published Friday, May 4th, 2012

Cleveland, Tenn., man found in boat had been beaten, strangled

  • photo
    Investigators with TWRA look at a boat after removing it from the Chickamauga Lake near Birchwood Wednesday. A dead man was found with the boat Wednesday morning.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

The 46-year-old man found slumped over the side of his aluminum fishing boat in the Tennessee River last week was strangled and beaten to death, a medical examiner's report shows.

Donald Rogers, of Cleveland, Tenn., was bludgeoned so severely, his skull and nose were fractured, according to the report from Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office. His face and neck were covered in bruises, the report shows.

Two men have been charged with criminal homicide in connection with Rogers' death. Chance A. Loftis, 24, and Travis Hayes Jenkins, 28, were arrested shortly after the body was discovered near the Grasshopper Creek Recreation Area at Birchwood.

The two are in custody at the Hamilton County Jail, each held on a $1 million bond. Their next General Sessions Court date is set for May 14.

Two fishermen discovered Rogers hanging off the drifting boat on the morning of April 25. His right arm and head were submerged, and blood was found in the boat and surrounding area, according to the medical examiner's report.

According to his obituary, Rogers loved the outdoors and enjoyed collecting arrowheads, taking trips to the mountains and fishing.

His funeral was held Tuesday.

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