A local mother accused of causing the fire that her 7-year-old son perished in appeared before a judge Tuesday morning.
Jessica Rogers appeared in court for her initial hearing, looking relatively somber, reported Fox59’s Michael Henrich. She faces charges of murder, arson, neglect of a dependent and cocaine possession. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf.
Rogers was arrested in connection with the fatal Dec. 8 fire that killed her son, Dreydon Webb, near Elder and West Washington streets. She is accused of attempting to manufacture meth at the time the fire broke out.
Webb was at the apartment visiting his mother, who was able to escape the building safely with her boyfriend. Rogers told firefighters she lost hold of her son and could not get him out of the building.
About a week after the fire, neighbors saw investigators combing through the charred remnants of the building, checking trash cans and taking pictures for evidence.
According to the probable cause affidavit, investigators found “suspicious burn patterns indicating a liquid accelerant” in the building. Investigators said Rogers attempted to manufacture meth using the “shake and bake” method—an attempt that resulted in the fire that tore through the building.
Rogers suffered first- and second-degree burns to her hands and first- and second-degree “splash burns” to her chin and neck. Investigators didn’t observe any burns on her eyelashes, eyebrows, or hair. According to the probable cause, the injuries were “indicative of a rapid high heat thermal event” that occurs “in front of a person possibly holding an object with splashing from some type of liquid or from direct contact.”
When police asked Rogers why she left her son alone inside, she stated “the fire was too hot” and “I couldn’t stand the heat, it felt like acid was burning me.” She then said she tried to get her son to safety, stating that “she had a hold of him twice.” When asked how the boy got away, Rogers said he got loose because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Police informed her that the boy was only wearing blue jeans when investigators found him.