A judge dropped murder charges Wednesday against Catherine Hoggle, a Maryland woman who’s been in a psychiatric hospital since 2014, following the disappearance of two of her children.
According to The Washington Post, Circuit Judge James Bonifant dropped the charges after citing laws that dictate how long criminal charges can be held against defendants who are mentally unfit to stand trial.
“She has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and general anxiety disorder,” Bonifant said. “She suffers from chronic symptoms of impaired judgment, poor insight, paranoia, and disorganized thinking. Without the structure and stability of a hospital setting, she would be a danger to herself or others.”
AsCrimeOnline previously reported, Jacob Hoggle, 2, and Sarah Hoggle, 3, disappeared from Gaithersburg, Maryland, in September 2014. Their father, Troy Turner, was at work at the time while the children were supposed to be in the care of Hoggle, who had also disappeared after being questioned.
“Where are my kids?” Turner asked during a 2018 interview with People magazine.
He asked the same question to Hoggle in 2014 before she vanished herself. Tuner said he drove her around to various places, such as a “new” daycare Hoggle made up, trying to find the children, but the search was unsuccessful.
Hoggle then asked Turned to stop at a fast-food restaurant. She fled the scene, leaving Turner behind.
Four days later, police located and interviewed Hoggle, who reportedly refused to cooperate. She was later detained and taken to a maximum-security psychiatric hospital, where she’s been for eight years.
She was charged shortly after her children’s disappearance with neglect, abduction, and hindering. She was later charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Sarah & Jacob’s father Troy Turner is now speaking. He says the system is broken and Hoggle is faking her competency. Turner says he knows Catherine killed their kids and will continue to fight for justice. pic.twitter.com/ywiVMknlYr
— Cheyenne Corin ✨ (@CheyenneCorin) November 30, 2022
“She is a profoundly ill woman. She has been an ill woman since 2012, 2013,” Hoggle’s lawyer, David Felsen, said in court Wednesday.
“She has taken medications of last resort for years, and she remains ill. And in the United States and in the state of Maryland, we don’t try people for anything, for any crime, if they can’t defend themselves.”
Hoggle will remain at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, one of the state’s most strict and secure facilities.
Meanwhile, anyone with information about the children’s whereabouts is urged to call ll 911 or 1-800-THE-LOST.
Check back for updates.
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[Featured image: Family Handout]