What happened to Sarah and Jacob? A conversation with their aunt – Raelane Turner

Sarah and Jacob Hoggle disappeared four years ago from Montgomery County, MD.  They were last seen with their mother, Catherine. What happened to them?  Sarah and Jacob have an awesome Aunt Raelane, who is intimately connected to this story and will never stop looking for them.  Below is Raelane’s perspective of the case.

IMG_6277
One of the many paper announcements that were handed out in the fall of 2014 in the Montgomery County, Maryland area.  This one now sits on the dashboard of Raelane’s van.  Sarah and Jacob are still missing.
IMG_6281
Raelane in front her her van with a prominent sign, reminding all of us that they are still out there.

Raelane Turner and I have been close friends for eleven years, so when she called me in a panic four years ago, telling me that her niece and nephew had gone missing and that their mother, Catherine Hoggle, was the prime suspect in their disappearance, and could I please help her search the nearby wooded areas, I jumped in to help.  Raelane and I probably went on a dozen searches together over the next few weeks and months, and she continued on with dozens more, and I did a few on my own.  To this day, Sarah and Jacob are still missing while Catherine, their mother, is being held in a mental health facility. Their story has received national media attention and was featured in People magazine and on Dr. Oz.  

In the following interview, I get Raelane’s perspective on the case. Raelane is Troy Turner’s sister and had a very close relationship with Sarah and Jacob.  She is intimately connected to the case.  I, myself, had the privilege of meeting Sarah and Jacob one day at the church we attended together. 

Below is Raelane’s story and her perspective on what happened to Sarah and Jacob.  

But before I get to her interview, I think it would be helpful if I summarize the events surrounding the disappearance of Sarah and Jacob.  I will put the order of events in bullet form because I find bullets to be helpful for my brain.  (Timeline provided by Raelane.)

  • Sunday evening September 7, 2014, Troy Turner took Catherine and all three of their children to Catherine’s mother’s home in Darnestown, MD. After Troy left, Catherine told her father, Randy, that she wanted to take Jacob out for pizza and be right back. Bear in mind, Catherine was not allowed to drive a vehicle and not allowed to be alone with her children because of prior unstable behavior around her kids.  For whatever reason, her father allowed Catherine to leave with Jacob, with Catherine driving his vehicle.  Three hours later, Catherine returned without Jacob.  She told her father that Jacob was now at a play date instead.
  • Later that evening, with Randy driving, the four of them (Randy, Catherine, Sarah, and the eldest son) went back to Troy’s home in Clarksburg, MD.
  • Troy came home later that night from work and went straight to bed, although typically Troy would kiss his three kids goodnight first (on this particular night, however, he got home later than usual as Catherine had kept him late out running errands for her).
  • The next morning, Troy was awakened by his eldest son who asked him where Sarah and Jacob were.  Troy quickly did a search of their home, and sure enough, no Catherine, and no kids. Troy proceeded to get his eldest son ready for school and headed to the bus stop with him.
  • Awhile later, Catherine returns to Troy’s house (with Troy’s vehicle that she wasn’t supposed to be driving) and Troy asks her where Sarah and Jacob are.  She tells him that the kids are at a new daycare center and that she needed to be taken to her class.  Troy drove her to her class and then picked her up later.  After her class, Troy picked her up.  When Catherine got into his car, he asked to be taken to Sarah and Jacob at the daycare facility.  Over the course of that afternoon, Catherine leads him on a wild goose chase looking for this made-up daycare center.
  • Once Troy realizes that Catherine is not being forthright about the kids, he became very angry and asked Catherine repeatedly to tell him where they were.  When she refused, he told her they were going to the police station straight away.
  • There was a fast food restaurant adjacent to the police station which Catherine saw, and asked to stop there. Troy went in with her and waited for her to receive her order, and then escorted her back to his car.  At the last moment, Catherine requested to run back into the restaurant and then gave Troy the slip.  She escaped out of the back door of the restaurant.
  • She spent the next four days hiding out in the Germantown, MD area until she was finally caught and questioned by the police.  The police interrogated Catherine for many hours on the day she was apprehended. She is now being held in the Perkins Hospital Center, a psychiatric facility, in Jessup, MD and has recently been charged with two counts of murder in the disappearance of her children.
  • Three and a half years later, Sarah and Jacob are still missing and Catherine is the only one who knows where the are (at least, from what we know).  The problem is, she is not telling anyone where they are or what she did with them.

