Hoggle kids’ father: ‘Completely unacceptable’ if murder charges dropped

The father of Sarah and Jacob Hoggle, who were 3 and 2 years old when they were last seen in 2014, says it would be “completely unacceptable” if a Montgomery County, Maryland, judge grants a defense motion to have Catherine Hoggle’s murder charges dismissed.

Last Friday, in a motion to dismiss, Hoggle’s lawyer David Felsen said Maryland law dictates felony charges be dropped against a defendant who has been determined to be incompetent to stand trial for five years.

“You have someone who’s murdered two children, who can get away with it, and not even stand trial for it,” said Troy Turner, the father of Sarah and Jacob.

Turner also has another son with Hoggle.

Hoggle was arrested in September 2014 and charged with misdemeanors in connection with the disappearance of Sarah and Jacob. In 2017, Hoggle was indicted on charges of murder, even though police and prosecutors have no forensic evidence to prove that the children are dead.

Hoggle was first ruled incompetent to stand trial by a district court judge on Jan. 10, 2015. Five years to that date, Felsen filed a motion last week, arguing that Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg should either dismiss the counts or hold a hearing on the question before a scheduled Feb. 18 status hearing.

Montgomery County prosecutors have not yet filed a motion opposing the defense’s request.

Turner and prosecutors have maintained that Hoggle is malingering and exacerbating the extent of her mental illness.

“I don’t question she has mental illness — I question the fact of her being competent to stand trial,” Turner said.

Shortly after Hoggle’s arrest, Turner said he had telephone conversations with her, and he was convinced that she is lucid and tailoring her answers to avoid legal consequences. He said the two have not talked by phone for several years.

“She isn’t delusional in the way she pretends to be,” Turner said. “She’s a master manipulator.”

Turner is concerned about what might happen if Greenberg chooses to drop the charges.

“She’s a danger to my son, she’s a danger to us,” said Turner, referring to the other son he has with Hoggle. “She’s a danger to society, and she shouldn’t be walking the streets.”

Even if charges are dropped against Hoggle, the chances are minuscule that she would walk free from the courtroom. Since Maryland’s five-year deadline requires charges be dropped without prejudice, prosecutors could re-charge Hoggle even without additional evidence.

“My understanding is that she would more than likely be civilly committed first,” Turner said.

The judge could order Hoggle to remain at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, where she has been treated and tested, if he determines that she is still dangerous to herself and others.

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.

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