Arrests Were Finally Made in Connection to the 2015 Disappearance of Crystal Rogers

A break in the Crystal Rogers case has finally happened. Three men have been arrested and charged with her murder.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jul. 3 2024, Published 6:44 p.m. ET

In July 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a missing persons poster for Crystal Rogers. According to the digital flyer, she was last seen July 3 and was reported missing by her mother two days later. Her abandoned car was found at mile marker 14 on the Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown, Ky. Inside the red Chevrolet Impala were Rogers's keys, purse, and phone. The mother of five was never seen nor heard from again. What happened to Crystal Rogers? Here's what we know.

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What happened to Crystal Rogers?

According to WHAS-11 News, Rogers was with her then-boyfriend Brooks Houck on his family farm when she disappeared. Five days after she vanished, Houck was interviewed by Nelson County Sheriff's Office Detective Jon Snow. While being interrogated, Houck called his friend Steve Lawson who would eventually be arrested. Houck's brother Nick, a Bardstown Police officer, was also questioned and told his sibling to stop talking. He did so immediately, thus ending the interview.

(L-R): Brooks Houck mug shot; Crystal Rogers smiles in front of a Makers Mark barrel
Source: YouTube/COURT TV (video still)

(L-R): Brooks Houck in his mug shot; Crystal Rogers

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Houck was questioned while Nick was immediately removed from the case, due to his familial involvement. When Nick was questioned by Kentucky State Police on July 15, he told them that for the most part his brother and Rogers were happy. The only disagreement he could recall was over the fact that Rogers felt like Houck treated the son they shared better than he did her other children. Other than that, they seemed happy. Nick then took and failed a polygraph test. This resulted in another round of questioning.

A little over three months after Rogers was reported missing, she was presumed dead by then-sheriff Ed Mattingly. At this point, police had zeroed in on Houck as their prime suspect and had fired Nick. Unfortunately the case stalled for about five years until the FBI got involved in August 2020. A search of both Houck and Nick's houses was conducted, as well as a storage unit belonging to Rogers. Over the course of a year, two more searches were done on a subdivision owned by Houck Rentals LLC and the Houck farm.

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An arrest was finally made in August 2023.

An incident that took place the same weekend that Rogers disappeared led authorities to a man named Joseph Lawson. He was arrested Aug. 15, 2023. His attorney confirmed that this was in relation to the disappearance of Crystal Rogers. Joseph happens to be the son of Steve Lawson, who Houck called the day he was questioned by police back in July 2015. Houck was consequently arrested in September 2023.

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On May 17, 2024, WHAS-11 reported that "new court documents filed in Nelson County Circuit Court on Thursday paint a picture of an alleged murder and cover-up after the disappearance of Crystal Rogers." It turns out the Lawsons are Houck's employees, which makes a phone call to one of them while being asked about a woman's disappearance very strange. Prosecutor Shane Young told the outlet, "All of the information gathered has repeatedly led investigators back to Brooks Houck."

In March 2024, Young filed a motion to try all three men together. A court date is tentatively scheduled for some time in February 2025, per WAVE 3.

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