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Sebastian Rogers: Timeline of disappearance of 15-year-old in Tennessee

It has been four weeks since 15-year-old Sebastian Rogers disappeared from his home in Tennessee, with still no sign of the teenager.

The autistic teenager was last seen by his mother and stepfather when he went to bed on the night of 25 February, but when his mother went to wake him up for school the next morning, he was gone, she said.

Sebastian is believed to have wandered off in the middle of the night with a flashlight, barefoot and alone.

The case sparked a major search in Sumner County that stretched thousands of miles and lasted more than a week before officials said they were scaling back the ground search to focus more on the investigative side.

Below is a full timeline of what has happened in the case to date:

Monday 26 February: Endangered child alert issued

An Endangered Child Alert was issued at approximately 11.17 am by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) on behalf of the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

In the alert, investigators said Sebastian was last seen earlier that day near Stafford Court in Hendersonville, adding that he was wearing a black sweatshirt, black sweatpants and glasses.

It has been over three weeks since 15-year-old Sebastian Wayne Drake Rogers disappeared (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
It has been over three weeks since 15-year-old Sebastian Wayne Drake Rogers disappeared (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Sumner County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Ken Weidner said over 200 people had been dispatched to search for the missing teenager, including multiple K-9 teams, mounted units, helicopter crews and drones.

The search team covered a nearly five-mile radius. “I can’t recall off the top of my head when the last search like this was,” Chief Deputy Eric Craddock with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office told News 2. “Obviously, this one is exponentially more important being a child who does have autism.”

Tuesday 27 February: Amber alert goes out

On 27 February, the TBI announced that the Endangered Child Alert had been elevated to an Amber alert, based on additional investigative information developed during the search.

An Anber 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.

Meanwhile, dozens of agencies continued searching for Sebastian and began employing unique tactics such as blasting 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.

At a press conference later that day, authorities urged local residents to check their surveillance cameras and report any possible information that could help lead to Sebastian.

Thursday 29 February: Pond drained but nothing found

As the search entered its fourth day, officials revealed they had received several tips amid calls for people to check their surveillance cameras, but none were confirmed sightings of Sebastian.

The 15year-old has high functioning autism (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
The 15year-old has high functioning autism (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Emergency Management Agency Director Ken Weidner added that search-and-rescue dogs had not been able to pick up a scent.

Investigators also drained a pond to the east of Sebastian’s home and found nothing.

Saturday 2 March: Reward issued for information

The sheriff’s office told News 2 that an anonymous group of business owners in the Nashville area had pledged a minimum cash reward of $3,000 for information that may lead to finding the missing teen.

The award was raised to $3,500 the following day.

Monday 4 March: Search scaled back and parents speak out

After a week of searching, authorities announced that they were scaling back the ground search for Sebastian and transitioning to an investigation.

“This does not diminish our commitment to finding Sebastian,” Mr Craddock said during a press conference. “This is simply us transitioning from the ground search to the investigative side.”

Sebastian’s stepfather, Chris Proudfoot, and his mother, Katie Proudfoot (WSMV)
Sebastian’s stepfather, Chris Proudfoot, and his mother, Katie Proudfoot (WSMV)

He added that there were “no leads, no details to indicate that Sebastian is not alive.”

On the same day, Sebastian’s mother spoke to the media for the first time about their child’s disappearance, telling WSMV4 “I just want my baby to be ok.”

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she added.

Sebastian’s stepfather, Chris Proudfoot, said the family had been “on one constant rollercoaster ride of helplessness and hopelessness” since Sebastian vanished.

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.”

Thursday 7 March: Landfill in Kentucky searched

On 7 March, investigators announced that the search had moved to a landfill in White Plains, Kentucky, where trash was taken from Sebastian’s neighbourhood in the Beech area.

Authorities searched a landfill in White Plains, Kentucky (WSMV)
Authorities searched a landfill in White Plains, Kentucky (WSMV)

Officials called the search of the landfill a “precautionary measure to eliminate possible options and questions” and said there was “no specific information” indicating evidence related to the search for Sebastian was there.

The search concluded that evening, with authorities later stating that it did not provide any additional clues as to what happened to Sebastian.

“While we had hoped for a different outcome, our commitment to finding Sebastian remains unwavering,” Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford said. “We will continue to explore all available avenues and resources to bring closure to this case and provide answers to Sebastian’s family and loved ones.”

Sunday 10 March: Stepfather reveals fear for Sebastian

In an interview with WTVF, Sebastian’s father, Seth Rodgers, revealed his fears for his stepson, saying that he was not one to wander off, and due to an experience as a young boy would never go far without shoes on.

“He decided he wanted to step into a mound of what he thought was dirt. It was fire ants, and since then he doesn’t like to get his feet in the dirt. He likes to have his shoes and socks on,” he said of Sebastian’s childhood experience.

Sebastian’s father, Seth Rodgers (NewsChannel 5 Nashville WTVF)
Sebastian’s father, Seth Rodgers (NewsChannel 5 Nashville WTVF)

“In order for him to do something that’s out of the normal, something would’ve had to happen that he felt like he just couldn’t deal with it anymore,” he added.

During the interview, he also revealed that a search dog had traced Sebastian’s scent to a construction site, but it turned out to be a false alarm.

“One dog tracked him to a construction area over there and it just disappeared, and it’s confusing. There are missing pieces to the puzzle, and I’m having difficulty solving this,” he said.

Mr Rogers added that it makes “absolutely no sense there’s been no trace of him.”

“I’m hoping he’s still alive,” the father said. “That is my main hope right now.”

Thursday 14 March: Video shows activity outside family home

Home security video, obtained by WTVF, showed two specks of light outside the family’s home in the Hendersonville neighbourhood around 3.10am in the middle of the night when the teenager went missing.

Sumner County Sheriff’s chief deputy Eric Craddock told the news outlet that there are several clips that have come in that investigators are reviewing for more clues.

One clip shows a pitch-black Stafford Court neighbourhood with two lights that appear to be people with flashlights moving toward each other before moving off-screen.

Saturday 23 March: New resources join the search

The United Cajun Navy announce at a briefing in Nashville that they are joining the search effort.

The volunteer-run organisation, which assists with natural disaster recovery and missing persons searches, said it was sending a team, along with a K-9 unit, to try to find Sebastian.

Monday 25 March: Parents speak in new interviews

In two separate interviews on Monday, Sebastian’s parents answered questions about the search for him, with his mother saying she had cried on-and-off for a month.

Katie Proudfoot and her husband, Sebastian’s stepfather, Chris Proudfoot appeared on Crime Stories with Nancy Grace, in which the host grilled them on their whereabouts the night the teen vanished.

Ms Proudfoot said she was convinced someone must have her son, as there had been no trace of him so far.

Meanwhile, Seth Rogers, Sebastian’s dad, appeared on NewsNation, saying he had not given up hope of finding his son.

He also spoke of communication issues between himself and the Proudfoots.