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Knox Co. Community Copes One Year After Brutal Tragedy


UPDATED: Wednesday November 2, 2011 7:20 PM

One year after a man brutally killed two women and a child, a community shared their stories of recovery on Wednesday.

The community in Knox County stood vigil each night a year ago, praying for an end to the search for Stephanie Sprang, Tina Herrmann and Hermann's son  Kody Maynard. When that search finally came to an end many said they were changed forever, 10TV's Glenn McEntyre reported.

"I never imagined it would be that bad," said Sara Hess.

Hess said she watched the tragedy unfold from down the street from the first night law enforcement swarmed the house of her neighbor Tina Herrmann to the last, when answers came but all hope was lost.

"It's just one of those things," said Pastor Russ Gumm. "'No way, in Mount Vernon, Ohio? How in the world could something like this happen?'"

Gumm said he struggled to lead his congregation through the darkest days their community had ever seen.

"There's no way I could get up here and say this makes sense. There's no way I'm gonna say God caused this, God allowed this," said Gumm.

For 11-year-old Sarah Ashcraft, the nightmare on the news was very personal, McEntyre reported.

Ashcraft said Maynard was a classmate and a close friend. She said Maynard gave her a ring shortly before his life ended.

"He gave me this the day that he went missing, the day before he went missing" said Ashcraft. "He told me that we'd be best friends forever."

Ashcraft's mother, like many others, tried to comfort children for whom an unimaginable nightmare had just become reality.

"For probably a good six to eight months Sarah was, not to embarrass her, but afraid to sleep alone at night," said Jennifer Ashcraft.

Many in the community said that they felt ready to heal.

"I think the community is definitely tighter because of that," said Ashcraft. "I think there's a sense that we want to make sure that this never happens again."

Something Sarah Ashcraft found in the song "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry, which she sang in honor of her fallen classmate.

The community also finds inspiration in Sarah Maynard.

"If she can get through it, our children can as well," said Jennifer Ashcraft.

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