BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) – Crystal Rogers has been missing for two years as of Monday, yet her family refuses to give up hope.
More signs asking for the public’s help have been placed along the family’s property and the Bluegrass Parkway. The sign on the family’s fence is big and pink, reading ‘Bring Crystal Home.’ Green and pink balloons and bows wave in the wind attached to the fence.
Rogers’ mother, Sherry Ballard, wishes Crystal would just drive up to the house. But she knows her daughter would’ve never left on her own, and she cannot bear the thought of the torture she believes her daughter experienced.
With tears in her eyes, Ballard remembers the moment two years ago when she knew something was not right.
“When I went and reported Crystal missing, I knew that day something was wrong," Ballard said. "I remember the police a couple days later, maybe a week later, they made the remark that it could be a year before we find out anything. I thought they were crazy when they told me that.”
Two years have passed, and still the family has few answers.
“Sometimes it feels like it’s been that long,” Ballard said. “Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday and the pain is still raw and right there.”
The 35-year-old mother of five disappeared July 3, 2015. Her car was then found abandoned along the side of the Bluegrass Parkway two days later.
Rogers’ longtime boyfriend, Brooks Houck, was determined the only suspect at the time. But two years later, no one has been charged with any crime regarding her disappearance.
Tragedy struck again for the Ballard family in November 2016, when Tommy Ballard was shot and killed while hunting on family property. KSP considers the incident a death investigation.
“When that happened to my husband,” remembered Ballard, “the day I got the phone call from my little grandson, I knew it was no accident.”
The family believes the same person who killed Tommy Ballard is responsible for Crystal’s disappearance. Ballard said her husband never missed a day searching for his daughter. Tommy and Sherry promised Crystal’s children they would bring their mother home one day.
“I remember when it happened to Tommy, and one of the little granddaughters looked at me, and we were very upset. And she looked at me and she’s like, ‘Mamaw, Papaw was going to bring my mommy home.’ That’s what went through her little mind. And I will never give up that hope for her," Ballard said.
Ballard admitted it is difficult for her to continue searching for Crystal without the support of her husband. But she refuses to stop searching for answers.
“My husband was there for me 24 hours a day,” Ballard said. “I will be there for him and Crystal ‘til the day I die. So whatever I have to do, I will. So there’s nothing going to scare me away from looking for my daughter and my husband.”
Two former KSP troopers are now dedicated to investigating these and other high-profile, unsolved crimes in Bardstown. Ballard said those two detectives have not met with her or reached out to her, but she hopes to meet them someday soon.
In the meantime, Ballard said a search team of cadaver dogs from Florida is ready to go at a moment’s notice, but tips and clues are starting to run dry. She hopes the new signs posted in the area will help encourage more people to call, which will direct search efforts.
If you have any information, tips, or clues that could help in the search for Crystal, you need to call the Nelson County Sheriff Department at 502-348-3211.
On Wednesday, there will be a prayer service dedicated to Crystal. Wednesday will mark two years since her car was found abandoned on the Bluegrass Parkway.
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