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Family: Former JC youth minister's body found

Family: Former JC youth minister's body found

July 27th, 2013 in News

Several family photos of Chad Rogers were used as part of a handbill that searchers circulated after he went missing on July 22, 2013, in Liberty, Mo. His body was found on July 26.

Chad Rogers' family said Friday afternoon his body had been found.

"Our family is heartbroken at the loss of our son, brother, husband and father," Greg Rogers, Chad's father, said during a brief appearance before Kansas City area reporters and cameras Friday afternoon. "We loved Chad, and we will always love him.

"Even though our hearts are sad, we know he is with his father in Heaven."

But, until the Jackson County Medical Examiner's office provides a positive identification, Liberty police only would say a body found in a portable toilet might be that of the missing runner.

Chad Rogers, 30, his wife, Sarah, and their son, Matthew, 1, recently moved from Jefferson City to Liberty, to be closer to his family.

He had been the youth minister at Jefferson City's First United Methodist Church.

Rogers had been missing since Monday night, when he left his family's home in Liberty for a jog.

The body was found in a portable toilet at a construction site at Liberty's South Valley Junior High School.

Kansas City area reporters said that site was closer to the family's home than the area where he was believed to have been running, and where dogs had followed his scent.

"We know how loved we are, when this community wraps its arms around us like this one did," Greg Rogers said Friday afternoon. "Thank you for all the love and support that has been shown."

While offering special thanks to some individuals who helped organize and lead the week-long search for Chad, Greg Rogers also thanked "hundreds and hundreds of men, women and children who searched for Chad as if they were his own."

He also thanked Liberty's police "for their professionalism and sensitivity," and area restaurants and grocery stores for their help in donating food and drinks for the searchers.

Throughout his two-minute statement, which was carried online live by Kansas City TV stations, Greg Rogers noted the family's Christian faith and the support of the Shoal Creek Community Church and the Liberty Christian Fellowship, "for the use of their building as the command center in the search for Chad."

Ross Shelton, a longtime First Methodist youth group member in Jefferson City, said Friday that finding the body would provide family and friends with some closure.

"Closure is very helpful," Shelton said, "but it doesn't come close to making people involved feel better.

"I'm extremely sad. The world was a lighter place with him."

Ana Crenshaw, another member of the Jefferson City youth group, said Rogers was a "fantastic people person. Everyone liked to be around him."

And he was "very involved" with students' extra-curricular activities.

"He would cheer on track athletes and went to faraway games and events," Crenshaw said. "He led the youth group with spirit.

"He was a fantastic friend."

Even though Rogers was at First Methodist only about 18 months, she said, "He made a big impression with all groups, and didn't just focus on one youth group."

Police said the body was found Friday morning. They did not say how the body was found, or who notified police. Nor did they say how long they thought the body had been in the portable toilet, which later was removed from the site.

Liberty is in Clay County, but the body was taken to Jackson County, much the same as many Mid-Missouri counties have the Boone County medical examiner do autopsies and scientific exams when questions surround a death.

A memorial fund has been established at U.S. Bank, 1909 W. Kansas St., Liberty, MO 64068.

Greg Rogers said: "At one point, I asked for the eyes of God. I'm thankful that we got them, and we can now send (Chad) home."

Editor's note: This version of the story expands on updates posted on Friday.