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      Ohio town awaits word on 2 missing women, 2 kids

      Sarah Maynard / AP photo

      HOWARD, Ohio (AP) " Residents of a central Ohio town held out hope Sunday that a mother who disappeared last week along with her two children and a friend would turn up after authorities found an "unusual amount of blood" found in her home.

      Authorities in Howard planned an update on the case Sunday afternoon in the disappearance of 32-year-old Tina Herrmann, her 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang, and Herrmann's 13-year-old daughter, Sarah Maynard, and 10-year-old son, Kody Maynard.

      Read more Montgomery County Courier Mount Vernon News Mansfield News Journal

      Herrmann's pickup truck was found Thursday night in a nature area near Kenyon College, about 60 miles north of Columbus.

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      Knox County Sheriff David Barber said Friday that blood was found in the home, but that there was no indication of an abduction. The friend's vehicle was found parked at Herrmann's home, about seven miles away.

      He followed Saturday by saying the blood found in the home indicated an injury that was probably linked to the disappearance.

      "The one thing I can say about it is that it's an unusual amount," Barber said. "It isn't from someone stubbing their toe or cutting their finger, you know, or peeling an apple or something like that."

      He did not say who investigators believe was injured. The state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation was collecting evidence at the home, he said.

      Investigators have combed land, sky and a private lake about a half-mile from Herrmann's home. The state Highway Patrol, FBI and Center for Missing and Exploited Children were helping investigate.

      Neighbors were increasingly concerned. Josh and Alicia Lawson helped search woods and valleys Saturday afternoon for any clues.

      "Everybody knows somebody that knows them, being a small town," Alicia Lawson said. "I just hope they show up and it's all been a huge misunderstanding, but it's starting to feel like that isn't going to happen."

      Gene Lybarger, whose children played sports with the missing boy and girl, said his 11-year-old daughter is taking it hard.

      "She spent the night with a friend and, when I was dropping her off, she came up and hugged me. She was crying," he said. "I told her, 'Let's just wait and see.'"

      Investigators continued to question people and evaluate evidence, but Barber said no activity had shown up on the women's cell phone or credit card accounts.

      "We're asking people to keep a guarded but optimistic attitude about how this case is going to unfold," he said.

      Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.