BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) – Thousands of cars pass by the billboard on Springfield Road in Bardstown that says, “MISSING CRYSTAL ROGERS.”
“I have lost a huge, huge part of me that I will never get back,” said Sherry Ballard, Rogers’ mother.
Three years later the color is less vibrant on the sign, but the fight to find answers has not faded.
“You don't typically see people just disappear,” said Det. Jon Snow, with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office.
Ballard says her daughter's disappearance is something she will never let go away.
Rogers, a mother of five, disappeared on July 3, 2015. Two days later, her car was found on the Bluegrass Parkway with a flat tire and her purse, keys and phone inside.
There has been no trace of Rogers in the years since, but the lead investigator, Det. Snow, says the case is far from being cold and believes her body will be found.
“I think eventually she will be found yes,” Snow said.
While Rogers' disappearance is classified as a missing persons case, detectives have been treating it like a homicide investigation.
“It became pretty evident early on that it was not going to be a standard missing persons case,” Snow said.
The father of Rogers' child and boyfriend at the time, Brooks Houck, was named the main suspect in the case three months after she was last seen. We have never heard from him, until now, when we tried getting his side of the story.
“I have been advised you know to ride the wave and keep on keeping on. And that's what I've done and it's worked out great this far,” Brooks Houck told WDRB.
“Why would he ride the wave? Why wouldn't he want to know where my daughter is at? It's like he's not interested in finding my daughter. If somebody accuses me of something, I'm going to fight back and I'm going to prove my innocence,” Ballard said. “I think Brooks Houck killed my daughter.”
Houck has never been charged in this case.
“I don't have anything to say. I really don't have anything to say. I really don't have anything to say because I don't know anything so I really don't have anything to say,” Brooks Houck said.
“He may walk around Bardstown like he just owns Bardstown, but I know deep down in him somewhere he has to be thinking, ‘any day they could get that evidence and I’m going to prison for this for the rest of my life,’” Ballard said.
His brother Nick Houck, who Snow says is also suspect, was fired from the Bardstown Police Department for interfering with the investigation.
The Houck family farm has been searched numerous times and law enforcement has executed nearly 70 search warrants in this case.
“We feel like we found some of what we were looking for based on the information that we were given,” Snow said.
What that evidence includes has yet to be released, and Snow says that likely will not happen until the case is taken to trial.
“If I'm going to keep an edge when it comes to the investigation, there has to be things about the case that have to be only known by the case officer and a select few other people,” Snow said.
Snow added that some evidence is still at the KSP lab or federal labs, and it can take 12 to 18 months to get the results. While many have wondered why there is no real movement in the case, he hopes patience will pay off.
“There's no closure to it until I can prosecute somebody for what happened to Crystal. Until I can find out exactly what happened to her and get somebody prosecuted for it,” Snow said.
“I just think one day that's going to happen. God's going to give me that. One day. Maybe not as soon as I want, but one day,” Ballard said.
The reward for information in this case is up to $75,000.
Tips in Crystal Rogers’ case can be made to Nelson County Sheriff's Office at 502-348-1840.
If you'd like to leave a tip anonymously click here.
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