From Raelane….

Can you tell me the two prevailing theories of what happened to the children?

First, Catherine passed them off to someone else.  But then there is a fork in the road after that. The question is: did she give them to a family member or did she give them to someone she didn’t know?  Catherine’s mother (Lindsey Hoggle) brought up the theory that she thought Catherine was into Scientology.  But we just don’t know who she would’ve given them to because Catherine didn’t really talk to people. Or, did she pass them to a possible family member?

The other thing that has come up with the case has to do with Randy, her father.  Because oddly enough, the next day, while his grandkids were missing, he took a trip to PA.  So a lot of people are asking “how do you go out of town when your daughter and two grandchildren are missing?”  So that would be the other thing; if he helped out or something.

Of course, the other theory is that she murdered our Sarah and Jacob and took them away from us forever.  It’s one fact we don’t want to come across but we have always tried to consider both sides.

What do you, personally, think happened to Sarah and Jacob?

If I am stepping back and looking outside of my family, then I would say that I think she murdered them.  Just looking at the case; her actions and the things she said. We all had major concerns about how Catherine interacted with the kids, and CPS was already involved at one time, as some members of her family had seen Catherine display unstable behavior towards the kids.

But then again, I hope she gave the kids to someone and that they would be found, like other children that have gone missing, and be returned home to us and to my brother.

Tell me about the man with the tattoo on his wrist and what happened that day at the bus stop.

Here is something that gave me hope early on: there were people at the bus stop the morning that Sarah and Jacob disappeared who witnessed Catherine pacing near my brother’s van while she was waiting for (presumably) her eldest son to come to the bus stop.  Inside Troy’s van they saw a man sitting in the drivers seat with his left arm resting on the door with the window open, and he had a very prominent tattoo on or around his left wrist.  Witnesses say he had longish blond hair.  To this day, we don’t know who this man is, why he was sitting in my brother’s car, and why Catherine was pacing, as if she was nervously waiting for something to happen.  So people wonder if she was waiting to grab her eldest child before he got on the bus, as he would often walk to the bus stop on his own.  This time, however, Troy was with him.

So you believe that she wanted to take their eldest son?

I have no idea, but there are many other people who believe that yes, she wanted to take him as well but didn’t have the opportunity to do so.  For example, as I said, witnesses say she was pacing near my brother’s van while she waited for him to come to the bus stop. Why would she be pacing, up there, near his bus stop when she wasn’t even the one to bring him there herself?

What is the status of the court case as of right now?

Two murder charges have been filed against Catherine. And the last time we went to court, they declared her to still not be competent to stand trial. She will be reevaluated in a year.

Why would Catherine either pass off her children to someone else, or murder her own children?

I have no idea.  I couldn’t even think of why a mother would want to get rid of her children in any way, shape, or form.  I know she didn’t want her mother to raise the kids, she didn’t want me to raise the kids, and she didn’t want Troy to raise the kids.  Unfortunately she was not able to raise them herself.  Maybe she would want someone else to raise them so she gave them to someone else.  That theory is giving me a glimmer of hope.  Some people have said that it seems like Catherine lacks a soul and a conscience.

What would you say to Catherine if she ever read this interview?

A lot of people are saying “It’s all about Sarah and Jacob, let’s stop talking about Catherine,” but I say instead: Catherine is the key to finding Sarah and Jacob.  That’s where the answer lies.

Only she knows what really happened that Sunday and Monday.  The only thing I would say to her is I hope that she will tell the truth, and either way, if the kids are with us or they’re in heaven, that she would repent of her sins as we all should do and turn her life over to the Lord.   I would also tell her that she can always pray and ask God for help with the things she doesn’t know how to handle, and that she can contact me anytime.

Do you believe she is being treated fairly (or too fairly) by our justice system?  Is she competent to stand trial?

I believe she IS competent.  Both sides of the family believe this and even her mother has made statements to this effect.  I think the justice system needs to be revamped because a lot of things have changed and a lot of things are classified as mental illness vs. someone who is violent and uncaring; someone who knows exactly what they are doing.  There has to be a way to differentiate between that. The changes need to be made through the people and the politicians.  There is no uniform standard and you can easily hide under it.  And it depends on where you live as laws vary state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  We have talked to many police officers and attorneys and private investigators both in state and out of state who say the case would have been handled differently had it been in their jurisdiction. The criminals are protected more than the victims.

