LOS ANGELES >> A body believed to be that of a former reality show contestant was found buried in a backyard near Los Angeles after a man in one of her nursing classes pointed police to the shallow grave as they questioned him in the woman’s disappearance, authorities said.
Lisa Marie Naegle, 36, a nurse, was a losing contestant in 2010 on the E! network show “Bridalplasty,” where she competed for a dream wedding and plastic surgery.
Police said they arrested Jackie Jerome Rogers on suspicion of murder Tuesday after questioning him and that he indicated her body was at his house in the community of Lennox, near Los Angeles International Airport.
“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.”
Naegle taught nursing at West Los Angeles College, and Rogers was one of her students, the Daily Breeze newspaper reported. Police did not give details on their relationship or a motive for the killing.
It was not immediately clear whether Rogers had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Naegle had gone to a birthday party Saturday night at a beer hall and restaurant in Torrance. Her husband, Derek Harryman, said he got home from work and texted her around 2 a.m. Sunday to see where she was.
“Within a minute or two, she called me,” Harryman told the newspaper. “She sounded really, really drunk. She said, ‘I’m going to get some food and then I’ll be home.’”
She never arrived.
Harryman and Naegle’s sister filed a missing person’s report and launched a social media campaign to help find her.
The family said a friend who works at the beer hall let them see surveillance video that they say shows Naegle leaving with Rogers and getting into his vehicle.
“We went and we looked at the film and she left with him,” her brother, Rafael Chavez, told the Daily Breeze. “He told everybody he left without her.”
The family said they asked Rogers to tell them what happened.
“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 the family confronted Rogers with the video, they said he altered his story to say that Naegle had gotten into his car but then got out moments later. They then contacted police.