#1Jan 30th, 2007
Sun Jan 28, 3:11 AM ET
The body of a 3-year-old boy was found in a septic tank less than 10 feet from the house where he was reported missing, Flathead County Sheriff Mike Meehan said Saturday.
The body of Loic J.M. Rogers was found late Friday, and an autopsy showed that he drowned, Meehan said.
"This is a tragedy," Meehan said.
It was unclear how the boy got into the septic tank, and the manhole-sized lid was closed. Meehan did not classify the death as a homicide, but said investigators do not believe he could have climbed into the tank and put the lid back on himself. An investigation is continuing.
The boy was reported missing Wednesday night near Kalispell, about 190 miles northwest of Helena. Mark Rogers, Loic's father, told police he took Loic to his car outside a friend's home, told the boy to get in and then returned to the house for Loic's sister.
Mark Rogers "said he was inside only for a minute," Meehan said Friday. When he returned, the boy was gone.
Rogers' sister, Sara Kavanaugh, said Saturday that the family did not want to speak with the press and declined comment. The boy's mother, Ariel Rogers, who is expecting her fourth child, was hospitalized so doctors could monitor her after she learned of her son's death.
"I want to know that my other two children are safe in that man's care," she said in a tearful interview with KAJ-TV Saturday. She has said she and the boy's father are in a custody battle. "He was supposed to be looking after him, he was supposed to be safe there, and he wasn't."
Authorities said they had looked in the septic tank during the search effort, but initially did not see anything there. They found the boy's body after draining the tank, Meehan said.