A suspect was detained Tuesday after a former bridal reality show contestant disappeared under “suspicious circumstances” following a birthday party near Torrance over the weekend, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Jackie Jerome Rogers, a 34-year-old nursing student, was detained around 10:30 a.m. for questioning amid the ongoing search for 36-year-old Lisa Marie Naegle, a nurse and onetime contestant on E! Television’s “Bridalplasty,” LAPD Officer Tony Im confirmed. Her disappearance is now being treated as a homicide and Rogers is being held on $2 million bail after being booked just after 6 p.m., police said.
Rogers confessed to burying her body in the yard of his residence on West 106th Street in Lennox after leaving the Torrance celebration, investigators said. Around 6:30 p.m., authorities said they had found the remains of a female in a shallow grave at the home.
“The information he has provided has led them to believe that Lisa has been murdered and that her body is at Rogers’ residence in Lennox,” LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar said.
Rogers had been studying under Naegle, who taught nursing classes part-time at West Los Angeles College in Culver City. Investigators said they suspect the two had been having an affair, but were unable to confirm a motive or when Naegle was killed, noting that a search warrant has not yet been obtained for Rogers’ home.
Although police have not confirmed that the deceased body found is Naegle, her family is mourning their loss.
“Lisa’s an angel. Her wings were so large, her heart was so loving,” her sister, Michelle Naegle, told KTLA. “She wasn’t meant to be on this earth that long, she was meant to be with the heavenly father.”
Michelle, one of the victim’s four siblings, described her sister as an outgoing, caring person who always put others first.
“Every good dream I ever will have or my children will ever have is because of her. Because her heart was gold,” she said.
Naegle hadn’t been seen or heard from since she called her husband around 2:30 a.m. Sunday following a birthday party at the Alpine Village restaurant in an unincorporated area near Torrance.
She told her husband, Derek Harryman, that she was going to stop for food before heading back to her San Pedro home.
“I even said to her, ‘You sound like you’ve been drinking a lot, are you OK? And she said, like, ‘I’m going to get food, and then I’ll be home,” Harryman told KTLA.
Naegle never returned to the home and failed to show up Sunday morning to teach at the college.
“There’s video footage that was just discovered from Alpine Village within the last hour showing my wife getting into a black SUV,” Harryman said in an interview Monday night.
The missing woman’s family told KTLA they called police on Monday after speaking to Rogers, who said he attended the party but then changed his story.
“When I started questioning him and the house, he just seemed really antsy, kind of nervous,” the victim’s sister Michelle Naegle said.
Naegle appeared in 2010 on “Bridalplasty,” a reality show that documented a group of women who competed for a dream wedding and plastic surgery.
KTLA’s Jennifer Thang contributed to this story.