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Mother Of Crystal Rogers Holds Rally in Fight For Right To Visit Grandson
Sherry Ballad has been trying for years to regain weekend visitation to her daughter's youngest son, who remains in the sole custody of Brooks Houck, his father and a suspect in his mother's 2015 disappearance.
The mother of Crystal Rogers is keeping up her fight to see her grandson, a month after being denied visitation rights by a Kentucky judge.
Sherry Ballard held a rally Saturday outside the Nelson County Justice Center in Bardstown, Kentucky that drew a crowd of around 100 supporters who lined the road carrying signs and chanting on behalf of the grandmother, Kentucky.com reports.
The grandson in question, the youngest of Rogers' five children, has been in the sole custody of his father Brooks Houck, who was Rogers' boyfriend when the 35-year-old went missing from her Bardstown home in July 2015. Her car was found on parked on the Bluegrass Parkway with a flat tire days later, with her car keys, purse and cell phone still inside it. While her body has never been found, investigators presume that she is dead.
No charges have been filed in the case, but Houck has been identified by authorities as a suspect, local outlet WHAS11 reported in 2019. He has vehemently denied having anything to do with Rogers' disappearance.
Houck has had full custody of his son with Rogers for the past two years, when a judge overturned Ballard's alternate weekend visitation rights. She's been trying to get those rights restored since.
“I want visitation of my grandson,” Ballard said during the rally, Kentucky.com reports.
One woman even drove six hours to support her.
“How much can one person endure, and why should they have to?” Sherry Bradley, who lives in Michigan, told Kentucky.com.
Ballard told Oxygen.com Monday over Facebook Messenger that she had "a lot of support," and even passers by "were honking their horns and waving at us."
"I just pray this will bring awareness to how [I] have been treated and how very wrong the courts are treating my grandson," she wrote.
In the most recent ruling in late February, Nelson County Judge Stephen Hayden again denied Ballard the right to visit her grandson, citing animosity between families that could pose a significant risk of emotional harm to the child.
Ballard told Oxygen.com earlier this month that the decision was based on a claim made by Houck’s camp that the child once heard something negative being said about Houck while visiting Ballard. The boy allegedly asked his father, "What did you do to my mommy?" and added that "Everyone wants to know.'"
Ballard denied the allegation and said she'd always been careful not to disparage Houck in front of the boy.
“I feel discriminated against,” Ballard said. “They can’t hold it against me that my daughter was murdered and just assume that I’m going to speak badly of the father. They’ve denied me visitation for the last two years based on something that didn’t happen and I didn’t get to defend myself."
Ballard, who said she hasn’t seen her grandson in two years, minus one chance run-in at the local Walmart, told Oxygen.com that she's "never denied the animosity but I know people who go through a divorce and they still get to see their children. I know I'm not the mother, but the mother’s not here and the father’s the number one suspect.”
The investigation into Rogers' disappearance and presumed death is still ongoing. In the summer, the FBI took over the case from the local police and has been analyzing evidence and conducting dozens of interviews as well as searching homes, including Houck's. Agents were spotted carrying numerous boxes out of his home following his home search. Earlier this month, the FBI said they are close to wrapping up their investigation, local outlet WDRB reported.
For more on this case, watch Oxygen’s “The Disappearance of Crystal Rogers."