By Kevin O’Rourke
In November a psychiatric evaluation of Catherine Hoggle, the mother of two toddlers missing since September, found her to not be mentally competent to stand trial, and this week Montgomery County prosecutors said they would not challenge that opinion.
According to a Washington Post report, Montgomery County States Attorney John McCarthy was planning to file legal papers today, asking District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe to make the November opinion an official finding.
Hoggle, 28, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, abducted her two children Jacob, 2, and Sarah, 4, in September and eluded police for a week until she was captured without the children. She has refused to divulge the whereabouts of the children to authorities or her family. She is currently being held at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Howard County, which is where she was evaluated and determined to be incompetent to stand trial.
Originally, Hoggle’s trial on misdemeanor charges stemming from the disappearance of Jacob and Sarah was set to begin today, but court documents now list the trial date as February 6, 2015, due to concerns that she cannot fully understand the proceedings, according the Washington Post report.
Prosecutors hope that another month of treatment and medication will allow Hoggle to better understand and participate in court proceedings.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County Police believe that the children are dead and continue to build a homicide case against Hoggle. In the meantime, she is facing two counts each of child neglect and abduction under Maryland Family Law charges.
Maryland Family Law section 9-304 states, “If a child is under the age of 16 years, a relative who knows that another person is the lawful custodian of the child may not: (1) abduct, take, or carry away the child from the lawful custodian to a place within this State; (2) having acquired lawful possession of the child, detain the child within this State for more than 48 hours after the lawful custodian demands that the child be returned; (3) harbor or hide the child within this State, knowing that possession of the child was obtained by another relative in violation of this section; or (4) act as an accessory to an act prohibited by this section.”
Hoggle also faces two counts of obstruction and hindering an investigation.
Hoggle has maintained that the children are alive and safe. The children’s father Troy Turner along with friends and family continue to search for the children canvassing neighborhoods and receiving tips via a website and Facebook page.
According to Fox5 DC, Montgomery County Police are looking into a tip which alleges that the two Hoggle children, missing since Sept. 8, have been spotted in New Jersey. The possible sighting was first published on the FindSarahFindJacob Facebook page on December 29. “Possible sighting on NJ Turnpike North at Exit 8A-9 - Yesterday December 28th ~4 PM Eastern,” said the post.
The children’s father Troy Turner told Fox5 DC that surveillance video of the alleged sighting at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike has been obtained and is being sent to local investigators for review.