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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    Question Turnpike Tragedy: What Really Happened?

    Came across this story while reading about BTK...very puzzling. This guy, Robert Rogers, seems...well, read for yourself and see what you think. Scroll down for a second, more comprehensive (and disturbing) article on this story.


    Thursday, March 3, 2005

    Turnpike Tragedy: What Really Happened?

    For the trooper who worked the scene of the turnpike flood it's a night he will never forget. Part of what still bothers him about the incident is how his story and Robert Rogers' story are so different.

    You've heard his story of the tragic night Robert Rogers lost his entire family in a deadly flood on the Kansas Turnpike.

    "We were trying to figure out a way, any possible way, we could carry four children and the thought of any one of us slipping or dropping a child made it not an option," said Rogers.

    But for the Kansas Highway Patrol trooper first on the scene that night the story Robert Rogers tells isn't exactly what he remembers happening. He says for him the most chilling part of the whole thing is knowing Melissa and the four children didn't have to die.

    "Sometimes people die and it can't be avoided and you can accept that because that's the way it is, but in some cases when you see people die and it could have been easily avoided that's disturbing," says Trooper Marc McCune from KHP.

    __________________________________________________ ___

    And the second article (which is disturbing by the questions it raises, and by the fact that Rogers employs the term "God-incidence", which sounds like something out of the mouth of Homer Simpson's neighbor Ned Flanders):


    Walking On Water
    Robert Rogers captivates audiences with the story of how his wife and kids died. Problem is, the story doesn’t hold water.

    Almost from the start, reporters covering the August 30, 2003, flood deaths on Interstate 35 focused more on Robert Rogers' reaction to his family's drowning than how he escaped the same fate.

    A freak rainstorm washed over the Kansas Turnpike near Emporia that night and carried away seven vehicles, including the Rogerses' minivan and one man who had been trying to save the family inside it.

    Robert Rogers managed to survive, but the bodies of three of his children were found the next morning, still strapped into the seats of the overturned van. A few hours later, his eldest daughter's corpse was discovered against a barbed-wire fence. Three days after the flood, the bodies of Rogers' wife, Melissa, and the rescuer, Al Larsen, were found in a retention pond more than a mile from the highway.

    However, what seemed to captivate the media then -- and again at the event's anniversary in August -- was the curious way that Rogers reacted.

    As if he were filled with joy.

    Media outlets from local papers to national television broadcasts related Rogers' description of his own survival as a miracle. Again and again, Rogers has said that even as the water rose and began filling his minivan, even as the vehicle was washed into what had become a roaring river, even as he was sucked through a window into the water, even as he returned to an empty house, he felt the peace of a loving God.

    Within weeks of the funerals for his wife and children, Roberts had quit his job as an electrical engineer and begun a full-time ministry devoted to speaking about the last moments of his children and his wife, telling the tale as an uplifting one about God's grace.

    He created a Web page to tally his church and media appearances. This week, he will speak at a conference in Wichita, a mortuary in Hutchinson, and two churches in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He doesn't charge a set fee for his testimony, but he does accept "love offerings." The former music major and café pianist also sells two CDs for $16 each through the Web site.

    Like the reporters who first told his story, the church audiences who see Rogers today tend to fixate on the strength of his faith in the wake of tragedy. Rarely does anyone ask one of the most obvious questions.

    How exactly did he walk away from the "wall of water" that drowned his wife and kids?
    Last edited by bbmcrae; 03-04-2005 at 12:09 AM. Reason: took out emoticon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Has anyone read about any theories given as to how Rogers showed up unscathed while the van, the rescuer and the rest of Roger's family were all swept away and everyone else drowned?

    Is the suspicion that he stayed in the passenger seat, left his wife at the wheel, opened his passenger side door and bailed out on the family just when things started to get too hairy, leaving his wife alone in the car with the kids?

