On Thursday, the FBI announced they were taking over the investigation into the disappearance of Crystal Rogers and would be dedicating over 150 law enforcement officers to the case. Rogers has been missing for over five years.
According to WHAS11, the FBI has compiled a task force of several state and federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Kentucky State Police, and the United States Attorney’s Office (WDKY). The announcement comes two weeks after the FBI was called in to collect suspected human remains. The team is reportedly executing nine federal search warrants and plans to interview more than 50 people, and are currently at a house owned by Brooks Houck, Rogers’ boyfriend at the time of her disappearance and the father of her son, Eli.
Rogers went missing from Bardstown, Kentucky, about 40 miles southeast of Louisville, on July 3, 2015. The 35-year-old mother of five was reported missing two days later by her mother, Sherry Ballard. U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman says he is determined to bring justice to Rogers' unsolved missing person case by any means. “I have committed, publicly and privately, that delivering long-sought justice in Nelson County is the highest priority case of the United States Attorney’s Office,” Coleman said, according to WHAS11. “Today’s efforts by our stalwart FBI, IRS, and KSP partners is a major step in honoring that promise.”
Remains that were suspected to be tied to the Rogers case were found a week ago in a rural area near the border of Nelson and Washington counties (Bardstown is in Nelson County). They were sent to the FBI's lab in Quantico, Virginia for testing and shortly after they were discovered. Although Rogers’ family was notified, it is unclear if the remains belonged to her.
Rogers’ family told local media that they have felt out of the loop since being notified that remains had been discovered. "It's been a week since remains were found, and we have no new news," the family said in a statement to WHAS11 last week. "But we are appreciative that law enforcement are taking their time in this manner."
But many large questions remain unanswered since Crystal Rogers disappeared five years ago. According to a website that has been set up so the investigative team can share updates with the community, Rogers’ maroon Chevy Impala was found abandoned at mile marker 14 on the Bluegrass Pkwy, a road that runs along the southeast edge of the town. The car had a flat tire and Rogers’ keys, purse, and phone were still inside. At the time of her disappearance, Rogers was living with Houck, who admitted to getting into an argument with her the night she went missing.
Last summer, on the four year anniversary of Rogers’ disappearance, more than 75 signs appeared all over Nelson County that said things like, “Brooks Houck is The ONLY Suspect In the Disappearance of Crystal Rogers” and “Nick failed a polygraph.” (Nick Houck is the younger brother of Brooks and was a second patrolman with the Bardstown police; he was fired from the Bardstown Police Department the day Brooks Houck was named the main suspect in Rogers’s disappearance in October 2015).
The signs were the work of an anonymous group who wanted to make sure Rogers wasn’t forgotten. "We still don't have justice,” a spokesperson for the group told WDRB at the time. "And we need to keep them in the public eye until we do." Rogers’ mother said at the time that she appreciated the signs. "Brooks Houck was named the No. 1 suspect in my daughter's disappearance," she told WDRB. "And it makes me feel good to think people out there think the same thing that I do."
As of last summer, only one person had been indicted in connection to Rogers’ disappearance — Danny Singleton, an employee of Houck’s, who WHAS11 reports was indicted on 38 counts of perjury and pleaded guilty to charges of false swearing after he lied about where he had been when Rogers disappeared.
“I think Brooks murdered my daughter. I've never made that a secret,” Sherry Ballard told WHAS11 last year. “I think my husband's is related. I won't accuse anybody of his death, but I think it is related. Someone wanted my husband out of the way. They knew he was never going to give up searching for my daughter and I think they just want him out of the way.”
“My mom is a very special [woman]. The memory that will forever be in my heart is going to DQ and buying my momma lunch,” Rogers’ daughter, K., said in a statement on the website dedicated to her mother’s case. “Since my mom’s been missing, life has been really hard. I always wonder what my life would be like if she and my papaw was still here.”