James Hogan Case: Wife Gets One Year and A Day Imprisonment Plus $1,000 Fine

This blog has followed the James Hogan Case since September 2009 when the Foreign Service officer was first reported missing in the Netherlands Antilles.  In March 2012, USDOJ announced that James Hogan’s wife, Abby Beard Hogan, 50, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Florida for her role in the obstruction of a multinational investigation into the disappearance of her husband while stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Curaçao.

We missed the news of the sentencing but on February 15, 2013, USDOJ did announce that Abby Hogan was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison for her role in “the obstruction of a multinational investigation into the disappearance of her husband.”

In addition, she was sentenced to 2 years supervised release; $1,000 fine; and was required to self-surrender by noon on March 18, 2013. Court records indicate that the fine was paid and entered on record on March 19, 2013.



Florida Woman Sentenced to Prison for Obstruction of Justice in Relation to Her Husband’s Disappearance

A Gainesville, Fla., woman was sentenced today to serve one year and one day in prison for her role in the obstruction of a multinational investigation into the disappearance of her husband, then an employee in the U.S. Consulate in Curacao, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Pamela C. Marsh for the Northern District of Florida, Director of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service ( DSS) Gregory B. Starr and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office Michael B. Steinbach.

Abby Beard Hogan, 50, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida.   In addition to her prison term, Hogan was sentenced to two years of supervised release.   On March 29, 2012, Hogan pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones to one count of obstruction of justice.

According to court documents, on the night of Sept. 24, 2009, Abby Hogan’s husband, James Hogan, an employee at the U.S. Consulate in Curacao, a Caribbean island that was part of the Netherlands Antilles, left his home on foot and subsequently disappeared.   In the early hours of Sept. 25, 2009, James Hogan called his wife and spoke for approximately three minutes.   The next day, when James Hogan failed to report to work, the U.S. government and Dutch and Antillean law enforcement launched an island-wide search and opened an investigation into Hogan’s disappearance.   On Sept. 25, 2009, a diver located James Hogan’s blood-stained clothing on a local beach.

According to evidence submitted in Abby Hogan’s sentencing hearing, she repeatedly provided false information to U.S. law enforcement about the time period before James Hogan’s disappearance and withheld relevant information. Abby Hogan initially told investigators that, before his disappearance, she and her husband had an argument. She subsequently modified that statement and claimed that there had been no argument, just a minor disagreement over her husband’s next assignment for the State Department.  Abby Hogan further told U.S. law enforcement agents that James Hogan had been in a “good mood” prior to leaving for his walk on the evening of his disappearance. She repeatedly denied that there had been any marital problems or that her husband had been upset or depressed in any way.  Abby Hogan further stated that she could not remember the full three-minute conversation before her husband disappeared because she was sound asleep when her husband called. She claimed she fell back asleep after the call, and did not awake until the following morning. In fact, all of these statements were false, as established by the deleted emails and other computer forensic evidence , which was submitted to the court.

According to court documents, after law enforcement interviews, between Sept. 30, 2009, and Jan. 15, 2010, Abby Hogan deleted more than 300 emails from her email account.    These emails contained information that Abby Hogan knew was relevant to specific questions she had been asked by U.S. law enforcement.   The emails also contained information that she had either previously misrepresented or knowingly omitted during her interviews with law enforcement, including that she was engaged in an extramarital affair; the night James Hogan disappeared, the couple had argued, and he left the house angry and upset; and that she did not want law enforcement to know what had happened that evening.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Teresa Wallbaum of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Williams for the Northern District of Florida.   The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance.   The case was investigated by DSS and the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Legal Attaché Office in Bridgetown, Barbados.   Assistance was also provided by Curacao law enforcement authorities.

While this concludes this part of an almost four-year saga, we are no closer to understanding what happened to James Hogan that September night in Curaçao.






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James Hogan Case: A Royal Hurricane Shit Storm of Pain for All to Read

This blog has followed the James Hogan case since September 2009 when the Foreign Service officer was first reported missing in the Netherlands Antilles.  In March 2012, USDOJ announced that Abby Beard Hogan, 50, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Florida for her role in the obstruction of a multinational investigation into the disappearance of her husband in Curacao.

The Scared Monkeys Forum recently posted some of the court documents related to this case, including the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum where it requests that the Court “impose a sentence within the applicable guideline range of 27-33 months.”

The memorandum fills in some of the details that we did not know about this story including how soon and how many agents were deployed in the search for James Hogan following his immediate disappearance and the fact that Mrs.Hogan apparently was the last person he talked to via phone before he disappeared. Excerpt via:

Within 48 hours, the U.S. government began dispatching agents from multiple domestic and foreign locations, eventually mobilizing approximately 25 agents within the first two weeks.  The Dutch and Antillean governments reacted similarly, committing significant resources to find James Hogan in the largest search in the history of the Netherland Antilles.

