New Details Released On Discovery Of Knox County Bodies


UPDATED: Saturday November 20, 2010 2:59 PM

Investigators continued to piece together the case against Matthew Hoffman on Friday as more information was released about where the bodies of two women and a boy were recovered.

The bodies of Tina Herrmann, 32; her son, Kody Maynard, 11; and family friend Stephanie Sprang, 41, were found Thursday afternoon in a wooded area of the Kokosing Wildlife Preserve, 10TV's Tino Ramos reported.

The Licking County coroner was performing autopsies on Friday to determine how the three were killed.

Knox County Sheriff David Barber said that investigators went to the site, located near Fredericktown, based on information they received from Hoffman.

Neither Barber nor Knox County prosecutor John C. Thatcher would say whether Hoffman, 30, confessed to the crime.

The bodies were found inside a hollow tree that was nearly one mile into the woods. Investigators said the area is so densely wooded that they believe Hoffman dragged the bodies to the tree.

Detectives believe that Hoffman, an experienced tree trimmer, used harnesses to haul the bodies up to a hole at the top of the tree and dropped them down to the base, Ramos reported.

WEB EXTRA: Send Condolences, Well Wishes To Family Of Knox County Victims | SLIDESHOWS:  Knox County Trees |  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. 18 News Conference

The bodies were found lodged near the bottom of the tree and investigators had to cut a hole to remove them, Ramos reported.

Herrmann's dog was found stuffed in the tree, 10TV News reported.

Hoffman has not been charged with murder, but was being held on $1 million bond, accused of kidnapping Herrmann's daughter, Sarah Maynard.

Sarah Maynard, 13, was found alive on Sunday, bound and gagged, inside Hoffman's Mount Vernon home.

Hoffman's mother told 10TV News on Thursday that she visited her son in jail for the first time on Wednesday night, and that the visit may have played a part in his decision to reveal the location of the bodies.

She said that her son told her that he was "relieved" when authorities raided his home because "Sarah would be able to go home."

Thatcher said additional charges are expected to be filed in the coming weeks, after autopsies are done and the investigation is complete.

The tree where the bodies were found was cut down on Friday afternoon.

Watch 10TV News HD and refresh 10TV.com for continuing coverage.

Previous Stories:

November 19, 2010: Hundreds Join Vigil For Slain Women, Boy
November 18, 2010: Remains Of Women, 11-Year-Old, Found
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