MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Sheriff David Barber was honored during the National Missing Children’s Day observance last Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
During the event an awards ceremony was held at the U.S. Department of Justice following a luncheon sponsored by Fox Valley Technical College. At the ceremony, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole presented Barber with the 2011 Missing Children’s Law Enforcement Award.
The award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of a law enforcement officer who made a significant investigative contribution to the safety of children. In presenting the award Cole said, “Sheriff David Barber coordinated a high-profile investigation including federal, state and local law enforcement which led to the safe recovery of an abducted 13-year-old girl.”
Barber was nominated for the award by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for his leadership and decision making during the Nov. 10, 2010, triple homicide and abduction in Apple Valley. Four days after the murders of Tina Herrmann, Kody Maynard and Stephanie Sprang, Matthew Hoffman was arrested at his residence on Columbus Road.
Thirteen-year-old Sarah Maynard was found tied up in Hoffman’s basement, where he held her captive after killing her mother, 11-year-old brother and a family friend.
Although the investigation was a joint effort by many agencies and individuals, the Attorney General’s Office pointed out that the leadership and decisions made in the case were the responsibility of one person, Barber. This included the decisions that led the rescue of Sarah Maynard.
Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who spoke during the ceremony, praised Barber for an outstanding job during the very difficult case, which led to the safe return of the 13-year-old kidnap victim.
Barber, who was accompanied to Washington by his sister, said he is very humbled to receive the award and said he is proud to accept it in memory of Tina, Kody and Stephanie and in honor of Sarah.
Hoffman is currently serving three consecutive terms of life in prison with no chance of parole after pleading guilty to all charges filed against him in this case.