Pasco County Sherif's Office/Hoagland family

Man Missing For 23 Years Found Living Under New Identity

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A married man who successfully faked his own death and left his family 23 years ago sent a creepy birthday card to his kids after he disappeared.

Richard Hoagland, 63, abandoned his house in Indianapolis back in 1993. He lived there with his wife Linda and two sons Matthew and Douglas.

Linda said he called her up in a panic and said he had to go to the hospital.

Hoagland family

She told ABC News,

He called me at work and told me that he was ill… and that he needed to go to the emergency room. And I said, 'Well, why don't you just wait, and I'll go with you?' He said, 'No, I don't have time to wait.'

Linda searched high and low at different hospitals, but she couldn't find any trace of her husband.

He left all of his clothes, his toothbrush and his passport at home.

Hoagland family

Richard was declared legally dead in 2003, and Linda remarried, believing she was a widow.

But in July this year, police in Pasco County, Florida, phoned Linda to inform her Richard was alive and well -- but under arrest on suspicion of identity fraud.

Turns out he'd moved down to Zephyrhills and assumed the identity of a fisherman who had died recently and went by the name Terry Jude Symansky.

He remarried and had another kid under his new alias.

Pasco County Sherif's Office

The summer after he disappeared, he sent a birthday card to his sons with $50 and a creepy message enclosed:

I love you and miss seeing you. Let your mom help spend this money, you might want to put some away. Maybe sometime soon we will get to see each other. I bet I won't even know you it has been so long. Mind your mother. Bye, Dad.

Richard's new identity was brought to light when Terry Symansky's nephew was compiling research on his family on Ancestry.com and came across someone using his uncle's name.

When police told his new wife, she rummaged through a suitcase and found documents with his real name.

Richard has never publicly addressed why he vanished, but told police he wanted to get away from his wife.