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Cold Case Man Resurfaces 23 Years Later —Where Was Richard Hoagland?

After years of thorough searching without yielding anything, Richard Hoagland was declared a dead man, only to resurface 23 years later under a false identity. His reasons will leave one in awe and full of anger.

By Mrs HPublished about a year ago 6 min read

Richard Hoagland was a middle-aged family man from Indiana, United States. Despite his previous divorce, he never gave up on love and remarried Linda Iseler in 1982.

The couple was then blessed with two sons, Douglas and Matthew Hoagland, whom they loved very much and worked hard for. According to Linda, her husband was everything she ever wanted in a man — successful, spontaneous and a vibe to be around with. However, she never thought he was capable of hurting her where it hurts the most.

On February 10, 1993, Linda received a call from her husband telling her that he wasn’t feeling well and needed to go to the hospital; as a result, he won’t be back until later that night. However, she had no idea that would be the last time she would ever hear from him again until 23 years later.

That following morning she called the hospital, but they told her they had no patient under the name Richard Hoagland and despite any attempt to reach him, Richard never picked up his calls.

The loving and caring wife began to panic, and after hours of searching everywhere possible, including his office, Linda called the police.

Immediately the investigation and search for Richard Hoagland began. Friends and family members, including the community, joined in to help but to no avail. After a few days of searching, the police finally found his car nicely packed in the town's airport, untampered with and believed to have been intentionally abandoned.

Despite his previous marriage, no one suspected that Richard was not happy with his new wife since things seemed picture-perfect between the two. However, looks can always be deceiving, and only time will reveal the hidden skeletons.

Mysterious Note

A few months later, his two boys mysteriously received their birthday cards with a 50 note in each of them and a touching message signed off as him.

“Maybe sometime soon we will set to see each other, I bet l won't even know you. It has been so long. Mind your mother. Bye, Dad.

However, everyone was confused about them. Some thought maybe a stranger or family member had pulled that up, hoping to make the devastated family feel better and think there was still a chance of their father coming home.

On the other hand, police began suspecting that maybe like in the case of Chris Watts, Linda had murdered her husband and reported him missing just to try and cover up what she had done. They also thought that maybe Richard was also involved in drug trafficking and any shenanigans associated with it, so they took Linda to the station for interrogations.

Nevertheless, they could not prove any of their theories, and Linda remained an innocent woman. Sadly years passed, and after ten years of thorough searching without yielding anything, Richard Hoagland was declared a dead man by the state of Indiana even though they had nothing to prove it.

The Struggle

Sadly since Richard was the primary breadwinner, Linda and her two boys struggled and suffered a lot after his disappearance, especially their oldest son Douglas. He turned to drugs to try and numb the pain and cope with the situation; however, the addiction ended him in prison for possession of drugs and sentenced to 8 years.

Poor Linda had lost her husband and her son, which affected her mental health and contributed to high blood pressure and depression.

As bleak as the future looked, she knew as a mother her boys needed her now more than ever, and Linda slowly picked herself up until she could stand on her feet and live again. For nothing but her two boys.

After years of grieving and healing, Linda moved on, remarried and began a new life. Sadly things suddenly changed in the summer of 2016 when she received a shocking call from the Pasco Sheriff's Department in Florida that her supposedly deceased husband was alive and in police custody.

“He asked me if I knew who Richard Hoagland was, and I said, ‘Yes, that’s my ex-husband, and He said, ‘We have him in custody.’”

Where had he been all along?

As expected, Linda could not believe what she was hearing and thought that was way too much of a joke until her eyes made contact with then 63-year-old Richard Hoagland in the flesh after 23 years.

It appears that the sole purpose of him being a coward was that he didn't want to work hard and pass through the financial difficulties the couple was facing back in 1993.

However, despite his selfish reasons and running away from his responsibilities, one thing did not make any sense. Richard had remarried under a different name for the third time to a woman named Mary, and together they had a son. Whose name was it, and how did it happen?

When Richard decided to flee Indiana, he headed to Florida and rented an apartment. According to him, one day, while browsing through the house, he found a death certificate that belonged to a man named Terry Symansky, who had died in 1991 from a boat accident.

As odd as it sounded, Richard managed to obtain Terry's birth certificate from the registry office and used it to get a driving license which he then used as proof of identity for everyday purposes.

However, things always find a way to come out, and after 23 years of lies and deceit, the doors finally closed in on him.

The Arrest and painful confessions

While the real family of Terry Symanskywere tracing their history on as part of a genealogy project, they were shocked to see that two years after burying him, Terry had remarried in Florida.

As shocked as they were, they never reported the amiss news to anyone until three years later. Even though the situation was extremely bizarre, the police took on the case.

After a thorough investigation, they were shocked to discover that the man they had tirelessly looked for and ended up declaring dead had taken everyone for a ride.

Detective Anthony Cardillo of the Paso County Sheriff's Department in Florida headed to Richard's house, who still insisted he was Terry Symansky until the officer pulled out Terry's death certificate. Richard saw there was no way out and confessed.

“He told me his name was Terry Symansky, provided me a driver’s license. Terry Symansky: correct date of birth, everything. “I asked him again. He said his name is Terry Symansky. Eventually, I showed him the death certificate that I’d brought with me. He eventually told me his real name was Richard Hoagland.”

When Richard's true identity was relieved to his then-wife, Mary was shocked but told officers that something was always odd every time she wanted to know about her husband's past or family.

Since his son Douglas was behind bars for drug possession during his father's sentencing, he wrote him a painful letter describing how his selfish actions had negatively affected his life and ended him where he was- in prison.

“For a long time, l wondered what was wrong with me that would warrant someone to just being able to walk away. I’m sure the big underlying question for everyone is why? What was so bad that you had to disappear?… I lost someone that l thought loved me, and that affected my confidence. I use drugs to get my confidence since at times, l felt less that l really was.”

On the other hand, his son Matthew sympathised with him even though he said it couldn't justify his actions.

“I believe he got caught up with the wrong people — got carried away and over his head in something. I have this ring. This is my dad’s ring… I do wear it, for the most part, every day. But I think I wear it to remind me of a bad example.”

A few days after his arrest Richard Hoagland was sentenced to two years in prison, and then after his service, he was deported back to Indiana. Unfortunately, he had no dime in his name to pay up Linda's lawsuit for abandoning and not paying child support for his sons for 23 years, even though the judge had awarded her $1.86 million.

I hope he finds a way to repay all the damage he has caused, but l don't know-how. Time lost is never gained, and 23 years is a lifetime. Please let us all man up and take care of our children no matter what. Remember, tough times never last, but tough people last. Take care, and God bless.


This story was originally written and posted by me on Medium


About the Creator

Mrs H

Hie,guys. Thank you for stopping by. I write about true crime, rare stories and paranomal activities. If you are interested in such, please feel free to stick around. Thank you

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