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Sebastian Rogers: What we know about 15-year-old’s disappearance in Tennessee

Landfill in Kentucky searched as Sebastian Rogers remains missing  (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/Marissa Sulek WSMV)
Landfill in Kentucky searched as Sebastian Rogers remains missing (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/Marissa Sulek WSMV)

The morning Sebastian Rogers went missing from his Tennessee home started out as a normal day, his mother recalled.

But when Katie Proudfoot went to wake her 15-year-old son up for school on the morning of 26 February, his bed was empty and he was nowhere to be found.

Sebastian, who has high-functioning autism, is described by his mother as being “very smart” and “not a mischievous child by any means.”

State and local authorities searched for Sebastian for more than a week using helicopters, drones, search-and-rescue dogs, and teams on foot.

After the search was scaled back, a new search effort led investigators across state lines to a Kentucky landfill.

An Amber Alert was issued to try to track down the teenager and bring him home safely but so far he is yet to be found.

Sebastian Rogers, 15, has been missing since 26 February (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
Sebastian Rogers, 15, has been missing since 26 February (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Here’s what we know so far:

Sebastian’s disappearance

Sebastian has not been seen in person or on camera since his disappearance on 26 February.

His mother Katie Proudfoot and stepfather Chris Proudfoot spoke to the media for the first time on Monday 4 March, eight days after he went missing.

Ms Proudfoot told WSMV the family went to sleep at their home in Hendersonville the night before he vanished, but when they woke up on the morning of 26 February, he was gone.

When Ms Proudfoot found her son’s bed empty, she called her husband, who was at work.

Sebastian has not been seen in person or on camera since his disappearance (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
Sebastian has not been seen in person or on camera since his disappearance (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

“I can’t find him,” she said, and when he asked, “What do you mean you can’t find him?” She replied, “He’s not in the house.’”

Ms Proudfoot said she searched the entire house, but couldn’t find him.

“My son doesn’t run and he’s not a runner. He’s never run away before,” she said, addressing the possibility that he could have wandered off. “I don’t know why he walked out that door.”

The search for Sebastian

A massive search has been underway for Sebastian for five weeks, with state and local authorities utilising helicopters, drones and search-and-rescue dogs in the first eight days.

Authorities even blasted his favourite song, “Eye of the Tiger,” while searching in different areas to try to call out to him, the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office said.

But there still has been no sign of Sebastian.

Authorities blasted Sebastian’s favorite song, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ while searching in different areas to try to call out to him (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
Authorities blasted Sebastian’s favorite song, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ while searching in different areas to try to call out to him (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

The search was scaled back as authorities transitioned to the investigative side of the case.

The sheriff’s office said that investigators are now working on eliminating and drumming up leads. Authorities added that Sebastian’s family has been cooperative with the investigation.

Days later, authorities were spotted combing through the landfill where the trash from the teen’s neighbourhood ended up, according to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials called the search of the landfill a “precautionary measure to eliminate possible options and questions”.

Authorities were spotted combing through the landfill where the trash from the teen’s neighbourhood ended up (WSMV)
Authorities were spotted combing through the landfill where the trash from the teen’s neighbourhood ended up (WSMV)

Kentucky State Police spokesperson Ridge Porter told WKRN that detectives had obtained a search warrant for the Hopkins County Regional Landfill in White Plains.

Aerial video footage from local news outlets captured a white tarp covering part of the landfill area while officers were seen digging through the trash for clues.

On Saturday 23 March, the volunteer organisation the United Cajun Navy announced it was deploying a team to aid in the search for Sebastian. In a post on Facebook, the group said it was working with local officials and urged those interested in the case to be patient when asking for new information.

The group later suspended its in-person searches, saying it had received “death threats”.

In a report on Tuesday 26 March, the director of Sumner County’s Emergency Operations Centre Ken Weidner said that from ponds to homes to woodland, hundreds of people have been scouring the area.

