Looking back at the Crystal Rogers case

So much has happened over the past eight years in the Crystal Rogers case.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 5:51 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - So much has happened over the past eight years in the Crystal Rogers case. Questions left unanswered, a family devastated, a community frustrated and left on the edge for years.

WAVE News dug into the archives for this story to see the major milestones in the case.

A lot has happened since July 3, 2015.

Where was Crystal Roger? The mother of five was last seen that holiday weekend at the home she shared with her boyfriend, Brooks Houck.

However, doubts about Houck’s involvement surfaced quickly.

“I specifically told him, I think you did something to my daughter,” Crystal’s mother, Sherry Ballard said. “I made that very clear.”

July 5, 2015, two days after Crystal was last seen, her maroon Impala was found on the side of the Bluegrass Parkway with a flat tire. Her purse, cell phone and keys were inside the car.

There were so many searches and no shortage of prayer services and vigils. Family, friends and community members looked through countless acres of Nelson and surrounding counties. They searched on foot, with four-wheelers, K-9′s, horses and boats. Crystal’s family said Houck never took part in the searches.

Nelson County investigators later searched a farm owned by Houck’s family.

Then in October 2015, Bardstown Police finally named Brooks Houck a suspect in the case, saying Crystal was presumed dead. At the same time, Brooks’ brother Nick Houck was fired from the Bardstown PD for interfering with the case.

“This is starting to get silly,” Brooks said. “I don’t need an attorney. I haven’t asked for an attorney. I don’t need none of that. I’m innocent.”

Houck was not arrested or charged in Crystal’s disappearance at this time.

Then, there was a turn of events that shocked everyone.

In November 2016, Crystal’s father, Tommy Ballard, who had been investigating his daughter’s disappearance and was vocal about calling Houck the chief suspect, was shot and killed while hunting on family property.

Kentucky State Police called Tommy’s case a death investigation.

In August 2018, the case captured national attention from NBC’s Oxygen Network to the Today Show and Dr. Phil.

In August 2020, FBI Louisville announced that it was the lead agency in the case, working with the IRS, Kentucky State Police and the US Attorney’s Office.

Over the year, there were searches at Brooks’ home, their family farm, Crystal’s storage unit, and one in 2021 in the Woodlawn Springs subdivision where Brooks’ construction company built several houses shortly after Crystal’s disappearance.

The FBI said they did recover an “item of interest” from the concrete at one of the homes.

Finally in June 2023, some answers came to light. A grand jury indicted 32-year-old Joseph Lawson of Nelson County on two charges, which were conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with physical evidence. The charges are tied to an accident that took place on the Fourth of July weekend in 2015.

That was the same weekend Crystal was reported missing by her family.

Crystal’s body has yet to be recovered. Sherry Ballard told WAVE News anchor Maira Ansari that she would like a place where she can pay her respects to her daughter.

Eight years later, Crystal’s family got answers to what they always suspected.

Over the years, Maira has been in regular content with Till Ballard, Crystal’s grandfather and Tommy’s father. He said that they are still waiting to get more information from law enforcement.

A post on the Team Crystal Facebook page says in part:

“We want to thank the FBI, Kentucky State Police, Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, Commonwealth Attorney Shane Young and staff as well as the juries. At this time we ask for privacy as this is another step forward for justice for Crystal.”