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Monday, September 20, 2021

Crime Beat podcast: ‘Scarred but not broken,’ Part 1

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On a cool rainy day in the summer of 1999, an old Chevy van was seen speeding on a highway from the backcountry eastbound towards Rocky Mountain House, Alta.

There was a large piece of canvas attached to the bumper and it dragged behind the van.

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A short time later, the vehicle pulled into the ambulance bay at the Rocky Mountain House hospital.

A man went in and identified himself as Brian Hogg.

He was covered in blood and had lacerations to both of his wrists.

Hogg asked the doctor to check on his son, who was still in the van.

A little boy was found seated in the front passenger seat. He had blood on his neck, face, chest, arms and legs. His throat was cut, but he was responsive.

The seven-year-old was rushed into the emergency room.

But he wasn’t the only child inside the van.

There was a little girl, unresponsive, on top of some sleeping bags.

The doctor who made the horrific discovery noted the two-year-old was cold to the touch.

She had no vital signs when she was rushed into the emergency room and was later pronounced deceased by the local medical examiner.

The case was now considered a homicide.

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RCMP Const. John Hudak of the Rocky Mountain House RCMP detachment took charge and was soon joined by investigators from the Major Crimes Unit in Red Deer.

Once the child’s condition was stabilized, he was able to share what happened with police.

The little boy, Christopher Hogg, told officers his father took him and his half-sister camping in the west country, at an area called Falls Creek. 

According to court documents, his father covered the van with a tent — and attempted to kill himself and the children with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Three hours went by and he was still unsuccessful.

That’s when he used a pillow to suffocate his daughter Bailey Hoolsema.

Christopher said his father then cut his throat — and turned the knife on himself and slit his wrists.

Christopher told officers he begged for his life and that’s when his dad drove them all to the hospital.

Hogg was charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of his daughter and one count of the attempted murder of his son.

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In February 2000, Hogg pleaded guilty to both charges.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 15 years.

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19 years later, in 2019, he was granted day parole.

Since then, the board has continued to approve his day parole for six-month stretches at a time — but has continued to deny full parole.

The most recent review was completed in April 2021.

A decision obtained by Global News states Hogg’s “behaviour in the community has been noted as positive and compliant,” he’s “followed all rules and regulations of the community residential facility” and he’s “met the obligations of his day parole release without concern.”

His parole officer noted he is “transparent and honest and remains committed to sobriety, is employed full time and is engaged in pro-social leisure activities.” 

Hogg indicated he doesn’t feel ready for full parole at this time.

Victims wrote in impact statements  that they “remain fearful of him– and expressed clearly their need to be protected from him.”

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In part one of this two-part series of Crime Beat, Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt shares how this senseless crime continues to impact the officers who investigated the case.

Later, in part two, you’ll learn why this case has weighed particularly heavily on one of the officers involved.

It was through John Hudak’s interactions with witnesses in this case that another investigation started — one that would see his life torn to pieces.

If you enjoy Crime Beat, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends.


Twitter: @nancyhixt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NancyHixtCrimeBeat/

Email: nancy.hixt@globalnews.ca

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