HOWARD — Investigators are testing blood samples taken from a home on King Beach Drive after the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation were called in on a missing persons case.
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Tina Herrmann, 32, her two children, Sarah Maynard, 13, and Kody Maynard, 11; and Stephanie Sprang, 41, have been missing since at least Thursday.
The timeline, according to Knox County Sheriff David Barber, began Wednesday evening when Tina Herrmann did not show up for work at Dairy Queen in Mount Vernon. The manager called the sheriff’s office to report her missing. The deputy checked out the house and found nothing amiss.
“Her Ford pickup truck was in the driveway and no one answered the door,” Barber said. “There were no signs of anything out of place. The deputy came back later in the evening to check again. There were lights lit and the truck was still there.”
Herrmann did not show up for work again on Thursday, so the Dairy Queen manager went out to the house to check on her.
Barber said the manager had permission to enter the house. Upon entering the residence, the manager discovered blood in a couple areas and called the sheriff’s office.
“We have been out here ever since. There is blood in the house and some signs of an injury,” Barber said.
Although Barber would not elaborate on exactly what he meant by there being signs of an injury other than the blood, he did say there were no signs of a struggle. He said while the amount of blood was significant it was not spattered.
He said it was impossible to tell if the blood found in the house was from more than one person.
“That’s why we have the BCI&I investigating,” Barber explained. “They will be able to test it and tell. There was some blood that is an unusual amount. But the house did not appear to be ransacked and there were no signs of there being a wild party or anything like that.”
What Barber could confirm was that the four people are indeed missing.
“What I can tell you now is we know Tina Herrmann is unaccounted for; that is a missing person. Her two children, Sarah Maynard, 13, and Kody Maynard, 10, and Stephanie Sprang are also unaccounted for.
“Late [Thursday] evening Tina’s Ford F150 pickup truck, which had been in the driveway when deputies were here on Wednesday, was recovered near Kenyon College. It was not on the Kenyon campus. It was outside the village of Gambier. The truck is now being processed by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.”
Barber said a vehicle registered to Sprang was found in Herrmann’s garage. This vehicle is also being processed by BCI. Barber added that Sprang was included as an unaccounted for person because her vehicle was found at Herrmann’s and because nobody has heard from her either.
Barber said the case is being treated as a missing persons case at this time.
The children attend East Knox Junior High School and it was reported they were in school on Wednesday but not on Thursday.
Herrmann’s fiancee, Gregg Borders, according to his uncle, was playing golf in Springfield on Thursday.
“I went past the house and saw the yellow tape,” said the uncle who refused to be identified. “I called him. He was on his way back.”
“I didn’t know what happened until I got back,” Borders said.
Borders spoke briefly with reporters at the scene and said he didn’t know anything about the incident until he got back.
Barber said Borders is not a suspect or person of interest at this time.
An endangered child alert has been issued for the two children.
Thirteen-year-old Sarah is 5 feet tall, weighs 90 pounds, has blonde or strawberry blonde hair and green eyes.
Eleven-year-old Kody is 4 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 70 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes.
East Knox Schools Superintendent Matt Caputo confirmed they missed one day of school earlier this week. He said school officials, as is the custom, made a courtesy telephone call to the home to see if the children were all right.
“The sheriff is investigating matters,” Caputo said, “so I can’t say a lot about it.”
The district does have plans in place which are implemented when a crisis occurs. “We have procedures we follow to ensure we are taking care of the needs of kids,” Caputo said. “We try to conduct things as normally as possible. If a student is bothered by something, we are going to have a set of ears to listen to them and help them be able to get through whatever it is.
“We have folks that are employed by the district to whom a student can talk. We also have some local folks who we can call on, youth ministers and such. We will make them available if the students need to talk anybody.”
Barber said the KCSO is being assisted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol which used Forward Looking Infrared scanners to check the immediate area. BCI and the FBI were called in to assist with retrieving any possible text messages between Borders and Herrmann and the possibility of the case involving a kidnapping, Barber said.
Kenyon College did issue a lockdown of the campus after Herrmann’s truck was discovered Thursday night, but that was the college’s decision and not issued at the behest of the KCSO, Barber said.
Barber asked the public for any information they might have regarding the disappearances of the four people.
“This is an unusual case,” said Barber. “Right now we don’t know what happened here.”
Anyone with information about the case should contact the Detective Division of the KCSO at 393-6800.
News Staff Report Pam Schehl contributed to this story.