Decades after Richard Hoagland went missing, leaving his wife broke and under suspicion, his secret life is finally exposed

By Elaine Aradillas
November 02, 2016 08:00 AM

Decades after Richard Hoagland disappeared, leaving his wife broke and under suspicion, his secret life is finally exposed. For much more, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands on Friday.

Linda Iseler had at last moved on from her old life — the one where her husband, Richard Hoagland, abruptly left her and their two sons 23 years ago — until one phone call three months ago brought it crashing back.

That’s when Iseler, 59, learned that Hoagland had been arrested on July 20 and charged with fraudulent use of personal identification in Pasco County, Florida, after allegedly stealing the identity of Terry Symanski, a Florida man who drowned in 1991. A stray Internet search eventually unraveled his ruse.

“I’ve had a real upheaval of feelings and emotions,” Iseler tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday, of the revelations about Hoagland, 63.

“Some of this stuff that I thought I was over — it has come back,” she says.

Hoagland remains in jail on a $25,000 bond and has pleaded not guilty. He declined to be interviewed by PEOPLE.

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Credit: Courtesy Linda Iseler

Since his arrest, details have slowly emerged about what happened to Hoagland since 1993, and how he ended up across the country from Indiana, in Zephyrhills, Florida.

When authorities tracked him down there, he had a new name, a new wife and another child.

“This guy is a coward,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference. “He left a family behind. It’s sad for the victims all around.”

Credit: Jim Wright

Meanwhile, Iseler says she has leaned on her faith and her family, especially her oldest son, in the years after her husband vanished. She’s remarried, and she’s happy. But she still has questions.

Now, finally, she might have answers.

“I wanted to know why,” she tells PEOPLE. “Why did [Hoagland] walk out? How could he do it?”