In This Ohio

On What Has Come Out Of The Tree

Darren C. Demaree
How awful are the acts that make us believe in a cold, evil world…

How glorious the belief that what was broken, can be whole again.

Of the sadness, the horror, the anger, the pieces of all of us that were not dealt to the dying wood deep in the forest, we remain torn from the selves we knew before the findings of yesterday. Our bodies have not left this scene in a white hearse. We are alive and shaken to a pain of uncertainty we have never expected.

Our Ohio, our Knox County has never before shown us a scene of nonsense, and true, grisly violence like this, and as the sorrow of the last week-and-a-half becomes fully understood, one thing remains to haunt us, how could this story have taken place so close to our now questioning hearts?

Let me begin again.

I am from Knox County. I lived in Fredericktown just long enough to draw some roads on cardboard in the basement, and then my family moved to Mount Vernon, where I lived for eighteen years.

I occasionally played baseball on the same field in Howard where the recently deceased Koby Maynard played. Koby was just one of the three victims found yesterday in bags in a hollowed-out tree in the Kokosing Lake Wildlife Area.

The other two bodies, those of Tina Herrmann and Stephanie Sprang like that of Koby, were found cut to fit the inside of a tree, where if suspect Matthew J. Hoffman, hadn’t given the location of they might never have been found. All three bodies have been taken out of the tree, and were escorted in three white hearses to be examined for evidence in Licking County. They have escaped their arboreal grave.

The rest of us, the ones that were drawn in shock to that awful tree, we are left to remember, to mourn, and to make sure we find a way to come together to create a semblance of understanding, of protection, and of love.

Sarah Maynard, who earlier was found alive, in the possession of Hoffman on Columbus Rd, in Mount Vernon, is home safe now. She was said to be seen waving and even smiling on return to her father’s house in Franklin County. In those small gestures, despite her awful experiences, she was able bring a small glimmer of hope to the possibility of recovery, of rebuilding, even if we can never forget.

More is coming. Details that will give us even greater fear than already holds us. We will hold our children closer at night for a while. We will hold our children tighter when they come home. We will lock our doors, no matter who is home. Like Maynard though, we can fight to find a way to smile.