Nelson County plagued by unsolved high-profile deaths

Nelson County plagued by unsolved high-profile deaths
Tommy Ballard (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Tommy Ballard (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kathy and Samantha Netherland (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kathy and Samantha Netherland (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Officer Jason Ellis (Source: Bardstown Police Department)
Officer Jason Ellis (Source: Bardstown Police Department)

NELSON COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet is pleading for your help in the death investigation of Tommy Ballard and three other unsolved cases in Nelson County.

Ballard was found shot to death in a field in Nelson County early Saturday morning as he went hunting with his 11-year-old grandson. His death is a big blow to the small town, and its the fourth unsolved high-profile case in Nelson County.

Many questions surround the Tommy Ballard death, the disappearance of his daughter, Crystal Rogers, and a possible connection between the two. A representative from Kentucky State Police was quoted as saying, "I'm sure that's what people have on their mind, but we have no way right now to link any of that together."

Brooks Houck, Rogers' boyfriend was the last person to see Rogers before she was reported missing.

Nick Houck, Brooks' brother and former Bardstown police officer, was fired according to documents released by the City of Bardstown, for interfering with the Rogers case. He warned his brother detectives were going to interview him regarding the death of his girlfriend.

Another heartbreaking blow for the small community is the unsolved murder of a Nelson County mother and her teenage daughter in April, 2014. Police said Kathy and Samantha Netherland were murdered around 8 p.m. on the evening of Monday, April 21 at their home in Nelson County's Botland Community. Their bodies were discovered by a family member. Both were shot multiple times and their throats were cut. Samantha was also beaten. The fact that they were killed so heinously makes Kentucky State Police wonder if it was personal.

Also unsolved after three and a half years is the ambush and murder of Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis in 2013. Ellis' murder was the 150-year-old departments first line-of-duty death. Officer Ellis was shot several times early on the Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend on an off-ramp leading from the Bluegrass Parkway to highway 55 in Nelson County. Ellis was on his way home from work when he was killed, still in uniform and driving a marked police car.  Investigators said Ellis' service revolver was still in its holster when a passerby found him dead just before 3 a.m.

>> Complete coverage of Jason Ellis murder and related stories
 
In all four unsolved cases, Kentucky State Police are asking the public if they have even the smallest piece of information to share. Something small could lead to the big break they need. KSP can be contacted at (270) 766-5078.

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