Mother arrested for fire that killed seven-year-old son

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A woman has been arrested in an apartment fire that claimed the life of her seven-year-old boy last month.

Police say Jessica Rogers, 29, faces charges of murder, arson, neglect of a dependent and possession of cocaine.

She was arrested Friday morning for setting the Dec. 8 fire that killed her son, Dreydon Webb.

The Marion County prosecutor says Rogers and her boyfriend survived the fire. She's accused of causing an explosion and fire while trying to make "shake and bake" methamphetamine.

"I messed up and it blew up in my face," Rogers allegedly told a witness at the scene.

Detectives said Rogers showed little remorse or emotion about the death of her son during interviews. She also told police she had taken four Xanax pills, smoked marijuana and drank gin and vodka the night before the fire.

Investigators say Rogers had splash burn injuries on the neck and chin but was not otherwise injured from sustained exposure to the fire. Neighbors reported a chemical "tiki torch" smell that night.

"The fire was too hot. I couldn't stand the heat. It felt like acid was burning me," Rogers told investigators during questioning.

"This is the third tragic death in the past four months of a child which has resulted in charges filed against that child's mother," said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.  "We will vigorously prosecute these cases to conclusion in order to hold those parents accountable."

Neighbors react

Taja Tansy is not surprised her former neighbor is now charged in her son's death after the fire at their apartment building.

Tansy showed us the window where she and her family jumped for the lives only to learn Dreydon never made it out, but his mother Jessica Rogers did.

"I heard them say, 'There is still a kid in there.' I thought, 'Oh my God, the little boy across the hall is still in there,'" she said.

Taja Tansy says she suspected drug activity.

"She seemed to be straight that day, but I guess she wasn't," said Tansy.

Tansy says during the fire she refused to jump until her entire family was out of the apartment building. She wonders how Dreydon ended up dead.

Fire scene

In the early morning hours of Dec. 8, firefighters were called to the scene of the fire at an apartment building near Elder and West Washington Street. Several residents had to jump out of the windows to escape the flames, and one of those people was the boy's mother. She told firefighters she had hold of her son, but because of the intense fire and smoke, she lost her grip.

Firefighters found the boy inside the apartment, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were no smoke detectors in the building and about 15 people were inside at the time of the fire. Many jumped from the second-story windows, and five were treated at local hospitals for minor injuries.

Residents told Eyewitness News they lost all of their possessions in the fire.