ROCKVILLE – District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe denied the prosecutor’s request to remove Catherine Hoggle from a maximum security mental hospital to help the police search for her two missing children after family members said Hoggle has offered to lead them to the children multiple times.
State’s Attorney John McCarthy told Judge Wolfe Hoggle spoke to three different people – the children’s father, Troy Turner, her mother Lindsey Hoggle and a friend – on four occasions offering to lead them to the children. Wolfe denied the motion on the grounds that Hoggle may not be competent enough to lead police to her missing children.
Hoggle’s attorney David Felsen said Catherine told him she did not want to go with the police and denied telling Turner and her mother she wanted to help police find her children. Upon further questioning Felsen could not confirm if Hoggle told him she didn’t want to go with the police to help find her missing children. He said the claims that Catherine told her family she wanted to lead them to the children “illogical.”
“My client and her mother don’t get along. My client, prior to Oct. 1, refused to see her mother – I think they may have had one conversation and all of a sudden on Saturday there was this great revelation? None of this from a logical standpoint makes sense except when one understands the profundity of the mental health issues and the conduct of the police. That amplifies those issues,” Felsen said.
Hoggle’s children, Sarah and Jacob Hoggle, have been missing since Sept. 7 and 8. Police said both children were last seen with their mother, who was initially believed to be in danger along with the children. Police found Hoggle on Sept. 11 in Germantown carrying two missing posters bearing her own face and her children’s faces. Police described Hoggle as evasive and deceptive during questioning and searches for the children.
According to family members, Hoggle claims the children are still alive and in the care of a friend. Police believe the children are dead and are working to build a homicide case against Hoggle.
In her first in-person court appearance, Hoggle did not look at her family, friends or Turner. She spoke in a low and quiet voice, telling Judge Wolfe that “she’s been better” when asked how she was doing. Hoggle said she was aware of why she was in court but did not understand several of the charges and told Judge Wolfe she is taking at least three medications designed to “zonk” her out.
Felsen filed a motion in mid-October to drop all charges against Hoggle because of unconstitutional questioning by two Montgomery County police officers. In court documents, Felsen said two county detectives visited Hoggle in jail on Oct. 1 and spoke to her for two hours, refusing her requests for a lawyer multiple times. Hoggle faces charges of detaining a child, neglect of a minor and obstruction of charges. Felsen said negative interactions with the police have negatively impacted Hoggle’s mental health.
Hoggle told Wolfe the police said “f**k you” every time she asked for her attorney. Both detectives deny the allegation. Wolfe did not dismiss the charges against Hoggle but ruled that county police are not allowed to directly question Hoggle.
Felsen also argued Hoggle is too incompetent to stand trial because of her diagnosis of severe paranoid schizophrenia along with hallucinations. Wolfe did not immediately rule on Hoggle’s competency and said he would wait for the completed psychiatric exam.
Family members called Hoggle’s courtroom demeanor an “act” and said she refuses to disclose the children’s location because she likes the attention she’s receiving.
“She’s fooled so many people. She knows every question that was asked; she’s talked to me about law before. I don’t understand the judge not allowing her to go with the police because she told three people but that’s the game, to keep them coming back and talking to her,” said Debra Beckward, Turner’s mother. “She was competent enough to plan to take Jacob, ask her father for the car, go get a pizza, leave the baby somewhere and tell the father a lie that he was at another kid’s house. She was competent enough to lie and come back. Then she was competent enough to take the other child and put her somewhere and then try to take the third child. She was competent enough to take Troy back to Chick-fil-A. There is a lot going on here.”
Hoggle’s mother was visibly shaken after the hearing and had to be consoled by friends. She called the case “heartbreaking” and said she was stunned by allegations that she and Catherine didn’t speak.
“She wants to speak to the police; she wants to give an answer on these children,” Lindsey Hoggle said.
Turner said Wolfe made his ruling without hearing from the right people and Hoggle told him at least five times she wanted to take police to where the children were. Turner said he believes his children are alive but they may not be at the location Hoggle believes them to be because of the amount of time that has passed since they went missing.
Felsen declined to say whether he has discussed the whereabouts of the children with Hoggle, who is currently being held at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup where she is undergoing a psychological exam.
Officials from the state’s attorney’s office said there will probably be indictments against Hoggle before her tentative court date of Jan. 5.