Ex boyfriend arrested in case of Crystal Rogers, Kentucky mom who disappeared in 2015

Brooks Houck, right, is seen talking with federal agents at his Glenview Drive residence in Bardstown, Ky. Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.
Brooks Houck, right, is seen talking with federal agents at his Glenview Drive residence in Bardstown, Ky. Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.

Federal agents on Wednesday arrested the former boyfriend of a Kentucky mother of five who vanished nearly a decade ago on charges including murder.

Brooks William Houck is also charged with tampering with physical evidence in connection to the July 2015 death of Crystal Rogers, according to a one-page indictment obtained by USA TODAY.

Rogers − a mother of five from Bardstown, located 40 miles southeast of Louisville − disappeared July 3, 2015. Her body has never been recovered.

A Nelson County grand jury indicted Houck, 41, on the felony charges Sept. 20, court papers show.

According to the indictment, unsealed by a circuit court judge Wednesday, Houck is accused of killing Rogers on July 3 or July 4 of 2015.

The indictment does not provide additional specifics about the woman's slaying including how she died or where she was killed. It also does not detail how Houck allegedly tampered with evidence in the case.

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Where was Houck arrested?

Timothy Beam, a Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson based in Louisville, told USA TODAY Houck was arrested Wednesday morning in the city of Bardstown.

According to the FBI, he was arrested without incident "at a worksite."

Houck is being housed at the Nelson County Jail on a $10 million cash bond, Beam said, and was ordered by a judge to not have contact with Rogers' family.

Online court records show Houck is slated to be arraigned on both charges on Oct. 5.

It was not immediately known if Houck had obtained an attorney.

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Who is Crystal Rogers?

Rogers, a 35-year-old mother of five from Bardstown who shared a child with Houck, was reported missing by her mother on July 3, 2015.

A few days later, her car was found abandoned on Bluegrass Parkway with her keys, phone and purse still inside, according to the Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network.

"Crystal was a very good girl. She was a very good daughter," her mother, Sherry Ballard, previously told The Courier Journal. "She was nice to everyone she met. She even let a friend stay with her because (the friend) didn't have a place to go. That's the type of person she was."

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Who is Brooks Houck?

Early in the investigation, Houck was identified as an initial suspect. He has denied involvement with Rogers' disappearance.

Rogers' boyfriend at the time, Houck told police he last saw Rogers alive when they visited his family's farm the night before she disappeared.

His brother, Nick Houck, was a police officer with Bardstown Police at the time of Rogers' disappearance and was fired for interfering in the investigation.

The mayor of Bardstown said Nick Houck phoned his brother when he knew Brooks was being interviewed by detectives, warning that his brother "should protect himself," and that investigators "might be trying to trip him up," the Kentucky Standard reported in 2015.

In 2019, a home being built by Brooks Houck was burned down in what city officials said was an arson case.

Properties owned by Houck family searched by FBI

FBI agents, who took over the disappearance case in 2020, have conducted multiple searches in and near Bardstown since Rogers went missing.

More than 150 federal agents served search warrants in August 2020 at three sites owned by Houck and his family.

Over the past eight years, the Bardstown farm where Rogers was last seen was a focal point of the investigation, with the most recent search conducted in late 2022. The land sits on 30 acres and is owned by the Houck's mother.

In August 2021, agents searched a subdivision where Houck owns properties. Agents reportedly were using a cadaver dog to search the subdivision and a Courier Journal photographer saw investigators using a jackhammer on the driveway of a home. The driveway was reportedly dug up, as agents appeared to be zeroed in on the location. Large chunks of the driveway were hauled out of the neighborhood in construction trucks.

On Sept. 7, 2021, the FBI announced that the search in Bardstown ended, with several "items of interest" sent to a lab in Virginia for testing.

No other information has been released on the evidence collected from these searches.

Who else has been arrested in connection to Rogers' case?

Houck's arrest Wednesday marked the second arrest in connection to the case.

Earlier this month, Joseph Lawson was arrested in Nelson County and charged with conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the case.

Lawson's name had not surfaced publicly in the investigation before his arrest.

Anyone with information about the case can visit or call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI,

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Crystal Rogers investigation: Boyfriend Brooks Houck arrested by FBI