For three families waiting for answers, the forbidding woods and bogs of north Liberty County seem to have swallowed their fathers last year without leaving a trace.
"How can people be swallowed whole and never seen again like this? This is crazy," said Kimberly Rogers, whose father, Dennis, was the last of the three men to disappear nearly 10 months ago.
When she tried to put out fliers for him, she was rebuffed by store clerks who thought she had already been there. The clerks were confused by fliers posted earlier for the other two missing men.
"It's more than weird. It's unbelievable," said Amanda Rhineburger, whose father, Mark, was reported missing four weeks before Kimberly's.
David Rogers, whose father, Edwin, was the first to be reported missing more than a year ago on Jan. 6, can't believe someone hasn't come forward with a single clue leading to their whereabouts.
All three men vanished over a 10-week span within a 20-mile radius of one another. They were not only fathers but also grandfathers who kept in regular contact with family, not the types to wander far from home.
Two of the missing - Edwin Rogers and Mark Rhineburger - mysteriously vanished after abandoning their vehicles along roadways with the keys still in them. The third, Dennis Rogers, disappeared while on his daily walk with his last cellphone call giving a "pinged" location in the middle of a remote swampy area.
None of the missing is related. Their bank accounts and credit cards have remained untouched since they disappeared. Their unoccupied homes have been vandalized and had everything from copper wiring to air-conditioning units stolen.
"We have no firm theories on what has happened to any of them," said Liberty County sheriff's spokesman Capt. Ken DeFoor.
Hundreds have searched for the three men, trudging through dense forests and swamps where alligators as long as cars, wild hogs and even panthers prowl. They've used everything from helicopters with infrared cameras to horses and all-terrain vehicles to search.
Sought a psychic
With so many unanswered questions, Dennis Rogers' family went so far as to seek help from a psychic used by the Houston Police Department in the past.
"The psychic told us she didn't see Dennis getting out of that swamp, said he had a head injury," said Rogers' former wife, Tammy Rogers. "But she couldn't tell us more than that."
Even if found alive, Dennis, 54, an amateur race car driver from Plum Grove, probably wouldn't remember what had happened to him, his daughter, Kimberly said. At the start of a drag race, he suffered a heart attack several years ago that damaged his short-term memory.
Yet he was able to walk the familiar loop that encircled his home off Texas 321 every day until March 8, when for some unknown reason he detoured from that path. When his daughters reached him by cellphone, he talked about being "lost and confused" before his phone went dead.
The last "ping" from his cellphone was traced to a spot six miles into a thick forested swamp. Tracks matching his boot pattern also were found wandering in circles in that vicinity, but no sign of him.
Investigators also tracked down rumors overheard at a bar and posted on Facebook that Dennis had been "taken on a ride from which he would never return" but never could substantiate them.
Mark Rhineburger, a welder from Crosby, disappeared Feb. 15 - on his 39th birthday - after his white Chevrolet truck crashed into a vacant house off FM 787. Authorities shortly afterward found his vehicle empty and no sign of a struggle. Six weeks later, Rhineburger's jacket with his cellphone in the pocket was found a few miles away near a remote gravel pit, authorities said.
His daughter, Amanda, said when she last spoke to her father he said he was meeting someone on his birthday.
She said that on the day of his disappearance, he rushed from his home without his billfold and afterward told two different gas station attendants that he was being chased or followed.
Jeep parked for 6 days
Edwin Rogers, 62, a disabled trucker, hasn't been seen since his Grand Cherokee jeep was discovered with his cellphone inside on the shoulder of Texas 321 less than a mile from the home he shared off and on with his estranged wife. After the vehicle didn't move for six days and no one could locate him, he was reported missing on Jan. 6 last year.
Investigators dug up a depressed area in his backyard where they thought a body might be buried but found nothing. Sweat from his cowboy hat and baseball cap has since been sent to a lab to construct his DNA profile.
"He couldn't have walked far. He has bad feet from his days of service as a Vietnam vet," said his brother, Lesley, who suspects foul play.