BARDSTOWN, Ky. (FOX 56) — Brooks Houck, the man facing charges in the disappearance and death of his girlfriend, Crystal Rogers, was due in court on Thursday. According to WDRB, it was a busy day in court.
Rogers was last seen on July 3, 2015. The next day, her car was found on the side of Bluegrass Parkway with her purse, phone, and keys still inside. But there was no sign of the mother of five for eight years.
Houck is the second person arrested in Rogers’ disappearance. Nelson County resident Joseph L. Lawson pleaded not guilty last month to conspiracy to commit murder in Rogers’ case. The Lawson indictment, which does not mention Rogers by name, says the crime was committed in Nelson County on July 3 and/or July 4, 2015, when Lawson “agreed to aid one or more persons in the planning or commission of the crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit the crime when he, and/or, a co-conspirator intentionally caused the death of another.” The maximum sentence for the conspiracy charge is 10 to 20 years in prison.
Houck was indicted less than two weeks after Lawson, on Sept. 20, and the indictment was unsealed a week later, revealing that Houck was facing murder and tampering with evidence charges “stemming from the Crystal Rogers investigation.” He appeared virtually in court, according to WDRB, and entered a not-guilty plea. This comes just days after he filed a motion for his $10 million bond to be reduced. Court documents claim this amount was “excessive, punitive, and serves no purpose other than to punish Mr. Houck by keeping him incarcerated while this is pending.”
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It’s unclear at this time if Houck’s motion will be granted.
During the arraignment, WDRB reported that special prosecutor Shane Young claimed that the investigation into the death of Crystal Rogers is also an investigation into the death of her father, Tommy Ballard.
Less than 18 months after Rogers went missing, Ballard was shot and killed in November 2016 while hunting with his grandson on family property in Nelson County. Ballard’s death was listed on the FBI’s most wanted list in 2023, alongside his daughter’s. Young believes that the two may be connected, WDRB reported, after he was assigned to three Bardstown cold cases in January.
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“We are investigating the murder of Tommy Ballard, that could potentially be related,” he said during the hearing. “We are waiting for testing to come back on the gun that we believe was used to murder Tommy Ballard.”
Young told Judge Charles Simms III that, during the state’s investigation, a rifle was purchased from Nick Houck, Brook’s brother, by someone using a fake name. Young said it’s the same caliber as the gun used in Ballard’s death and matches four of the five criteria they were looking at in comparison.
According to WDRB, Simms said they will take the issue under submission, and the FBI is still awaiting test results in its investigation of Ballard’s death.