By Kevin O’Rourke
Montgomery County Police are still holding out hope to find Jacob and Sarah alive, but that hope is fading and the department is beginning to investigate this as a homicide, as investigators believe that Catherine Hoggle has murdered her two children, Jacob, 2, and Sarah, 3.
“We were investigating this as a missing persons case,” said Captain Darren Francke, of the MCPD Major Crimes Division, “we are now beginning to build a homicide case against Catherine Hoggle.”
Hoggle is the Clarksburg woman who went missing last Monday Sept. 8 after refusing to tell her common-law husband where her two small children were. She was captured late Friday, Sept. 12 and has still not told anyone where the children are located.
MCPD is also asking residents, especially those in the Darnestown and Clarksburg areas, to search their yards and properties for the children.
Francke said the MCPD has searched over 13,000 acres with ground crews and K9, as well as, with horse mounted officers and volunteer citizens. “We continue those operations, but there is still a lot of ground to be searched.”
On Monday morning Francke told reporters that the department is transitioning many of its resources from a rescue mission to a recovery mission. “As police officers, as fathers and mothers we keep a ray of hope the Sarah and Jacob are still out there and can be reunited with their family but we are transitioning our operations as investigators,” said Francke.
Police are asking citizens to search their private property for Sarah and Jacob. Since police would require a warrant to search each homeowners private property they are asking residents to take a few moments to search the “little intricacies of properties” such as sheds or wood-lines or small wooded areas where Jacob and Sarah might be located.
“We’d like you to go out and check your property, your wood-lines or sheds, or structures. We know people have some vast properties. We are going ask you go out there a look again. We are looking for Sarah and Jacob. We expect them to be together,” said Francke. “If you find them, if you see anything – back away immediately and call 911. Certainly, if there is a chance to render any aid take the appropriate action. If you find what we unfortunately believe you will find, we ask that you back away immediately. Do not touch anything. Do not go near the site, call 911 and we will send resources and secure the area. We need to build a homicide case against Catherine Hoggle and we do not want any evidence that may be there to be contaminated.”
He asked the public to not search public areas for two reasons, one the MCPD has resources to search those areas and Francke reminded people that it is deer season and there are bow hunters in the woods. Because it is hunting season, “it is honestly not safe for people to go traipsing through woods unless we are directing it.”
Residents are asked to be on the look-out for any strong, foul odors coming from their property, or broken locks on sheds or changes to vehicles in disrepair in back yards, brush that has been moved aside or stomped on. “Our goal is to bring home Jacob and Sarah as quick as possible,” said Francke.
Catherine Hoggle has been in police custody since being captured on Friday night, but she refused to tell investigators where her children were during 15 hours of interrogations. “Some of the best investigators on this department went into talk to her, and our first and only question was ‘Where is Jacob? Where is Sarah? She said several things to us, but gave us nothing of value in locating Jacob and Sarah.”
Francke confirmed that the children’s father, Troy Turner, given the opportunity to speak with her and ask where the children were. Francke said the conversation between Hoggle and Turner was tense and that he asked her where the children were, “at least 25 times” but she would not give up the information.
As a result of that conversation, police are now asking the court to file parental abduction charges against Hoggle. Francke said those papers were being presented to the District Court Commissioner.
“We did some extraordinary things investigatively that we ordinarily would not do," said Francke. "We asked that a psychiatrist speak with her and we eventually allowed her lawyers to speak with her at length but has not resulted in us finding Jacob and Sarah.”
Hoggle told investigators that she has been taking her medication and that this incident was planned. “She stated that this was planned and that Jacob and Sarah were together,” said Francke. “At one point she said they were safe with someone, and then at another point she said that they were safe in a location,” said Francke.
Francke said that Hoggle has not had contact with Jacob since Sunday, Sept. 7 and that police were trying to narrow down the last time Hoggle had contact with Sarah, either Sunday, Sept. 7 or Monday, Sept. 8.
Francke said that Hoggle appeared to be very lucid through the entire police interrogation. “She repeatedly said that the children were safe. And she has not said that the children were not alive,” he said. Hoggle has told police that she believes that she is protecting the children.
Today police continuing to search for the missing children, but are narrowing their search areas today based on data accumulated through the investigation.
As police were wrapping up their press conference, the children’s father Troy Turner was walking into police headquarters. He told reporters that, his family and friends would continue to search for the children. He said that it was possible that Hoggle could have changed the appearance of the children, and asked the public to continue to keep an eye out. Police confirmed this weekend that Catherine Hoggle changed her appearance while she was on the run from police this week.
He said friends and relatives were going out to search in Clarksburg, in the Clarksburg Village section this morning, and planned to search in Germantown this evening. “I really don’t want to be here,” said Turner. “I want to be out looking for my kids.”
Top: Sarah and Jacob Hoggle.
Next: Member of the Montgomery County Police Search Team in a field near Darnestown Park on Thursday.
Next: Catherine Hoggle in police custody.
Next: Troy Turner, father of Jacob and Sarah Hoggle, speaks to reporters at police headquarters in Gaithersburg.
Photos by MCPD and GremantownPulse.