A judge ruled prosecutors can have their own psychiatrist evaluate a Maryland woman suspected of killing her two young children, who disappeared almost five years ago.
Jacob and Sarah Hoggle were last seen in September 2014 when they were ages 2 and 3, respectively. Their bodies were never found. Wednesday would have been Jacob’s seventh birthday.
Their mother, Catherine Hoggle, was arrested, but the court repeatedly has found her incompetent to stand trial. She told police she left Jacob and Sarah with a friend but never gave details on their whereabouts. She has been in a psychiatric hospital since 2014.
“It was hard getting up in the morning to come in here for this and spend my son’s seventh birthday here looking at the woman who murdered my children,” said their father, Troy Turner.
Prosecutors have said they believe Hoggle is faking the extent of her mental illness.
“This case is so serious, I think we as a community deserve additional input,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.
Judge Robert Greenberg decided that after five years, another evaluation can only assist the court in determining competence.
“In some ways, this is kind of a birthday gift for him,” Turner said. “It’s a step toward justice for my son and my daughter. It doesn’t make it easier.”
Hoggle’s attorney, David Felsen, said Hoggle has a long history of mental illness.
“State doctors have found that those mental health issues and those diagnoses have prevented her from being able to assist in her own defense,” he said. “We expect the same thing is going to happen here.”
Once the new evaluation is completed in August, the judge will decide if Hoggle can go on trial for her children’s deaths.
Turner said he’ll continue to show up at the courthouse until he finds justice for his children.
“It’s definitely hard coming in here but it’s good walking out with what was said in the courtroom,” he said.
Maryland law gives prosecutors five years to hold Hoggle without a trial. Though she was arrested in 2014, she wasn’t charged with murder until 2016, so prosecutors believe they still have two more years before the charges might be dismissed if the court continues to find her incompetent to stand trial.