BALTIMORE (WJZ) — No one knows what happened to two Montgomery County children, Sarah and Jacob Hoggle, who went missing while in their mother’s care three-and-a-half years ago.
Catherine Hoggle is charged with murder, but rules incompetent to stand trial.
According to WJZ political reporter Pat Warren, lawmakers are considering a change in the way people declared incompetent are prosecuted.
On September 7, 2014, 2-year-old Jacob Hoggle disappeared with Catherine. The next day, 3-year-old Sarah vanished. Days later, Catherine was found without the children. Searches for them turned up nothing.
The children are presumed dead by police, and Hoggle is in a psychiatric hospital.
Last year, she was formally indicted for the murders of her children, but having been ruled incompetent, the charges could be dropped in five years.
“The father of those children is very distressed that he has to spend almost 24 hour a day now just to be worried about when she does get released she may harm his surviving child,” says Sen. Susan Lee, (D-Montgomery County).
Hoggle has a history of paranoid schizophrenia. Sen. Lee’s bill would include cases like hers in the definition “extraordinary circumstances” to protect a minor child.
“Right now, the current standard of extraordinary circumstances or extraordinary causes is very restrictive,” Lee says. “You can still be very dangerous and you can be a threat to the community but you can still be released.”
Her bill gives judges the discretion to extend the time before charges are dropped. But others oppose repealing or amending the law regarding the rights of the mentally ill in the judicial system.
The Office of the Public Defender stands in opposition to the bill.