- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2014

Montgomery County police say they are working to build a homicide case against the mother of two Clarksburg children who have been missing for more than a week and are assumed dead.

Catherine Hoggle, 27, was arrested Friday but in 15 hours of interviews has not told authorities where to find her 2-year-old son, Jacob, and 3-year-old daughter, Sarah.

“We were investigating this as a missing persons case. We are now beginning to build a homicide case against Catherine Hoggle,” said Capt. Darren Francke, commander of the police department’s major crimes division.

Capt. Francke said police had searched 13,000 acres for the children and were taking the unusual step of asking residents in the Clarksburg and Damascus areas to search their property for any sign of them.

He said police were seeking charges of parental abduction against Ms. Hoggle, who he described as “deceitful” during interviews. She had previously been charged with child neglect and obstruction, and during a court hearing Monday her bail was set at more than $2 million.

Capt. Francke said the children’s father, Troy Turner, was in the interview room at one point and asked Ms. Hoggle at least 25 times where the children were.
“She refuses to tell us,” he said, adding that the woman told police their disappearance had been “planned.”

“At one point, she said they were safe with someone. And then she said they were safe in a location,” Capt. Francke said. He said that, given the fact that Ms. Hoggle has not had contact with the children in more than a week and from other things Ms. Hoggle told police, the shifting focus of the investigation was a “natural progression for us.”

Capt. Francke said that, contrary to reports from her family last week, that Ms. Hoggle, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, indicated to police that she had been on her medication.

“She was very lucid during the entire encounter,” Capt. Francke said.

The captain said he believed the couple’s third child, a 5-year-old boy, was unharmed because he was more “confrontational” with his mother and that Mr. Turner woke up at a time that might have thwarted Ms. Hoggle’s plans for him.

Police also provided additional details of Ms. Hoggle’s arrest, saying that she had altered her appearance and that even after she was in handcuffs she attempted to flee from police.

She is expected to appear before a judge on Monday, and in the meantime police are continuing their search for the children with an eye toward building a homicide case, Capt. Francke said.

“We have to be prepared for every circumstance, and our belief is that investigatively this is what we have to do.”

• Matthew Cella can be reached at mcella@washingtontimes.com.

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