The father of two Maryland children missing for more than three weeks is appealing to Gov. Martin O'Malley for help.
Troy Turner of Clarksburg sent a letter to O'Malley on Monday morning saying he's seen no evidence ruling out that his children may be alive and believes an Amber Alert would help find them. He asks the governor to intercede with Maryland State Police and have the agency issue an Amber Alert for 3-year-old Sarah Hoggle and 2-year-old Jacob Hoggle.
Montgomery County police have said they believe the children are dead and are pursuing a homicide case against their mother, 27-year-old Catherine Hoggle. Hoggle is being held on charges related to her children's disappearance. Police say she has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She disappeared herself in early September when it became apparent her children were missing and was later arrested.
Turner said during a news conference Monday that the Amber Alert could be helpful even now or at least couldn't hurt.
"We need someone to step in and intercede and get this done,'' he said, adding that with each passing day he misses his children more and more.
"I think it's time to put more resources into finding my kids,'' he said.
Maryland State Police said in a statement Monday that the organization along with the Montgomery County Police Department considered an Amber Alert for the children but determined the situation didn't meet the criteria to issue one because "there was no confirmed abduction.'' The children were with their mother and went missing, Maryland State Police said, and there was "no immediate threat known to police for her to harm her children.''
"Amber Alert was developed for a specific circumstance, a stranger abduction that has just occurred,'' said Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley.
Maryland State Police said that since Maryland adopted its Amber Alert program in 2002, 121 Amber Alert requests have been made and 34 Amber Alerts have been issued.
Maryland State Police said even though no Amber Alert was issued in the case of the Hoggle children,"information about these children was out nationwide'' to regional law enforcement and through the news media.
Nina Smith, a spokeswoman for O'Malley, said the governor's office has received the letter. She said there are no plans at this time to issue an Amber Alert. The state has been in conversations with Montgomery County police since the day after the case surfaced, Smith said, and it was determined an Amber Alert was not the right tool to assist with the search in this case.
"We commend law enforcement for their ceaseless efforts to locate Sarah and Jacob, and will continue to provide support and resources necessary to the search until this case is solved,'' Smith said in a statement.