A Texas man has confessed to murdering a woman there and then driving her body to the Kentucky Lake area to dump it, according to an affidavit filed by a Texas Ranger involved in investigating the case.
Jeffrey Kenneth Rogers, 60, of Fort Worth, Texas, confessed on July 1 to the murder of a woman found in June in a plastic tote in Kentucky Lake.
According to an affidavit filed by Texas Ranger Danny Briley on Friday and obtained by The Murray Ledger and Times, the body of Traci Leigh Jones, 41, was found on June 20 in Kentucky Lake near the Tennessee-Kentucky state line.
Jones had been involved in making pornographic videos with Rogers and his wife, Tammy Rogers, who had been working as a principal at a school in Arlington, Texas.
Briley and fellow Texas Ranger Dan Stoner interviewed Rogers, who said he strangled Jones after the pair left a motel at 4:12 a.m. on June 17 in Stephenville, Texas,.
Rogers said Jones was alive when she and Rogers left the motel, but he said he became “scared” of her and caused her death.
The body was stuffed inside a black 50-gallon tote box with wheels and a red lid. The body was recovered in Kentucky, but law enforcement said he rented a boat in Henry County and believe the body was dumped in Tennessee and it floated north across the border.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Joseph Hudgins said the lid of the box had multiple holes drilled into it, and it was zip-tied shut from the outside of the box.
The Kentucky Medical Examiner’s office in Madisonville, Ky., ruled Jones’ death as a homicide.
ROGERS BOUGHT TOTE IN TEXAS
Once the body was identified as Jones, law enforcement made contact with attorney Heath Allen, who had an attorney-client relationship with Jones.
Allen said Jones had been in an ongoing dispute with the Rogerses after their relationship had soured. Jones had been threatening to tell media outlets in Texas that she had made porn with the Rogerses, even contacting the NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth and telling the Arlington Independent School District about Tammy Rogers’ activities.
Allen’s understanding was that Jones was fearful of the Rogerses. Allen said he believed the Rogerses would be motivated to harm Jones to prevent her from leaking any more information about their porn activities.
Allen last contacted Jones on June 1.
A homeowner whom Jones was staying with said she last saw Jones between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. on June 16, walking south from the home.
The homeowner told law enforcement that she knew Jones was sexually performing with the Rogers couple for a porn company.
Kentucky State Police Detective Cory Hamby found that Rogers purchased what appeared to be a 50-gallon black plastic tote with a red lid on June 15 in Burleson, Texas.
The tote appeared in surveillance footage to be identical in size, color and design to the one in which Jones’ body was found in Kentucky Lake.
Two Tennessee arrest warrants for Jeffrey Rogers were served on June 23 at his RV in Fort Worth.
When he was arrested, Briley saw a white 2017 Ram pickup parked in front of the residence. Rogers consented to the search and seizure of the truck, which was towed for crime processing.
In an interview with Tammy Rogers, she admitted she had made porn videos with her husband and Jones, who formerly lived with the couple in a home in Arlington. She later lived in the RV with them until she relocated to Dublin, Texas.
Tammy Rogers said she lost her job as a school principal because of a complaint made by Jones about the porn business.
She said that more recently, Jones was threatening to call the media and expose the porn company.
DRIVING TO KENTUCKY
Tammy Rogers said Jeffrey Rogers returned to the couple’s home in Fort Worth on the morning of June 17 and said he had been visiting Jones. She said Jeffrey Rogers had not answered several text messages that she sent to him.
After he arrived back home, he loaded items into the truck and he and Tammy Rogers departed for Kentucky so they could visit family.
Tammy Rogers said she knew there was a cooler in the back of the pickup her husband said contained drinks, but said she never looked back there during the trip.
Multiple pieces of video surveillance footage in Texas, Tennessee and Kentucky show Jeffrey Rogers and Jones together from 8:45 p.m. on June 16 through 4:10 a.m. on June 17.
The clothing Jones is wearing in these pieces of footage appear to be the same clothes she was wearing when her body was found.
Surveillance footage also exists of the Rogerses’ trip from Texas to Kentucky, with a large black tote with a red lid in the back of the vehicle.
Only Jeffrey Rogers accesses the back of the truck in these pieces of footage.
Tammy Rogers said she and her husband arrived about 8:45 p.m. on June 17 at her father’s home near Murray. She said they spent the night there.
A search of that home was conducted, and drill bits and plastic pieces consistent with the zip ties found on the tote in which the body was found were recovered.
Hudgins found that Jeffrey Rogers rented a pontoon boat in Henry County for a half day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on June 18.
Tammy Rogers said her husband left the morning of June 18, and did not return to her father’s home until noon.
Surveillance footage from the dock shows Jeffrey Rogers loading something large and covered in a blanket onto the front of the rental boat.
Rogers told Briley and Stoner that what he did with her body was “dishonorable,” but asked that the Tennessee charges be dropped in exchange for more information.
“I have the pieces of the puzzle you need,” he said. “I want to tell you why and how I did it.”
He clarified that he would only give this information if Tennessee drops charges.
He claimed full responsibility for her death.
“I own it, and Tammy had nothing to do with it,” he said.