BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) - There will be new leadership in the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office come January that could help bring closure to the Crystal Rogers case.
Democratic candidate Ramon Pineiroa Jr. defeated Republican candidate Todd Harper in Tuesday’s election with 51 percent of the vote.
Pineiroa has served with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office since 2006. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Army. He has over 20 years of combined law enforcement and military experience.
Pineiroa said one of the first things he plans to do after taking office is hire a new detective to help with the Crystal Rogers case.
One day after the election, Pineiroa said he already spoke with two detectives.
“Once I'm in office, we'll set a meeting to sit down and see if they're interested in coming,” Pineiroa said. “If not, I’ll be at the sheriff’s conference in early December and we’ll put out a feeler that if anyone is retiring or has worked homicide will come in and do the job that I want.”
Pineiroa said he plans to hire a new detective on a contractual basis to help with the case.
“If they don’t want to work on it anymore or I don’t see any progress, we’ll put a stop and move forward," he said.
Crystal Rogers’ mother, Sherry Ballard, is hopeful for the new leadership, but said she will keep a close eye on the new plan.
“I’m going to hold them to that and I’m hoping that they’re going to keep their word on that,” Ballard said. “And maybe with the new detective, new clues -- I don’t know maybe they’ll find something someone missed.”
The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office announced in October that Captain Jon Snow executed 72 search warrants in the Rogers case, and collected 172 pieces of evidence to send off for testing. He also worked 3,100 hours of regular time and 400 hours of overtime from the time Crystal was reported missing in 2015 until December 2016.
“We’ll have a long road ahead of us but I have a good team," Pineiroa said. "And they’re ready -- anxious.”
Ballard said she is looking forward to working with Pineiroa and the sheriff’s office moving forward.
“Maybe together, we can find something for Crystal," Ballard said. "Maybe we can find justice for her.”
“Just have some faith. Allow the process. I’m not a good ole boy. That’s why I ran, I want change,” Pineiroa said. “I want things to be fixed that I know need to be fixed internally. And once we fix those, we’ll see the change in the public and we’ll see the future of the sheriff’s office is very bright. I promise you.”
Pineiroa also plans to start mending relationships with other agencies like the Bardstown Police Department and Kentucky State Police. He wants to create an office that is one of the best in the state.
“Not just saying it but doing it,” he said. “Actions speak louder than words. ... I can’t say it’s going to be tomorrow but in the future we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”