A mother who thought she was saving her two young daughters by bringing them closer to God led them into the waters of the canal behind their home in Lauderhill to baptize them.
But 37-year-old Tinessa Hogan was haunted by something dark.
Instead of saving them, Hogan is accused of killing Destiny, 9, and Daysha, 7, according to recently unsealed court records. Neither girl could swim, and their mother had led them out of their depth.
And when Hogan finally spoke to detectives about the last moments of her daughters’ lives, she revealed one of her final, chilling memories of that day:
Destiny yelled out, “Mommy, it’s calling,” referring to the water. Destiny and Daysha followed their mother into the L-shaped canal behind Habitat II Condominiums. But only their mother got out alive.
The girls’ bodies were found eight hours apart on June 22. About two weeks later, when a detective tried to show Hogan photos of the girls being pulled from the water, she wouldn’t look.
The tragedy began on June 21.
Police found Hogan near the water the next afternoon when they were called to the neighborhood after a woman feeding her cats reported seeing the body of a young girl floating. Police would later learn the girl was Destiny.
Hogan sat on the bank not far from where Destiny was found, covered with a white sheet and wet from the waist down, reciting Bible verses and saying “Jesus has saved her,” the record says. Police questioned her there, worried about her well-being. She answered that “Jesus is the Lord.”
“In the name of the holy spirit … God said let there be light and there was light,” Hogan said to police on the canal bank, according to the court record. “I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the first and the last.”
Hogan’s demeanor rapidly changed while police talked to her on the embankment. She was calm one moment and aggressive the next, the record says. They took her into custody under the state’s Baker Act, which allows authorities to commit someone to a mental health facility for up to 72 hours, and fire rescue crews took her to Florida Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
While at the hospital the day her daughters were found, police asked Hogan if she had any children. She asked them why that mattered. She shouted for people to “crucify” her and yelled out “you won’t outsmart me.”
At the time, police did not know whose body had been pulled from the water, they did not know a second body would surface hours later and they did not know Hogan was their mother.
Drama at police station
For two weeks, police were unable to talk to Hogan. Since they encountered her at the canal, she had remained hospitalized at Florida Medical Center, the court record says.
On July 7, police met with Hogan on the fourth floor of the hospital. No handcuffs were placed around her wrists. She agreed to go to the police station to talk about the fateful day.
She recalled leading the girls into the water some time in the early morning and that “they all should’ve dipped in the water at the same time and made it back to the dry land,” but could not remember what happened after they walked into the water, she told the detective.
She explained that she felt as if she were in a movie, that it didn’t feel real.
Destiny and Daysha hardly left their mother’s side, Hogan said. She referred to the three of them as “Siamese twins.”
How would she find her daughters, the detective asked.
She said she would have to ask God. If they weren’t with her, Destiny and Daysha must have been with him.
He showed Hogan a photo of her daughters from a recent birthday party. She embraced the memory. She said she missed them so much she felt sick.
Ask God where the girls are, the detective told her. She said God told her the girls were with him. She prayed to be forgiven for her sins, sins she repeatedly said she didn’t remember committing.
“Whatever I was doing, I didn’t know that I was doing it,” Hogan said.
Hogan asked if they found the daughters at the canal. When he told her the girls were dead, she was emotionless, the record says.
“OK, so they passed to be with God?” Hogan asked the detective.
The detective asked Hogan what her favorite Bible verse is. Her answer, Revelation 22:13, held the same words she uttered on the canal bank the day Destiny and Daysha’s bodies were found: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
The detective called Hogan’s mother to talk to Hogan during his interview. Hogan’s mother asked her whether she baptized the girls, to which Hogan responded that “it was God’s will.”
Hogan’s attorney did not return a call and email for comment on Friday.
Hours in the canal
As detectives pieced together what happened that dark day in June, it emerged that several witnesses reported seeing Hogan swimming in the canal with a Bible for hours throughout the evening and into the night. She was asking people to come be baptized, the record says.
One witness saw a woman matching Hogan’s description standing along the side of a nearby road holding a homemade sign in front of her face that read, “Death is the only way.”
The only time witnesses reported seeing Hogan with the girls was about 5 p.m. June 21. The girls stood next to their mother, Hogan wearing a blindfold over her eyes, all three staring at the sky, the record says.
At 9 p.m., a witness said he heard splashing. He asked a neighbor what they saw. Again, it was Hogan in the canal. The last time she was seen was 1:30 a.m. still in the water, still with Bible in hand.
‘Bring my babies home’
Hogan told police she had recently estranged herself from her family because they were in the way of her relationship with God. Hogan said she hadn’t spoken to her own mother in months.
Hogan’s mother spoke with detectives on June 23, the day after Destiny and Daysha were found. She said the last time she heard from her daughter was in a family group text when Hogan sent a message wishing them a blessed day and to worship God. Her daughter’s religion had led her to become “fanatical” for awhile, Hogan’s mother told detectives, though she had no previous diagnoses of mental illness.
Once police entered the Hogans’ home the day after the bodies were discovered, there were signs that something went awry. The home, littered with wet clothes and garbage and hand-drawn paintings on the walls from the girls, was not the neat place that photos on Hogan’s phone showed it once was.
Hogan’s cellphone history showed just days before she led her daughters into the water, she posted a message on her Instagram account, under the name “Rabbi.”
“Bring my babies home.“