Born deaf, Lonene "Lonnie" Rogers joined the Erie Silence Club, a deaf community in Pennsylvania, to make new friends when she was 20 years old. She started dating Clinton "Bud" Randall Rogers, a fellow member of the club, and they tied the knot soon after in October 1972. The couple lived in Hayfield Township with their two children, 5-year-old Alison and 3-year-old Aaron, who were both of hearing. By age 3, Alison was signing for her parents and helping them communicate with others.
Lonnie was a prim and proper young woman who never got in trouble with the law. She was well-known and respected in the community. Her marriage was troubled from the start and she was humiliated when Bud was caught breaking into a woman's car just three months after their wedding. Bud claimed that his behavior was due to a TBI he sustained at age three; though he was not born deaf, Bud lost his hearing after a car accident. He apologized and was let off with a warning.
Unfortunately, Lonnie didn't know that it wasn't Bud's first run-in with the law. He had a lengthy record including a "R" conviction. He continued to commit B&Es and thefts and was abusive to both Lonnie and the children. In November 1980, Lonnie, then 28, told Bud that she was fed up and was leaving him. Bud moved out and Lonnie started working as a maid at a Holiday Inn hotel to make ends meet.
Shortly after the separation, Lonnie took the kids to Toledo, Ohio to visit her family for Thanksgiving. While there, Lonnie told her sister, Glene, that although she had left Bud, she was going to allow him to come over and visit with the children on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, Bud refused to leave the home after the visit on December 25. Instead, he moved back in against Lonnie's wishes.
On January 5, 1981, Lonnie went to visit her father and asked him for money. She told him that she was taking the kids and moving out. He gave Lonnie $60 and said that it was all he had.
The next day, the loving mom of two vanished without a trace.
On January 6, Lonnie finished work, picked her children up from their babysitter, Sandy, and headed home in what was a severe snow blizzard. Hours later at 3 am, Sandy was awoken by Bud banging on her front door; Sandy was also deaf, but like many deaf people, she could hear muffled sounds if they were loud enough. Nervous and with sweat dripping down his face, Bud dropped off the children without notice. He told Sandy that Lonnie left him for another man and said he was going to look for her. At 6 am, Bud returned and told Sandy that he couldn't find her. He then went to work as normal.
Sandy asked her daughter, who was of hearing, to call Lonnie's parents. Her father rushed over to Lonnie and Bud's apartment and broke in. The home was immaculately clean.
All of Lonnie's personal belongings were left behind with the exception of a blue peacoat, a pair of jeans, and brown boots. Her hearing aids and glasses, which she never went anywhere without, were both inside the apartment, along with Lonnie's car keys. Her mustang was still parked in the driveway.
Frantic, Lonnie's parents reported her missing. Through an interpreter, Bud explained that he and Lonnie got into a disagreement when she returned home with the kids. He said they went to bed at 12:45 am and when he woke up at 2, she was gone. Bud insisted that Lonnie left him for another man but he couldn't explain how she left in the middle of a frigid snowstorm, and without a car.
Several searches were conducted but Lonnie was never seen or heard from again. Her social security number has not been used since, and her loved ones don't believe that she abandoned her kids.
Alison spent the next eight years in and out of foster care. Bud would take off for days at a time and leave the children without food or heat. Alison reported this to a neighbor and CPS got involved but he never faced any consequences. When Alison was 14, a high school guidance counselor named Judy gave the teen her phone number and told her to call if she needed anything, day or night.
That night came shortly after in October 1989 when Bud took Alison to a police station and forced her to sign for him; Bud told Alison to tell the officer he didn't want her anymore because she was bad. The officer told Bud that he couldn't just leave her there, but Bud said he didn't care. The officer called Bud's sister but she refused to take Alison in and told her to "figure it out."
Everything changed for Alison when she reached into her pocket and pulled out a piece of paper with her guidance counselor's phone number on it. The officer called Judy, who immediately drove to the station and took Alison in. A few months later, Judy and her family officially adopted Alison and she cut all ties with her father. In January 2022, Alison published a book about Lonnie in hopes to garner more attention to her case. She continues the search for her mother nearly 42 years later.
Clinton "Bud" Randall Rogers remains the main person of interest in the case.
Lonnie may have been wearing a blue peacoat, jeans, and brown boots. She is 5'5" and 140 lbs with sandy brown hair and grey eyes. Today, she would be 71 years old.
If you have any information, contact Pennsylvania SP at (814)-332-6911.
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