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Man Charged in Crystal Rogers' Murder May Also Be Tied to Fatal Shooting of Her Father, Prosecutors Say
As Brooks Houck pleaded not guilty to Rogers' murder, prosecutor Shane Young told the judge that he's waiting for test results on a gun that he believes was used to kill Rogers' dad, Tommy Ballard.
The boyfriend of long-missing Kentucky mom Crystal Rogers — who was charged last month with her murder — is also being eyed in connection with the fatal shooting of her father, according to prosecutors in the case.
As Brooks Houck pleaded not guilty to Rogers' murder in court Thursday, prosecutor Shane Young told the judge that he's waiting for test results on a gun that he believes was used to kill Rogers' dad, Tommy Ballard, according to Louisville station WLKY.
The weapon was allegedly purchased by investigators from Nicholas Houck, who is the suspect's brother and a former Bardstown cop who was let go three months after Rogers disappeared in 2015 for meddling in the case, the station reported.
Young referred in court to the gun in question as "a firearm that we purchased from Nicholas Houck, who was using a fake name when he sold the rifle," WLKY reported. "We know it's the same caliber. There's five criteria they're looking at, and so far, it's matched four of the five criteria."
Who is Crystal Rogers?
Rogers, a mother of five from Bardstown, Kentucky, was 35 when she vanished. Houck, who was Rogers' boyfriend at the time and the father of her youngest child, was among the last people to see her on July 3, 2015, the last time anyone heard from her. She is presumed to be dead.
What was Brooks Houck charged with in connection to Crystal Rogers' disappearance?
Houck, 41, was arrested by Kentucky State Police on September 27 — more than eight years after his girlfriend went missing. He was charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in Rogers' death. Neither he, nor his brother Nicholas, are currently charged with the murder of Ballard, Rogers' father.
"In coordination with the Kentucky State Police, other local and federal law enforcement partners, FBI Louisville has been laser-focused on our commitment to hold accountable those that were responsible for the disappearance of Crystal Rogers," the FBI's Louisville field division stated on September 27. "Today, we take the first step in making good on that promise. FBI Louisville and the Kentucky State Police have arrested Brooks Houck without incident on charges stemming from the Crystal Rogers investigation."
Another suspect has also been charged in Crystal Rogers' death
Houck was identified as a suspect in his girlfriend's disappearance — which was the center of the five-episode Oxygen series, The Disappearance of Crystal Rogers — by authorities as early as October 2015. His arrest came just under three weeks after Joseph L. Lawson was arrested by the FBI and charged with criminal conspiracy to commit murder and complicity in tampering with physical evidence. The court entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Lawson.
Rogers' mother reported her missing on July 5, 2015, according to the FBI's Louisville division, which took over as the lead investigative agency in the case in 2020, working alongside federal, state, and local authorities.
On the same day Rogers was reported missing, her red Chevrolet Impala was located with a flat tire on the Bluegrass Parkway in Kentucky. Her keys, phone, and purse were left inside the car.
"Sadly, while most families were enjoying the Fourth of July celebrations over that weekend, Crystal’s family was instead left wondering as to her whereabouts," FBI Louisville stated in 2020.
A year and four months after Rogers vanished, Ballard, her dad, was killed. "Ballard was preparing for a hunting trip with his 12-year-old grandson on family property next to Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown, Kentucky," according to the FBI. "An unknown subject fired one shot and hit Ballard in the chest and instantly killed him."
After his daughter went missing, Ballard had organized a group of community members in Bardstown to work to help bring Rogers home. A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered by the FBI for info leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Ballard's murder.