Bit by bit, piece by piece, police and a group of volunteers are separately seeking to assemble a jigsaw puzzle of sorts that would point the way to the missing Robert “Hoagy” Hoagland, 50, of Glen Road, Sandy Hook, a man who went missing from his home in late July and has not been heard from since.
On Sunday, September 1, police, working with Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue (NUSAR) and the Lake Zoar Authority Marine Patrol, searched a section of Lake Zoar upriver of the Rochambeau Bridge in seeking any evidence of Mr Hoagland.
That Lake Zoar search turned up no clues in terms of Mr Hoagland’s whereabouts, Police Chief Michael Kehoe said September 3. The searchers worked a section of the lake between Rochambeau Bridge the Shady Rest section of Sandy Hook.
Mr Hoagland is a real estate appraiser, who is self-employed and also works for an attorney in Bridgeport.
He was last publicly seen inside the convenience store at the Mobil gas station at 62 Church Hill Road at about 6:45 am on Sunday, July 28.
Mr Hoagland is white, 6 feet tall, and weighs 175 pounds. He is bald and has blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and khaki shorts.
Later that day, he was last seen at his home before his disappearance.
“It’s still an active investigation,” Chief Kehoe said, adding that police detectives work on the Hoagland case daily in seeking clues to his whereabouts.
There has been no recent credit card activity or cellphone activity related to Mr Hoagland, the police chief said.
Newtown police are working closely with Bridgeport police on the case, Chief Kehoe said.
On the day after Mr Hoagland disappeared, Bridgeport police charged his son Max, 23, with third-degree criminal trespassing. He was held on bail on the charge until August 15, when he pleaded guilty in court to the violation and was then given an unconditional discharge by a judge.
Lori Hoagland, Mr Hoagland’s wife, said September 4 that the incident that resulted in her son’s arrest in Bridgeport is not related to her husband’s disappearance.
Chief Kehoe declined to comment on Max Hoagland’s arrest in Bridgeport.
The police chief said he does not recall a local police case during the past decade in which a person has been missing for so long a period.
The case may amount to an abduction or may be a homicide in which there is no evidence, he said. What happened to Mr Hoagland is unclear, he said.
“We’re looking at all aspects of his disappearance,” the police chief said.
“It’s a very difficult investigation,” he added.
Town police called in state police to search for Mr Hoagland with the help of dogs, he said. The dog searches were extensive, Chief Kehoe said.
“We have no leads,” he said.
The case has been time-consuming and labor-intensive, he said. Such cases prove very challenging for law enforcement agencies, he said, adding that police will continue to put much effort into the probe.
Mrs Hoagland said that besides the police probe, her friends are doing much to help her find her husband.
Six friends distributed over 1,000 “Missing Hoagy” fliers during the parade.
“The response of our fellow Newtowners was warm and supportive,” she said of her friends at the Labor Day Parade who distributed handbills with identifying information about her husband.
Of her friends’ efforts to publicize the search for her husband, Mrs Hoagland said, “There have been no leads resulting from any of the media efforts.”
Mrs Hoagland said she hopes that the publicity generated through social media will be productive in terms of her husband being located.
While she was away on a trip for 17 days before she returned to the US and learned that her husband had disappeared, she and her husband communicated often via e-mail, she said. There was no indication through those communications that he would be leaving the area, she said.
Mrs Hoagland said she believes that the police are doing all possible in seeking to locate her husband.
Efforts such as then Lake Zoar search and the search by dogs are intended to eliminate possibilities, she said.
“It’s a baffling situation,” she said.
The intense efforts made by her and her friends in seeking to find her husband are intended to produce some type of clue that would lead to them learning what has happened to him, she said.
Mrs Hoagland noted that her husband left his home on July 28 without his auto, cellphone, wallet, passport, and medication. A $600 cash withdrawal that her husband made at a local bank several days before his disappearance remains unaccounted for.
Newtown police said that anyone with knowledge of Mr Hoagland’s whereabouts should contact the detective unit at the Newtown Police Department at 3 Main Street, telephone 203-426-5841.
People outside the Newtown area who have information on Mr Hoagland’s whereabouts should contact the law enforcement agencies in their respective areas.