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United Cajun Navy working ‘privately’ with Sebastian Rogers’ family after death threats

Accusations of the group being a scam were ‘hurtful’, spokesperson Kevin LaFond told The Independent

Dan Gooding
Monday 01 April 2024 19:28 BST
Missing Sebastian Rogers' father speaks as search reaches one month mark

A group which says it received death threats over its involvement in the case of missing Tennessee teenager Sebastian Rogers says it is still working on the case, despite halting searches.

In an interview with The Independent on Monday, the United Cajun Navy’s spokesperson Kevin LaFond said the threats made to the organisation’s members were “much louder in volume” than they’d ever known before.

“In fact, we’ve never had the situation occur before,” Mr LaFond said after UCN announced it was stopping its search for the 15-year-old in Hendersonville on Friday.

“No volunteer’s information is ever given out or anything like that, but those folks can certainly arrive on the scene and cause a problem and a ruckus,” he continued.

“We had that situation arise, both with folks again in person and then online, including personalities online that were fanning the flames, which I don’t care to discuss those people by name.”

Mr LaFond said law enforcement was now dealing with the threats and that UCN was now involved in Sebastian’s case privately, working with his family.

The teenager, who has autism, has not been seen since he went to bed at his mother’s home on 25 February.

Katie Proudfoot and her husband Chris Proudfoot informed the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office on 26 February that Sebastian was missing, after she found his bed empty that morning.

He disappeared without a trace and there have been no sightings since.

(Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

When the search stretched into several weeks, Sebastian’s father Seth Rogers was one of those to contact UCN and ask for their help, after their involvement in the search for Riley Strain in nearby Nashville.

However, their advertised organised searches did not get underway immediately early last week, with the group asking for resource donations and support first of all.

This seemed to spark questions online, with some raising concerns about a lack of urgency, while others said the group was a “scam”.

“The word hurtful comes up. The other is uninformed,” Mr LaFond said of those accusations. “Folks that know the United Cajun Navy know that there’s proof in our words everywhere and it’s not hard to find it.”

The group has been involved in multiple missing persons cases but mainly gained its reputation for assisting in aid efforts following natural disasters.

After a few days of dealing with speculation and eventually threats, UCN called off its on-the-ground search efforts on Friday.

Mr LaFond told The Independent that his organisation is true to its word when they say they want an outcome.

“If the outcome is difficult to reach by us being front and centre, which is usually very helpful, [but] in this particular situation, it didn’t turn out to be, so it’s our job to regroup and say ‘what’s a better strategy?’” he continued.

“We’ve decided that is to do things privately, without a bunch of hype, without discussing it and working directly with the family and the local authorities in a private manner.”

When asked about the social media activity around Sebastian’s case, Mr LaFond said that “some people go out there to get answers, some go out to get views and likes, you know, and we’re not those people.”

He said that rather than dealing with theories, “living in facts” was the only way to solve cases.

The spokesperson promised more updates in the coming days on Sebastian’s case, while the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has not responded to requests for comment on the threats made to UCN members.

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