Bodies Of Three Missing Knox County Residents Found

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Authorities in Knox County say they’ve found the bodies of a mother, her young son and a family friend who disappeared more than a week ago. Sheriff David Barber said Thursday that the bodies were found about 20 miles northwest of their home.

In the days following the disappearance of two adult women and two children, investigators concentrated their search in Knox County. In the end, that’s where all the victims were found. 13-year-old Sarah Maynard was rescued last Sunday from a basement in Mount Vernon. But late Thursday afternoon, Knox County Sheriff David Barber had disturbing news about the other three people.

“We have discovered and recovered the remains of Kody Maynard, Stephanie Sprang and Tina Herrmann,” Barber said. “The discovery of these bodies was as the result of information provided by Matthew Hoffman.”

Hoffman is being held in the Knox County jail in lieu of a $1 million bond. He’s charged with kidnapping Sarah Maynard from her home. During a press conference, Barber revealed that the bodies of Sarah’s mother, brother and the family friend were found in trash bags stuffed in a hollow tree near the community of Fredericktown. Barber said the tree had to be cut open to remove the bodies.

“Part of the reason we took them out the way we did, we cut part of the tree away, is our priority to not only to recover them but to recover them with sensitivity and with dignity for the victims and the victims’ families,” Barber said.

Barber’s comments Thursday afternoon were carefully worded and he often declined to give specific details. But he did say that the killings took place in Tina Herrmann’s home and that her daughter Sarah Maynard was in the house at the time of the murders.

“This is a homicide investigation now, and it’s the homicide of three individuals,” Barber said.

Barber said that there’s no evidence to suggest that anyone other than Matthew Hoffman is a suspect in the case.

Barber said he’s saddened by the circumstances but encouraged by Sarah Maynard’s bravery. He said that recovery of the bodies might help begin the process of healing.

“At the very least these three families, this whole county, now knows that they’ve been found. They’re not missing anymore. And hopefully the process of closure, if you call it that, the process of resolution, can now start for them,” Barber said.

Matthew Hoffman is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing next Tuesday. The Knox County prosecutor expects more charges to be filed in the next few weeks.