Family members of two children who were slain by their father in 2003 plan to visit the Ohio site where the corpses were found, and a relative said they hope for some privacy.
The bodies of Sarah Gehring, 14, and her brother, Philip Gehring, 11, were identified Saturday by the medical examiner’s office in Summit County, Ohio.
They were found two days earlier, buried in a wooded area near the town of Hudson. The children’s mother, Teri Knight, had been searching for them since they disappeared in July 2003.
Knight’s husband, Jim Knight, said Sunday that decisions will be made in the next few days about when they will go to Ohio, probably to have the children’s bodies cremated there and then bring the ashes home to New Hampshire.
“At some point, we will have a funeral,” he said.
Knight said he hoped for greater privacy when it comes to visiting the grave site and bringing the children’s ashes home.
“These last items, it’s just a series of things we need to do for ourselves,” he said.
Father left clues before killing himself
The children last were seen in 2003 with their father at a July Fourth fireworks show in Concord, N.H. Their father, Manuel Gehring, told authorities he pulled off a highway later that night and shot the children, then drove for hours with their bodies in his van before he buried them. He was arrested in California a week later.
Before he committed suicide by strangling himself in jail, Gehring told police he couldn’t remember where he dumped the bodies. He did, however, provide clues that led to repeated searches along a 700-mile stretch of I-80 from Pennsylvania to Nebraska.
The U.S. Geological Survey concluded in 2004 after analyzing pollen found on dirt under Gehring’s minivan and the shovel used to bury the children that the soil most likely came from northeastern Ohio.
Teri Knight said she searched within five miles of Hudson last summer. She never gave up hope of finding the children, who vanished just months before she gave birth to twin daughters.
“I always knew it would happen someday,” she said Saturday. “I was trying to figure out a way that I was going to be able to move forward in my life, and raise my daughters without having that be something that consumed my life.”
The children’s remains were found by Stephanie Dietrich, whose dog led her to the burial site. She said she had taken the dog on several other searches for the children in the area.