Husband Abandoned His Family, But Then His Wife Discovered What Happened 23 Years Later

Linda Iseler and Richard Hoagland appeared to have the perfect life from the outside. They had two happy, healthy sons and enjoyed a comfortable life, until Richard vanished without a trace in 1993. Linda and her two sons were left with no means of support, and had to figure it out for themselves. The authorities assumed Linda had something to do with Richard’s abduction, despite the fact that she and her sons were suffering as a result of his absence. Linda and her family were in a constant state of tension, confusion, and sorrow until the mystery of what happened to Richard was ultimately answered 23 years later. Find out what Linda did to uncover the actual truth.

Normal Life


Linda and Richard were from a typical middle-class American household. They lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. Their two sons, Matthew and Douglas, were born in Indianapolis, and the family led a happy life. Linda and Richard did argue from time to time, as most couples do, but their disagreements were never passionate or intense. A tragic family secret, however, was revealed the year Matthew turned nine and Douglas was six. Richard Hoagland was undoubtedly hiding something big. What was Richard’s hidden secret?

Richard’s Dark Secret

Richard began to show unusual behavior that year. He would shut himself up in his room and avoid family talks. Linda saw Richard was acting strangely, but she assumed he was just stressed out about work. Mathew and Douglas were completely unaware that anything was wrong. They still thought they belonged to a typical, happy family. Richard seemed to be secretly plotting something in hindsight. He’d never been so cautious and silent before. What was he up to?

Strange Phone Call

Linda went to work in a medical office on February 10th, 1993, like she did every weekday. Richard contacted Linda at work around 4:45 p.m. He informed her he was on his way to the hospital because he wasn’t feeling well. Linda claimed she would leave work and go to the hospital to meet Richard, but Richard replied he “couldn’t wait.” Linda returned home at 5:25 p.m. after picking up Douglas from daycare. When she returned home, she discovered that Richard had left Matthew at home alone.

Where Is He?

Linda was angry that Richard had abandoned his son at home, but she was also concerned that something horrible had happened to him. Linda contacted all of the hospitals in her area, but none had any record of Richard ever being present. Linda went through her house and discovered that Richard’s items were still in the same place they had always been. His toothbrush was in the bathroom, and he had everything he needed in his closet. His passport and coat were still in the house. “It was cold,” Linda added. It was the month of February. He didn’t bring a coat.”

What He Left Behind

Linda was becoming increasingly concerned. She received a phone call less than an hour after she arrived home that utterly devastated her. Richard called his wife and stated, “I can’t live like this any longer.” I think you’d be better off without me.” He hung up before Linda had a chance to answer. He called Linda again a few hours later and stated, “I don’t want to go to jail.” I’m not coming back.”

Abandoned Car

A few days after making that final contact to Linda, Richard’s car was discovered abandoned. Linda had numerous airlines review their records to see if Richard had left the country, but no trace of him purchasing a plane ticket could be found. Richard contacted Linda twice more, but he didn’t say anything to her. He always dialed collect, and phone records revealed that he was calling from Venezuela and Aruba. Linda requested that the police assist her in her investigation into Richard’s mysterious disappearance.

Contact Matthew

Richard returned a card to his family on Matthew’s 10th birthday a few months later. Several months later, when Douglas turned seven, he also received a card from Richard. That was the last written communication Richard ever sent to his family. Richard had apparently not been truthful with Linda about their financial condition. He’d used up all of their credit cards and even forged Linda’s signature on a bank loan. Linda filed for divorce, and Richard was ordered to pay back taxes, loans, and obligations, as well as 26 credit cards.

What Did He Write?

Richard said in his birthday cards, “I love you and want to see you. Let your mother help you in spending this money, and consider putting some aside. Perhaps we’ll get to visit each other soon. I’m sure I won’t recognize you after all this time. Take care of your mom. Goodbye, Dad.” “Initially, you believe to yourself, ‘OK, this won’t last long.’ ‘He’ll come back,’ said Matthew Hoagland to ABC. Linda said, “He utterly shattered us. He left us with nothing, nothing at all. I was completely broken.”

What Happened To Linda

Linda was in serious financial problems after Richard left. She was unable to make payments on her mortgage or car loans. When Linda began to believe that all hope had been lost, the police began to interview her about Richard’s disappearance. They made it appear as if Linda knew where Richard was hiding. Linda informed the cops she was the victim in this case and had no idea where Richard had gone. Nonetheless, the cops continued to question her.


