Deadbeat dad ordered to pay $2M after walking away from two young sons nearly 25 years ago to take trips to Aruba, buy new property

An Indiana man who walked out on his wife and sons nearly 25 years ago learned in court earlier this month that his decision to abandon his family will cost him close to $2 million.

Indy Star reports that Richard Hoagland abandoned his former wife and two young sons when he simply decided to walk away from his old life and start a new one in 1993. The only warning he gave was a phone to the children’s mother, Linda Iseler. Hoagland warned her that by the time she got home on the evening of February 10, 1993, he would already be gone.

At the time, the family lived on several acres in a spacious home with five bedrooms in Fishers, a city in the Fall Creek Township area of Hamilton County, Indiana. The family’s speed boat was docked nearby in Geist Reservoir, something that Douglas Hoagland, six at the time, and his older brother, Matthew, enjoyed before their father left.

Once Hoagland walked out of his family’s life, things started to change for Douglas and Matthew. As their mother, Linda Iseler, struggled to provide for her two sons, Hoagland remarried, had another son and reportedly bought new property under a deceased man’s name. Meanwhile, the family’s Fishers home was foreclosed, the boat was taken, and the family van was repossessed.

In 2016, Douglas saw his father’s mugshot in the media after the elder Hoagland was arrested on identity theft charges. Douglas was serving a prison sentence at the time for a drug conviction, but said he didn’t blame his father’s abandonment for his drug issues.

“I started messing around with drugs in early high school. I broke my hand, was prescribed narcotics. It was off to the races after that.”

Lisa and Matthew, however, feel that Hoagland leaving the family left emotional scarring on Douglas that led to his problems.

According to the family, Hoagland called a few times afterward from numbers originating from Aruba and Venezuela.

Hoagland was back in the U.S. within a year, however, and started a new life in West Palm Beach, Florida. After renting a room from a man whose father died in 1991, Hoagland found the man’s death certificate and began using the name Terry Jude Symansky to obtain a new birth certificate and driver’s license. After moving to Zephyrhills, Fla., authorities caught up with up and arrested him.

“He told me his name was Terry Symansky. He showed me his driver’s license and gave me the Social Security number for Terry Symansky,” Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Detective Anthony Cardillo told IndyStar. “Then I showed him the death certificate.”

Hoagland spent close to two years in prison, then moved back to Indiana after his release. He attempted to reconnect with his two sons, but it was “awkward,” according to Indy Star. Shortly after, he was in court for back child support.

On May 14, the family got long-awaited justice when Hoagland, now 65, was ordered to pay back child support costs of close to $2 million

“I was glad that we finally had made it to that point where he would be held accountable for his behavior,” Lisa told IndyStar. “There’s some closure with that.”

Hoagland is due back in court on July 19 when Lisa’s lawyer plans to request that the negligent father pay his client back $40,000 in legal fees.

[Feature Photo: Richard Hoagland/Police Handout]