Knox County, OH: The Bodies of Missing Stephanie Sprang, Tina Herrmann & Kody Maynard Found

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Terrible news from Knox County, Ohio … three bodies discovered in Ohio. 

The bodies of missing Stephanie Sprang, Tina Herrmann & Kody Maynard have been found. The remains of the three were located in a wooded area inside of garbage bags in a hollow tree as a result of information provided by Matthew Hoffman. Hoffman had previously been arrested on kidnapping charges, when 13 year old Sarah Maynard was found tied up inside his home.

Kody Maynard, 10, Tina Herrmann, 32, and family friend Stephanie Sprang, 41

 ”Today this investigation took a major turn,” he said. “We have discovered and recovered the remains of Kody Maynard, Stephanie Sprang, and Tina Herrmann.”

Barber said the bodies were discovered “as a result of information provided by Matthew Hoffman” around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“The bodies were located in a wooded area inside of garbage bags in a hollow tree,” he said. “One thing’s for sure, is he’s had some experience as a tree trimmer.”

Prosecutor John C. Thatcher said he could not confirm if Hoffman had given a confession, but called the discovery “the saddest day in Knox County history.”

Late Wednesday night articles of clothing were located. The incident began on when the four, Tina Herrmann, Sarah Maynard, Kody Maynard, and Stephanie Sprang mysteriously went missing on 11/10/2010. However, on Thursday the body of the three missing people were discovered in a tree in a wooded area.  

Barber said police had to cut into the tree to remove the three bodies. He said the victims were all wearing the same clothes they had last been seen in on Nov. 10. Barber suggested that Hoffman had hollowed out the tree himself saying, “Hoffman has worked as tree trimmer.”

Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher said Hoffman would likely be brought up on additional charges, but could not specify what they would be.

More on this bizarre case can be read at Scared Missing Person & True Crime Forum.

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Missing 13 Year Old Sarah Maynard Found Safe, One Arrest Made … Stephanie Sprang, Tina Herrmann & Kody Maynard Still Missing

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

13 year old Sarah Maynard who has been missing since November 10, 2010 was found safe found safe inside a Columbus Road home in Mount Vernon, OH. She has been taken to the hospital for an evaluation. According to reports, one person was taken into custody by police and charged with kidnapping. 30 year old Matthew Hoffman was arrested at his home that is approximately 10 miles from Tina Herrmann’s home.

Sarah Maynard Found Safe

A 13-year-old girl who was missing with three other people was found safe on Sunday morning.

Sarah Maynard was last seen on Wednesday.  Sources told 10TV News that the girl was found safe inside a Columbus Road home in Mount Vernon.

Maynard was taken to Knox Community Hospital for evaluation, 10TV News reported.

UPDATE I: SWAT team found Sarah Maynard bound and gagged in the basement of a home in Mount Vernon, Ohio

A SWAT team found Sarah Maynard bound and gagged in the basement of a home in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Knox County Sheriff David Barber said at a news conference today.

The man who lives in the house, 30-year-old Matthew Hoffman was arrested and charged with kidnapping, Barber said.

Maynard was taken to Knox Community Hospital for evaluation, the sheriff said.

“She was being held against her will,” Barber said. “She is in good in good condition.”

Matthew J. Hoffman has been charged with Sarah Maynard’s kidnapping.

Sheriff Barber said Hoffman  listed two residences.  One was at 49 Columbus Road where Sarah was found.   The second was at 3730 Apple Valley Drive.

The second address is a home owned by Hoffman’s parents and is within walking distance to the home from which the four people were reported missing last Wednesday.

Today’s events began when The Mount Vernon News reported law enforcement officers forced entry into the home on Columbus Street around 7:45 a.m.

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Mom Tina Herrmann, Children Sarah Maynard & Kody Maynard, and Friend Stephanie Sprang Missing in Ohio Since 11/10/2010

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

What happened to the 4 missing individuals in a rural Ohio town?

32 year old Tina Herrmann, her 41 year old friend Stephanie Sprang, and Herrmann’s 13 year-old daughter Sarah Maynard, and 10 year-old son Kody Maynard have been missing since Wednesday, November 10, 2010. The search continues for the four who have vansihed without a trace.

