Ohio coroner reveals missing women and child stabbed, dismembered (Video)
KNOX COUNTY, Ohio — Ten days after two Ohio women, a 13-year-old girl, and her 10-year-old brother were reported missing, the Knox County coroner’s office said Saturday that preliminary autopsy results revealed the two women and the boy were stabbed to death and dismembered.
The teenaged girl, 13-year-old Sarah Maynard, was found alive in the basement of a home about 20 miles from her home several days after the four went missing.
The remains of Tina Herrmann, 31, her son, Kody Maynard, 11, and Stephanie Sprang, 41, were found in garbage bags in the hollow of a tree in Kokosing Lake State Wildlife Area in Knox County, Ohio, authorities said Thursday.
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The sheriff had this to say: “As the sheriff of this county for the past 18 years, I have never experienced a case this big, this serious, and this tragic. And in my entire law enforcement career I have never experienced something like this.”
The tree has been cut down and will be removed from the area out of respect of the families.
The three, along with Hermann’s 13-year-old daughter, were reported missing Nov. 10. Following a weeklong search Sarah Maynard, Hermann’s daughter, was found gagged and bound in the basement of a Mount Vernon residence about 20 miles from her home in Central Ohio.
The man living in the home, Matthew Hoffman, was arrested and faces kidnapping charge in her abduction.
Authorities say he led them to the bodies of the other three missing people.
“His information led to the location of the bodies,” Knox County Sheriff David Barber said Thursday, while announcing the discovery of the remains.
According to a statement made by Knox County Coroner J.F. Ogle on Saturday, the three were attacked with a knife and stabbed multiple times in the back and chest, causing them to bleed to death.
There were no signs of sexual assault and the location of the deaths is pending further tests, she added.
It will take approximately six to eight weeks for a final coroner’s report to be released. A full forensic examination will be performed by the Licking County Coroner’s Office.
“Our entire community has been wounded in this tragedy and words can’t describe the sorrow felt by all. However, I have seen this community rise up and challenge itself to greatness since the beginning of this ordeal,” Ogle said. “Knox County is one of the warmest, kindest, and most beautiful communities I have ever witnessed, and I firmly believe that no one person can ever steal that away from us.”
CNN reported that Herrmann failed to report to work at a Dairy Queen in Mount Vernon on November 10, Barber told CNN affiliate WBNS.
A deputy went to her home in Howard twice, about nine miles east of Mount Vernon. He saw her pickup there but no one answered the door. Lights were on in the home.
Later in the week Hermann’s coworker went to the home and discovered blood, leading authorities to suspect foul play.
Sarah Maynard was found in an early morning raid involving a SWAT team. She was released from the hospital Monday, after being evaluated and treated for injuries, the sheriff said.
Her alleged captor, Hoffman, remains in custody awaiting a preliminary hearing scheduled Tuesday, Nov. 23, on the kidnapping charge. He is the only suspect in the murders of the other three victims.
The sheriff said the incident was not a home invasion and said that “either they knew Hoffman or Hoffman made himself known to them.”
When asked earlier this week if officials took the death penalty off the table in order to find the bodies, Knox County prosecutor John C. Thatcher responded that he could not say whether Hoffman confessed to the killings.
He said he expects to take the case to the grand jury in four to six weeks.