She only planned to be gone for a few hours when she left her home in Port Orange, Florida, around 7:30 pm on Monday, February 1, 2010. John Peterson, her brother, watched as the 28-year-old woman took her purse and walked out the front door. As Laurel left, she said goodbye to her brother. He didn’t know that he would never see her again.
Even though Laurel was an adult, her mother, Lauretta Rogers, became worried right away when she didn’t come home that night. Laurel was 16 years old when she was diagnosed with lupus. To control her condition, she took a number of prescription drugs. She also took medicine to help with the fibromyalgia pain that she felt all the time. If you notice, she left the house without any of this medicine with her. As of the next day, Laurel had not been heard from, so Lauretta called the Port Orange Police Department to report her daughter missing.
Laurel did have a cell phone with her. The GPS on the phone showed that it had last been used in New Port Richey, Florida, which is more than three hours away from Port Orange. It wasn’t clear if Laurel and her phone were in the same place.
Someone else called one of Laurel’s friends on her phone at 6:43 pm on February 2. It wasn’t Laurel who made the call. Man whose name he gave me said Laurel had left her phone with him. He also said that Laurel had left with two men he named Breezy and Kenny. This was the last time Laurel used her cell phone. It was either turned off or the battery died soon after.
Local news outlets were asked to help the Port Orange police find the missing woman on Thursday, but the police said they didn’t have much information to go on. John thought that one of Laurel’s friends was picking her up since her car wasn’t running, but he didn’t see her get into any car. Many of Laurel’s friends were questioned by police, but none of them had picked her up that night.
Laurel’s family was desperate to find her because they knew that if she didn’t take her lupus medicine for too long, her organs could fail. Four days after Laurel went missing, a family friend said they would pay $5,000 for information about where she was. They wanted to get her home safely.
Reporters were told by Lauretta that she and her daughter were very close. They were more than just mom and daughter; they were best friends too. She said that Laurel was a happy and trusting young woman who was very good at taking her medicine and would never have left it behind on purpose if she was going to be away from home for a long time. Lauretta was worried about Laurel’s safety and asked anyone who knew where she was to call her family or the Port Orange police.
Friends and family of Laurel put up missing posters all over Port Orange for the first week she was gone, hoping that someone would call with information about where Laurel was. Not many people called; if anyone had seen Laurel, they didn’t say.
Port Orange Police Capt. Frank Surmaczewicz said on February 10 that they thought Laurel had gone to the Palm Coast area on February 1 evening to buy drugs that were illegal. Her cell phone rang near the Daytona Beach bar Cabbage Patch, where she was said to have met a friend Monday night.
Detectives were still trying to figure out what happened to Laurel after she left her house, but the fact that drugs might have been involved made it harder. Some of Laurel’s friends were known to abuse prescription drugs, and they didn’t want to help the police.
The Laurel family was honest about the fact that she had sometimes had problems with drug addiction because of her chronic pain. She would buy prescription drugs from drug dealers in the Daytona Beach area in order to add to the ones her doctor prescribed. Lauretta thought that Laurel’s drug use was because her doctors had started giving her strong painkillers.
Detectives said they were talking to a number of doctors in the area about Laurel’s disappearance, but they wouldn’t say who they were talking to or give any names. A few months after Laurel went missing, Dr. Ataur Rahman’s office was searched because he was thought to be running a pill mill. A long time ago, Laurel worked for Dr. Rahman. He wasn’t thought to have anything to do with her disappearance, but he probably played a part in her painkiller addiction.
Port Orange police released a picture of Laurel on February 22. It was taken by a store’s surveillance camera the night she went missing. They didn’t say what store it was, but they did say that it was the last known picture of the missing woman. A dark purple T-shirt with a multicolored design was on the front of it. Under it was a long-sleeved lavender shirt, blue jeans, and black sneakers with white trim.
It had been four months since Laurel went missing, and no one had found her. Port Orange police said they would offer a $10,000 reward for information that would help them find her. This was done to get the investigation going again. That was on top of the $5,000 offered by a family friend and the $1,000 offered by Crime Stoppers. The total reward was now $16,000.
She hoped that the new reward would help her get her daughter back home. This is what she told the press: “We just want to bring her home, and we need all the help we can get.” Let’s get the word out about her with her name and picture. The community needs to help.