“We’ve had close to 1,500 searchers,” Mr Weidner told News Channel 5. “We’ve got 1,350 documented and then we have additional people, I’m sure we have got more on the public safety side.

“The first two days, we logged 2,000 search miles and we haven’t had enough time to extrapolate all of this,” he said, referring to the data on a huge screen.

“It’s probably going to be ten-, twelve-thousand miles searched.”

In an update on 2 April, the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said they had not forgotten about Sebastian.

“We’re all extremely concerned for Sebastian’s welfare,” SCSO Chief Deputy Eric Craddock began the briefing, saying that despite no sightings, the commitment to finding the boy “remains unwavering”.

At the briefing, the Chief Deputy was asked about a pair of glasses reportedly found.

“There were some glasses found in the last few days,” Mr Craddock said, adding that his office was still investigating who they belonged to.

The Chief Deputy thanked the Hendersonville community for sending in over 300 tips on the case, as well as getting involved in the search and printing flyers with Sebastian’s face on it.

There has still been no sign of Sebastian, however.

Parents speak out: ‘I just want my baby to be ok’

Sebastian’s mother and stepfather spoke out about their son’s disappearance for the first time eight days after he went missing.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” his mother told WSMV. “Anyone.”

Sebastian’s mother and stepfather spoke out about their son’s disappearance for the first time eight days after he went missing (WSMV)
Sebastian’s mother and stepfather spoke out about their son’s disappearance for the first time eight days after he went missing (WSMV)

“On one constant rollercoaster ride of helplessness and hopelessness,” Chris Proudfoot added. “Many other emotions all in one and it’s a never-ending world because it doesn’t stop.”

The couple has received backlash for not speaking out earlier, to which they say they shouldn’t be judged because no one knows what they’re going through.

“You don’t know, and I don’t wish you to ever know,” they said. “Just be kind to people. It’s just that simple.”

“There’s answers to questions right now that we are searching for desperately and we just don’t have that,” his stepfather added.

Sebastian’s mother, who said she is just hoping to bring her son home safely, had a message for him.

“We love you so much, and we want you to come home and you’re not in trouble,” she said. “I just want my baby to be ok.”

In another interview with the YouTube channel Chronicles of Olivia, Mr and Ms Proudfoot explained more about the night Sebastian vanished.

Katie explained that that evening, her son took out the trash at the end of the driveway, as was his usual chore, and then around 9pm he was told to go to bed.

“He was doing something in his room because about an hour later, I heard some noise, and I was like, ‘I don’t care what you’re doing in there, but go to sleep,”’ Ms Proudfoot recalled on the channel.

“[At] six o’clock, I went to wake him up for school Monday morning, and that’s when he wasn’t there.”

In a further interview released on 25 March, Ms Proudfoot said she believed someone had taken her son.

“I feel like if he had been close to the house, or had walked off, that we would have found him by now with as many people as have been searching,” Ms Proudfoot told Crime Stories with Nancy Grace.

Sebastian’s father Seth Rogers also spoke that same night, explaining that he had not had contact with the Proudfoots in around two weeks.

He also said he was not giving up hope in finding his son, having spent several days searching for him.

Amber Alert issued

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) originally issued an Endangered Child Alert for Sebastian on the morning of 26 February.

On 27 February, the alert was elevated to an Amber Alert, based on additional investigative information developed during the search.

An Amber Alert is issued when there is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred and the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, according to the DOJ.

An Amber Alert was issued for Sebastian based on additional investigative information developed during the search (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
An Amber Alert was issued for Sebastian based on additional investigative information developed during the search (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Multiple agencies are involved in the search for Sebastian, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Nashville Fire Department, City of Hendersonville’s first responders, Sumner County Sheriff’s Office and Shackle Island Volunteer Fire.

Anyone with information on Sebastian’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Sumner County Sheriff’s Office Detective Carter at 615-442-1865 or bcarter@sumnersheriff.com.

Tips can also be provided to Sumner County Emergency Communications at 615-451-3838 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.