LOS ANGELES – A body found Tuesday in a backyard is believed to be that of a former reality TV show contestant who vanished over the weekend after attending a birthday party at a California beer hall.
Police and coroner’s officials searched at a home in unincorporated Lennox, near Los Angeles International Airport, after an acquaintance of Lisa Marie Naegle was arrested and indicated her body was there, police said.
“We can confirm a body which we believe is Lisa Marie was discovered in a shallow grave at the suspect’s home,” police spokesman Sal Ramirez said Tuesday night. “The detectives strongly believe it is her.”
A motive for and cause of her death were not immediately disclosed.
Jackie Jerome Rogers, 34, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murder after being questioned about her disappearance. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.
Naegle, 36, a nurse who lived in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles, was a losing contestant on the show “Bridalplasty” in 2010. She competed for a dream wedding and plastic surgery.
She taught nursing classes at West Los Angeles College, and Rogers was one of her students, according to the Daily Breeze of Torrance.
Naegle had gone to a birthday party on Saturday night at Alpine Village, a beer hall and restaurant in Torrance. Naegle’s husband, Derek Harryman, said he texted her around 2 a.m. Sunday to see where she was.
“Within a minute or two, she called me,” Harryman told the Daily Breeze. “She sounded really, really drunk. She said, `I’m going to get some food and then I’ll be home.’ “
She never arrived and didn’t show up to teach.
Harryman and Naegle’s sister filed a missing person’s report and asked for help on social media in finding her.
The family said they obtained photos showing Naegle leaving the beer hall with Rogers and video that showed her getting into his sport utility vehicle.
“We went and we looked at the film and she left with him,” her brother, Rafael Chavez, told the newspaper. “He told everybody he left without her.”
“We begged and pleaded that he’d come to our home to kind of give us details on what time, where were things, and when he left her, but while he was talking to us and telling us his story, multiple different times he said he absolutely did not go home with her, or did not take her home,” Naegle’s sister, Danielle Naegle-Kaimona, told KABC-TV.
After being confronted with information that Naegle was seen getting into his car, Rogers altered his story to say that Naegle had gotten into his car but then got out moments later, the family said.
They then contacted police.