Details of Disappearance
Sarah and her brother, Jacob, were initially abducted by their non-custodial mother, Catherine Ashley Hoggle. A photo of Catherine is posted with this case summary. Catherine had suffered from symptoms of mental illness since childhood, and was eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. In August 2013, she was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital and placed on medication.
After her release from the hospital, Catherine moved first to a group home and then back in with Troy Turner, her children's father. She was enrolled in a day treatment program and wasn't supposed to be alone with her children: Sarah, Jacob, and her six-year-old son. She had always been an attentive mother, however, and seemed to be making progress in handling her illness.
On September 7, 2014, while Turner was at work, Catherine and the children were at her parents' house. At 4:00 p.m. Catherine borrowed her father's gray 2007 Nissan Rogue and told her parents she was going to take Jacob to get some pizza.
About two hours later, she returned, without her son or the pizza, and said she'd left him at a friend's home. Jacob had not, in fact, been left at the friend's house, but her family believed the story.
Catherine's parents took her and her son back to Troy's house. Troy arrived home from work at midnight and noted Jacob wasn't in bed, but didn't realize he wasn't home; he thought Jacob had probably gone to sleep with one of his siblings, as he often did. The last time Sarah was seen was at 9:30 p.m.
The next morning, when Troy woke up, he realized only he and his oldest son were home; Catherine, Sarah and Jacob were gone. Troy started to call 911, but stopped when Catherine drove up. She told him she'd taken both Sarah and Jacob to a day care center in Germantown, Maryland. He believed her and told the 911 operator it was a false alarm.
Troy took Catherine to her day treatment program, picked her up at 2:00 p.m., and suggested they pick up the children from day care. She told she couldn't remember the name of the day care center but would direct him to it.
She answered his questions evasively, however, and eventually Troy told her he was going to the police. She asked if they could stop at a Chick-fil-A restaurant to get a drink. When they went into the restaurant, Catherine ran out another door and disappeared.
Four days later, Catherine was located alone, walking down the street in Germantown, Maryland, wearing the same clothes she'd been wearing when she left. When police asked her where the children were, she at first said she'd left them with an old high school friend named Erin, then lead police to a playground in Germantown and said she'd abandoned both children there.
She was arrested, charged with misdemeanour counts of parental abduction, neglect and hindering a police investigation, and committed to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a maximum-security psychiatric hospital in Jessup, Maryland. Doctors there found her incompetent to stand trial.
Catherine has been in the hospital ever since. Turner and her family describe her as a highly intelligent woman and believe she may be feigning mental illness to escape the consequences of her actions. A person who is charged with misdemeanors and deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial can only be held for a maximum of three years. If they are charged with felonies, they can be held for an additional five years.
In September 2017, three years after Sarah and Jacob disappeared, Catherine was charged with two counts of murder. She remained in the hospital getting treatment in the hopes that her competency could be restored.
In 2019, the prosecution retained another psychiatrist to provide a second opinion on Catherine's competency, as for the past several years the doctors at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital had been saying she was incompetent but her condition was improving and she might become competent some day. The second opinion doctor agreed with the hospital's doctors; she also believed Catherine was mentally unfit for trial.
By 2022, however, Catherine was still mentally incompetent to stand trial, and due to the passage of time the murder charges against her had to be dismissed. The judge who dismissed the charges ordered that Catherine should remain confined in the hospital under a civil commitment order, as she is considered a danger to herself and others. Her diagnoses are schizophrenia, major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
Although police believe Catherine murdered her children, there is no evidence to indicate their whereabouts. She has told the staff at the hospital that her children are safe, but she continues to refuse to reveal their location. Their cases remain unsolved and foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved.