This post has been updated! I recently re-interviewed Raelane for this post, and she gave me the inside scoop. Read on!
It has been eight long years since two young children, Sarah and Jacob Hoggle, disappeared without a trace from Montgomery County, Maryland. The children’s mother, Catherine, was charged with murder but, based on her mental health status, her case has never gone to trial or received any verdict or closure.
So where does the case stand right now, in September of 2022?
In the following post, I will re-interview Sarah and Jacob’s aunt Raelane Turner, my close friend whom I have known for almost 15 years, and who has closely followed this case over the last eight years. I will also give a brief update on the court case against Catherine. Additionally, I will leave the original interview I conducted with Raelane following this post for reference.
Before I get into the interview, here is a quick update on the actual case against Catherine Hoggle from the Washington Post:
A Montgomery County judge said Thursday that he needs more time and information to decide whether the woman charged with murder in the disappearance of her two children is mentally fit for trial. Circuit Court Judge Richard Jordan indicated that he wanted to hear testimony from some of the forensic psychiatrists who examined Catherine Hoggle, rather than rely only on the many written reports assessing her competency to stand trial. (source: Washington Post, August 4, 2022).
This also from WTOP news:
State’s Attorney John McCarthy claimed Hoggle fully understood her legal situation and was making the considered decisions of a person competent to stand trial. “Working, considering, consulting with her lawyer — perfectly logical. These are not the actions of an incompetent individual,” McCarthy said. He asked the judge to conduct a series of questions Thursday, to determine once and for all whether he believes Hoggle is competent. (source: https://wtop.com/montgomery-county/2022/08/judge-could-rule-if-catherine-hoggle-will-ever-face-trial-in-death-of-two-missing-children/)
So while we continue to wait for some sort of closure and to figure out if Catherine is competent to stand trial, let’s hear from Raelane. I think you will find her opinions and thoughts very interesting.
I will also leave my personal opinion of what happened to the kids immediately after this update.
So without further delay, here is the updated interview, which took place in early September 2022 over email:
Heather: It has been eight long years since Sarah and Jacob went missing. Looking back, what do you personally think happened to Sarah and Jacob?
Raelane: Yes, eight long years. I can’t give a decisive answer to that and I flip-flop back and forth. There’s so much more to this than anyone outside of the family could imagine.
Heather: Did investigators ever figure out if Catherine was with a man with a tattoo on his wrist the day Sarah and Jacob went missing? And if so, did that observation from several witnesses ever lead to any meaningful investigative leads in the case?
Raelane: No, nothing more came up about the ‘man with the tattoo.’
Heather: What is the status with Catherine and her case and her mental health? Was she ever stand trial or ever be forced to share details of her involvement with the disappearance of her kids? Do you think she will eventually go free without really giving any answers or providing any closure to this case?
Raelane: She’s not been ‘put on trial’ and she can’t be forced to share information, not in this country. I don’t think she’ll ever ‘be free’, no matter what happens in the courtroom. Only God can heal this. It’s beyond what we know. All things are possible with God, so I think it’s possible to know what happened. That doesn’t mean it will be soon. She’s already been criminally charged, but I don’t know what will come of that because as law enforcement personnel, several attorneys, and others have mentioned, our system is not set up to protect the victims. My niece and nephew, and my entire family grieving, are the victims. The system does not make it seem as if they are the victims. This is the world we live in. Since the words ‘mentally incompetent’ are still being used, she is treated differently.
Heather: Looking back, do you feel that the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) did a good job investigating this case? Why or why not?
Raelane: The Maryland State Police wanted to help and provide other resources to help with the investigation, but MCPD denied their help and assistance, after stating that they could not provide enough help themselves. I was told this by County police staff. The FBI was never ‘invited’ in to help. I can only hope the MCPD have done and are doing the best they can. I don’t know why more people weren’t interviewed to better understand the case and have more information, but that’s just my perspective. That is what I know, along with other things. This does not surprise me. As I mentioned, many other people go through this. Our family is not the only one. The system needs an overhaul.
Heather: Have there been any interesting or compelling or helpful leads over the last eight years which could lead to closure on this case?
Raelane: There must not be because there’s been no closure.
Heather: Did you ever figure out if Randy’s weird behavior around the time of the disappearances had anything to do with the two kids going missing?
Raelane: I would hope that neither Randy nor Lindsey (Catherine’s mother) have any knowledge of what happened. Quite a few things have made many people question some things about who knows what. I could say much more about this, but I won’t. Would you travel out of the state if your daughter and two grandchildren were presumed missing? I wouldn’t. Most people wouldn’t.
Heather: How is Troy (Sarah and Jacob’s father, and Raelane’s younger brother) doing and how is your relationship with Troy at this point? Many readers may not be aware that Sarah and Jacob had an older brother who was not taken. How is that son doing now after eight long years?
