Md. judge could drop murder counts against Catherine Hoggle in 2014 disappearance of children

The lawyer for Catherine Hoggle — charged with the murders of her two young children, who were last seen in 2014 — will tell a circuit court judge Tuesday that Montgomery County prosecutors have run out of time to put her on trial.

Defense attorney David Felsen will argue Maryland law dictates that felony charges be dropped against any defendant who has been determined to be incompetent to stand trial for five years.

Hoggle was arrested in September 2014 and charged with misdemeanors in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Hoggle, 3, and Jacob Hoggle, 2.

Hoggle, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was first found incompetent in January 2015. Since then, several judges and doctors have consistently determined she remains dangerous and unable to assist in her own defense.

However, as WTOP first reported, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said the five-year-clock did not start running until Hoggle was indicted on charges for the murders in September 2017.

Troy Turner, the father of Sarah and Jacob and another older child with Hoggle, said she would be “getting away with murder” if she does not stand trial.

Sources said Turner will likely address Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg, before the judge rules whether Hoggle’s counts should be dropped because of the deadline.

“I am fearful that Catherine may be released into the public,” said Turner. Supporters of Turner will gather across the street from the courthouse, before the 1:30 p.m. hearing.

Even if the judge were to grant the defense motion, it is unlikely that Hoggle would walk free, given that her children are still missing.

Prosecutors could seek a civil confinement for Hoggle, which would keep her in Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, where she has been treated and tested since 2015, for an undetermined period of time.

Since Maryland law would have the charges dropped without prejudice, prosecutors could then immediately re-charge Hoggle — even without additional evidence.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up