Althea Rogers: Austin woman hasn't been seen in 38 years

A north Austin woman has been missing for almost four decades, but the Williamson County Sheriff's Office continues to search for answers.

It's been 38 years since anyone has seen or heard from Althea Lanelle Rogers.

"At the time, she was, uh, self-employed. She cleaned houses for different people," said WCSO Det. Mark McKinney. "She had expressed interest to different friends and family that she wanted to start a new business called Green Things in the future."

On Oct. 2, 1985, Rogers had dropped her car off at an auto mechanic.

"So she has, according to witnesses, on the day that she went missing, she left her car at a repair shop in north central Austin," said Det. McKinney.

Shortly after, police say she asked the mechanic if he could give her a ride to the intersection of I-35 and Braker Lane. Det. McKinney says the mechanics shop was nearby.

"The witness said that she requested a ride to Braker Lane and 35, she was given that ride and at that time she was last seen walking towards 35," he said. "I don't know if she, if her intentions were to hitch a ride, go somewhere. She has ties to a couple of different states, Arizona, Colorado and Florida."

Det. McKinney says she has familial ties to those states, including ex-husbands.

Rogers's daughter Deborah Curtis recalled a moment from that day. "I had been up all night working and her ex, one of her ex-husband's, picked me up. She had called him and told him she was leaving, and so he picked me up."


When police checked her home for evidence, they found a note with a caption that said: "Lanelle Rogers no longer exist!"

"We went back to our house and that's when I saw she had taken her license and cut it up and said, but no, Lanelle Rogers no longer exists and had packed, you know, some clothes, I guess," Curtis said.

Det. McKinney posits that the note and her actions might mean she wanted to start fresh again somewhere else.

"And if that's the case, we would like to know that, so we could clear her as a missing person if she is out there and if she just wanted to start a new life somewhere, that's that's completely within her right to do that. And we would just like to know that, so we can put her out as a missing person," he said.

According to Texas DPS, Rogers had multiple different aliases: Lanelle Rogers, Althea Thornton, Lanelle Thornton, Althea Hankins, Lanelle Hankins, Althea North, Lanelle North, Lanelle Rodd, and possibly more.

However, what police don't know is why.

"I don't I do not know the answer as to why she had any more of those aliases," Det. McKinney said. "But I believe that she went by primarily Lanelle. And at the time for disappearance, I believe she was using the last name Rogers."

At the time of her disappearance she was recently divorced and had a daughter.

"It was reported to us that the daughter and her mom got into a little argument," said Det. McKinney. "You know, like you said, just completely normal for mom and daughter to argue. She then just left. I don't know. I don't know if there's really anymore to that."

Her daughter described it as a "civil conversation."

"We had like a civil conversation, you know, at first about her changing her name and leaving and all this. And then she got mad at me because I was at home that day," Curtis said. "The electricity was turned off, and that just set her off for some reason."


On the day of her disappearance she was last seen wearing ragged jeans and possibly carrying an orange backpack and a handgun. Police can not confirm if she had a handgun or not.

"I've never seen or heard or nothing at any point. So she left on her own. But something definitely happened along the way, I think. I don't think she still has her name changed and is living, you know, a life I don't think she could because she hasn't had communication with anybody," Curtis said. "No, no family members, no friends, no nothing. There's been zero communication, so I think something happened along the way."

Rogers also drained her bank account the day she disappeared, and it's not been touched since.

"She left everything you would normally think you would take if you were. If you were leaving. She had a vehicle, but yet she left it at the mechanic shop," Det. McKinney said. "She left all of those identifying belongings and things like that at or at her house."

Texas DPS identifies Rogers' case as "endangered" with possibly foul play.

"It's just due to the circumstances that she would, uh, you know, she would just up and leave, but not tell her any of her family? No. Primarily her daughter, where she's going and not ever attempt contact with her again," Det. McKinney said. "We find that to be strange. And with the relationship that they had at the time, you know, that just adds to our suspicion that something could have happened to her."

Police had an age progression photo made of Althea.

"It was done by Nathalie Murry. She took everything into account with, you know, everything that was said about her, her, her habits, you know, whether good or bad," said Det. McKinney. "And all of that was used to create the most accurate age progression sketch possible."

Her daughter just wants answers. "I would like a body, you know, something to bury and say this is what had happened," Curtis said.

Police want to help her get there, if that's the case.

"If she's still out there, if they wish to remain anonymous, that, you know, if they know about this location and, uh, if she is out there, we'd like to speak with her, know that she's safe, and she wasn't, you know, forced against her will anywhere," Det. McKinney said. "And then we would, you know, the investigation into this case would be complete once we find her. And we know she's safe, and she wasn't forced to go anywhere that, you know, that she didn't want to go."

Rogers has a hysterectomy scar on her abdomen, all of her wisdom teeth and two upper molars have been extracted, and a root canal has been performed on one tooth, says the Texas DPS missing persons bulletin.

Anyone with any information regarding Rogers' disappearance is asked to contact the Williamson County Sheriff's Office or Crime Stoppers.