The cops wouldn’t let Linda go without being questioned about Richard. They appeared to believe Richard and Linda were in cahoots and that this was some complex financial scheme. Linda didn’t have time to deal with the cops since she was too concerned about how she would care for her children. She was unable to pay her bills and was forced to declare bankruptcy. Linda didn’t want to do it, but she didn’t have a choice.

Was She Being Watched?

Linda came to the conclusion that Richard was a coward. Instead of confronting his financial troubles, he decided to flee, leaving his family to deal with the problems he had caused. Linda and her sons were forced to live with Linda’s parents as they attempted to re-establish themselves. Linda gradually became aware that weird persons seemed to be following her. At all hours of the night, strange cars were parked outside her parents’ house. She also observed someone opening and resealing her mail.

Move Away

When Linda discovered a recording device on her phone, things got a little scary. She thought that Richard had made some deals with some really dangerous people that he couldn’t maintain, so she chose to leave town to keep her family safe. “When you’re in that circumstance,” she explained, “you become really paranoid.” Linda, Matthew, and Douglas went into hiding in McCordsville, Indiana. Linda made sure that all of her bills were in her parents’ names so that no one would be able to find her.


Linda and the boys hid for more than six months. Despite the fact that things began to improve, she and her family continued to live in fear. Linda was still being observed by the cops, and she didn’t feel like she had any support. Linda’s elderly mother described how awful the situation was for her entire family in an interview with ABC. Richard had done terrible things to her daughter and grandsons, and she couldn’t believe it.

23 Years Later

Richard remained untraceable until 2016, when a detective from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department in Florida, Anthony Cardillo, made an incredible discovery. “Do you know who Richard Hoagland is?” he questioned Linda over the phone. Linda was taken aback when she heard that name again. Richard went to West Palm Beach, Florida, while she and her sons were struggling. He remarried, and he and his new wife had another son. The detective informed Linda that Richard had been detained for adopting the name of a deceased person.

The Man Richard Wasn’t

Richard went away from his family and rented a house while deciding what to do next. He discovered a death certificate for a man named Terry Smansky, who died in 1991, in that rented house. Richard assumed Terry’s persona and broke all relations with his Indianapolis family and friends. Richard, who is now Terry, has a new lease on life. He found a new career, eventually purchased a home, and started a new family.

Grieving Father

Terry Symansky’s father, Edward Symansky, was the owner of the house Richard rented back when he initially left his wife. Edward was still grieving his son’s death, and he frequently recounted Richard anecdotes about his son’s life. Richard took advantage of a heartbroken parent by assuming the identity of his deceased son. Edward’s honesty and desire for connection were used by him. Terry’s sister, Cynthia Bujnak, told People, “My father was inconsolably sad and poured his heart out… My father was the unfortunate victim. The truth will always come out, even after 23 years.”

Finally Arrested

The real Terry Smansky’s nephew was doing some research on when he noticed something very strange. His uncle, who had been dead for over two decades, was somehow listed as getting remaired and getting his pilot’s license. This nephew immediately contacted authorities, which led to Richard’s arrest. In July 2016, police went to “Terry Symansky”‘s house and arrested Richard Hoagland. He was put in jail at the Pasco County jail on a $25,000 bond.

Pay For His Crimes

Richard was eventually charged with all of the crimes he did all those years ago in Indiana. He was also accused of stealing the identity of a deceased person. Although some of his actions were outside the statute of limitations, Richard did not get off easy. He had ruined the lives of countless people and had abandoned his own two children. He couldn’t get away from what he had done any longer.

Another Family Broken

Richard’s new wife and son had no idea he had abandoned his family and assumed the name of a deceased man. Richard’s third child is now an adult, but he has yet to meet his half-brothers. Linda remarked, “My heart breaks for them. We understand their situation. We do send our condolences and sympathies to them. Sorry for the inconvenience.” He owes both of his ex-wives money. Richard owes Linda $2 million in child support, according to Linda’s lawyer.

Richard’s New Family

Mary Hossler Hickman is Richard’s second wife (although she married “Terry Symansky”). Terry was her husband in 1995. Following Richard’s arrest, Mary discovered a bag with documents revealing her husband’s true identity. It also had a document to a Louisiana property and the key to a storage facility. Richard’s third son was absolutely taken aback when he discovered that his last name was not his and that his father was not who he claimed to be.