Raelane: It’s sad that I don’t get to speak with my little brother much at all which is a huge change from before. He went through some time periods like this before with Catherine, when they would stay away from family for a little while, due to what was going on with them. Something happened in his life (not to do with the kids) and he’s ostracized himself and my nephew from me and other extended family. I’ll always love him and have an open door for him.
As for my oldest nephew, who lived with me and my kids for 2 years and was doing very well when he lived with me, I can’t speak for him now, as I have no idea. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be taken away as a child from all whom you knew for 7 years, and just cut that off abruptly. We keep them in prayer. I learn from the past but don’t live in it like the Bible says “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14) I have to keep looking ahead and always look up.
Heather: If you could go back in time and do one thing differently with respect to this case or Sarah and Jacob, what would it be? Do you have any regrets?
Raelane: I would have taken more action than I did to report everything myself, instead of relying on other(s) in the family to report things, when they said they would. And for those who wanted things to remain unsaid, I would speak up right away, instead of waiting for them to say something. I was outspoken about things going on and do NOT regret it. Some still blame me for reporting things. I would do it again and again and again. I regret not stepping over Child Protective Welfare and the police department (to whom things were reported) when nothing was done. I regret not going to agencies that were over these agencies to get help for the family, thinking that that was the agency’s job and not mine. There is more to this answer to give but I do not want to hurt a family member any more than that person is hurting now.
Heather: Has anything good come from this tragedy?
Raelane: Definitely more of an appreciation for God’s peace and guidance, and many good conversations about the Gospel with people I know and people I don’t know. I can only hope and pray that this tribulation has blessed some with a feeling of dependence on God for all things, appreciation for his love, care, and sending Jesus for us, and gratefulness for his forgiveness (because we are all in the same boat with having fallen short of Him). I have become a stronger person in doing what is right by God, and not people. This heartbreak has made me grow and be able to stand up to family member(s) for what is truth and right. I pray that I’ll not be intimidated or silenced for speaking the truth anymore.
Also, I know my niece and nephew are ok. With whatever happened, Jacob and Sarah are ok and God takes care of them. Gone from here or still here. I’m thankful God is in control and all is for the good of God. It’s ok if I don’t know or understand everything in this world.
Heather: Last question: anything else you would like to say? Any last thoughts about this case, about Sarah and Jacob, about Catherine, about God? Feel free to share.
Raelane: The only thing that matters to me are discussions about where people put their trust. Don’t put your trust in yourself, and don’t put it in others. Life here is short. What our family has gone through, many have. It’s to be expected here in the world. Nothing surprises me, including what happened to my nephew and niece. All that matters is that my faith and trust is in our Lord and I know what is next for me. I would ask what or who are you putting your faith and trust in? Even with covid and all of this political stuff going on, I can feel peace with my trust in God. Doesn’t matter what happened or what is to come, God is my everything.
Thank you Raelane for this update!
My opinion on the case:
It is my opinion that the Montgomery County police department (MCPD), based on statements made by Catherine at the time of her arrest, confirmed (in their minds) that Catherine was indeed guilty of murdering her two children, therefore they did not investigate other legitimate leads that they absolutely should have. For one, they should have attempted to locate the man with the tattoo on his wrist, or at the very least interview witnesses who saw him. They did not. And that’s just to start. I have dabbled in the private investigative world and I can tell you that investigators need to follow every loose string as you never know what you will find on the other end of that string. If the MCPD had solid evidence and proof and bodies, it seems like we would know that by now. With that aside, I have hopes that she passed her children onto someone else or some other group of people, maybe as a power play over Troy, her partner (they were never married but living together). There were definite mental health issues involved. Whether or not her mental health issues led to the murder of her two children, I cannot say. It seems difficult for a woman who is not right in the head to be able to pull off two murders committed at two different times (see the timeline of the case below). But as they say, sometimes the most basic theory of what happened is what happened, and therefore she is most likely guilty of killing her children and placing them somewhere where they will not be found. Maybe MCPD knows this and has lots of solid evidence that we just don’t know about yet since the case has not gone to trial.
Bottom line: I have no idea but I pray that the kids are still alive, out there somewhere, maybe with an underground group of people. But honestly, she probably killed her kids, sadly.
As far as Catherine’s competency, I believe she is definitely competent to stand trial. I have never met her but I have heard she is clever and is of sound mind. She must give an account of what she did with her two children many years ago.
Thanks for reading and please continue to pray for closure to this case, and healing for all members of her family, including Raelane.
Below is the original interview I conducted with Raelane several years ago. You can probably skip the whole thing if you want to, but before you go, you should at least check out the timeline of events because it’s really interesting.
Thanks for reading! Any likes or comments are appreciated greatly.
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.
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.
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!