An effort to prosecute Catherine Hoggle, who for years has been in psychiatric care and deemed not competent for trial, for the murder of two of her children hit another impasse on Friday.
Prosecutors moved forward with the case in September, charging the Clarksburg woman with murdering her children, who went missing in 2014. She had previously been held on misdemeanor charges.
But on Friday, Judge Michael Mason again deemed Hoggle not competent to stand trial in a hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Hoggle will be given a yearly evaluation and has been scheduled for a hearing on Nov. 30, 2018, according to Ramón Korionoff, spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s Office. If her mental health status changes, she will come back before a judge.
The decision marks one more delay in the ongoing case that began when Jacob and Sarah Hoggle, then 2 and 3 years old, went missing in September 2014. The children have never been found.
Their mother quickly came under suspicion as the last person to see them alive.
She told Troy Turner, the father of the children and her boyfriend at the time, that she took Jacob to a friend’s house and Sarah to a day care center. When Turner wanted to pick them up, Hoggle said she didn’t remember where they were.
Hoggle slipped out a back door at a Germantown Chick-fil-A and was arrested by police on misdemeanor charges a few days later. She has remained in the care of doctors since.
Lawyers have not specified the diagnosis of Hoggle’s mental condition, but said she has been hospitalized for paranoia and schizophrenia in the past.
At a press conference after Hoggle’s indictment in September, State’s Attorney John McCarthy said he was “tremendously frustrated” Hoggle hadn’t been brought back to a competent state in three years of treatment and medication.
McCarthy had said his office made the decision to pursue murder charges partly because a person accused of misdemeanors can only be held under medical care for a maximum of three years—which ran out in September.
Now accused of a felony, Hoggle can be held under medical care for up to five years.
When asked in September 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.”