Richard Hoagland: Found 23 Years Later

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Name: Richard Hoagland
Last seen: February 10th, 1993
Location: Indiana, Florida
Status: Found (23 years later)

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Background Information 

Richard Hoagland was from Indiana and worked for an insurance company. He was previously married but did end up re-marrying Linda Iseler, in 1982. The couple had two sons; Matthew, who was 9 years old at the time, and Douglas, who was 6 years old.  

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Richard was described by his wife as someone who was fun to be around because of his high energy and positive attitude. 

They had a normal happy family life and would often travel to exotic places, due to Richard’s good income. 

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Disappearance 

Everything changed on February 10th, 1993 when Richard did not come home from work. Linda was at home when she received a phone call from Richard while he was still in his office at work, he told his wife he was feeling really sick and needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Linda offered to collect Richard and go with him to the hospital but Richard told her he didn’t have time to wait for her.

During this phone call, he never told Linda which hospital he was going to, this made her concerned so she ended up calling all hospitals in the area but none of the hospitals had a record of Richard Hoagland being there. 

All of Richard’s belongings were left at home, including his passport. Linda was extremely worried so friends and family got involved searching for Richard. 

A few days had passed but there was still no sign of Richard and no one had heard from him. This was until police found Richard’s van in the parking lot of the Indianapolis International airport. Police believed his car was just left abandoned. 

The following summer, Matthew and Doug received birthday cards with $50 inside each card, from their dad. This left the family extremely confused as time had passed and they had not seen or heard from Richard and they did not know if this was really from him. In one of the cards, he wrote ‘maybe sometime soon we will get to see each other. I bet I won’t even know you. It’s been so long. Mind your mother. Dad.’ 

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The police began looking into these cards and started to suspect Linda, they thought maybe she was writing these cards to her sons, staging the whole thing and that she had actually murdered Richard Hoagland. 

Authorities theorized that perhaps Richard was involved in some sort of drug business and that he had to get away for safety, while Linda knew where he had gone. Investigators interrogated Linda many times, even though they could not come up with any sort of evidence to link Linda to Richard’s disappearance.

After Richard’s disappearance, Linda and her 2 sons lost everything, including their house and car because Richard was the primary source of income in the family.    

10 years later, no new leads came into the investigation and no one had heard from or seen Richard. Police decided to officially declare Richard Hoagland, while Linda moved on with her life and re-married.  

Finding 

Everything changed in Summer 2016. Linda Iseler had begun her new life while her two sons grew older when Linda received a phone call from detective Anthony Cardillo of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department in Florida. Detective Anthony Cardillo asked if she knew who Richard Hoagland was, she told him that she did and that he was her ex-husband but he passed away, Cardillo told her he didn’t pass away and that he was in their custody. 

Richard had been living secretly under someone else’s identity. The identity he took was from a man named Terry Symansky, who was a fisherman that had been in a boating accident in 1991. 

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The day Richard disappeared he had gone from Indiana to Florida and had rented a room from Terry’s father. While he was living in his new place he had found a death certificate for Terry Symansky. Richard was able to use this death certificate to receive a birth certificate under Terry Symansky’s name as well as a driving license. 

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Richard Hoagland, now Terry Symansky, got married to a woman named Mary in 1995 and they even had a child together. Mary says she would sometimes bring up Richard’s past and asked questions about his family but he would always find some way to play it off. 

Richard eventually bought a house in Zephyrhills and got a pilot’s license. Hoagland has started a completely new life. He had bought houses in the area his house was in and rented them out, all under Terry’s name. 

In 2013, Terry’s family was looking at their family’s history on Ancestry.com, when they saw that Terry had gotten married two years after they buried him. They found this unusually but 3 years later they decided to contact authorities. 

In June 2016, authorities contacted Richard Hoagland and asked him what his name was and he told them he was Terry Symansky and even told them the right date of birth. Authorities continued to question him and showed him the death certificate which made him finally tell them his real name was Richard Hoagland. He was then arrested and taken into custody for identity theft. 

When questioned Richard told authorities the reason he had left was because he had been having issues with his wife and children, and he just wanted to get away. 

In February 2017, Richard Hoagland pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and served 2 years in jail. In April 2018, he was released back to Indiana.  

Richard’s disappearance had really affected his family, especially his son Doug who ended up doing drugs while in high school. It started when Doug broke his hand and was given drugs for the pain and he never got off of them.

At the time of Richard’s arrest, Douglas was serving an 8-year sentence in jail for drug possession. Doug found out about his dad through seeing a news report on the TV and saw a picture of his father.

Doug wrote a letter to his dad, part of the letter said ‘for a long time I wondered what was wrong with me that would warrant someone being able to just walk away. I’m sure the big underlying question for everyone is WHY? What was so bad you had to disappear?’ in this letter Douglas also wrote about his drug problem that was linked to his father’s exit but did not directly blame it on his disappearance ‘at a very young age, I lost a person that I thought loved me. I had very low self-esteem, and that affected my drug use even more. I used drugs to get my confidence, since at times I felt less than I really was.’ 

Linda Iseler sued Richard Hoagland for child support, to which a judge ruled Hoagland owed Linda and his sons $1.86 million. However, Richard’s finances are not good because he was in jail, he was going through a divorce with Mary, and his assets were frozen.      

Resources and Further Information 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/05/31/decades-ago-he-abandoned-his-family-and-assumed-a-new-identity-an-ancestry-com-search-unraveled-his-lies/?noredirect=on

Kendall Rae covers the case on the Richard Hoagland case

https://abcnews.go.com/US/missing-indiana-mans-family-found-alive-23-years/story?id=43045972

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