    It never really said, in the article I read, what a possible scenario might have been for how he escaped, or what his motives were for not letting the family be rescued when it was offered and they had a chance to be rescued. No way to really know what was being said between the rescuer who died and Roger's wife when they were talking through her driver's side window.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Lightbulb A few thoughts

    I would like to know the man's state of mind BEFORE the flood/ drownings, first of all, to establish a baseline.
    He sounds like maybe he was a Code 6 wingnut before the tragic deaths of his family members and a rescuer.

    However, it may also be within the realm of possibility that he is either having a schizophrenic break, or suffering from PSTD with delusions.

    His behavior is SO erratic and abnormal that it does not appear to me as one who is trying to fake grief or cover for a crime...
    As to the heart of the matter- Why did he survive when the others died- I would have to know more about the other 2 adults' swimming ability AND their life experience. IOW, was Rogers a former lifeguard, or had he had diving experience which the others didn't have?

    I saw an episode of " Dateline" once where John Strossels ( ?? not sure of his name) was taken through a survival course involving cars being submerged in water. He PANICKED. The first time he was on his own in a car, he almost drowned. It wasn't staged.
    He learned how to roll down the window to equalize the pressure, open the door while underwater and often, upside down, and swim to safety.

    If anything, I think Rogers was thinking of his own survival, while the mother and the other adult were trying to save the children.
    I don't think his behavior now is normal, but then again, what is normal when your entire family drowns in front of you?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Whittier, CA
    I just read through both articles in their entirety and all I can say is 'Wow." Seems awfully fishy to me. How on earth do you just sit there with your family when you see others fleeing from their cars? I seriously question this man's thinking and competence. Very strange and sad story.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Seems like a case of extreme fundamentalism where everything is believed to be in the hands of god.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    If my entire family were washed away in a flood, there's no WAY I'd want to be left alive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    North Carolina
    Is this the guy who was on Montel, telling his story? If so, he didn't even seem upset that his family dided, just relieved that he didn't.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    East Coast
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeana (DP)
    If my entire family were washed away in a flood, there's no WAY I'd want to be left alive.
    My feelings exactly!


  9. #9
    Either he was awfully far gone before, or the whole thing just made him snap. I cannot fathom being so afraid to lose one child that you would sacrifice your whole family. And then just walking away, assuming that you really were swept out of the car (which is very doubtful, because his daughter and/or wife would have been hanging on to him so he could kick out the window. You have to brace yourself on something)

    We have only his word that he was even in that car at the time. The surviving hero didn't see WHO was in the van, only that there were people in it.

    One thought could be that he did climb out, started walking for help, then the car got swept away and the guilt is sending him over the edge. But that is just a thought.
    Just the facts, Ma'am.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003


    He certainly couldn't have "planned" to kill his family-not that way. Nor is he acting the way most family killers have in the past few years-no escaping to Mexico. BUT he does seem to profitting from their deaths-perhaps not financially, but in the way Munchausen by Proxy parents do-he has tons of attention and sympathy, and gets to tie it all into God. It sounds like his career now is built on being that poor, wonderful man whose family was taken away in a flood.

    I think it is possible he "let" them drown. It's possible he panicked and abandoned them I know this is unthinkable to any of your parents out there, but we definitely are dealing with a bit of a nut here. It's possible he has a deeper, scarier level most don't see. His refusal to address what happend that night and his shifting, unbeliveable story suggests to me both an off-kilter mind and a man who is intentionally lying.

    I hope his story is looked into. If he let them drown, he needs the book thrown at him. And not the Bible.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostwheel
    One thought could be that he did climb out, started walking for help, then the car got swept away and the guilt is sending him over the edge. But that is just a thought.
    Good point, Ghostwheel. It could be he snapped from the terrible guilt and he's doing "penance" now.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    south of the mason dixon
    Could it be he was in shock? Just wondering. I had an older (70ish) female friend whose husband died...there for about 2 weeks she acted so odd, almost giddy! Everyone was so shocked by her behavior. Then all of a sudden she just crashed, she became severly depressed and grief stricken. The husband did die of natural causes, a heart attack, he was 80ish. But the widows behavior immediately following his death was weird, to say the least.
    In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row...McCrae

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