LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Nelson County Circuit judge has upheld a previous ruling that the 6-year-old son of Crystal Rogers can't visit his grandmother, Sherry Ballard, until his custody case is resolved.
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. The boy's father, Brooks Houck, is the only suspect ever named in Rogers' disappearance and is also the boy's primary guardian.
On Monday, Nelson Circuit Court Judge David Seay issued the order upholding the Kentucky Court of Appeals decision made in November, arguing that Ballard "has not provided any additional authority" that would make it possible for the judge to reverse it.
Rogers' child -- Ballard's grandson -- was 2 years old when Rogers disappeared, and had been spending alternating weekends with Ballard. 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.
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' 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 on alternating weekends. 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 in November 2018, agreeing that contention between Houck and Ballard has boiled over to a point that it is 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 in November:
"There won't ever be a day that I won't say Brooks murdered my daughter."
Judge Seay's decision means Ballard can't visit her grandson until the court issues a final ruling in the case.
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