Missing Family Likely Murdered: Police

Cops, kin lose hope as time passes
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Nov 16, 2010 2:23 AM CST
Sarah Maynard, 13, was found bound and gagged in the basement of Matthew Hoffman, said cops.   (AP Photo/WBNS-10TV)
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(Newser) – Missing family members of the young teenage girl found bound and gagged in the basement of an Ohio man have likely been murdered, police fear. "We would like to retain a hopeful attitude, but we have to be realistic," said local Knox County Sheriff David Barber. Sarah Maynard, her 10-year-old brother, Kody, mom Tina Herrmann, and a friend vanished nearly a week ago from the family's home, which police found splattered with blood. Sarah, who was rescued by a police swat team, is aiding investigators. Barber called her the "epitome of bravery" for maintaining her cool through 5 days of captivity. Matthew Hoffman, 31, has been charged in her kidnapping.

Police have searched a park near Hoffman's Mt. Vernon home and retrieved a car from a lake that turned out not to be linked to the case. Following treatment in a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Sarah has been reunited with her divorced dad. "Physically, she is fine," Barber said. "Obviously she has been through a lot." Hoffman has served time for arson and burglary. Neighbors described him as "weird" and said he liked to spy on people in the street from a hammock in a tree outside his home. Police have not yet established any relationship between Hoffman and Sarah's family, reports ABC News.

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