  • Sarah M. Maynard is 5 feet tall, weighing 90 pounds, with blonde hair and green eyes.
  • Kody A. Maynard was described as 4 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 70 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.
  • Sprang is 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 110 pounds, with blonde hair and green eyes.
  • Herrmann was described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing 122 pounds, with sandy blonde hair and blue eyes.


Missing: Stephanie Sprang (top lft), Tina Herrmann (top rt), Kody Maynard (bottom lft) and Sarah Maynard (bottom rt)

Tina Herrmann failed to show up to work at a Dairy Queen in Mount Vernon, Ohio on Wednesday; however, the children were in school Wednesday, but not Thursday. Police went to the home  Herrmann on Wednesday and saw her pickup truck in the yard, some light was on; however, no one answered the door. On Thursday, the manager of the Dairy Queen entered the home on Thursday and discovered blood and some things out of place. The blood was referred to an an“unsual” amount of blood. Investigators are testing samples the blood discovered.

The sheriff described their disappearance as a missing persons case.

“Detectives are interviewing family members, friends and acquaintances,” Barber told CNN affiliate WBNS on Saturday. “Right now, there is no indication that they were abducted.”

Herrmann failed to report to work at a Dairy Queen in Mount Vernon, in central Ohio, on Wednesday. A deputy came twice to the house and saw Herrmann’s pickup truck. Lights were on in the house, but no one answered the door, Barber said.

“There were no signs of anything out of place,” he said.

A Dairy Queen manager entered the home on Thursday and discovered the blood.

“There is blood in the house. There is a sign of injury to a person or persons,” Barber said Friday.


 On Thursday, Herrmann’s pick up truck discovered Thursday night near Kenyon College in Gambier, OH which prompted a college lockdown. Police alerted the college that there might be a dangerous person in the area who might have left the vehicle of the 4 missing persons. The college lifted the lock down on Friday.

What would cause four people to simply disappear at what seems to be separate times? Tina Herrmann’s ex-boyfriend, Greg Borders, stated that the couple lived together but were in the process of breaking up … RUT-ROH! Borders said, We were fairly civil, as civil as you can be living in the same house when you’re broken up.” Um, “AS CIVIL AS YOU CAN BE”? That is hardly a good sign.

Herrmann’s boyfriend Greg Borders told the Columbus Dispatch that the couple lived together but were in process of breaking up. He last said he last heard from her Wednesday via text message.

“We were both going to go our separate ways,” he told the paper “We were fairly civil, as civil as you can be living in the same house when you’re broken up.”

What are the odds that the initial crime took place after the children had went to school on Wednesday and they came home and walked into the middle of the cover up of the crime? The fact that Herrmann’s pick up was located would indicate that they are not on the run. If this crime was committed by a stranger, why the need to move the vehicle?

For more information, updates and to provide your own opinions, go to Scared Missing Persons Forum.

If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of the missing persons or information regarding the case, please call the Knox County Sheriff’s Office at 740-397-3333.

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Case of Missing Zahra Clare Baker in North Carolina … Police Recover “Valuable Evidence” … Could it be Human Remains?

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


Zahra Clare Baker had been reported missing in Hickory, North Carolina on October 9, 2010. The story of the disappearance sounded fishy from the outset.  Along the way the investigation has run into more bizarre, sick and reprehensible discoveries that has shocked and disgusted a nation. Zahra Backer, a 10 year old, hearing impared girl with a prosthetic leg due to bone cancer was missing and it did not take a professional investigator to point an accusatory finger back to the parents.

After more than a month of searching, grim news has come from investigators as possible human remains might have been found. The police are referring to it as “Valuable Evidence”. The evidence was located after investigators searched a location  reportedly suggested by Zahra’s stepmother, Elisa Baker. The stepmother is presently in jail as she was arrested after Zahra was reported missing on  unrelated charges of communicating threats, writing worthless checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license. She has also been since charged with felony obstruction of justice for writing a fake ransom note.


