The Women In The Woods

Dayton Leroy Rogers had a criminal history that began when he was 16 years old. He was caught with a friend shooting at cars passing by in order to try and break their windshields. Rogers stayed out of trouble until he was 19 years old when he stabbed a 15-year-old girl on their second date and then proposed marriage, he pled guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 4 years probation. At 20 years old Rogers attacked two teenage girls with a beer bottle but he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and instead was committed to the Oregon State Hospital but after 8 months he was released.

Three months after being released from the Oregon State Hospital, Rogers met Sherry Miller and after 7 months of dating, they got married. Two months after getting married in December 1975, Rogers raped an 18-year-old girl and he was indicted at the start of 1976 but was allowed to remain free until his trial which was scheduled to begin in May. However in February, just one month after being indicted for the December rape he attacked two teenage girls and raped one of the girls.

In May, he was acquitted of the December rape charge. In June, his parole was revoked for the previous stabbing assault. In August, he was acquitted of the February rape charge but was found guilty of two counts of coercion and was sentenced to five years in prison. Rogers was paroled in 1982.

On August 7th, 1987 Rogers had picked up Jennifer Lisa Smith who was a sex worker and drug addict. They had pulled into a Denny’s parking lot when Rogers began stabbing Smith in the breasts, abdomen and back. Smith fell out of the car screaming which could be heard by patrons at Denny’s restaurant, some of the patrons called the police, others came to her aid and other patrons got into their cars to block Rogers from leaving the scene but Rogers drove over the garden to get out of the parking lot. One of the witnesses followed Rogers to his home and then called the police to give them his address and he was arrested. Meanwhile, Smith died in the hospital from her severe injuries.

Then on August 31st, 1987 a hunter was walking through Molalla Forest when he came across a decomposed body. After calling authorities, the police began a search of the area which went for 5 days. During the search, they discovered another 6 decomposed bodies. Police also found mini bottles of vodka and bottles of orange juice in the Molalla Forest where the 7 bodies were found. All 7 victims had been tortured, stabbed, mutilated and were left in the forest naked.

Detectives went and interviewed any prostitutes in the area who knew Smith and they found 11 women who were able to pick Rogers out of a photo lineup. One of the prostitutes said that Rogers had a foot fetish and that he was aroused by the arches of a woman’s foot. Nearly all the prostitutes that were interviewed by police said that Rogers would pick them up and put a mini bottle of vodka into a bottle of orange juice, he would then tie the women up and torture them or have rough sex with them.

Then a tip from one of Rogers’ relatives to the police led them to Rogers auto-repair shop where they sifted through the ashes in his woodstove. Police discovered some clothes and belongings of the victims found in the forest. Although they knew that Rogers had killed the 7 victims from the Molalla Forest, they still didn’t have quite enough evidence to charge him with the murders.

In 1988, Rogers was found guilty of the murder of Jennifer Lisa Smith and sentenced to life in prison. Then in 1989, Rogers was finally charged and found guilty of murdering 6 of the 7 victims found in the Molalla Forest. He was sentenced to death.

Rest In Peace Cynthia Diane DeVore, Maureen Ann Hodges, Reatha Marie Gyles, Nondace Kae Cervantes, Lisa Marie Mock, Christine Lotus Adams and Jennifer Lisa Smith.

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