The wife of a US diplomat who vanished on the Caribbean Dutch island of Curacao nearly two years ago has pleaded guilty to hampering the investigation into his disappearance.
The US Department of Justice said Friday that Abby Hogan pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and accused her of repeatedly providing false information to federal agents and withholding relevant information.
Hogan’s plea, however, did not solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearance.
James Hogan, 49, was US vice consul in Curacao, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Venezuela, when he disappeared during a late night walk on September 24, 2009. The couple had lived on the island since August 2008 in an upscale neighborhood near the capital of Willemstad.
Abby Hogan entered her plea in a federal courthouse in Gainesville, Florida, where she now lives. She faces up to 20 years in prison during a sentence hearing on June 6.
Her attorney, Gilbert Schaffnit, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he anticipates the sentencing date to be pushed back. He declined further comment because the case is ongoing.
Hours after his vice consul’s disappearance, a recreational diver found his bloodstained clothes at Baya Beach, a popular site for its water activities and nightlife. Police said they also found his blood on rocks leading to the water, along with an expensive kitchen knife and his cell phone.
Hogan’s disappearance sparked a lengthy search by the local coast guard and the US Navy, but his body was never found. The investigation into his death remains open.
Prosecutors accused Abby Hogan of deleting more than 300 e-mails from September 2009 to January 2010 containing information relevant to the case, including that she was having an affair and that the couple had argued about the affair the night her husband vanished.
Abby Hogan remained in Curacao until June 2010 and later moved to Florida, according to court documents.
She was charged in August 2011 with perjury, witness tampering and obstruction of justice, but was released that same day pending trial. AP