Excavating Equipment in Place for Joanna Rogers' Search - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/25/06

Excavating Equipment in Place for Joanna Rogers' Search

Equipment is now in place to start digging through two years worth of trash in an effort to find Joanna Rogers.  The Lubbock teen has been missing since May 2004.

Two months ago, Rosendo Rodriguez confessed to strangling the teen, putting her body in a suitcase and throwing it in a dumpster.  He is the same man who is charged with capital murder in the death of Summer Baldwin.  Baldwin's body was found inside a suitcase at the city landfill last September.

Investigators say it will take four weeks to dig the area they have marked off.  Based on testimony from Rodriguez, they were able to pinpoint a small area within 15 acres where they think Rogers' may be buried.  

"Are you looking for a suitcase?," asked NewsChannel 11.  "Yes we are," said Don Carter, Captain of the crimes division for the Lubbock Sheriff's Department.  He is preparing for a search that could bring closure to the family.  Kathy and Jo Bill Rogers have been desperately searching for their 16-year-old daughter Joanna Rogers for the past two years.

A confession from Rodriguez, led investigators to the landfill.  They have coned off a perimeter of 100 feet by 150 feet.  "This is based on the time period with the disappearance of Ms. Rogers.  Based on that and the evidence and investigation we have so far up to this date,  this is our best estimate as to when that would have taken place," said Carter.

Carter says the dig will be in two phases.  First, they will use heavy excavating equipment to remove two layers, about 20-feet of buried trash.  Phase two will consist of looking for specific dated material, like newspapers and old mail.  Phase two is also where trained experts will manually sift through the garbage.

The first phase is expected to take a few days.  The second phase, where they are actually searching for evidence, could last up to three weeks.  If investigators cannot find anything, Carter says they will stop the landfill search.

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