Do you think the Montgomery County police department has done a good job with this investigation?

(dead silence for several moments……)

From the beginning I think the investigators felt 100 percent that she murdered her kids and they geared the investigation toward that.  And I don’t see how they heard or saw everything that they should have, in my opinion.  To this day, I have never been interviewed by anyone and there are many other people who are close to the case who have never been interviewed.  So I don’t see how that’s really a thorough investigation, or a complete picture.  For example, I’m not sure if they ever spoke to anyone about the man with the tattoo on his wrist.  They even told Lindsey, Catherine’s mom, to “check your home for us, and check your home computer that Catherine used, and see if you find anything that can help in this case.”  They didn’t even do it themselves.  I know that if I were investigating this case, I would have sent law enforcement agents in to do that search.  Thank goodness my mother mentioned to law enforcement that they should be checking Lindsey’s home computer, and then they did.   And when Randy (Catherine’s father)  traveled to PA, it seems like they would’ve called law enforcement in PA to stop him and check his vehicle, since it crossed state lines.  They asked Randy, himself, to “please bring the vehicle to them so they could check it.”  Again, I certainly would not have done that.  Had my mom not been assertive, I wonder if they would have checked his vehicle at all.

So because they had a firm belief in the fact that the Sarah and Jacob were no longer with us, was every avenue covered?  And should Randy been charged with allowing Catherine to drive the vehicle that she wasn’t supposed to be driving and to take my little Jacob with her when she wasn’t supposed to be alone with the kids?  It makes no sense to me and it’s sickening.

What is her official mental health diagnosis?

Paranoid schitzophrenia but also severe psychosis and a plethora of other things from what I know. But from what I’ve seen from her, she is fully capable of comprehending what is going on around her.  Some people may think that she is sitting there, zoned-out and not functioning.  But that’s not true.  She can talk just like we are talking.  She is very intelligent.  She has just used everything in the wrong way.

Do you think the truth will eventually come out?

I do.  But I am hoping Catherine will tell us sooner rather than later what happened. The truth will come out if and when God decides it’s time.

Tell me about the searches?  What were they like?  How many did you participate in?

I can’t even describe what it’s like to be searching for my niece and nephew, who had already become like my own children to me because I had spent so much time with them over the years.  They were dearly loved, sweet children. It’s gut-wrenching; and that phrase doesn’t even do it justice.  In the beginning I went out there often with the hopes of finding them, and I was screaming their names, hoping I would hear a tiny peep.  I had to be out there; and even though I often felt nauseous, I also felt compelled to look until I found them. But then after several days, it just turned into looking, and looking, and I couldn’t stop looking, and I had to get everyone else to look too. And then that turned to organizing and strategizing more, and making sure we were searching in the proper areas.

Have you seen good support from the local community for your searches and other aspects of the case?

Yes.  In the beginning we had 500 people come out. But then it trickled off because these aren’t their kids, and people have their own lives to lead.  Our search leaders still call me and text me, and they still want to go out and look. We are like family.  A lot of people are still asking what they can do to help.  It warms my heart to know that many other people out there are concerned about Sarah and Jacob and want to help find them or to bring closure in some other way.

How are your brother and your family holding up?

Even though it’s been more than three years, I still feel right in the midst of this.  I still feel the need to keep up on things, that I need to keep doing things to find them.  I can’t imagine what it’s like for my brother.  Everything is hard.  Holidays are hard.  I don’t even want to shop for my own kids and not shop for Sarah and Jacob too.  It’s still hard.  I still cry.  I still have nightmares.

How has your faith in God impacted you during this difficult time? 

It’s what has gotten me through.  You can’t have anger.  I have forgiven Catherine because I realize IT is not Catherine.  God’s carried me through everything and I am in the palm of his hand, knowing that He is taking care of things.  And even if the kids are gone, God is taking care of them; they are with him in heaven.  They are not suffering or in pain.  I think that people who are not believers don’t understand that there is a purpose.  God is a God of good and of love, and whatever plan He has, I welcome that in my life.  We have to look down the road to our eternal salvation and what is to come.  We are going to go through hard things in this world.  I don’t have a right to say that I shouldn’t go through some hard things.

