crimesider

Sarah Maynard Update: 3 Missing People Found Dead, Ohio Authorities Confirm

Sarah Maynard (CBS/The Early Show)
Stephanie Sprang, Tina Herrmann (CBS/WBNS)

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (CBS/WBNS/AP) Authorities confirmed the dead bodies of three people who disappeared from a blood-splattered home were found Thursday, five days after one victim's teenage daughter, Sarah Maynard, was found alive, bound and gagged in a man's basement.

The bodies of the girl's mother, Tina Herrmann, her 11-year-old son, Kody, and a family friend, Stephanie Sprang, were found in garbage bags, inside a hollow tree in woods about 20 miles northwest of their home in Howard, said Sheriff David Barber of Knox County in rural central Ohio.

"The tragedy today is just devastating," said Knox County prosecutor John Thatcher. "The results aren't what we wanted them to be."

Kody Maynard (CBS/WBNS)

The four were reported missing after the mother failed to show up for work at a local Dairy Queen on Nov. 10. A day later, a deputy found what authorities called an unusual amount of blood inside her home, and her pickup truck was found near the campus of Kenyon College.

Over the weekend, a SWAT team found 13-year-old Sarah in the basement of the home of Matthew Hoffman, a 30-year-old unemployed tree trimmer who spent six years in a Colorado prison. He was charged with kidnapping the girl and has appeared in court but did not enter a plea.

Hoffman gave information that led to the discovery of the bodies, Barber said, but Thatcher wouldn't say whether Hoffman confessed or what he would be charged with in the future. Thatcher said his office will present case to a grand jury within six weeks, after an investigation is completed.

Investigators would not discuss details of Sarah's ordeal, but have said she is doing well, under the circumstances.

Matthew Hoffman (CBS/WBNS)

It was unclear how well Hoffman knew the four, but the sheriff suggested that the defendant had been watching them.

The sheriff did not say what led investigators to Hoffman's two-story, tan-sided house in Mount Vernon, about 40 miles northeast of Columbus.

He said authorities first questioned Hoffman the day after Herrmann failed to show up for work. Police found him sitting in his car near a bike trail near where Herrmann's pickup truck was found, Barber said.

Hoffman's former girlfriend claimed he choked her, pushed her against a wall and pinned her neck with his forearm during an argument at his house on Oct. 24, according to a police report. The woman told investigators she thought he was going to kill her, but did not want to press charges.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison in Colorado for arson and other charges. The conviction stemmed from a town house fire set to cover up a burglary.

Hoffman returned to Ohio after he was released in 2007.

Complete Coverage on Crimesider