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Dead New York Man Who Lived 'Under The Radar' Was Actually High-Profile Missing Connecticut Dad
A man known as "Richard King" in upstate New York died recently as a result of a medical emergency, and authorities discovered he was really Connecticut family man Robert Hoagland, who disappeared nearly 10 years ago.
The high-profile cold case of a missing Connecticut man took a bizarre turn after he was found dead after years of allegedly hiding out in upstate New York under an assumed name.
Authorities with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office responded Monday to a call from someone saying that their roommate, whom he identified as Richard King, was experiencing a “medical emergency,” according to the Albany Times Union. The roommate unfortunately died at his Rock Hill home — less than 100 miles north of New York City — though no foul play is suspected.
“They initially could not identify the male but found papers showing the name ‘Robert Hoagland,’” according to the Newtown Police Department in Connecticut.
Upon finding the papers, Sullivan County authorities reached out to Newtown police — less than 90 miles east of Rock Hill — where a man named Robert Hoagland had disappeared in the summer of 2013.
The agencies met on Tuesday and “confirmed the identity of Robert Hoagland,” according to police.
“The detectives learned that Robert Hoagland had been living in Sullivan County since around November 2013 and was using the name ‘Richard King,’” said Newtown Connecticut Police Det. Lt. Liam Seabrook.
Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty said Hoagland was “living under the radar” in Rock Hill, a village of less than 2,000 people, according to the Times Union.
Hoagland was 50 years old when, on Monday, July 29, 2013, he failed to pick up his wife, Lori Hoagland, from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after she’d returned from a 17-day trip to Turkey, according to the Connecticut Post. Initially, loved ones weren’t overly concerned about the father of three, figuring he’d simply forgotten to pick his wife up.
But upon returning to their Glen Road residence, Lori noticed that her husband’s Mini Cooper was still in the driveway, and his wallet, phone, medication and shoes were left inside the home. He, however, was nowhere to be found.
Fears mounted when Hoagland failed to show up at the Bridgeport law firm where he worked as a real estate appraiser, according to the Newtown Bee.
The Hoaglands' son, then-23-year-old Max Hoagland, told investigators he last saw his father on the morning of July 28, 2013 — one day before his mother arrived back from Turkey. A local gas station’s surveillance video captured Hoagland buying bagels before he reportedly headed home for breakfast with his son. Photos of a smiling Hoagland at the gas station were widely circulated by Newtown Police at the time.
Max said they played a few rounds on online Scrabble and then his dad mowed the lawn late morning. The elder Hoagland disappeared right around that time.
“He was a man doing ordinary life things on a Sunday, preparing for his wife to come home,” Lori Hoagland told the Connecticut Post in 2013. “And he disappeared. It’s a total mystery.”
She said there was nothing to suggest why her husband would just vanish.
His disappearance was featured in a 2016 episode of Investigation Discovery’s “Disappeared.”
In the episode, Newtown Police Lt. Richard Robinson suggested that Hoagland could have gotten into a violent confrontation, according to Danbury’s News-Times. Robinson claimed that Max Hoagland had a history of drug abuse and had stolen two family laptops for some “shady men” in exchange for drugs. Robinson thought it was possible that Hoagland might have approached the men in nearby Bridgeport.
Ultimately, police found nothing connecting Robert Hoagland to the men.
“This whole case is incredibly frustrating,” Robinson said in the episode. “And as frustrating as it is for us, I can imagine it’s 100 times more for the family.”
Robert Hoagland’s shocking discovery on Monday is only adding to the mystery, according to NBC News. Another one of Hoagland’s sons, Christopher Hoagland, said he had no idea why his father left.
“It’s pretty confusing,” Christopher stated. “We’re trying to handle it right now, to be honest. Haven’t really figured out any details.”
According to this week’s release from Newtown Police, there seems to be nothing to suggest that Hoagland’s disappearance was the result of a crime.
“The Newtown Police Department sends its condolences to Robert Hoagland’s family and friends,” they wrote. “The family requests that their privacy be respected during this difficult time. The police department does not plan to release any further information as there was no criminal aspect to Robert Hoagland’s disappearance.”
Newtown police said Hoagland’s remains were transported to the Sullivan County Coroner's Office, where a cause and manner of death will be determined.