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Missing woman last known to have been with boyfriend

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By Randy Patrick

Law enforcement officers were still searching Tuesday for a missing Bardstown woman, using bloodhounds and a helicopter to comb the fields near where her car was found Sunday on the Bluegrass Parkway.

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“We’re just about to the point where we’ve checked everything we can check unless something comes in,” Sheriff Ed Mattingly said Tuesday morning.

He said police have received somewhere between 50 and 100 calls about the case from people who think they could have seen or heard something, but not many of them seem substantive.

Crystal Rogers, 35, was reported missing around 3 p.m. Sunday by a family member, and another relative later found her car on the Bluegrass Parkway, Mattingly told reporters at a press conference Monday while surrounded by members of Rogers’ family.

The mother of five, Mattingly said, was last seen Friday night with her boyfriend, Brooks Houck, with whom she has a 2-year-old son, Eli.

The sheriff said Houck has been helpful.

“I want everyone to know he has been completely cooperative with this investigation and has tried to assist us in any way that he can,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly said Tuesday Rogers is still married to her estranged husband, Keith Rogers, who is the father of some of her children, but they are legally separated. He, too, has been interviewed and has been cooperative, he said.

The last time officers know for sure that Rogers was seen was Friday evening, when she was with Houck and their son, Eli, on a family farm, Mattingly said. He doesn’t know if anyone involved with the investigation saw Houck before Sunday when Rogers was reported missing.

The couple lived in the Creek Chase neighborhood off Glenview Drive with their son and other children, according to relatives.

Rogers’ parents, Tommy and Sherry Ballard, and grandmother, Cil Bryan, spoke with reporters outside the Sheriff’s Office after the press conference Monday.

Sherry Ballard told reporters she didn’t trust Houck. She said she had seen him Sunday when she went to report her daughter missing. She asked if he had seen Rogers, and whether the two of them had been “in a fight.” He answered no, she said.

“I told him ‘I’m going to the Police Department to report her missing,’ and he said, ‘That’s what you should do.’ ” Sherry Ballard recalled.

“She would not have got up and left and disappeared and not called anybody. That’s not her,” Sherry Ballard said. “She would not have left her baby at home.”

Mattingly said Tuesday the family seems to be doing its own investigation, and it’s clear they don’t like Houck.

“We don’t have a reason to suspect him any more than anybody else,” Mattingly said. “The family thinks he did it, but we don’t have any proof.”

Mattingly said Rogers didn’t have an emergency protective order or domestic violence order against Houck or her husband.

Mattingly said Monday Houck offered to come to the press conference, but he didn’t want him there because “I did not want to have any controversy here in this office.”

“A lot of times when you get into personal relationships, one side of the family might not like the other side of the family, and as police officers, we have to work with everyone. And the only way to ever arrive at the truth is being respectful and non-accusatory …” Mattingly said.

“We do not have a suspect,” the sheriff emphasized.

Several agencies, including the Bardstown Police Department, Kentucky State Police and Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force have been involved in the investigation, and family members and others have been searching the area along the Bluegrass Parkway where the car was found.

The car, a maroon Chevrolet Impala, was found with a flat tire near the 14 mile marker on the westbound side. The keys were still in it, as were Rogers’ purse and cell phone, Mattingly said. It was unlocked, and there was no sign of a struggle having occurred around the vehicle.

The sheriff said personnel from the Kentucky State Police crime lab and the Bardstown Police Department were “processing the vehicle at an undisclosed location.”

Mattingly asked those with information that might help solve the case to come forward. They may call the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office at (502) 348-3211 or (502) 348-1840.

“Somebody saw something somewhere that will get us going in the right direction,” he said.

The family is offering a $40,000 cash reward for information leading to the discovery of his daughter.

Tom Roby of the Bardstown Police Department, whose wife, Barbara Roby, is Crystal Rogers’ aunt, was the designated spokesman for the family at the press conference.

Roby thanked those who had offered their prayers and support for Crystal Rogers.

He asked that anyone who saw or heard anything, no matter how insignificant it might seem to them, should share it because it could prove to be important.

“Also, if Crystal can hear our voice, please let us know where you’re at — contact us,” he said.

Rogers stands about five feet, nine inches tall, weighs 150 pounds and has shoulder-length blond hair.

Roby said after the press conference this is the second time the family has been involved in a missing person case, and the memory of the first one is making this one harder.

In 1979, Tommy Ballard’s sister, Sherry Ballard Barnes, went missing and was later found murdered.

Ballard’s brother, Mike Ballard, said he hopes this case doesn’t turn out to be a homicide, but “it doesn’t look good.”

Mattingly said, however, he thinks there is a good possibility Rogers is alive.