Chad Rogers, the 30-year-old Liberty runner found dead more than three days after he vanished during a run, died of natural causes, authorities said Wednesday.
Liberty police have concluded their investigation into the case, which started after Rogers did not return from an evening run July 22.
Law enforcement members, search dogs and community volunteers scoured fields, woods and roadsides for more than two days searching for the husband and stay-at-home father.
A construction worker eventually found his body July 26 in a locked portable toilet near the Flintlock Flyover overpass construction site alongside Interstate 35, near South Valley Middle School. The site is about 2 miles from where searchers trudged through high grass, weeds and woods looking for Rogers.
Authorities said early on that there were no external signs of foul play in the death of the former church youth director. He left a wife and a child.
The Jackson County medical examiner’s office has determined he died from a congenital heart problem involving the aortic valve, which had two flaps instead of the normal three, the autopsy report said. He was found slumped over on the toilet seat, the report said.
There were no signs of foul play, Liberty police said.
Rogers’ father, Greg Rogers, said family members were aware that Chad had prior heart problems but nothing that would raise their concern. Chad Rogers had a heart murmur as a child, but it never limited his physical activity.
“It was pretty much what we expected,” Greg Rogers said. “We felt like that was going to be the result; we just had to wait. We were 100 percent sure in our hearts that there was nothing else.”
Greg Rogers said his son’s friends and family were upset with several negative comments that were posted to a memorial Facebook page.
“We are finally able to let everybody see that it was natural causes and pipe down all of the bloggers and negative Facebookers,” he said. “It is nice to be able to get that closed up so we can move on from there.”