Mother's murder charges may be dropped

From left, Catherine Hoggle, Sarah Hoggle and Jacob Hoggle. The two children went missing in 2014.

CUMBERLAND — Toddlers Sarah and Jacob Hoggle went missing more than five years ago. Next week, murder charges against their mother, Catherine Hoggle, could be dismissed.  

Prior to Hoggle’s upcoming hearing in Montgomery County, a prayer vigil will be held to show support for the children’s rights and give them a voice.

“My kids deserve better than what they’e getting from the system,” Cumberland native Troy Turner, the children’s father, said on Monday. “Everything they were ever going to be (has been) taken.”

In 2013, Hoggle was committed to Sheppard Pratt Health System where she was diagnosed as schizoaffective and released shortly after.

She wasn’t supposed to be alone with her children, Turner said.

According to Turner, Hoggle's mother allowed her to leave with Jacob on the afternoon of Sept. 7.

On the morning of Sept. 8, Turner's oldest son woke him, concerned that his mother and two siblings were not home.

Turner called police and was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher when Hoggle arrived home and said she’d left the children at a day care.

Turner was driving Hoggle to collect the kids when she asked him to stop so she could get something to drink at a fast food restaurant. Her medication made her tired and she frequently needed caffeine to stay awake, he said. 

Video recordings at the eatery would show her sneak out of the establishment.

Days later, Montgomery County authorities found Hoggle, who had cut her hair, in a nearby apartment complex, Turner said and added she was removing posters with photos of her and the missing children when she was recognized by someone who called police.

Hoggle was charged with misdemeanors in connection with the disappearance of her children.

She was sent to the maximum security Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, where she claimed she gave the children to someone who would keep them safe, but refused to provide a location.

Vast and wide searches have been held for the children over the years.

In March 2016, citing court records filed in Montgomery District Court, the Washington Post reported that 29-year-old Hoggle had tried to escape at least eight times from Perkins. Each time, she grabbed a staff member's security badge and ran toward the door of her locked unit.

Hoggle was indicted on two murder charges in 2017.

In August, a judge found Hoggle incompetent to stand trial.

The next competency status hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 18. 

Her defense attorney filed for a motion to dismiss the murder charges at that time, based partly on a complex Maryland law that limits how long someone deemed incompetent can be held accountable.

“Catherine killed my children,” Turner said. “She knew what she was doing when she did it.”

He thanked people for their prayers and help to find his children.

“The support has been great,” Turner said. “I’d love to be able to look everyone in the face and say, ‘Thank you.’”

He will continue to search and seek justice for his kids.

“We’re not going to quit,” Turner said.

Meanwhile, the system “is broken,” he said. 

“(Hoggle) has more rights than my children,” Turner said. “My kids are gone. There’s a hole that’s never going to be filled.”

Turner’s mother and former Cumberland resident Debbie Beckward said she writes poems to Sarah and Jacob every day.

“That’s the only way I can get through it,” she said. “They were the most beautiful, loving children.”

She said she prays the siblings are together.

“Sarah … she was always looking out for Jacob,” Beckward said and started to cry. “Everybody’s missing them.”

Beckward, who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, keeps signs about the missing children on her car.

“We need to keep it going,” she said of the search for Sarah and Jacob and added she wants the FBI to be involved in the case. 

“They’re the victims, not Catherine,” Beckward said. “She needs to be brought to trial. (There’s) obstruction of justice all the way around.”

Her mother, Jean Beckward, talked to the Cumberland Times-News in 2014 about the missing children.

“When in the area or traveling, please study the flier and call 911 if you have any leads as to where my great-grand babies are,” Jean Beckward, a retired real estate agent, said. “I miss them so much.”

Jean Beckward died in June. 

Debbie Beckward’s daughter, Montgomery County resident Raelane Turner, has helped lead searches for her niece and nephew.

“You have two holes in your heart,” she said. “None of us are getting over this.”

Learn more @JusticeforSarahandJacob on Facebook.

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