Everyone has hobbies. Some people collect things like stamps, or thimbles. Some like to run marathons or be in a triathlon. And some like to collect bugs or leaves in nature. Hobbies are great, until they become extreme and become your sole focus in life. Your hobby then becomes an obsession. And your obsession could lead to worse things, as is the case of Matthew Hoffman.
Matthew was born November 1, 1980. Not much is said about his childhood and upbringing other than he had strange tendencies. Very strange. Matthew liked to sit in trees. Now you may think, kids climb trees all the time, true; but Matthew sat in the tree, just to be near it. Not to play, not to watch nature, simply to sit in the tree and be there. He captured squirrels, and ate them. Again you may think, a lot of people eat squirrels, and again you are right, but these people cook the squirrels, Matthew did not.
Matthew had some issues with the police in Colorado for victimless arson, for that he served time in prison. Upon his release he went to Ohio. He also continued another little hobby, burglary. He used the stolen items to help support himself after he lost his job. The house he had chosen to enter next was that of Tina Hermann and her two children, sharing the house with their friend Stephanie Sprang.
Matthew took time to stake out the house. For three days he stayed in the woods, and watched the comings and goings of the residents. On November 10, 2010, Matthew saw Tina leave the house. As the garage door wasn’t fully closed, Matthew snuck into the house. He claimed that he was only there to steal something, and was excited to be in someone’s house.
While he was still in the house, Tina returned home. Matthew was in the bedrooms when Tina confronted him. He told her to lay facedown on the bed, when Stephanie entered the room as well. Stabbing Tina twice, Matthew raced after Stephanie, stabbing her multiple times in the chest before returning to Tina, and stabbing her more as well. Matthew stated he knew at that time that both women were dead.
Choosing to “process and dispose” of the bodies, Matthew moved them into the bathroom and began to process them. Using garbage bags, he put the bodies in there and planned to dispose of them in a hollow tree that he knew of. Unfortunately Tina’s two children returned home from school, 11 year old Kody was stabbed upon entering the house, and 13 year old Sarah ran from Matthew. Kody did not survive his attack. Matthew loaded the three bodies into the Stephanie’s Jeep and disposed of them in the hollow tree.
Sarah had not called for help, Matthew decided he couldn’t kill her, when he had found her in her room. Instead he took her to his home, bound her, gagged her, and raped her. He fed her, and watched movies with her, even gave her a book to read. Matthew told Sarah that he was in negotiations with her family for ransom, and she should be home with her family by Christmas. He kept her in the basement, on a bed of leaves that he had made for her.
Matthew was his own downfall. He attempted to return Tina’s truck and then burn the house down. Unfortunately a police investigation was already underway. When returning to the truck, the police were already around it and questioned Matthew. He said he was waiting for his girlfriend to get off work at a nearby location. He was not a suspect at this time.
At the crime scene, investigators found a Walmart bag with garbage bags and tarps inside. They went to the store and watched video footage and found their guy. Matthew was on tape as purchasing these items and driving Tina’s vehicle. As they knew where he lived they went to arrest him.
Four days after murdering three innocent people, Matthew Hoffman was arrested, and Sarah Maynard was found alive. Due to her ordeal, she thought she was going to be late for school and asked officers to take her to school. Sarah was reunited with her father later in the day.
In January 2011, Matthew Hoffman plead guilty to his crimes and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He remains incarcerated to this day.
Sarah went to live with her father and step-mother until 2013. In 2013, Sarah was a victim of domestic violence by her father and step-mother, who were both fined. There is a protection order that they are not able to come near her. She along with her half-brothers, 7 and 3, are now living with a relative.
This case was unusual, the leaves are something I have never seen before. I wish that this never had happened, but we can be thankful that Sarah was only with her abductor for 4 days and not months or years. I hope that she is able to get the support and therapy that may help her for the future.
What are your thoughts on this case? Please let me know what you think. Shoutout to Jennifer Y. on recommending this case to me! Please continue to share cases or topics so that I can provide more content to you all!
Be ever alert, make good choices, stay safe