Mother of missing Bardstown woman says city official targeting family's signs
Signs reading "Prayers for Crystal’s Safe Return" and "Solve these murders" can be found all around Bardstown. But not everyone in the town wants them there.
BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Signs reading "Prayers for Crystal’s Safe Return" and "Solve these murders" can be found all around Bardstown.
Crystal Rogers, 35, disappeared in July 2015. Her vehicle was found abandoned on the side of the Bluegrass Parkway with her phone and purse still inside.
The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office has said the mother of five is likely dead. Her longtime boyfriend, Brooks Houck, was named the only suspect, but he has never been charged.
“I want everybody to know my daughter is missing,” said Sherry Ballard, Rogers' mother. “To us, the signs are very important. It’s just a reminder to let everybody know that we are still looking for our daughter."
At a recent meeting of the City of Bardstown Code Enforcement Board, board member Ann Rosalie Ballard discussed the signs and a city ordinance requiring all signs be out of the right-of-way, the area between the sidewalk and the street.
“I don’t want to offend the Rogers family. My God, my heart breaks for them," Ann Rosalie Ballard said during the recorded meeting. "But do we really want signs between the sidewalk and the street, for how many years, saying ‘Let’s find Crystal’ or ‘Solve these murders’?”
“I mean, that’s not what we really want everybody to see when they come into ... and I realize if it’s in your yard, no one has any say so,” Ann Rosalie Ballard went on to say. “Talk about this being the most beautiful town and tourist attraction, and here we’ve got ‘Solve these murders’, which they need to be, no doubt about it, but I just, you’ve got them on the right-of-way.”
“It’s like she’s worried about what the tourists are going to think about murders in this town. Well, I don’t want people to forget that this stuff has happened,” said Sherry Ballard, expressing her outrage over the comments.
Ann Rosalie Ballard says her comments have been blown out of proportion and that she was discussing all signs and simply doing her job, making sure the ordinance was followed.
“I am not out to get Crystal Rogers or her family. I would love to find some closure,” Ann Rosalie Ballard told WDRB over the phone. “I’m worried about (signs) as a resident and being on that board and enforcing the code enforcement. And what is allowed, and what’s not allowed, no matter what the circumstances are.”
“I had a son that died from a drug overdose, a lot of years ago. I guess I can put signs out in the street and say, ‘Let’s fight drugs’. I’m just saying, there’s a lot of people that have a lot of issues."
Sherry Ballard says several of the signs for Crystal were stolen earlier this year. She says some of them were found in a dumpster.
John Royalty, the mayor of Bardstown, says the signs do need to be moved out of the right-of-way, but he wants them to remain in peoples’ yards to keep the message out.
Royalty says anyone caught stealing the signs will be prosecuted.
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