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Petty Officer 2nd Class John Hoagland's casket is carried out of a hearse at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Killeen.

Sergio Flores | Herald

Cynthia Kimball is looking for answers about her son's death. She might be one step closer to getting those answers.

Petty Officer 3rd Class John Hoagland — Kimball's late 19-year-old son —  was among 10 sailors killed aboard the destroyer USS John S. McCain in August. Hoagland lived in Killeen for 11 years, and graduated from Shoemaker High School in 2015.

On Wednesday, Kimball received a visit from a Judge Advocate General's Corps officer. 

The officer notified Kimball that the Navy is filing negligent homicide charges against a commander aboard the USS John S. McCain, Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, after the collision with an oil tanker in coastal waters off Singapore in August. Sanchez is being charged with negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and endangering a ship. A chief petty officer, whose name was not released, faces a charge of dereliction of duty, according to the Associated Press.

"It seems to me that they’re making an attempt to find out what happened, and what could have gone different," Kimball said. "I hope with the criminal charges that they’ll be able to find out what really happened." 

It is not yet decided if Hoagland's family will be asked to be a part of the judicial process. That will be up to the attorneys, Kimball said.

The family is still struggling with Hoagland's loss. The holiday season didn't make things any easier, said Kimball, who now lives in Georgia.

"Some days are worse than others, some days are pretty hard, and we’re doing OK," she said. "I guess as good as can be expected. It’s still hard, we still miss him."

A Navy spokesman, Capt. Greg Hicks, said the charges will be presented to what the military calls an Article 32 hearing to determine whether the accused are taken to trial in a court-martial, according to the Associated Press.

254-501-7552 | sullivan@kdhnews.com

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