No one knows if Robert Hoagland left voluntarily or ran into foul play.
Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash
Robert ?Hoagy? Hoagland (50) lived in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, with his wife Lori. They had three sons, Sam (21), Max (23), and Chris (25). Max, who had been dealing with a drug addiction, was recovering at his parents? house.
Hoagy had been a professional chef but wanted to spend more time with his family thus becoming a self-employed real estate appraiser while also working at a friend?s law firm. Lori worked as a culinary arts teacher.
The couple had previously separated for two years but reconciled and were now planning their retirement together. As a part of Max?s recovery, Hoagy and Lori were planning to take their son on a hike through some of the Appalachian Trail.
Robert / NBC Connecticut
At 6:45 AM on July 28, 2013, Hoagy drove to the Bagel Delight near his home. He then went to the Mobil Gas Station and bought gas and a map of Eastern US. Surveillance footage at the station shows Hoagy wearing khaki shorts, a white t-shirt, and his usual loafers.
Robert at the Mobil Gas Station / NewsTimes
Hoagy went home and had breakfast with Max, sent some emails, and played a few games of online scrabble. Sometime between 10 and 11 AM, he went outside to mow the lawn. Not long after, Max said goodbye to his father and told him he?d be back in a few hours. A neighbor witnessed Max drive away.
The next day, Lori arrived at the John F. Kennedy International Aiport, in New York City, after spending a couple of weeks in Turkey. She had spoken to Hoagy various times through email and they agreed he would pick her up. She waited for two hours, assuming he had been caught in traffic. Lori tried calling him but he wasn?t answering.
She decided to take a taxi to a relative?s house in Brooklyn and called the wife of Hoagy?s friend at the law firm. She told Lori he hadn?t shown up for work that day.
When Lori finally made it home, Hoagy was nowhere to be found. The mower had been put back in its place in the basement and the shoes Hoagy?s usual wore to mow the lawn were near it. His dirty clothes (the ones he had been wearing in the surveillance video) were in the laundry and his loafers were in the living room. Hoagy?s cell phone, passport, and blood pressure medication were in the house. The car was still in the driveway.
A couple of weeks later, Lori would find Hoagy?s wallet and car keys under a doll on a chair in the couple?s bedroom. Even though his wallet was left behind, $600 that Hoagy had withdrawn from the family?s bank account a few days before vanishing has never been accounted for.
The day after Hoagy was reported missing, Max was arrested. A patrol officer caught him parked in an area with ?no trespassing? signs. This area was known for drugs and prostitution. Max claimed he was looking for drugs and had permission to use his mother?s car.
The officer contacted Lori and she said he didn?t have her approval. Max was arrested and charged with trespassing. Authorities concluded that this incident had no connection to Hoagy?s disappearance.
Authorities also investigated an incident that had occurred a few days prior to Hoagy?s vanishing. Two of the family?s laptops had gone missing and Hoagy believed they were either stolen or that Max had sold them for drugs.
Hoagy confronted two men he believed to be involved in an old factory in Bridgeport. The men denied being connected. Police couldn?t find any link between the laptops and Hoagy?s disappearance.
In the meantime, Hoagy?s computer was examined. He had repeatedly searched an address in Rhode Island, but according to authorities, this did not provide any clues to his whereabouts. Authorities found it complicated to search Hoagy?s computer as he had installed a program designed to clear all internet searches merely a month before vanishing.
Authorities conducted extensive searches around the family?s home, including the woods and Lake Zoar. Because Hoagy had plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, The National Park Service was notified.
Though none of them have been verified, there have been a few reported sightings of Hoagy.
In January of 2014, he was reportedly seen at a Savers store in Brookfield (about twenty minutes from Sandy Hook). There is surveillance footage of the man in question but it is not clear enough to confirm or deny his identity.
In July, Hoagy was reportedly at the Putnam County Correctional Facility in Carmel Hamlet, New York (about thirty minutes from Sandy Hook). The man walked into the building and left two minutes later. There is surveillance footage of this man outside the building but it can also not be confirmed as Hoagy.
Later that year in November, authorities were alerted to the possibility that Hoagy was working at a restaurant in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (about thirteen hours from Sandy Hook). Presumably, this sighting has not been confirmed.
According to his family, Hoagy has connections to various locations in California.
Robert / NewsTimes
Six years after Robert Hoagland vanished, there are still no answers. He may have met with foul play, perhaps connected to his son?s addiction.
Lori says he would have done anything to protect his family. On one occasion, he even chased people down the street with a baseball bat.
Nevertheless, it is also possible that he wanted to start a new life.