In September 2014, 3-year-old Sarah and 2-year-old Jacob were last seen in the care of their mother, Catherine Hoggle, in Maryland. Sarah and Jacob have never been found. After disappearing for several days, Catherine was arrested and ultimately charged with the children’s murder. Catherine was declared not competent to stand trial shortly after and has been committed to a psychiatric facility until her competency can be restored.
But plenty of people - including some of Catherine’s own family members - have suggested she’s faking incompetence, convinced it’s her path out of prison.
Sarah and Jacob’s dad, Troy, and his wife, Stephanie, continue to search for the kids, desperate for both answers and justice. And now, the clock is ticking. Maryland law requires dismissal of murder charges against a defendant found incompetent to stand trial after the expiration of five years. This means that Catherine could be on the verge of release. Troy, Stephanie and their lawyer, Matt—along with police and prosecutors—are racing to stop that from happening.
In addition to a compelling and tragic personal narrative, this case raises broader issues about mental health and the justice system and the unintended consequences of well-intentioned laws. Journalists Sarah Treleaven and Beth Karas examine a father’s quest for justice and one key question that overshadows this case: Can you really fake being incompetent and get away with murder?