LOUISVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) — The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) handles cases across the country, including high-profile investigations in Kentucky.
Every year, the law enforcement agency investigates terrorism, cybercrime, civil rights violations, and violent crimes. These are handled by local branches and satellite agencies within the FBI.
In Kentucky, the main FBI headquarters is in Louisville, with satellite offices in places like Lexington, London, Bowling Green, and Paducah.
Among the cases, the agency handles the FBI’s Most Wanted. These are the top cases the FBI is actively working on and seeking information from the public.
If you have information about any of the FBI’s Most Wanted Cases, call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
1. Morgan Jade Violi: July 1996
According to the FBI’s Louisville Field Office, an unknown male kidnapped 7-year-old Morgan Jade Violi at 12:30 p.m. on July 24, 1996, from the parking lot of her Bowling Green apartment complex while she was playing outside with friends.
Multiple witnesses reported seeing a white male in an older maroon Chevrolet van grab Violi, put her in the passenger seat, and drive off in an unknown direction. According to WKRN, FOX 56’s sister station in Nashville, the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office reported the man appeared to be in his 20s. Witnesses described him as having collar-length sandy brown hair, defined muscles, and a sharp, distinct nose.
The 1978 maroon Chevrolet van used in the abduction was stolen from Dayton, Ohio, according to the FBI. The van was recovered in Franklin, Tennessee, at the Union 76 truck stop on July 26, 1996.
On Oct. 26, 1996, a break in the case was made when Violi’s remains were found in Robertson County, Tennessee. A white, full-size, older model van with a glass, louvered window in the passenger side sliding door was seen on July 25, 1996, at the location where Violi’s body was found.
Former Bowling Green Police Chief Bill Waltrip, who worked on Morgan’s cold case, told WKRN the case will always be burned in his memory. “When you’ve been involved in one, it is even more frustrating and depressing,” Waltrip said. “The nature of the case involving a 7-year-old girl was just a tremendous blow.”
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the subject(s) related to the kidnapping and murder of Violi.
2. Jason Ellis: May 2013
The FBI said Officer Jason Ellis was killed on May 25, 2013, after finishing his shift for the Bardstown Police Department. Ellis had signed off on the radio and was driving home when he encountered branches blocking the road on exit 34 of the Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown.
According to authorities, he was shot several times while he was removing the debris and found dead by a passing driver.
In 2022, a memorial dedicated to Ellis was vandalized.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the death of Ellis.
The total reward for information stands at $218,000 as investigators try to track down the shooter. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2022, $185,000 was deposited in Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co., and $33,000 ($1,000 for each year of Ellis’ life) was pledged by restaurateur Jeff Ruby.
3. Crystal Rogers: July 2015
According to the FBI, Crystal Rogers was reported missing by her mother on July 5, 2015, after she had not been seen or heard from since the evening of July 3.
Later that day, her car was found abandoned with a flat tire at mile marker 14 on the Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown. Rogers’ keys, phone, and purse were still inside her red Chevrolet Impala.
Rogers is the mother of five children and was not known to go anywhere without her children.
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In 2020, the FBI released two photos showing several vehicles that were driving or stationed around several investigation points. One photo shows a red SUV and a white SUV driving down Loretto Road, near the My Old Kentucky Home campground.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for her disappearance.
4. Tommy Ballard: November 2016
After Rogers disappeared in July 2015, Ballard started Team Crystal, a group of Bardstown community members dedicated to finding Crystal and bringing her home.
Authorities said on Nov. 19, 2016, just 16 months after Crystal’s disappearance, Ballard was preparing for a hunting trip on a family property next to Bluegrass Parkway with his 12-year-old grandson when an unknown person fired one shot, hit Ballard in the chest, and instantly killed him.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the homicide of Ballard.
In 2023, Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young was appointed by Kentucky’s attorney general to look into the criminal charges related to the deaths of Jason Ellis, Crystal Rogers, and Tommy Ballard. Sherry Ballard, Crystal Rogers’ mother and widow of Tommy Ballard, met with Young to discuss the investigation.
5. Jamona Pickett: May 2022
The FBI has provided limited information about the kidnapping of Jamona Pickett.
According to the Louisville Division of the FBI, Pickett was last seen at 3 p.m. on May 1, 2022, at her foster home in Scottsville. Born in 2007, Jamona would now be 15 years old.
Authorities said Pickett had a history of running away and taking clothes with her when she disappeared. She is said to have ties to Kentucky and Texas.