ROCKVILLE, Md. - A Montgomery County woman suspected in the disappearance of her two young children 18 months ago was back in court on Monday.
Catherine Hoggle has said nothing about the whereabouts of Sarah and Jacob Hoggle. She has been only charged with neglect and obstructing justice in this case.
Looking much older than her 29 years, a subdued Hoggle appeared before a District Court judge in Rockville and was again ordered to remain in custody at a Maryland state psychiatric hospital in Jessup.
The case against her has once again stalled as a psychiatrist at the hospital found the mother of three incompetent to stand trial. But this time, prosecutors said they want a second expert opinion, which the court has granted.
"What I can tell you is this – when it comes down to it, whatever she has done, it is all about her when it comes to this,” said Troy Turner, the father of the missing children. “Simply because I can tell you she rarely, if ever, asks me about our oldest child.”
Relatives of the young children, including both grandmothers, said they are frustrated and furious. Sarah and Jacob were two and three years old at the time of their disappearance in September 2014.
"I have had many moments with Catherine and I have said the same thing each time – this is the most unfair situation for the oldest sibling,” said Lindsey Hoggle, the mother of defendant. “That is where my heart breaks.”
She added, “As a mother … this needs to end. We need to solve this mystery, whatever the mystery is."
"There is no FBI involved,” said Debbie Beckward, the children’s paternal grandmother. “They offered. They didn't accept them. And the state police offered even to send a helicopter for searches. They said we wouldn't know where to send you. It's all Montgomery County."
Even though they believe the children are dead and that Catherine knows what happened to them, prosecutors said they are reluctant to up the charges to murder.
"As a matter of law, if you seek an indictment, you lose the right to use the grand jury as an investigative body,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy. “Sometimes people don't always want to provide information to us freely and voluntarily and we turn to the use of the grand jury to investigate matters."
The parties are due back in court at the end of April with Sarah and Jacob no closer to being found.
We checked with Montgomery County police and they told us helicopters were used in the initial searches for the missing children and that detectives have called on the resources of the FBI to help with the investigation.