BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sarah and Jacob Hoggle went missing three years ago.
Though suspected, their mother Catherine Hoggle has not been charged with murder, but she has been locked up.
She was the last known person to have seen 3-year-old Sarah and 2-year-old Jacob in September 2014.
She told police they were safe and being cared for, but would not say where.
“We definitely, 100 percent believe that my babies are out there, and we’re going to continue to look for them until we bring them home,” said their father, Troy Turner.
But months of searching never turned up a trace of the missing children.
Catherine, who was picked up by police while wandering Montgomery County, has a history of paranoid schizophrenia.
She has been undergoing treatment at Clifford T. Perkins, the state’s psychiatric hospital, after being found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Today in court, that status did not change.
“Most recent analysis they determined she was still incompetent,” said David Felsen, Hoggle’s lawyer.
“The judge adopted those findings as to the determination of her competency.”
In all this time, Catherine has never been charged with murdering her children and hiding their bodies, instead she’s being held on lesser charges.
“Three different charges, all misdemeanors, and none of them are crimes of violence under the statute,” according to Felson.
After three years, the legal time she can be held on charges of parental abduction, neglect and obstructing the investigation are about to run out. Her lawyer is moving to have her free when they do.
Legal analysts say it’s possible.
“If you’re not able to be tried, and the court can’t make a determination beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of the crime, they don’t have legal right to punish you,” says legal analyst Adam Ruther.
Family members of the children were in court for the competency ruling. They’ll be back September 15 when the judge will be asked by Catherine’s lawyer to release her from custody.
If she is freed of the current misdemeanor charges, prosecutors have the option of possibly bringing other charges, including murder, to keep Catherine in custody.