Credit: Joe Zimmermann

Catherine Hoggle, a Clarksburg woman accused of killing her two young children who went missing in 2014, was ordered to be held without bail on Friday.

After Jacob and Sarah Hoggle, then 2 and 3 years old, went missing in September of that year, Hoggle was charged with criminal neglect, parental abduction and hindering an investigation.

Hoggle, who was the last person to see the children alive, has a history of hospitalizations for mental health purposes and has been under the care of doctors since the disappearance. Doctors have maintained she is not yet competent to stand trial.

Hoggle was indicted for two counts of first-degree murder on Thursday.

In a Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville courtroom, Judge Joseph A. Dugan ordered her to continue to be held in Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, the state’s psychiatric hospital in Jessup.

Hoggle appeared in court via video. She was wearing glasses and a blue jacket and remained expressionless as the judge made the order.

Advertisement

The case is complicated by the fact that the two children have never been found.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said in a press conference that prosecutors believe Hoggle murdered them in a premeditated act but said he could not yet discuss evidence.

“We would never have sought the indictment if we didn’t believe those children were dead,” he said.

Advertisement

Troy Turner, the father of the children and Hoggle’s former boyfriend, said he has been holding on to hope but now believes Jacob and Sarah are dead.

“There has always been a faint hope, but I know now with the passage of time that Catherine murdered my babies,” he said.

Hoggle and Turner have one other son together, and Turner said he believed she would pose a danger to him and others if released.

Advertisement

Lindsey Hoggle, Hoggle’s mother, said at the press conference that she does not believe her grandchildren are dead and said her daughter will answer to the charges against her when she is mentally fit.

“When two children are missing, I think they should be investigated as missing until there is evidence to the contrary,” she said.

Turner’s mother, Debbie Beckward, also spoke at the press conference. She, too, still believes her grandchildren, whom she called “the sweetest babies,” are alive and said she was upset to hear the prosecutors call them victims of murder.

Advertisement

“I almost vomited—I mean it was, to hear the word ‘murder’ is too much in itself,” she said. “But it’s moving things forward. I’m praying it makes her tell where they are.”

Beckward cried when Turner told the gathered reporters he now believes his children are dead.

In court, David Felsen, an attorney representing Hoggle, contended that his client should be kept under medical care and recognized that it could pose a danger to release her. He said he has yet to see evidence against her.

Advertisement

“Our biggest concern is that she is treated for her mental health,” he said.

On Sept. 8, 2014, Turner had reported Hoggle and their two children missing.

She had told family she had taken Jacob to a friend’s house the day before and had taken Sarah to a day care center that morning. When Turner asked to pick up the kids, Hoggle said she didn’t remember where they were.

Advertisement

Turner told Hoggle he would go to police, but they stopped at a Germantown Chick-fil-A first. While they were there, Hoggle slipped out a back door.

Hoggle was spotted walking alone in Germantown on Sept. 9. Police arrested her on misdemeanor charges on Sept. 12.  

McCarthy said the decision to pursue murder charges now was partly a necessity because a person accused of misdemeanors cannot be held under medical treatment for more than three years. That three year mark came Friday.

Advertisement

Now accused of a felony, Hoggle can be held under medical care for up to five years.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors did not specify the diagnosis of Hoggle’s mental condition, but said she has been hospitalized for paranoia and schizophrenia in the past.

Over the past three years, medical evaluators have sent 13 reports detailing her mental state, all of which have found her not competent to stand trial. The reports also detail several escape attempts she has made, McCarthy said.

Advertisement

If the case goes to trial, Hoggle’s lawyers can argue that she was not criminally responsible for her actions in 2014 because of her mental state at the time—what McCarthy called “the insanity plea.”

When asked what would happen if, after five years, doctors still have not found Hoggle to be fit to stand trial, McCarthy said, “I pray that that’s not the case.”

He said he was “tremendously frustrated” that Hoggle hadn’t been brought back to a competent state in the past three years through treatment and medication, but remained hopeful that doctors and psychologists could get her there for the next trial.

Advertisement

“They say they have hope they’re going to restore competency,” he said. “I’m going to adopt that hope and I’m going to hope that we get to trial.”

Hoggle’s next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Circuit Court.