Catherine Hoggle, the Maryland mother of two young children who have been missing since 2014, remains mentally unfit to stand trial in their disappearance, a Montgomery County judge said in a brief court hearing Tuesday.
Hoggle, 29, has been locked in a state psychiatric hospital for two years, and authorities have said they believe that the children probably are dead. According to a recent evaluation, Hoggle “remains incompetent to stand trial and dangerous due to a mental disorder,” District Judge Holly D. Reed III said.
Hoggle, a former waitress with a long history of mental illness, is the last known person to have seen the children, Jacob and Sarah, in September 2014. They were 2 and 3 at the time. Police, family members, friends and strangers have conducted numerous searches in fields, woods and roadsides but have found no sign of the children.
Since being locked up at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, Hoggle has repeatedly tried to escape. She has said that her children are safe and that she wants to see them.
She has been charged with neglect, abduction and hindering. Police have long said they also have an underlying murder case against Hoggle in the children’s deaths.
In 2014, after the children were reported missing, Hoggle gave different stories of where they were, including saying she had left them at a new day-care facility and later saying she had dropped them with an old friend.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Hoggle’s attorney, David Felsen, said, “This is a young woman in the throes of profound mental health issues.”
Hoggle’s mother said she was concerned with how her daughter appeared in court. “There’s just no affect,” Lindsey Hoggle said. “She just looks ready to cry.”
Lindsey Hoggle said she will continue to look for her grandchildren and is encouraging others to do the same. She said she has long felt that her daughter left the children with someone and that Jacob and Sarah may still be alive.
“There are other people involved. I strongly believe that,” she said Tuesday.
Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.