PALM SPRINGS, FL —
Laurie Rogers has a picture of her son Jake in her office — it’s a photo that brings a smile to her face.
It’s from 2009, when he went to the Everglades with some coworkers and found a 15-foot python. He wasn’t afraid of the reptile, as his mom says he loved wildlife, and knelt down next to it while someone else captured the moment.
Wednesday morning, two years after Jake’s murder, Palm Springs Police and Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County unveiled a new picture of Jake, hung at a bus stop on Lantana Road west of Interstate 95 that Laurie Rogers hopes will help police find Jake’s killer. He was 29 when he died.
“I don’t know what all of this was about. I don’t know why he was killed,” Laurie Rogers, 56, told The Palm Beach Post. “Anybody who has any information, do the right thing. Come forward. Let us know what happened.”
With money that the Rogers family raised at a fundraiser last year, Crime Stoppers has increased the reward that will be given to anyone with information leading to the arrest of Rogers’ killer to $11,000. The poster, which will stay at the bus stop for a year, has a photo of Jake Rogers as well as information regarding the reward and who to call with information.
Jake’s body was found by his father Sept. 26, 2010 in Jake’s townhouse in the 300 block of Arabian Road in Palm Springs. His dad was going over to watch a football game with his son. Police say Jake was killed in his home the day before, while other family members attended a Florida Gators football game, one that he almost attended.
The location of the poster was chosen because police think it will be most visible to the suspects and those closest to the suspect.
Palm Springs Det. Cpl. Joseph DeRogatis reopened Rogers’ case in February and has since revisited some old leads and come up with some new information from friends, family and potential witnesses.
“It could have been a burglary gone wrong,” said Palm Springs Police Lt. Sal Abruscato. “We don’t think he knew he was going to get burglarized or robbed.”
Since Jake’s death, Laurie Rogers has relied heavily on her family, friends, and her son’s friends for support.
“His friends, they’ve become my kids. I’ve lost one but I’ve gained so many,” she said. “They haven’t just turned and walked away.”
Rogers was happy, his mother said, and looked forward to the future. He was happy with his job as a surveyor at FRS & Associates in suburban West Palm Beach, he loved his three pit bulls, and he wanted to start a family.
He enjoyed spending time with his parents, siblings and nephews. They went on vacations scuba diving and lobster hunting in the Keys, trips to the Everglades, and hunting in Fort Pierce.
He had an infectious laugh, one that Laurie Rogers is able to keep fresh in her head with the help of a video of Jake that one of her son’s friends gave to her.
To help keep her son’s memory alive and to continue raising money for Crime Stoppers, the Rogers held their second barbecue fundraiser, at the American German Club in suburban Lake Worth last weekend where they raised more than $5,000.
Rogers said they had food, a band, a bounce house, a basketball game and a raffle.
She plans to have the event again next year but hopes in the future it can grow to help others in the community who have been affected by violent crimes.
“There’s a shooting every day. Every day. And there’s a lot of families that are just destroyed. I have been fortunate for my friends and family to hold me up but what about those people who don’t have that?” she said.
“It’s hard. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is and it’s been two years. It blows me away.”
CrimePAY$ $11,000 Murder Reward TipLine 1-888-755-TIPS (8477)