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Ohio bodies are missing N.H. children

Affidavit: Father confessed to murdering Sarah, Philip Gehring

Teri Knight, the children's mother, says the gravity of Saturday's news has yet to sink in.


New Hampshire

(CNN) -- Two bodies found along the Ohio Turnpike this week are New Hampshire siblings allegedly killed more than two years ago by their father, who killed himself in jail, authorities confirmed Saturday.

An autopsy conducted Saturday shows the children died of multiple gunshot wounds, said Summit County, Ohio, medical examiner Lisa Kohler, who said she used dental records to identify Sarah and Philip Gehring.

"This has been a nightmare and a journey I'd never wish on anybody," the children's mother, Teri Knight, said during a news conference at her home Saturday night. "Everyone wants to know how I feel, and I don't know."

Knight told reporters the gravity of Saturday's news hadn't sunk in yet, but she was relieved because her children "belong some place better than the side of the road."

An Akron woman walking with her dog found the bodies Thursday in Hudson, Ohio, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Akron, authorities said. Police said she traveled to Hudson to search for the children's bodies. (Watch officials discuss initial discovery -- 1:58)

Knight said she had sparse information about the woman who found her children, but she is grateful to her. "I hope the dog got a steak dinner," she said during the news conference.

Manuel Gehring reportedly told police in 2003 that he shot Sarah, 14, and Philip, 11, with a 9 mm handgun on July 4, 2003, after pulling over on a New Hampshire road.

Gehring said he drove to a Wal-Mart in Grove City, Pennsylvania, and bought a shovel, pick axe, scissors, plastic sheeting, duct tape and cutting blades, according to an affidavit.

He then took the children to "an unknown location along Interstate 80 in Ohio," also known as the Ohio Turnpike, and dug two shallow graves about three miles from the highway, the affidavit states.

It also states that Gehring "told police that he said a prayer, fashioned a cross made of duct tape across the chest of both children, and buried them in shallow graves."

He was arrested six days later in Gilroy, California, and charged with interference with child custody. Gehring waived extradition and was returned to New Hampshire, where police later charged him with murder.

Gehring, who hanged himself in jail last year, later insisted that his confession was coerced. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder but killed himself before his trial began.

There were several facts about the discovery that are consistent with Gehring's confession, including the location, the description of the burial site and the presence of crosses, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin said earlier this week. (Read about the initial discovery of the bodies)

Police searched Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois for the children's bodies after they disappeared following a Fourth of July fireworks display that they attended with their father.

Knight said she will go to the site where her children were found, but that she won't publicize the trip. Asked if Saturday's identification gave her closure, she replied, "How does a mother say goodbye? There's no proper way."

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