Details of Disappearance
Silas was last seen in Cheyenne, Wyoming in October 2016. His grandfather reported him missing on October 26, after hearing from Silas's mother, Rhiannon Ojeda, that a man had taken her son and not returned him.
When the police questioned Rhiannon, she said she'd last seen her son on October 22, before she went to work. While his mother worked, Silas was in the care of her boyfriend, Logan Hunter Rogers, so authorities interviewed him. Photos of both Rhiannon and Rogers are posted with this case summary.
Rogers told several stories about what happened to Silas. He initially said he'd given him to a friend he knew only as Santiago. Rogers didn't know Santiago's last name, address or phone number, but said he drove a black car and was about 24 years old. Santiago, he said, had offered to take Silas for a few days and go camping and fishing, so Rogers and Rhiannon could get some time alone.
Investigators tracked down a friend of the family's whose name was Santiago, but this man denied having taken Silas. When the police confronted Rogers with his friend's statement, Rogers said members of a motorcycle club called the Sons of Silence had taken Silas. Then he admitted the child had fallen off the counter at home on October 20, hit his head and died the next day after suffering a seizure. Rhiannon, he said, had been home at the time, and together they decided not to seek medical care for Silas. Rogers said he'd wrapped Silas's body in a white comforter and put it in a trash bin near Larimer County Community College.
Investigators went to the trash bin, but it had already been emptied. However, cadaver dogs detected the scent of human remains in both the trash bin and Rhiannon's car. They also found unspecified "biological evidence" in the Ojeda home suggesting Silas had died there.
When police interviewed Rogers again, he said he'd taken Silas to a friend's house on October 20 and multiple people smoked methamphetamine in the boy's presence. Rogers subsequently became concerned that Silas had been exposed to the drug, because he appeared to be under the influence and his body felt hot to the touch. He gave Silas a long bath at his friend's house before leaving the residence for a few hours to deliver methamphetamine he'd purchased for resale to customers.
In the course of their investigation, authorities interviewed the father of one of Rhiannon's other children. He said he had last seen Silas on October 17 or 18 and that at the time, the child had a split lip and half his face was "puffed up", and he could barely hold his head up. The man said that on October 23, he had asked Rhiannon where Silas was, and she said he was at her friend's house. When police asked Rhiannon about the injuries described by her child's father, she said Silas was still learning to walk and had hurt himself after he fell and hit his face on the floor.
Investigators believe Silas was abused and died as a result. Rogers was charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering with a controlled substance. Rhiannon was arrested for child endangering with health and child endangering with a controlled substance, but was released without being formally charged. She has not cooperated with the investigation, but authorities believe she was not present when Silas disappeared and only heard about it later.
In November 2018, Rogers pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and admitted his role in Silas's death. He said while he was babysitting Silas, he got high on methamphetamine and Silas fell off the counter and died. The child endangering charge was dismissed. Rogers was sentenced to the maximum term, 18 to 20 years in prison, although at the sentencing hearing in 2019 he claimed to be innocent and said Silas was alive and that his plea had been coerced.
A search through 127 million pounds of garbage at the landfill in Ault, Colorado, where the contents of Cheyenne's municipal bins were taken, did not yield Silas's body. It has never been found.