September 15, 2017 03:43 PM


It’s a mystery that has haunted the Hoggle family since 2014.

In early September, police held a press conference, pleading for the public’s help. A mother and her two young children had vanished — and the woman’s boyfriend was searching for them. During the press conference, authorities said that they had no clues as to the whereabouts of the missing family.

A few days later, the mother, Catherine Hoggle, was spotted walking down the street by herself. Missing were 3-year-old Sarah and 2-year-old Jacob. Catherine Hoggle would not answer repeated questions by police.

Court documents say that Hoggle, now 30, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Police believed that Catherine was the last person to see the children, but she has not answered questions about them for the past three years, a period she has spent in a state psychiatric hospital.

While doctors have repeatedly said in court documents that Hoggle could be restored to competency with the right treatment and medication, she has not thus far been deemed competent.


• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Desperate for answers, the family has maintained a Facebook page with photos and information about the children, hoping for leads. “[Their mother] continues to be deemed incompetent by the courts,” the Facebook page reads. “The family is desperately searching for them. The goal is solely about bringing the children home.”

On Thursday, a grand jury charged Hoggle with two counts of murder, PEOPLE has confirmed. She was taken into the Montgomery County Jail, where she is being held without bond.

Catherine Hoggle
Montgomery County Police Department

The murder charges may have been prompted by a legal deadline. Hoggle had previously been charged with misdemeanor counts of neglect, abduction and hindering. Those charges all carry three-year limits on how long a defendant can be considered mentally unfit for trial.

• PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: 35 Real Cases That Inspired the Show Law & Order is on sale now.

With the new charges, authorities will have to prove that the children are dead, and that their deaths were caused by Hoggle.

Hoggle’s attorney, David Felsen, told the Washington Post that his client continues to struggle with her mental illness. Felsen did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.

You May Like