To this date, the disappearance of James Hogan remains unsolved, and Defendant has failed to reveal the truth of what happened that night, even declining a government request to speak after her guilty plea. Most significantly, Defendant has never told the truth about the last confirmed phone call from James Hogan after he left the house. Defendant’s claim in her March 2010 interview that she could not remember the nearly three-minute conversation because she was “groggy” is undeniably false, as her internet activity proves she was not asleep when her husband called and that she was alert enough to sign into her email account within minutes of concluding that call. This uncertainty and lack of closure has affected her family, including her children, see Email 70, and James Hogan’s mother and siblings.

A more detailed narrative of what happened is below. The full account is available here:

Sometime after 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2009, James Hogan – the Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate in the Caribbean island of Curacao – left his residence in the capital city of Willemstad. Shortly after midnight on Friday, September 25, James Hogan’s cell phone (located near a tourist resort called “Lion’s Dive”) called Defendant Abby Hogan. That two minute, 58-second phone call is the last confirmed contact with James Hogan. Later that afternoon, a recreational diver discovered a pair of jeans with bloodstains, a pair of socks, and a pair of tennis shoes at a rocky beach area in Curacao known as Blue Rock. Dutch law enforcement also discovered blood on the beach and on rocks near the shore; the blood on the jeans and rocks matched James Hogan’s DNA. Investigators found James Hogan’s cell phone and a knife in the water near the blood-stained rocks. James Hogan’s body has never been found, and he is presumed dead.

American, Dutch, and Antillean officials mobilized immediately in an effort to locate James Hogan or to prevent the disposal of his body. Their primary source of information was Defendant Abby Hogan – James Hogan’s wife – who was the last known person to see or speak to him. In at least five interviews over the course of six months, Defendant told U.S. and Dutch law enforcement essentially the same story: that the evening James disappeared had been normal; that James had been in a good mood, nothing had been bothering him, and there were no marital problems. Defendant claimed that James had taken his normal evening walk and that she had taken a sleeping pill and slept through the evening. She was awakened briefly after midnight by a call from James to her cell phone. She could not remember anything from the nearly three minute conversation except that he was still out walking and she should leave the door unlocked.  She then fell back asleep and did not notice he was missing until the next morning. After her initial statement, Defendant amended her story to add that: (1) James had been worried that a recently-fired Consulate employee with a criminal record might seek revenge; and (2) someone had interrupted James during the midnight phone call.

Subsequent investigation, however, revealed that Defendant’s version of events was completely false. Defendant’s own emails (see Attach. 1) provide a timeline of events leading up to Hogan’s disappearance and disclose a household in turmoil. In March, 2009, Defendant reconnected with her high school boyfriend “Mike” (Attach. 1; Email 1). By early June, Defendant was planning a trip to Gainesville to see him (Email 2: “Do you understand I want to sleep with you?”); on August, 17, 2009, Defendant consummated the affair in Florida (Email 6).  Even before returning to Curacao, Defendant broached the idea of leaving her husband for her lover. See, e.g. Email 7 (8/27/09: “If there’s any way I can do it we are going to be together).  Within days of her return to Curacao, Defendant began exploring her options. See, e.g. Email 11  (9/1/09 email to sister asking about career options in Florida); Email 17 (9/8/09 email to friend “I’m thinking of leaving my 23+ year marriage”). Defendant, however, was concerned that James might “react very strongly” to her leaving (Email 13; Email 19); See also Email 21: (“will Jim let me leave”).

Upon her return, James Hogan became suspicious of his wife’s behavior and began asking questions about her trip. Email 10, 18, 23. Eventually, James caught his wife in a lie about seeing her high school boyfriend (Email 23), and two days before his disappearance, James discussed the lie in an email exchange (Email 25). On the night he disappeared, James Hogan used Defendant’s pink Dell laptop to make a Skype video call to his step-daughter. Afterwards, sometime around 9:00 pm, he saw Defendant’s emails, including her emails to her lover. Email 49. At 9:20 pm, four emails were forwarded from Defendant’s email account to James Hogan’s email account. See Email 33-36. These contained references to the affair. See, e.g. Email 28 & 36 (“it is very difficult for me to pretend to love him [James] when my heart is there with you.  To have sex when I don’t feel the love behind it.”) An argument ensued, which led Defendant to email her lover: “jim knows everything. it’s awful.” Email 37. During the argument, Defendant “refused to call” her lover and break off the relationship, as her husband requested, and as a result she might have “caused something terrible to happen.” Email 36.

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

More than a couple hundred emails were retrieved.  Some are posted here, a few are quite graphic, and includes some of the email exchange with the “other man” on the weeks following James’ disappearance and while the search was ongoing.

Even the other man’s concern of causing a “royal hurricane shit storm of pain” to others is an understatement.  One man is presumed dead. And life is never the same again for their children. The wife of the missing diplomat in her response to the sentencing memorandum cites the toll of constant relocation on her marriage as giving the wrong perception that the Hogans were “somehow distant or unresponsive.” The court document argues that “The correct perception, which should have been formed by those observing the Hogan family, is that they were intelligent, independent, and very adept at adjusting to difficult circumstances.”

At least one member appears to be extremely adept.  So far we have not been able to find a record of her sentencing. Our previous posts on this sad, tragic and tawdry saga are here.