her son, Kody Maynard, 11; and a friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41; was made at about 2:30 p.m. near the North Branch of the Kokosing River Lake, near Waterford Road in Fredericktown, Ohio, 10TV news reported.
The three were reported missing last week, along with Kody's 13-year-old sister, Sarah Maynard. On Sunday, authorities found Sarah Maynard alive, bound and gagged, inside a Mount Vernon man's basement.
The man, Matthew Hoffman, 30, was arrested and charged with Sarah Maynard's kidnapping after authorities swarmed his Columbus Road home, 10TV News reported.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber said that Hoffman provided information to authorities on Thursday that led them to the bodies.
SLIDESHOWS: Bodies Found | 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. 17 News Conference
Barber would not speculate on how the bodies were placed in the trees but said Hoffman previously worked as a tree trimmer.
"As elated as we were when Sarah was rescued, the tragedy today is just devastating," said Knox County prosecutor John C. Thatcher.
Neither Thatcher nor Barber would say whether Hoffman confessed to the crime.
According to Thatcher, an indictment against Hoffman was being prepared against Hoffman and the case would go to a grand jury. Hoffman is being held under $1 million bond on the kidnapping charge.
Barber said that families were notified about the discovery of the bodies a short time after they confirmed the victims' identities.
"We're a small community here," Barber said. "We became close to the victims' families. We have to as much take care of the survivors as we do with the victims, and that's what we've done ever since (the investigation) started."
According to Barber, the slayings occurred inside Herrmann's home, about 20 miles away from where the bodies were found.
Hoffman is scheduled to appear for a preliminary court hearing on Tuesday. An indictment against him could be within 4 to 6 weeks, Thatcher said.
Stay with 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for continuing coverage.
November 18, 2010:
Clothing Found During Knox County Search
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