A judge said Thursday he is not ready to determine whether a Maryland mother is competent to stand trial in the murders of two of her children, because he is new to the case.
Catherine Hoggle is suspected of killing her two youngest children after they disappeared from Montgomery County in 2014.
It is not yet known whether she will ever stand trial.
A retired judge was brought in to take over the case, which has been going on for almost eight years. During Thursday afternoon's hearing, that judge said he was not comfortable making a ruling based on written reports and wants to hear from witnesses and ask questions of doctors.
Hoggle's defense team pushed back a bit, arguing that 19 doctors in a row have found she is incompetent to stand trial. Her attorney, David Felsen, said his client suffers from schizophrenia.
"Two doctors, two and a half years apart, have found not only that was Ms. Hoggle was incompetent, or is incompetent, but that she was non-restorable," Felsen said.
Hoggle's two youngest children, Jacob and Sarah, were 2 and 3 years old when they disappeared. Hoggle has claimed that she left her children with someone, but she has never said with whom or where they might be.
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Hoggle was present in court Thursday but could not testify. She sat quietly next to her attorney.
If Hoggle can’t go to trial by December, charges will have to be dropped.
"The state, by law, has five years to restore her to competency to try her for the murders of those two children," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said.
Hoggle was found incompetent Dec. 1, 2017.
Both sides are now working on setting up another hearing in which witnesses can be called, likely in October.