FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) -- A Huntington woman is getting nearly $2 million dollars in back child support after finding out her assumedly dead husband who abandoned their family was actually alive.
It was 1993 in Hamilton County, Indiana when Linda Iseler's husband, Richard Hoagland, suddenly disappeared. His wallet and driver's license were left behind.
Years went by without a word from him. His devastated wife and two sons assumed he was dead, even declaring his death official with the county.
In 2016, Iseler received the most shocking phone call of her life from police in Pasco County, Florida. They told her Hoagland was alive and had been living in Florida with a fake identity.
"She was driving a pick up truck along the road and she got the cell phone call," explained her attorney, Thomas Markle of Barrett McNagny LLP. "When they told her that, she had to drive completely off the road and stop the car and take a loud deep breath."
Markle said after Hoagland had abandoned the family, he fled to Ohio. There, he stole the identity of his friend's son who had just died by drowning.
Under his new name, Terry Symanski, he moved to Florida. He even remarried and had another child there. This child would be his fifth one. He had two from a first marriage, two with Iseler, and then the fifth child in Florida.
Hoagland got caught for identity theft when a man was looking up his uncle, the "real" Terry Syminsky, on Ancestry.com. When he saw that his uncle from Ohio had property in Florida, he grew suspicious. Eventually it led him to authorities and those authorities found that Hoagland had stolen Syminsky's identity. Hoagland even had a birth certificate and driver's license under his new identity. He was arrested for a fraudulent personal identification charge.
Hoagland was sentenced to prison, but as soon as he got out Iseler was waiting to take him to court for back child support. Last Thursday, a court hearing came to a determination. She was awarded $2 million.
"Since it's the first time she's seen him face-to-face last Thursday, obviously it was very emotional," Markle said. "I think she's happy with the amount of the award."
Hoagland's two sons he had with Iseler are bitter and want nothing to do with him.
As for Hoagland himself, the only reason he gave for abandoning is family was that he wanted to get away.
Markle isn't sure if Hoagland will be able to pay the entire $2 million dollars in child support. They do know he owns multiple planes and multiple properties. At the same time, he's going through his third divorce and that may cut from his available funds.