Watch CBSN Live

Ohio Family Mourned: Murdered Mother, Son, Friend Remembered Ahead of Funerals

Tina Herrmann, Kody Maynard and Stephanie Sprang (CBS/AP)

GAHANNA, Ohio (CBS/AP) Mourners carried sunflowers and baseballs as they left a visitation service Tuesday for Tina Herrmann and her 11-year-old son Kody Maynard, who were stabbed to death and dismembered, and family friend Stephanie Sprang, who died with them, was remembered as full of life and always smiling.

Friends of Tina and Kody Maynard, said there were two closed caskets and mounds of flowers at the service at a church in Gahanna, about 40 miles southwest of their home in Howard, where they were killed Nov. 10. The baseballs bore Kody's name, and dates of birth and death.

A co-worker of Herrmann said that among those in the reception line was Herrmann's 13-year-old daughter, Sarah Maynard, who was also reported missing on the day of the killings. She was found bound and gagged in the basement of a home in Mount Vernon, about 10 miles from the site of the stabbings, four days before the remains of the others were discovered hidden in a hollow tree.

"She was being very, very strong," said Teresa Partlow, 32, of Walhonding. "I couldn't imagine being that strong."

Dad Still Hopeful Ohio Missing Family Alive
Sarah Maynard (CBS/The Early Show)

Outside a crowded funeral home in Mount Vernon, cars were parked on both sides of the street for a couple of blocks as evening visitation for Sprang began.

Mourners looked at photo and video montages of Sprang, 41, as a girl with a baton, in high school with friends, in her wedding dress, serving birthday cake to one of her children, singing karaoke with her father and laughing as she was buried in sand on a beach.

Dee Hall said she wanted to pay her respects for the victims, the youngest of whom attended school with her grandson.

"It's part of the healing process for this community," she said. "We don't experience stuff like this every day here. I'd like to believe that something this horrific has brought this community closer together."

Among the mourners earlier in the day was Sheriff David Barber, whose office handled the search for all four victims.

The search began after authorities said an unusual amount of blood was found Nov. 11 in the home of the 32-year-old Herrmann, where Sprang had been visiting. Officials said Sarah Maynard was found three days later in the home of Matthew Hoffman and that he later gave information that led investigators to the remains of the others in a wildlife preserve.
Matthew Hoffman (CBS/WBNS) CBS/WBNS

Hoffman, a 30-year-old unemployed tree-cutter, has been charged with one count of kidnapping and is being held in the Knox County jail on $1 million bond. Authorities say he is the only suspect in the killings, but he has not been charged in the deaths.

The families of Herrmann and Maynard issued a statement to members of the media at the start of visitation on Tuesday, thanking law enforcement, members of the community, relatives, friends and others.

"We wish to take a moment to thank the nation for the outpouring of love, prayers and support that you all continue to provide," the statement said. "To the residents of Knox County who grieve with us as well, we would like to share that all of you who are touched by this tragedy, whether directly or indirectly, are in our hearts and prayers."

The family also offered paper baseballs on which mourners could draw or write memories or condolences.

In Mount Vernon, Dairy Queen manager Valerie Haythorn, who alerted police to the blood in Herrmann's home after she didn't show up for work, said the restaurant would be closed during the day Wednesday so employees could attend funerals.