Investigation Discovery’s ‘Jared From Subway: Catching a Monster’ captures the sensational tale of how former Sarasota journalist and radio broadcaster, Rochelle Herman-Walrond, helped the FBI to catch a convicted pedophile in the late 2000s. It took years of excruciating hardships and difficulty before the authorities had enough evidence to charge and arrest Jared Fogle for his deviant crimes.
Who is Rochelle Herman-Walrond?
Rochelle Herman-Walrond met her husband, Tom, in 1996, and they married within a few months of their dating. They were off to a great start, and their son, Thomas, was born in 1997, followed by their daughter, Angela, the next year. However, Rochelle recounted on the show, “Things pile up, as they always do. There was a lot of arguing, and then after ten years, Tom and I went on our separate ways.” After the divorce, she ventured on a new path as a single mother and focused on her career.
Rochelle started as a radio broadcaster and television show personality. Her son, Thomas Herman, recounted on the show, “She became like a huge regional star. As a kid, I definitely found my mom to be really cool. She would always be going out and doing things for the radio and TV shows she had.” He even shared how his mother was caring and loving, giving out meals to underprivileged people on the streets. Moreover, Rochelle’s friend and co-worker, Sean “Ozzie” Osborne, described her as a “sweet and dedicated individual.”
Rochelle said her show aimed to educate and promote fitness among the general American mass, focusing on obesity since it was a common health issue. In the fall of 2006, she was contacted by the American Heart Association to interview Jared Scott Fogle, the Subway diet spokesperson, on her program. She compared his success story and fame with Michael Jackson, especially among the kids and younger American generation. Rochelle recounted how Jared was about 30-40 minutes late for the program to be first aired on the radio, followed by a televised broadcast.
The radio personality further reminisced how charming and flirtatious Jared was and felt flattered by his endearing nature. She told him her daughter, Angela, was a big fan, and he agreed to take a photograph with the child. Looking back at the photo, Rochelle recounted how sick she felt after the whole chain of events unraveled, kickstarting on that day just before the televised broadcast. According to her, Jared leaned toward her and whispered in her ear something so sickening that would change her life forever. His alleged words were – “How hot do you think middle school girls are?”
In the following weeks, Rochelle felt sick as she went on with her moral dilemma of pursuing this further or letting it go. She could not go to the police as she did not have enough tangible evidence to incriminate Jared, and his celebrity status empowered him to shrug off such accusations quickly. Rochelle even looked him up online, yet could find no proof of any criminal records or his deviant nature. Hence, she decided to gather evidence independently and take it to the authorities – more out of her responsibility as a parent than a reporter.
Rochelle invited Jared to another program and took his phone number. She started calling him and befriending him, asking leading questions until she felt he was too comfortable with her to confess his deviant fantasies. The radio presenter recorded the conversations, but Jared was initially very cautious on the phone. She even arranged a meeting with him in his hotel room, and he allegedly asked her to tie her hair in pigtails so that she looked like a little girl. At this point, Rochelle was sure Jared was a pedophile and decided to continue her investigation.
However, when Rochelle felt she had enough evidence and took it to the FBI, she was crestfallen to find out they could not be considered proof. Furthermore, since she recorded without prior consent, the FBI agents told her she could be susceptible to felony charges. They told Rochelle to continue her phone relationship with Jared and record his incriminating statements. In addition, the agents notified her of the protocols she needed to carry out to save herself from legal issues later.
Rochelle said she continued recording for around five years and handing over the tapes to FBI agents in predetermined drop locations before Jared was arrested on July 7, 2015. The FBI and Indiana State Police investigators raided his Zionsville residence in Indiana and arrested him on distribution and receipt of child pornography charges. Jared pleaded guilty and received 15 years and eight months of imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release. He was additionally ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution charges.
According to reports, Rochelle has left her journalism and broadcasting career behind and is now a head Booking Agent and Talent Scout for models. She also coordinates events, programs, fashion, trade shows, and commercials in print and TV. Rochelle’s profession requires her to travel regularly between Sarasota, Florida, and Paris, France.