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Girl found alive but family missing

A 13-year-old girl missing in the US for days has been found bound and gagged but alive in a basement, and authorities hope a man charged with her kidnapping might lead them to her mother, brother and another woman who disappeared with her.

Matthew Hoffman, 30, was arrested at his home in Mount Vernon, Ohio, where Sarah Maynard was found on Sunday, Knox County Sheriff David Barber said

Mr Barber did not say what led investigators to the house, which is about 10 miles from the home of Sarah's family, but he said Hoffman's mother and stepfather own a house within walking distance of Sarah's, and that Hoffman listed it as a second address.

Authorities now hope Hoffman will give them information leading to Sarah's mother Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old brother Kody and Herrmann's 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang.

The four vanished on Wednesday in a case that was made all the more alarming because an unusual amount of blood was found at Ms Herrmann's home.

"We were hopeful that we would find more than one" of the missing people in Hoffman's house, Mr Barber said. "Our information was definite that it was most likely that Sarah was going to be in that house."

Authorities believe the girl had been "under the control" of Hoffman since Wednesday, when she and her brother last attended school, the sheriff said. He did not know if Hoffman was connected to either Ms Herrmann or Ms Sprang, but said he is not the ex-boyfriend of either woman.

"At this time, whether he's connected to the family or whether he connected himself to the family... a lot of that remains to be seen as the investigation continues," Mr Barber said.

Hoffman has been charged with kidnapping and Mr Barber said more charges are expected.

Neighbours have said they saw a body bag being taken from Hoffman's home, but the sheriff said that was "absolutely false", adding: "We have no-one that we're aware of who is deceased. So we're still treating this as a missing persons case.


From Belfast Telegraph