NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion N Palm Beach CountyPalm Beach Gardens


Parents at soccer fields concerned after death of Ryan Rogers

14-year-old's killing remains unsolved; FBI now involved
Ryan Rogers in soccer uniform with Palm Beach Gardens Youth Athletic Association backdrop
Posted at 9:04 AM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 09:08:55-05

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — At the Gardens North County District Park, it was game on as usual for the children playing soccer. They were running up and down the field without a care in the world.

But, for parents like Ellis Mitchell, he was keeping a watchful eye on his son.

"I sit out here, I know my son's at practice," he said. "In fact, this is a safe zone — kids and coaches in the safe zone."

Mitchell is aware that Ryan Rogers, who played soccer there, was found dead Nov. 16 near a Central Boulevard sidewalk at the Interstate 95 overpass.

He said it's a sad situation.

"When the kid left his house, I was probably sitting at this same field and, you know, the truth is, it kind of sticks with you because you're, like, over here, you're looking at your kids enjoy it and then something happened to another kid over there, that's an alarming thing," Mitchell said.

It's been nearly two weeks since the death of the 14-year-old. The investigation into his killing is ongoing.

'Justice for Ryan' memorial by tree near where Ryan Rogers was found dead, Nov. 30, 2021
Flowers and a sign saying "Justice for Ryan" rest by a tree along Central Boulevard near where the body of Ryan Rogers, 14, was found, Nov. 29, 2021, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Police say the teenager was the victim of a homicide.

The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department is getting help from federal and other local law enforcement to move this case forward.

Former FBI agent Stewart Kaplan said an offer of assistance has been made by the FBI.

"In this day and age, we typically work closely with state and local law enforcement," he said.

At first, investigators were only interested in witnesses who were near Central Boulevard and I-95 on Nov. 15 between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., but now they've moved the parameters between PGA Boulevard and Donald Ross Road.

investigators at scene where Ryan Rogers found dead, Nov. 19, 2021
Police investigators return to the scene where Ryan Rogers, 14, was found dead along Central Boulevard, Nov. 19, 2021, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Angela DeStefano said it troubles her no one has been named as a suspect.

"I feel concerned," she said. "That's why I'm here watching my son tonight. I don't normally stay and watch him practice, but it's now something on my mind."

To honor the teenager, residents of the Alton neighborhood where he lived are decorating their houses and trees with red ribbons. Red was his favorite color.