You have four kids yourself.  How has the disappearance of their cousins impacted them?  

All of them were like brothers and sisters.  Sometimes Sarah and Jacob and my older nephew would stay with us for weeks or a month at a time, then we would all kind of tag team to take them out.  We would go to bed together and get up together.  The kids are really hurting.  They are growing up not with one hole, but two holes in their heart.

If you were a police officer or an investigator with unlimited resources, what would you do to solve this case?

Finish with the searches; we do have maps that Klauss kids has helped us to generate.  If you don’t find anything you can at least say you cleared that.  Investigate the angle that they were alive and taken to another location.  Figure out where Catherine had family and look there, but I’m sure law enforcement has already considered doing that… or at least I would hope.

Please tell me a little about Sarah and Jacob. 

They were such sweet kids.  Sarah was our tough little football player.  Even looking at her from the back, she looked like a boy with her broad shoulders.  She was very strong-willed personality.  But she was also girly, and had a purse that she would stuff everything into.  The purse still sits on my dining room table in my home.  Jacob was my little smiley-face; he was friendly with everyone he met.  Jacob and I would stay up all night; he was my night owl and I would just sing to him all night long, carrying him around.  I would sing “You are my sunshine” to try to get him to sleep.  I still miss that and tear up when I sing that song to my grandkids.

How would you summarize the disappearance of your niece and nephew?  

A lot of people use the phrase “emotional roller-coaster”, but the only thing I can think of everyday is that a train hits you, and you are barely out of the way before another train hits you.  But even through these ongoing train wrecks, and even through all the hurt and pain, and through the tears, I can still feel the peace of the Lord.  And God still has his hands on me.  And one day, very soon, I will be reunited with Sarah and Jacob.  If not here, then in Heaven for all eternity.

For more information and to stay updated with this case, please visit this page and hit ‘like’: https://www.facebook.com/JusticeforSarahJacob/

To read a recent article of this case, click here.

Visit this website for more information: here.

fullsizeoutput_3958
Raelane and me at a recent get together. 🙂

____________________________________

Closing note from Heather:

I will always remember searching the woods.  From my perspective as her friend, you do feel compelled to help, because you imagine it’s your own children.  And I didn’t want Raelane to have to search alone.  (What kind of friend lets her friend do that?) Searching for missing kids is a very surreal and emotional experience.  You want to find them, but you don’t.  You are afraid to find them because of exactly what you may find.  But you really want to help, and you want the family to have closure.  You want the truth to come out.  

After I was done with the searches, I would always come home and hug my kids a little tighter.  

I wrote this post for three reasons: first, to show my support for my dear friend Raelane.  Secondly, because I felt like Raelane should finally be able to share her story; she always told me such interesting information about the case and I thought other people should know about it, too.  Finally, and most importantly, my hope and prayer is that this article would be helpful in solving the mystery and bringing Sarah and Jacob home.  

After my conversation with Raelane, I still have questions about the man with the tattoo around his wrist, and the lapse in judgement (or worse?) from Catherine’s father.  And what about Catherine: will she ever be competent to stand trial?  Will she ever confess to what she did?  And did the local police search every possible angle or did they focus in too much on their one prevailing theory?  Many questions remain.

So what do I think happened to the kids? I go back and forth between believing that Catherine killed them and placed their bodies somewhere in two wooded areas around Montgomery county MD, OR that they are still alive and well with other people (there were details shared with me privately that give me hope that they are still alive somewhere else).  So if I can have a sliver of faith and hope, then you can too!  

If you would like to help with this case — first pray!  Secondly, feel free to share this post.  Leave a comment if you think you have any information that can help!  And feel free to like the Facebook page that I linked above.  And if you have any information, feel free to contact the Montgomery County Police Department. 

In closing, I am praying that Sarah and Jacob will be found alive some day; in essence, for a miracle.  But either way, I pray for justice for Sarah and Jacob.  I pray that God will squeeze Catherine so hard that the truth will finally seep out of her.  I pray for closure for the entire family.  And I pray for healing for my dear friend Raelane, who is still deeply grieving for her niece and nephew.

Thank you for your interest in this case and for reading!

Advertisements