INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis mother has been charged with murder in the death of her 7-year-old son, whom she left behind when their apartment caught on fire while she was making methamphetamine, police said.
Jessica Rogers, 29, was charged Friday with murder, arson, neglect of a dependent causing death and possession of cocaine in the Dec. 8 fire that killed Dreydon Webb, 7.
When Rogers' apartment at 1833 W. Washington St. caught fire early that morning, she and her boyfriend jumped from a second-floor window, leaving behind Rogers' son, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Rogers' boyfriend, Francis Connelly, told police he could hear Webb repeatedly crying, "Help me, Mommy," but he said that Rogers told him she couldn't find the boy.
Webb's body was later found five feet away from the window from which his mother had jumped in the nearly bare apartment, police said.
"They had to jump out of the same room he's in, so I don't know why somebody didn't just take him out," said neighbor Gloria Clark, who lives right behind the burned-out building.
Rogers, who admitted she had been taking drugs and drinking alcohol the night before the fire, repeatedly asked firefighters and police if she would be in trouble for her son's death, according to the affidavit.
"Yeah, I think she was on drugs," Clark said. "She wasn't crying. She was jumping up and down she was screaming, but she wasn't crying."
Court documents indicate Rogers tested positive for drugs an hour after the fire, including amphetamines, meth, marijuana, cocaine and opiates.
"She also made a statement to one of the residents there prior to that, that basically she messed up and it blew up in her face, and then as they were transporting her to the hospital for burns she asked the firefighter was she going to jail," said Gary Coons, chief of the Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security.
"During the interview, Jessica Rogers showed very little, if any, remorse or emotion about the death of her son," according to the affidavit.
Taja Tansey, Rogers' next-door neighbor, had to jump out of her second floor apartment the night of the fire.
"I think she needs to burn in hell, that's what I think," Tansey said. "Someone needs to set her on fire. She left her baby up there to die."
Rogers claims she tried to get her son out of the apartment.
"I don't believe it," Tansey said.
The Department of Homeland Security determined the burn patterns on Rogers were not consistent with someone who was inside a burning apartment trying to rescue someone.
The fire caused $150,000 in damage.
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