ROCKVILLE, Md. — Editor's Note: The video above is from February 18, 2020.
A Maryland mother arguing that prosecutors had run out of time to try her in the deaths of two of her children lost her motion to dismiss the case Wednesday, according to a Maryland Court of Special Appeals decision.
Catherine Hoggle is the last person to have seen her children, Jacob and Sarah Hoggle, since they disappeared from Montgomery County seven years ago. She was deemed "incompetent to stand trial" for murder on Dec. 1, 2017 and committed to a health care facility.
Under Maryland law, charges against her would have to be dropped after five years if she continues to be deemed incompetent.
However, Hoggle was first found incompetent in 2015 after she was charged with child abduction. Those misdemeanor charges were later dismissed. Hoggle's lawyers thus filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the five-year clock expired in 2020.
But the court's new opinion says the statutory five-year period for dismissal of the murder charges began when the circuit court found that the defendant was incompetent to stand trial on murder charges, not when the district court had found the defendant incompetent to stand trial on the misdemeanor charges.
"We conclude that the circuit court did not err when it denied Hoggle’s motion to dismiss the indictment," Judge Kevin Arthur wrote in the opinion. "The circuit court correctly concluded that the five-year period for dismissal of the murder charges began on December 1, 2017, when the circuit court found her incompetent to stand trial on those charges. We affirm the order denying the motion to dismiss."
Wednesday's ruling means Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy would have until December 2022 to bring the case to trial, if Hoggle is ever ruled competent to stand trial.
In July 2019, a Maryland judge granted the prosecution's motion for a new psychiatrist to assess whether or not Hoggle was competent to stand trial.
The prosecution's own independent expert said in 2020 that Hoggle was "so mentally ill" that she was described as "not restorable," according to court documents.
"I know she killed my kids," said Jacob and Sarah's father Troy Turner after the February 2020 hearing.
Despite massive searches, police have never been able to find their bodies. But Turner said he won't give up.
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Catherine Hoggle is accused of murdering her two young children Jacob and Sarah, but those charges could soon be dropped.