By Kevin O’Rourke
The family of Jacob and Sarah Hoggle stood in the rain today in front of the Maryland State Police barracks in Rockville to urge Governor Martin O’Malley to issue an Amber Alert to help find the missing toddlers.
Troy Turner, the father of the children, along with their grandparents Lindsey and Randy Hoggle, and Debbie Beckward, and aunts and uncles of the toddlers sent a letter to the Office of the Governor today to request that the Governor use his office to intercede with the Maryland State Police in issuing an Amber Alert for the missing children.
The family called for an immediate release of either a full Amber Alert or a similar alert that meets the specifics of this case. In the letter to Governor O’Malley the family said, “Please ask the Maryland State Police to immediately activate this powerful tool in support of our search for Sarah and Jacob.”
The children were abducted by their mother, Catherine Hoggle on Sept. 7. She was later arrested in Germantown on Sept. 12, but will not tell police the whereabouts of the children.
Turner told reporters that he was not “bashing” the Montgomery County Police. “They have been very helpful and those detectives are emotionally invested in this case and have done everything they can,” he said.
Turner said that despite the best efforts of MCPD and the other supporting agencies, including searching of up to 60,000 acres, there has been no sign of the children and no success in securing their location through interviews with their mother, Catherine Hoggle.
Turner again asked Montgomery County businesses that may not have done so to check their surveillance video from Monday, Sept. 8 during the hours of 5:00 am until 8:30 am for the presence of a blue/gray Chrysler Town & Country minivan with Maryland Chesapeake Bay tags 48598CE. “If we can fill in the blanks of the timeline of those days when she had the children, it could help bring them home,” he said.
“But my main plea is to get that Amber Alert out there,” Turner told reporters “Someone please intercede and get that done. If, for some reason it becomes this huge mess that no one can handle, there are other systems to do it. Get my kids out there, so people know to watch out for them and be vigilant. The more ears and eyes that we have on the streets, and looking around on the roads, the more likely we are to get the tips and information that bring them home.”
Turner said that he’s gone into neighborhoods in Germantown where only three people were even aware that his children have been missing for three weeks. That coupled with the searches not coming up with any evidence has only fueled the family’s belief that Jacob and Sarah are still alive.
Turner said he believes that the children have been placed in someone’s care, someone the family does not know. “Part of the problem,” said Turner, “is that with her being in programs and such, she knows a lot of people that I don’t know. She may have been introduced to people that I don’t know.”
He said he believes that if that is the case, a nationwide Amber Alert might be able to reach that person, wherever they may be. “And if that is the case, that would be my biggest plea which is please bring my kids home. You can drop them off at a fire station, or hospital or any safe zone. I have no desire to know who you are or press charges. We have a $25,000 reward for anyone that might provide information that leads to my kids. Just bring them home if you have them.”
The family firmly believes that the case would be aided by the unique and permeating power of an Amber Alert. Specifically, despite the fact that the suspect is in custody and there is not vehicle currently related to the case, there are also no facts in evidence that rule out the chance that the children are alive and potentially in the care of an unwitting stranger or an accomplice to the abduction.
In the letter to Governor O’Malley’s office the family said, “Since September 8th, we have been formally requesting that the Montgomery County Police request the issuance of an Amber Alert from the Maryland State Police. It is our understanding that the MCPD has made the request of MSP and they have either turned down the request or, otherwise, not acted on the request.”
Montgomery County Police have been on record as saying that an Amber Alert was not in order in this case because there was no vehicle license plate to be associated with the missing children. And indeed, police have recovered all vehicles Catherine Hoggle may have had access to at the time of the abductions.
The family has countered that there have been numerous times that an Amber Alert has been issued nationally for cases where no vehicles were involved or where not all traditional Amber Alert criteria were met. The most recent, said Turner was the Relisa Rudd case in the District of Columbia, where Metro Police Chief Lanier issued the alert despite not meeting all traditional criteria.
The family wrote in the letter, “With two little lives on the line, we request your immediate attention to this matter and would greatly appreciate your personally interceding with the MSP on our behalf.”
Turner said he tried to speak with Catherine Hoggle this weekend but was turned away from the correctional facility in Jessup, where Hoggle is undergoing mental evaluations. Hoggle’s bond hearing originally scheduled for 1 p.m. today has once again been rescheduled, so she can be further evaluated. Catherine Hoggle is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.
Catherine Hoggle's mother Lindsey Hoggle also addressed the media saying that she has tried to go visit her daughter, but has also not been admitted, and she's had no contact with Catherine Hoggle since the children went missing.
When asked if she believes her daughter will eventually tell athorities where the children are, she said,"That is not what we are depending on. Certainly, that is our plea, be we are not depending on that happening. She absolutly adores and loves these children, obviously there is something in her thinking here that doesn't make sense," said Lindsey Hoggle.
WNEW reporter Cameron Thompson is reporting that the Governor’s Office sent a reply to the family reading, “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the missing children and to all those involved in this tragic situation. We commend law enforcement for their ceaseless efforts to locate Sarah and Jacob, and will continue to provide support and resources necessary to the search until the case is solved.”
But the statement made no mention of an Amber Alert.
The family also expressed gratitude to the countless residents of Montgomery County who have supported the search for Sarah and Jacob through the gifts of time, services, donations, and prayers. Turner especially thanked that searchers and support volunteers who have come out over the last two weekends to help with search efforts stretching from Clarksburg to Rockville and across to Germantown and Poolesville.
Photos by Germantown Pulse