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13-year-old found; 3 others still missing

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - A 13-year-old girl missing for days was found bound and gagged but alive in a basement Sunday, and authorities hoped a man charged with kidnapping her might lead them to her mother, brother and another woman who disappeared with her.

Matthew J. Hoffman, 30, was arrested at his Mount Vernon home, where Sarah Maynard was found, Knox County Sheriff David Barber said. He said the girl was hospitalized in good condition but would give no details and did not say if she had been sexually abused.

Barber did not say what led investigators to Hoffman's home, 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.

Barber said authorities hoped Hoffman would 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 Wednesday in a case that was all the more alarming because an unusual amount of blood was found at Herrmann's home in Howard.

"We were hopeful of finding more than one of the missing people" in Hoffman's house, Barber said. "But the information we had was that Sarah would definitely be found 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 Herrmann or 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," Barber said.

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