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Detectives say Brooks Houck killed Rogers

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Investigators say forensic evidence ties Nick Houck to cover up

By Forrest Berkshire, Editor

 

Brooks Houck confronted Crystal Rogers about her having an affair the night of July 3 while the two of them were at his family’s farm, Houck overreacted and killed her, and then called his brother to help dispose of the evidence.

That’s the theory Kentucky State Police detectives laid out to former Bardstown Police Officer Nick Houck near the end of a 104-minute interview on July 15, 10 days after the 35-year-old mother of five was reported missing by her family.

KSP detectives Jon Vaughn and Ryan Johnson both told Nick they did not believe his or his brother’s claims of coincidence and “amnesia” surrounding the days immediately following the report of Rogers missing.

The Kentucky Standard obtained video of the interviews of Nick Houck on July 15 and Brooks Houck on July 8 in response to an open records request filed with the city of Bardstown after Nick Houck was fired from the department Friday. To view more of the video and selected segments, click here.

“We all have times where something just happens,” Vaughn told Nick. “He probably found out that some other police officer or some other person in the town was cracking Crystal, and that very easily could happen … Your brother found out about it, confronted Crystal about it and when he did, he probably tried to maybe do something to her, as far as making her understand that wasn’t going to fly with him. And then after that point, maybe it went just a little bit too far.

“And when it went a little bit too far, he couldn’t turn back time. And when he couldn’t turn back time, who’s he going to reach out to, but the one person he trusts and knows that will help him out, and that would be you.”

The investigators told Nick they thought he was dragged into a cover-up by his brother, first only giving advice to Brooks.

But they said he later became more involved and used his police cruiser to move the body.

As evidence, investigators claimed the KSP forensics lab discovered bodily fluids on a blanket found in Nick’s police cruiser after it was seized by the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, which is conducting the investigation into Rogers’ disappearance.

The detectives said the lab used Luminol, a chemical used by forensics specialists to detect trace amounts of blood during investigations, on a blanket and trunk of the Bardstown Police cruiser.

“Why would your trunk look like a Smurf if they sprayed it? Why would it fluoresce?” Johnson asked Nick.

“It lit up like Chernobyl,” Vaughn added.

“I don’t have any idea,” Nick replied. “There shouldn’t be any bodily fluids in the trunk.”

Nick said he had placed the blanket in his cruiser when he was using it to protect furniture while he was moving into a new home, and had left it in his cruiser until he could return it.

Besides the questions about the blanket and alleged bodily fluids, investigators also questioned Nick at length about the night of July 8.

That was the same day a sheriff’s detective questioned Brooks, an interview that ended after Nick called his brother and warned him against speaking to Nelson County Sheriff’s Detective Jonathan Snow.

Shortly after Brooks’ interview with Snow ended, investigators said they had video evidence of Nick and Brooks arriving together at the family farm on Paschal Ballard Lane.

According to a clock on the wall of the interrogation room, Brooks left the interview at 7:10 p.m.

The two left the farm together around 11:22 p.m., police said.

“What we need to know is why you both went down to the farm,” Johnson said.

“I can’t remember,” Nick replied. He said at other times during the interview that he did not recall them meeting at the farm at all, and if they did, it was a coincidence.

At several points during the interview, the KSP detectives voiced their doubts about the veracity of Nick’s claims.

“Something … something’s just not adding up here,” Vaughn said. “One plus one always equals two.”

Throughout the interview, Nick maintained his own innocence and his brother’s. He also said several times that the two of them had not discussed Rogers’ disappearance at any length, and he had never asked Brooks if he killed Rogers.

“I’m not going to cover something like this up for him,” Nick said. “I’m just not that kind of guy. Furthermore, there’s no way he had anything to do with this. If something has happened to her, it wasn’t because of something he did.”

At the end of the interview, Nick agreed to take a polygraph test the following Monday (the interview was on a Wednesday). According to documents filed in Nick’s administrative hearing that led to his firing Friday, he later backed out of that agreement. Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin filed documents during the administrative hearing indicating Nick finally took the polygraph on July 24, and that the test indicated he was lying on several of his responses to the test.