Investigators said that search teams in Caldwell County found evidence during a search of Gunpowder Creek, about 70 miles outside Charlotte, that “could provide valuable information in the Zahra Baker case.” Officials said the area, which has been searched before, was one of the locations that Elisa Baker suggested search crews look, CBS affiliate WBTV reported.

The evidence has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Chapel Hill. From there it will be sent to the State Bureau of Investigation’s lab for DNA testing, according to the station.

How does a little girl who survived two bouts with cancer that cost her hearing and leg only to wind up missing, murdered and worse? The system failed Zahra Clare Baker on every count. Who was looking out for Zahra? This case is so sick and twisted, sadly it will probably get worse. This henious case so reminds me of  3 year old, developmentally disabled, autistic boy, Marcus Fiesel, who was first reported missing only to find out he was murdered by his foster parents and burned. That case had the same issue of not passing the smell test as we told the Middletown Journal.

There are Web sites that feature photo albums, message boards, chat rooms and slide and video shows. One of those is, dedicated to exploited and missing children. “Red,” one of the site’s co-founders, said after news of Marcus’ disappearance was linked to his Web site, he received an e-mail from Marcus’ foster mother. She chastised the site for their portrayal.

“As soon as she did that, well, it was like, she’s guilty,” Red said Friday from his office in Maine. “You knew this was going to end bad. The radar just went up. It raises the hair on the back of your neck. When you kill your son, and go public pleading for help, it brings it to a special level of hell.”

He said Marcus’ story has drawn widespread coverage because people are so “disgusted by it.”

From the outset, the case of missing 10 year old Zahra Clare Baker had the same ick factor. There is  also a special place in hell for those that murdered Zahra.

To provide your opiniion and get further updates go to Scared Missing Persons Forum: Zahra Baker.


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Regulating Regulators: The Missing Element in Dodd-Frank

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I really liked this post by Edward Kane on the flaw in Dodd-Frank:

The Act purports to reduce systemic risk by expanding and reallocating regulatory authority. But officials’ way of thinking about systemic risk neglects the pivotal role that political pressure and their own incentive structure play in generating it. During the pre-crisis housing bubble, regulatory and supervisory entities misdiagnosed and mishandled the buildup of systemic risk in part to transfer subsidies to financial institutions, homeowners, and builders. When the bubble burst, regulators billed taxpayers for financial-institution losses without weighing rescue costs against those of alternative programs and without documenting how their program would distribute benefits and costs across the populace. Along with the policy of near-zero interest rates (which also help to recapitalize insolvent institutions), the rescue policies chosen inflicted substantial losses on depositors, on future taxpayers, on pension plans, and on persons living on interest income. …

The Act’s treatment plan presumes that the current crisis was caused by “defective” risk management at private institutions. This narrow theory of blame is inadequate in four ways. First, it excuses safety-net officials for caving to political pressure to expand the safety net during the bubble and subsequent crisis. Second, without addressing ongoing weaknesses in their incentive structures, it calls upon government agencies that failed society during the buildup (such as the SEC) to devise and enforce rules tough enough to prevent their clienteles from engendering future crisis. Third, by accepting this assignment without protest, agency leaders have set their staffs up to be scapegoated for future crisis. Fourth, the theory accepts the unlikely hypothesis that the interest-rate and default risk inherent in long-term nonrecourse mortgage instruments can be fairly and efficiently financed for years on end by short-term debt protected by the safety-net guarantees.

The idea that you can’t understand the financial crisis and that you can’t fix it without regulating the regulators themselves strikes me as absolutely right.

I don’t think I agree with his solution to the problem, however:

… the US and other countries would be well advised to make regulatory careers more prestigious by establishing the equivalent of a publicly funded academy (i.e., a nonmilitary West Point) for financial regulators and welcome cadets from anywhere in the world.

I’m not sure a system of mandarins would be all that much of an improvement. Indeed, the French system of Écoles normales supérieures, which produces most French governmental and regulatory elites, has come under increasing criticism both for lacking true meritocracy and for producing like-minded graduates lacking true creativity.

Indeed, I am reminded of something Walter Bagehot wrote:

A bureaucracy is sure to think that its duty is to augment official power, official business, or official members, rather than to leave free the energies of mankind; it overdoes the quantity of government, as well as impairs its quality. The truth is, that a

Or, I would add, the art of government.