Matthew And Douglas

Matthew and Douglas were never the same after what their father had done to them. At a young age, Matthew had to take on the role of “man of the house.” He had to be there for his mother as she battled with Richard’s behavior. Douglas was sentenced to prison many times for drug-related charges. Douglas remarked in a letter to his father that he forgives Richard and doesn’t hold him responsible for his own substance misuse problems. He is still perplexed as to why he left.

Moving On

Matthew Hoagland has reached the age of 33. He is now married and the father of his own children. He can’t comprehend how a father could abandon his own children. When Matthew was younger, he hoped that his father would return for him, his mother, and his brother. He now realizes that no amount of wishing could have brought his father back. Matthew now wears his father’s wedding band as a symbol of the kind of person he never wants to be.

Why Did He Do It?

Both of Richard’s children have the same question. Why? Richard has made no attempt to justify his terrible acts. He hasn’t stated that he is financially stressed or that he is unsure how to care for his family. Richard’s actions also caused harm to Terry Symansky’s family. We’re still not sure why Richard thought it was okay to take advantage of someone else’s generosity. Richard is currently in prison. Hopefully, he’ll take advantage of that time to properly reflect on the suffering he’s caused.

Petra Pazsitka

Petra Pazsitka was a German-born, and had spent her entire life there, as far as she knew. She was a typical 24-year-old woman studying computer science at a German university in 1984. She went to the dentist one day and then planned to ride the bus to her parents’ place the next day. Then, she handed over her keys to her neighbors, who agreed to look after her birds for the day. The situation seemed pretty normal, until she withdrew 4,000 Deutschmarks from her bank account and failed to appear at her parents’ home. Not long after, she was reported as a missing person, which made the whole story mysterious.

Looking For Petra

Petra’s family suspected that something bad had happened to her. They attempted to contact her friends and teachers. They contacted everyone who had touch with her. They also alerted the cops, and Petra Pazsitka was soon the target of a full-fledged manhunt. The authorities were unable to locate her, and the case remained unsolved five years later. Many people began to believe Petra was dead when German authorities suspected the worst.


After five years, Petra’s story was unexpectedly featured on a German crime show called Aktenzeichen XY. Gunter K, a convicted rapist and killer, was suspected of killing Petra Pazsitka, according to police. He had already been found guilty of the murder of a 14-year-old girl in the same neighborhood where Petra was last seen. Despite the fact that no body was ever located and Gunter could not produce any physical evidence of Petra’s death, Gunter K eventually confessed to her murder. Petra was proclaimed dead in 1989 when police took her statement of guilt at face value.

31 Years Later

Thirty-one years later, the police was going to do a discovery they never expected to make during the investigation of a robbery. The cops knocked on the door of the flat next door to the robbed one to inquire if the residents had heard or seen anything unusual. The woman who answered the door was a 56-year-old woman who admitted to hiding behind a false identity. When she revealed her real identity, Petra Pazsitka, police quickly recognized her as the child who had been featured in the news headlines all those years before.

Her Family

Petra made a life by working various jobs under various names. She didn’t have a bank account and paid all of her bills with cash. She didn’t apply for a driver’s license, a passport, or any other form of identification. Petra refused to tell the cops why she had left her previous life behind. Bosse, the detective who took over Petra’s case, called Petra’s mother and brother to inform them that she was still alive (her father had died). Petra declined to meet with her family, despite their strong desire to see her. Petra, however, is not the only one with a strange disappearance, find out more about the case of Philip Sessarego.

The Case Of Philip Sessarego

Philip Sessarego was a British-born, who served in the Royal Artillery when he was younger, and had always aspired to join Britain’s Special Air Service. He put in a lot of effort to be able to serve at that level, but he was unable to get into the program. Twice. Philip couldn’t handle the rejection any longer and decided to take on a new identity. If Philip isn’t able to join the SAS, he might be able to become someone who is.

Fake His Own Death

He had to kill off his old identity before he could become someone else. Phillip Sessarego lived an interesting life. He was married to Diane, and they had a son and a daughter together. He decided he didn’t want to be a husband or a father anymore. “No matter what he did in life, this notion of being in the SAS remained the pinnacle of all he wanted to do,” documentary filmmaker James Ross said. Philip planned a scheme to make it appear as if he had been killed in Croatia by a vehicle bomb.