In October 2010, Laurel’s family set up a booth at the “Port Orange Days” festival to bring attention to the case. They gave out missing person flyers to everyone who walked by in the hopes that someone would be able to help them find Laurel. “We just need everyone to get out there and help us,” Lauretta said.Someone who might know her should be asked about her. “Because a small question could lead to a big answer.”
It’s been a year since Laurel went missing, and nothing new has happened in the case. Lauretta held a prayer vigil to remind everyone that her daughter was still missing and begged anyone who knew anything to come forward.
Because they had gotten a tip, police searched a Port Orange retention pond in May 2011. Divers searched the pond for hours, which is near the corner of Madeline Avenue and Williamson Boulevard, but they didn’t find anything that was useful for the investigation.
The media didn’t talk much about Laurel’s case, even though her family did everything they could to keep it in the public eye. For Laurel’s case to be shown on an electronic billboard in September 2011, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement chose to try to get more people to know about her disappearance. Even though the case got more attention, investigators didn’t get many tips.
When Laurel’s family held another prayer vigil in February 2012, it was two years since she had gone missing. At the time, Lauretta said she was annoyed that Laurel’s case wasn’t getting more attention from the media, especially since the cases of Jennifer Kesse and Michelle Parker, two missing Florida women, had gotten a lot of attention on national networks. “I don’t know why.” If someone is missing, it should be the same. The one shouldn’t come before the other.”
With the goal of drawing attention to the fact that her daughter was still missing, Lauretta held prayer vigils every year on the anniversary of her disappearance. However, it was clear that the investigation had come to a standstill. A spokesperson for the Port Orange Police Department said that the case was still being worked on, but many of Laurel’s friends still wouldn’t help the police.
Lauretta cried as she spoke to the crowd at the 2013 vigil. She said there had to be someone who knew where her daughter was because the family would never stop looking for her. She held Laurel’s Bible to help her feel stronger and said that she lit an electric candle in Laurel’s bedroom window every night and would keep doing that until she got back home safely. “Good things happen. And she’s going to really help us.”
Laurel hadn’t been seen in five years by February 2015. Her cell phone and bank account had not been used since she disappeared, and there was no proof that she had ever filled any of her lupus medications. They were very important to her health, but Lauretta still had hope that her daughter was still alive.
Not many of Laurel’s friends went to the yearly prayer vigils because Lauretta made it clear she didn’t want them there. There was an early prayer vigil, and two of Laurel’s best friends showed up. Lauretta told them to leave. She was sure they knew more about what happened to her daughter than they told the police. Investigators agreed with her; they had gotten many tips that Laurel’s close friends knew where she was, but these friends refused to help the police.
Laurel’s family and friends got together by the beach in Daytona Beach in June 2018, which would have been her 37th birthday. An eight-year-old purple balloon was released into the sky for every year the woman had been missing. Then they sang “Happy Birthday” to the picture of her. She thought of the day as a way to keep reminding people that Laurel still wasn’t found. “How will they know she’s still missing if we don’t do this?” Her voice made it clear that the pain of losing her daughter was still as fresh as the day she went missing.
Every year since Laurel’s death, her family has held a prayer vigil in February 2022. Even Lauretta said it wasn’t getting any easier. “Today is tough. I don’t like February very much. And she said that her faith in God gave her the strength to keep looking for her daughter. She wasn’t giving up hope that someone in the area knew where Laurel was. She begged people to keep their eyes and ears open because one tip could be enough to solve the case.
Some of the detectives who are working on Laurel’s case went to the vigil. The lead detective said that they were still following up on all tips, but that the investigation had not come to any major new conclusions yet. A $30,000 reward was being offered for information that would help find Laurel.
The last time anyone saw Laurel Lea Rogers, she was 28 years old. Her family and friends thought she was only going to be gone for a few hours because she didn’t take any of the medicines she needed to keep her lupus and fibromyalgia under control before she left. Some of Laurel’s closest friends have not helped the police, and her family is sure that these friends are the key to finding her.
The last time we saw Laurel, she was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. She has blue eyes and light brown hair. She had a lot of bruises on her arms and legs because of her lupus. She wore blue jeans, a dark purple T-shirt with a design in many colors on the front, and a lavender long-sleeved shirt under her T-shirt the last time she was seen. She had on a black Nine West purse with silver trim and a magnetic clasp. Please call the Port Orange Police Department at 386–756–7400 if you know anything about Laurel.