MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (CBS/AP) It's possible that three people still missing in central Ohio have been killed, a sheriff conceded Monday, a day after 13-year-old Sarah Maynard - who disappeared along with them - was rescued from the home of a man later charged with kidnapping.
Unlike previous days, Knox County Sheriff David Barber declined to describe the investigation as a missing-persons case, referring to it as "an investigation into the recovery of three people."
The shift in tone was owing to the amount of blood found at the home, the fact that only Maynard was found with the suspect and because apparently no one has seen her mother, brother and the other missing woman.
"We still would like to retain a hopeful attitude, but we have to be realistic," Barber said.
32-year-old Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old son, Kody, and Herrmann's friend, 41-year-old Stephanie Sprang have been missing since last Wednesday.
Investigators searched a lake for signs of the three near a house where Herrmann's daughter Sarah Maynard was found in the basement, and where Matthew J. Hoffman, 30, was arrested. Maynard has been released from a hospital and is staying with relatives, the sheriff said.
"She is a very brave little girl," Barber said. "Under the circumstances, a 13-year-old girl being held captive for four days by a total stranger ... I would call her the epitome of bravery."It was unclear whether Hoffman knew either of the missing women, the sheriff said earlier. He did not say what led investigators to the two-story tan-sided house about 40 miles north of Columbus but said more charges are expected against Hoffman.
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 blond hair and green eyes.
Herrmann is 5-feet-6-inches tall, weighing 122 pounds, with sandy blond hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Knox County Sheriff's Office at 740-397-3333.