A Florida mom who offered to baptize neighbors soon before her two young daughters were found floating dead in a canal in Broward County three weeks ago was arrested Tuesday and now faces murder charges.
Tinessa Hogan, 36—who’s been charged with two counts of first-degree murder—was reportedly reciting Bible passages when Lauderhill police came upon her at the canal on June 22. She had been shouting that she was God and the devil, neighbors said.
Just hours earlier, around 12:10 p.m., police had pulled the body of Hogan’s 9-year-old daughter, Destiny, from the water with scratches around her mouth and a small laceration near the left side of her lip, according to a police report. Later that evening, a 911 caller reported another floating body in the canal. It turned out to be Hogan’s second daughter, 7-year-old Daysha.
Neighbors told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Hogan had been seen offering to baptize people in the canal the evening before her daughters were discovered dead.
“She was in the water swimming, she had a Bible and she told me to come here. I said, ‘Why?’ She said she wanted to baptize me. She say God told her, I say ‘God didn’t tell you anything,’” one neighbor, Lawana Johnson, told WFOR-TV a CBS station in Miami. Hogan had remained outside for hours that day, neighbors said.
Neighbors also told the Sun-Sentinel that leading up to her daughters’ deaths, a woman thought to be Hogan had been seen wearing a long black-and-white skirt with a shiny, curly black wig pulled into a ponytail. She’d carried a sign through the neighborhood that read, “Death is the only way.”
According to local NBC station WTVJ, Hogan had been hospitalized after reports that she had been acting erratically.
Police came upon Hogan—whose head and body were draped with a large white blanket—as they searched near the canal on June 22, a couple of hours after finding Destiny’s body. A video shows an officer taking the blanket off of her before bringing her down to the ground on her stomach, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Hogan was taken from the scene by ambulance under a state system that permits people in crisis perceived to be a threat to themselves or others to be held temporarily in a psychiatric facility, the paper added.
Authorities didn’t know Hogan was the mother of the little girl already found dead in the canal until a couple of hours later, when the mom revealed she had two children. At that point, they began searching for her second child, eventually finding Daysha’s body in the canal around 8:42 p.m.
“It was just horrifying and traumatizing. No one wants to see this,” one of the family’s neighbors, told CBS Miami. “She always used to be outside, be outside with her sister. The mom would always watch them. I never saw anything suspicious. I used to see them play,” he added.