Bardstown reacts to arrest in disappearance of Crystal Rogers

After 8 years, the arrest of Lawson brought the relief some say they needed.
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 4:30 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The arrest of Joseph Lawson in connection with the disappearance of Crystal Rogers had Bardstown residents on Friday hoping that eight long years of questions without answers may soon come to an end.

“We thought they’re going to figure it out,” Bardstown resident Nikki Downs said. “Then it’s like one year went by, two years. Every year you know you’re like, are you kidding me? Like they still don’t know what happened to this poor girl?”

Bardstown is small enough that if someone did not personally know Crystal Rogers or her family, there is a good chance they know someone who did. For that reason, the investigation into her disappearance has been a difficult and emotional journey for this entire community.

”I think about justice, somebody paying for what they’ve done to her and her family,” Downs said. “It’s just went on for way too long.”

What quickly becomes evident in conversations is a quiet but deep connection many feel for Crystal’s mother. Through the years, Sherry Ballard shared her heartache over the disappearance of Crystal and the shooting death of her own husband Tommy. Hers was a compelling voice that touched all who listened.

”I can’t imagine having a child missing and not knowing, 100% sure what happened to her,” Bardstown resident Julie Wagner said. “As a parent, I sympathize with Ms. Ballard.”

When asked what she would say to Ballard, Bardstown resident Libbey Biven said, “Sherry, I hope that they do find whoever has killed Crystal and your husband, Tommy, and we all love you. We truly love you.”

After 8 years, the arrest of Lawson brought the relief some say they needed, relief, paired with gratitude for the investigators.

”They were down here two or three days at a time,” Philip Smith said. “Digging up driveways, doing their sonar doing everything else. Kudos to the law enforcement team.”

In a city that has become accustomed to waiting, there are new questions and suspicions about what might happen next.