Crystal Rogers, a 35-year-old mom of five kids — including a two-year-old boy with her boyfriend Brooks Houck — vanished from the home the couple shared in Bardstown, Kentucky, on July 3. On Saturday, July 18, with the missing mom gone for more than two weeks, her family put together a new search that brought together more than 100 people from several states to comb the area once more for any trace of Crystal.
But according to the missing woman’s family, Houck has not helped at all — and has proceeded with his daily life as if nothing is any different, accusations which Houck denies.
“He hasn’t participated with us at all,” said Crystal’s mom, Sherry Ballard. “If he truly loved my daughter, he would do anything to find her because we’re doing anything.”
She also accused Houck of having “no emotion” about Crystal’s disappearance. “It’s like nothing has changed for him,” she said.
“Him or none of his family has been out to find her,” said the missing woman’s father, Tommy Ballard, in a local TV interview. “We’re the ones who reported her missing.”
Houck, who was the last person known to see Crystal Rogers, and who has pleaded his innocence in the court of public opinion via the HLN Nancy Grace program, says he has explanations for all of that.
He went to bed around 11 p.m. that night, but Crystal stayed up, he has said. When he woke up, she was gone — but that wasn’t unusual, he said. He admits they had a troubled relationship and that she regularly spent nights out of their home, staying with family members. That’s why he wasn’t alarmed that she was gone.
Two days after her bizarre disappearance, her car, a 2007 maroon Chevy Impala, was found unlocked and abandoned on the Bluegrass Highway in Kentucky. The car had a flat tire and contained Crystal’s belongings — but not Crystal.
Houck told Nancy Grace that he has been working with Nelson County Sheriff’s Deputies “behind the scenes” to find the missing mother of his child. He also said that he has taken a polygraph test, but he acknowledged that the results did not show one way or another if he was telling the truth. But he insists that he is.
“I’m 100 percent completely innocent in this and I have exhausted my efforts with the law enforcement agencies to gather all the facts necessary to allow me to have a clean name again,” Houck told the HLN TV personality.
Whether or not Saturday’s search turned up any new clues has not yet been revealed. Police have not yet named any suspects or even persons of interest in the disappearance of Crystal Rogers. Officers executed a search warrant on July 10 on a ranch owned by Houck’s mother. But investigators have not said what they were searching for, or what, if anything, they found there.
UPDATE: Crystal Rogers’ family organized a new search this past weekend, July 26 and 26, but the mom of five remains missing. The family has created a reward fund, offering $70,000 for information that leads to the missing mom’s location.
Local businesses in the Bardstown area have organized a fundraising “challenge” in which business owners and employees agree to buy and wear — and post photos of themselves on social media wearing — a T-shirt with the slogan “Prayers for Crystal.”
The goal is to raise $100,000 in a trust fund for Crystal Rogers’ children. About $23,000 has been raised so far.
The case is eerily similar to the disappearance of Crystal’s own aunt, also from Bardstown — a city of about 12,000, 45 minutes southeast of Louisville — in 1979. Sherry Ballard Barnes, who was pregnant, was found dead three years later. Her estranged husband was later convicted of hiring a hit man to murder her, in a scheme to avoid child support payments.