Imposing some form of market discipline on regulators strikes me as a far preferable solution. But that’s a question for another day.

Facts And Science Missing From White House Environmental Policy

November 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
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President Barack Obama href=””>famously believes that all of his policies are support by the “facts and science” while opposition to his policies comes only from “fear and frustration.” As The Washington Post documented twice this weekend, that is just plain false. First Charles Lane href=””>reports:

The Obama Energy Department has suggested that, with the help of federal money, manufacturers can ramp up mass production and bring the price of electric-car battery packs down 70 percent by 2014 – thus rendering the cars more affordable.

But J.D. Power is skeptical. “Declines of any real significance are not anticipated during the next 5 years,” the report notes, adding that “the disposal of depleted battery packs presents yet another environmental challenge.” id=”more-45888″>

Nor are industry and government close to resolving the lack of a nationwide recharging infrastructure – or the vehicles’ poor performance in cold weather or on hilly terrain.

Fine print on the Volt ad promises just “25-50 miles of electric driving in moderate conditions.” Translation: Much of the time the car will be running on gas, just like ones that cost far, far less than the four-seat Volt’s price of $ 33,500 (after a $ 7,500 federal tax credit).

In short, the Obama administration’s commitment of $ 5 billion in loans and grants for electric cars is the biggest taxpayer rip-off since corn-based ethanol. It benefits no one but a few well-to-do car buyers and politically connected companies. Any “green” jobs these rent-seeking firms create will vanish when consumers reject their products and/or the subsidies cease.

And on President Obama’s high speed rail policies, Robert Samuelson href=””>wrote:

Let’s suppose that the Obama administration gets its wish to build high-speed rail systems in 13 urban corridors. The administration has already committed $ 10.5 billion, and that’s just a token down payment. California wants about $ 19 billion for an 800-mile track from Anaheim to San Francisco. Constructing all 13 corridors could easily approach $ 200 billion. Most (or all) of that would have to come from government at some level. What would we get for this huge investment?

Not much. Here’s what we wouldn’t get: any meaningful reduction in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, air travel, oil consumption or imports. Nada, zip. If you can do fourth-grade math, you can understand why.

Lane and Samuelson are both dead on. This administration’s environmental policies have nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics. You can read Heritage research on the electric car sinkhole href=””>hear and on the high speed rail boondoggle href=””>here.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

A missing check mark

October 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

This sample ballot from the Beaver County (Penn.) Democratic Party does seem to be missing something.

Namely: The nominee for Senate.

The county is steel country, a place where Bob Casey won by 25 points with the strong support of the conservative Democrats who seem less enthused this year.

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Missing the college kids

October 25, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A close observer of the ’08 campaign emails regarding the decline in registration of young voters from 2008, which is hardly a surprise:

Obviously there was more youth enthusiasm in 2008 than 2010, but one of the biggest differences between 2008 and 2010 is that Obama ran a primary campaign in nearly every single state in 2008. He could register college voters in the spring, and if not, he’d developed the campus infrastructure to carry out effective voter registration during the general election.

The problem with colleges is that there’s always turnover. Let’s say you develop relationships with the college Democrats in the 2008 primary season. Many of those folks are gone by the Fall of 2008, and they’re certainly gone by Fall 2010. Campus engagement will always be tough, and it will always be driven by current events, not past partisan loyalties. It’s hard to maintain those relationships and infrastructure over time. Ideally, Obama would hire an organizer (with alumni ties) for every major college in important states (25k+ students), stoke relationships with college Democrats, and pick up 1,000+ low hanging votes every election at all of these major colleges.

One thing that’s interesting is that many polls in 2008 showed that while Obama excelled with the 18-29 crowd, his numbers were ABSURD with the 13-18 crowd (something like 70-80%). Despite what he may have hoped, those folks aren’t rushing to register and participate as far as I can tell. Remember how people’s children made them endorse Obama?

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Former JCS Chair Says Nuclear Launch Codes Went Missing For Months

October 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh Shelton says in a new book that a crucial part of the system of checks used to order a nuclear launch went missing for months during the Clinton Administration:

A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says in a new book that while Bill Clinton was in the White House, a key component of the president’s nuclear launch protocol went missing.

