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Published:November 16th, 2010 12:13 EST
'An Unusual Quantity of Blood and Empty Beer Cans' Did Matthew Hoffman Kill the Other Three?

'An Unusual Quantity of Blood and Empty Beer Cans' Did Matthew Hoffman Kill the Other Three?

By John G. Kays

The case of an Ohio family, that disappeared last Wednesday, is a real, living nightmare. Many of the facts are now known, but the reasons behind this crime are unclear. Fortunately, Sarah Maynard has been rescued from the suspect`s home. Unfortunately, two family members and one friend are still missing. 

sarah maynard and matthew hoffman

Most harrowing for me is the way in which the authorities found out that the family was missing. Last Thursday a manager of the Dairy Queen where Tina Hermann (Tina is the mother of Sarah Maynard) worked had to enter the Hermann home, and discovered a substantial (unusual) quantity of blood. And to top this off, there were empty beer cans strewn around the house, a sick signature of the perpetrator. 

tina herrmann

This is an added, twisted touch of the perpetrator. The crime scene leaves an unsettling picture of a madman swilling beer and partying, while perhaps, engaging in torture. But how could one man subdue and kidnap four people? The Knox County Sheriff`s Department hasn`t suggested that anymore than one suspect perpetrated this multiple kidnapping, which may turn out to be a multiple murder. 

stephanie sprang

This leads me to believe that a gun was involved. A clear character portrait of the suspect, Matthew J. Hoffman, 30, is emerging, which tends to verify the remnants of the crime scenes. A neighbor of Hoffman`s, Donna Davis, who lives on Columbus Road close to Mount Vernon, Ohio, has many frightening details about this young man to tell. 

Donna has been calling him the "town weirdo." She also said he would watch them from atop his roof or would climb up a tree to stare at them, or stalk them, which may be a better word for Hoffman`s behavior. I heard he threatened a neighborhood boy also. The details of this haven`t been revealed yet. Donna has told news reporters also that Hoffman would build fires, almost nightly, in his backyard.

 Oddly enough, he created one of these big fires on the night that the family vanished, which was last Wednesday night. This pyromania synchs in with his rap sheet. Arson is Hoffman`s MO. He was convicted of arson, burglary, assault and motor vehicle theft in 2001 up in Colorado. For the Colorado connection I will recommend you read an Associated Press article that was in the Denver Post, Ohio kidnapping suspect Matthew Hoffman was convicted of Steamboat Springs arson. 

I`m curious why Matthew moved back to Ohio after serving out six years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Perhaps he had family there. I`m also curious why he moved up to Colorado in the first place? His occupation has been described as tree trimming work. Matt was a collector of leaves; were these leaves used as fuel for his many bonfires, which seems to be his main hobby?

 And then there are his constant visits to Foundation Park, what`s that all about? Donna Davis has described him as a "nature person." This doesn`t exactly jive with his violent proclivities; I wonder whether he was engaging in some of his stalking at Foundation Park? And apparently the police have found evidence at this park in question. 

Foundation Park has a large body of water on it that might be described as a very large pond. Formerly it was a gravel quarry, but now has several deep fishing ponds on it. This is unrelated, but divers found a vehicle underwater. This must contain an entirely unique tale to tell us. To be honest, the police are dragging the pond for bodies. The authorities must believe the other three are dead. That is: Tina Herrmann, 32, a family friend Stephanie Sprang, 41, and Tina`s 10-year-old son, Kody Maynard. 

The loose-ends still stick out too. How did Stephanie Sprang come into the picture? She must have somehow met up with Tina Herrmann on the day in question, last Wednesday when Tina failed to show up for work at her job at Dairy Queen. Was something up? It would seem so. And can anyone confirm that Hoffman had a drinking problem, and was seen consuming large quantities of beer? 

This would be a confirmation for the helter-skelter that characterizes the crime scene; that is, the quantity of scattered beer cans assumes a role of a mocking statement of a paranoid perpetrator to an opaque public. For me, it`s a clue that victim and murderer knew one and another. It`s too personal. Why didn`t the creep wait to party until after the dastardly deed of malice was done? Heretofore no connection has been established between the Ohio family and this "town weirdo." Yes, many loose-ends still cloud our perception of the real circumstances surrounding this case.