The New Tom Carew

Tom Carew, an SAS soldier, was Philip’s alter ego. “Tom” did not go into hiding. Instead, he authored a book on his secret operations as an SAS fighter in Afghanistan, which he felt extremely sure about. Jihad! is the title of the book. Afghanistan’s Untold Story The book was a huge success. It reached the top of multiple bestseller lists and sold more than 40,000 copies. By 2001, Tom Carew had established himself as a prominent figure who gave speeches and featured on daytime talk shows. He talked about his (fake) adventures in the Middle East with the SAS.

Not The Man We Thought He Was

Tom Carew was exposed as a phony by the BBC two years later. The Newsnight crew had a strong suspicion that Carew wasn’t delivering the whole story. They began looking into his background and military history, only to discover that no one named Tom Carew had ever served in the SAS. During an interview, BBC reporter George Eykyn posed a question to Carew that only an SAS member should be able to answer. Because Tom was unable to respond to the question, he grew defensive and attempted to leave the interview.

Pronounced Dead For Real This Time

Philip’s wife, Diane, was taken aback when she saw him on television pretending as someone else. She had been grieving the death of her husband for years. Philip made no attempt to contact his family once he was exposed. He went back into hiding, and his body was discovered in a rented garage in Antwerp in the winter of 2009. Investigators suspect Philip died while escaping from individuals who were angry with him for what he had done. He had an unfortunate ending, just like Arthur Jones, who loved to gamble.

Arthur Jones 

Arthur Jones lived in Chicago with his wife of twenty years and their three children. He made his living as a commodities broker, but he also had a gambling addiction, and he had lost a large amount of money gambling. However, his wife and children were unaware of this. Meanwhile, Arthur tried to pay off $210,000 of debt by selling his seat on the board of trade, and then he decided to disappear without a trace. Arthur told his wife that he was late for a business meeting and walked out the front door, like he would any other day. But then, his wife never saw him again. 

A Missing Person

Joanne, Arthur’s wife, reported him missing. Police began an investigation and soon discovered his Buick at O’Hare International Airport. They also discovered his sunglasses. However, they were unable to locate Arthur, and the case became a cold case. Joanne and her three children had been left in the dark. Arthur was certified dead by the police a short time afterwards. It would be another 32 years before Joanne and her children learned the truth about their father’s death.


Naturally, a man with a gambling problem would flee to Sin City. Arthur Jones was discovered working as a bookie in Las Vegas under a fictitious name in July 2011. He stole the social security number of Joseph Sandelli, who is still alive. He forged documents such as a driver’s license and a voter registration card. But, not too long after, Arthur was charged with four felonies, including fraud and identity theft. A bad ending to a story, but something similar happened to a child named Julian Hernandez as well. A strange disappearance with a plot twist.

Julian Hernandez

Julian Hernandez, Bobby Hernandez’s son, lived in Alabama with his mother. Bobby went to see his son in August 2002, but he and his girlfriend at the time got into a fight. He told Julian’s mother that if she ever broke up with him, he would take Julian. They did break up, and a difficult custody fight followed. Bobby made the decision to take matters into his own hands. His son was stolen and taken away from his mother, and he wouldn’t see his mother for another 13 years.

Fake Identity

Bobby picked up his son and drove him to Cleveland, Ohio. Under the name Jonathan Mangina, he obtained a new Ohio driver’s license. He also got his youngster a false ID. Julian was now referred to as “J.J.” It wasn’t until “J.J.” was 18 and applying to colleges that he realized something wasn’t quite right. He had to complete a lot of official documentation for college applications, some of which required a social security number.

Bobby Got Caught

His guidance counselor informed “J.J.” that his name and social security number did not match when he was applying to colleges. After doing some research, “J.J.” discovered that his real name was Julian Hernandez. He also discovered that he was on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s list of missing children. Julian was taken aback when he learned what his father had done, especially considering his father had always been a positive influence in his life. Shortly after authorities confirmed Julian’s true identity, Bobby was arrested.


When the police called Julian’s mother to tell her that her son had been located, she was overwhelmed and overjoyed. “Once she realized it was him, she was thrilled — she was ecstatic,” police Lt. Johnny Evans told The Washington Post. She stated in a statement: “This week, our family was happy to see Julian and learn that he is safe. We’d want to express our gratitude for everyone’s prayers and support throughout Julian’s missing.” That’s when Julian flew to Alabama for the first time in 13 years to finally spend Thanksgiving with his mother.