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Mother a suspect in deaths of daughters found in Florida canal

She had not been questioned by police as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
This is a breaking news story. Stick with for updates.
This is a breaking news story. Stick with for updates. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 24

LAUDERHILL, Fla. — She’d roam the streets of her neighborhood with a Bible, to some seemingly popping up out of nowhere. Eager to evangelize the masses, Tinessa Hogan, 36, was spotted Monday in the deep brown water of a canal in Lauderhill asking if she could baptize a neighbor’s children.

Hogan is considered a person of interest in the deaths of her own two little girls, Destiny, 9, and Daysha, 7.

Neighbor Cheryl Robinson, 34, described Hogan as having a cult-like personality. Other neighbors said they frequently saw Hogan in and around the canal.

At a news conference Wednesday, police released photos of Hogan and her daughters.

Police confirmed to the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Hogan was the same woman whose behavior was so alarming that she was detained by officers and taken away in an ambulance Tuesday about four hours after Destiny was found in the canal.

She had not been questioned by police as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. Police would not say whether Hogan is being held under the state’s Baker Act.

Police don’t know what time either child went into the water. About 5 p.m. Monday, both girls were seen with their mother, said Lt. Mike Bigwood. They were found dead nine hours apart Tuesday.

According to neighbors interviewed by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Hogan was swimming in the canal Monday. Several neighbors said they had seen her with a Bible near the canal.

Neighbor Marie Williams said Hogan asked her if she could baptize her children in the canal.

Williams said she declined. She also said she had seen Hogan with two girls in a kiddie pool two months ago.

Another neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, said she filmed Hogan as she was detained by police.

In the video, Hogan is wearing colorful leggings or bodysuit with a black top. Her arms are behind her and appear to be handcuffed. The neighbor said she could hear Hogan shouting Bible passages and saying such things as, “I am God” and “I am the devil.”

Destiny was found about noon Tuesday in the L-shaped canal behind the Habitat II Condominiums in the 5900 block of Northwest 21st Street. Daysha’s body was found about 8:45 p.m. in the 2100 block of Northwest 59th Way.

The two locations are about a seven-minute walk apart. The canal is in the shape of an L. One girl was found on the side that goes north and south, and the other girl was found on the side that runs east to west. On Wednesday morning, two balloons with the word “Princess” were on the bank near where Daysha’s body was discovered.

After Destiny was found, police walked the entire length of the canal searching for clues. Police said Tuesday there were no overt signs of foul play. Homicide detectives are investigating until causes of death are determined by the Broward medical examiner.

Divers did not go in the water after Destiny was pulled ashore because they had absolutely no reason to believe there could have been another body in the water, said Lt. Michael Santiago.

Homicide detectives are always called to the scene as a precaution when a person is discovered dead and there are no clear witnesses to what may have caused the death, Santiago said.

Bodies in water eventually sink and then, depending on a number of matters having to do with physics, they will resurface. Santiago said police searched the area on foot visually.

“If there was another body floating in that water when we were out there, we would have seen it,” Santiago said.