Hundreds Join Vigil For Slain Women, Boy


UPDATED: Friday November 19, 2010 6:04 PM
The remains of three people missing in Knox County for more than a week were found Thursday in garbage bags that were hidden inside of 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.

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.  Barber would not speculate on how the bodies were placed in the trees but said Hoffman previously worked as a tree trimmer.

Hoffman's mother told 10TV News on Thursday night 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."

"As elated as we were when Sarah was rescued, the tragedy today is just devastating," said Knox County prosecutor John C. Thatcher.

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

Neither Thatcher nor Barber would say whether Hoffman confessed to the crime.

 Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night in Apple Valley, near the home of Tina Herrman, for a prayer vigil.   Organizers said more than 1,000 candles were donated and lit, 10TV's Danielle Elias reported.

A seemingly endless stream of people poured into the area near the shores of Apple Valley Lake.

"I just feel numb," said Morgan Durfee.  "I've been crying all day.  It's so hard."

Many who attended the vigil were thankful for the outpouring of support from the community.

"Just look around, we're not alone and we've been praying for a week," said Cheryl Cole.  "We're not alone."

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.

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

Previous Stories:

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