LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the 6-year-old son of Crystal Rogers, the Bardstown woman who disappeared in July 2015 and is assumed dead, is no longer allowed to visit his grandmother, Sherry Ballard.
The boy, who was 2 years old when Rogers disappeared, has been spending alternating weekends with Ballard since she and her late husband filed a petition for grandparent visitation just weeks after Rogers went missing. Ballard’s husband Tommy was shot and killed in November 2016. No arrests have been made in either case.
The boy's father, Brooks Houck, is the only suspect ever named in Rogers' disappearance and is also the boy’s primary guardian. Sherry Ballard has publicly and continually said that she believes Houck killed her daughter. The Houck family farm has been searched numerous times, and law enforcement has executed nearly 70 search warrants in the case, but Houck has never been charged.
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. Her other four children, who have no relation to Houck, live with Sherry Ballard.
After several trial court custody hearings, a judge initially granted Ballard visitation times with her grandson from 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday, every other weekend. During those hearings, the trial court "acknowledged animosity between the parties but observed that '[t]he potential benefit to (the boy) in having contact with a loving grandmother who has been such a significant part of his life and contact with his other siblings, outweighs the potential for detriments of visitation.'"
But a three-judge panel overruled that Friday, agreeing that contention between Houck and Ballard has boiled over to a point that it not in the boy’s best interest to spend time with his grandmother.
Houck testified that "after returning from visits with the Ballards, (the boy) is sullen and uncooperative. Houck further stated that (the boy) is extremely accusatory, asking him 'what did you do to my mommy,' and that 'everyone wants to know.'"
The panel concluded that "there has, in fact, been a detrimental aspect to (the boy) spending time in the Ballard household."
Sherry Ballard declined to comment on the appeal but said this about Houck:
"There won't ever be a day that I won't say Brooks murdered my daughter."
The appeals court sent the case back to the judge for another hearing about visitation rights.
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