“The codes were actually missing for months. This is a big deal,” says General Hugh Shelton. “We dodged a silver bullet.”

In his book “Without Hesitation,” the retired Army general writes, “Even though movies may show the President wearing these codes around his neck, it’s pretty standard that they are safeguarded by one of his aides, but that aide sticks with him like glue.” He adds that President Clinton “assumed, I’m sure, that the aide had them like he was supposed to.”

What apparently was missing was a card with code numbers on it that allows the president to access a briefcase — called the “football” and kept by an aide always near the president — containing instructions for launching a nuclear attack.

Once a month, Defense Department officials conduct an in-person verification to make sure the president has the right codes. At least twice in a row, Shelton writes, a White House aide told the Pentagon checker that the president was in a meeting but gave a verbal assurance that the codes were with him.

Then one month around the year 2000, according to Shelton, when the time came to replace the codes with a new set, “the president’s aide said neither he nor the president had the codes — they had completely disappeared.”

The codes are only one part of  the system needed to order a launch so, even if someone had somehow gotten their hands on the codes they likely wouldn’t have been able to do anything with them. On the other hand, without the codes, it would have been difficult for President Clinton to order a launch if he wanted to:

Shelton says the president was given new codes within minutes when the previous codes could not be found, and the procedures have since been changed, so that the Pentagon aide who carries out the monthly check is required to wait at the White House until he or she can visually confirm the codes are in the possession of the president or an aide who is with him.

I would hope they’ve been changed.

Outside the Beltway

War: The Missing Campaign Issue

October 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Tom Brokaw notices something peculiar about the campaign debates:

IN what promises to be the most contentious midterm election since 1994, there is no shortage of passion about big issues facing the country: the place and nature of the federal government in America’s future; public debt; jobs; health care; the influence of special interests; and the role of populist movements like the Tea Party.

In nearly every Congressional and Senate race, these are the issues that explode into attack ads, score points in debates and light up cable talk shows. In poll after poll, these are the issues that voters say are most important to them this year.

Notice anything missing on the campaign landscape?

How about war? The United States is now in its ninth year of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the longest wars in American history. Almost 5,000 men and women have been killed. More than 30,000 have been wounded, some so gravely they’re returning home to become, effectively, wards of their families and communities.

In those nine years, the United States has spent more than $ 1 trillion on combat operations and other parts of the war effort, including foreign aid, reconstruction projects, embassy costs and veterans’ health care. And the end is not in sight.

So why aren’t the wars and their human and economic consequences front and center in this campaign, right up there with jobs and taxes?

The answer is very likely that the vast majority of Americans wake up every day worrying, with good reason, about their economic security, but they can opt out of the call to arms. Unless they are enlisted in the armed services — or have a family member who has stepped forward — nothing much is asked of them in the war effort.

There’s a large grain of truth to that.  If there were still a military draft, as we had in Vietnam, there would doubtless be more anger about the wars.

Then again, the Iraq War was a significant issue in the 2008 campaign.  One could argue that Barack Obama’s having been opposed to the war from the start was the main programmatic issue separating him from the other major candidates for the Democratic nomination and was the thing that him the nominee rather than Hillary Clinton.   And, while it wasn’t the key issue in the general election — by then the economic crisis was afoot — John McCain’s statement that it would be fine if we were still in Iraq in a thousand years (so long as we weren’t taking any more casualties than the troops that have been in South Korea for the past half century) didn’t go over too well, as you may recall.

No, the reasons that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t major issues this time around is that the economy is more important to most Americans and there’s a rough bipartisan consensus on these wars.   Iraq has gone away as a point of contention because the rate of American casualties has fallen to next to nothing and everyone senses that we’re on our way out with our heads held up relatively high.   And, oddly, the elites of both parties both seem to think that we’re unlikely to win in Afghanistan but that we need to give it one more heroic effort before conceding that point.   If we’re not either “winning” there or clearly on our way out by early 2012, it’ll certainly be a big issue in that campaign.

Outside the Beltway

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