NELSON COUNTY, Ky. — Bardstown mother Crystal Rogers has been missing for five years. Family and friends of the 35-year-old last seen alive on Fourth of July weekend in 2015 have been searching, praying and fighting for answers ever since.
July 3, 2015 - The last day Rogers was seen
Rogers was last seen alive on July 3, 2015. Her cousin said she saw Rogers walking out of Walmart earlier in the day. Rogers' ex-husband said she dropped off two of their children at his house.
Then, family members said Rogers had a "date night" with boyfriend Brooks Houck. Houck told police they were at his mom's farm, feeding the cows. When they returned home, Houck said Rogers stayed up while he went to bed.
"So you go to bed, she stays up," a detective says during an interview with Houck. "What's she doing?"
"She's just on her phone, playing, I don't know what game, but she normally plays a game," Houck said.
July 4, 2015 - Police report filed
Houck told police Rogers was gone when he woke up the next day. In a police interview, Houck said the child he had with Rogers was in the bed with him. He said he and baby went to his mother's farm for the Fourth of July, telling police Rogers did not pick up when he called her.
When Rogers did not answer the phone, her mother Sherry Ballard said she began to worry. Ballard said family continued calling and started to looking for her around town.
Ballard decided there was reason to be concerned, filing a missing persons report with the Nelson County Sheriff's Office.
July 5, 2015 - Rogers' car found
Sunday, July 5 brought the first big development in Rogers' missing case. Someone spotted Rogers' maroon Chevy sedan on the side of the Bluegrass Parkway and called her dad, Tommy Ballard. Ballard went to the spot and found her keys, purse and uncharged cell phone inside the car.
Dozens of friends and family spent the rest of the day searching the highway and surrounding areas. Family said Houck never offered to help look for his missing girlfriend.
July 6, 2015 - Reward announced
Three days after Rogers was last seen alive, her family announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts. A search party compromised of volunteers continued looking for Rogers, using ATVs to access hard to reach areas. Still, no one was able to find anything.
July 7, 2015 - Police interview interrupted
Houck was first interviewed by police at the Nelson County Sheriff's Office. Jon Snow, lead detective on the case, asked Houck about the last few days he spent with Rogers. Houck described a disagreement they had about her children, but said it was not an argument.
The interview was interrupted by Houck's older brother, who was a Bardstown police officer at the time. Nick Houck told his younger brother he should leave the interview, which is exactly what Brooks Houck did.
July 10, 2015 - Searching Houck's property
The Nelson County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at the Houck family farm, saying that was the last place Rogers was said to be alive.
"This property is the last property she's been seen at as far as we've been told," Snow said.
Detectives would not say what they did or did not find on the property, but this would be the first of several searches on Houck-owned land.
July 15, 2015 - Nick Houck interviewed
Kentucky State Police detectives interviewed Nick Houck days later. Houck initially refused to sit down with investigators, but was ordered to do so by then-Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin.
The detectives told Nick Houck they found bodily fluids in the trunk of his vehicle, and he said he could not explain why.
For the next three months, Rogers' family continued to search and waited on word from police.
October 2015 - Brooks Houck named prime suspect
Local authorities dropped three major developments in the Rogers case in mid-October 2015. Then-Sheriff Ed Mattingly first announced Rogers was officially presumed dead.
"There's certain things that people do when they're on this earth and she has vanished from Earth," Mattingly said. "I think its safe to say that she's dead."
Then, Houck's brother was fired from the Bardstown Police Department for not only interfering with his brother's interview, but failing a polygraph.
"Nick injected himself if a way I didn't like," McCubbin said. "Ethics and integrity sometime are all we have, and I didn't think he displayed a good example of either."
Later that same day, Mattingly also declared he had his eye on one man in the case. He named Brooks Houck the "prime suspect" in Rogers' disappearance.
Still, Houck was not arrested and has never been charged.
December 2015 - Arrest made in connection to case
Danny Singleton, Houck's employee, was arrested in connection to the Rogers case in December 2015. The commonwealth's attorney said Singleton lied to a grand jury about his whereabouts during the time Rogers went missing.
Singleton was charged with perjury, but the charges were later amended to lesser charges of false swearing. He was sentence to a year in prison, but was released early and let off on probation.
Aug. 6, 2020 - FBI Louisville takes over case
There were no new developments in the case until nearly five years later. FBI Louisville announced it would be the lead investigative agency on the case, working with several state and federal partners.
Law enforcement began executing nine search warrants and conducting more than 50 interviews in Bardstown. WHAS11 crews have seen agents at the homes of both Brooks and Nick Houck.
This story will continue to be updated as more information is released.
More on Bardstown:
- Bardstown police officer's killer still unknown
- Police: Driver caught on surveillance was inside house during Netherland murders
- Crystal Rogers not first woman in her family to go missing
- 'She vanished from Earth': Investigating Crystal Rogers's disappearance
- Looking into Tommy Ballard's murder
- 'Somebody knows something’: Brooks Houck remains main suspect in Rogers’s case