Local News

Body of Missing Alzheimer's Patient Found in Crabtree Creek

Posted August 28, 2007

— Raleigh police on Tuesday found the body of a 76-year-old Alzheimer's patient who went missing over the weekend.

Mildred Early Rogers, of Dennis Avenue in Raleigh, was found at about 2:15 p.m. in a boggy area of Crabtree Creek, about 400 yards into a wooded area near Yonker's Road.

Her body was partially submerged at the base of a dead tree in shallow water about 30 to 40 feet from the edge of a dirt road used for sewer system access.

"This is not the way we wanted it to turn out, but the family does have her back." Raleigh police Capt. Chris Bertram said.

Rogers' husband, H.B. Rogers, said his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about a year ago but that she remained headstrong and insisted on taking walks, despite his protests.

"I tried to dissuade her," Rogers said. "But I couldn't physically restrain her."

Rogers said his wife left their home for a walk at about 4 p.m. Saturday, and he became concerned when she did not return home at 7 p.m. in time for the two of them to go to dinner.

He reported her missing at about 9 p.m., he said.

"The police told me to be optimistic, but it's been 72 hours, and it's getting harder to be optimistic," Rogers said earlier Tuesday.

Officers, detectives and dozens of volunteers searched three days for Mildred Rogers on greenways and wooded areas near Yonkers Road, Raleigh Boulevard and Crabtree Creek.

They also used canoes on Crabtree Creek and all-terrain vehicles in their search, and the state Highway Patrol conducted flyovers looking for Rogers.

Police also received a lead of a possible sighting on Monday in Durham.

Authorities have planned an autopsy to determine when and how Rogers died. They said it did not appear that she was injured and that she might have died from heat exposure.

Rogers, who leaves behind four children, was known to family and friends as "Sug," which was short for "Sugar," her husband said.

Her father gave her the nickname the moment he saw her when she was born.

"She was very engaging type personality," her husband said. "She was pretty and sweet."