This week’s photo shows one of the prettiest sights a whisky lover will ever see - Bourbon being dumped from the barrel after years of maturation. Shot this during a 2008 visit to Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky.
Crystal Rogers (35) was last seen on July 3, 2015, by her boyfriend Brooks Houck. He claims that when he went to bed that night in their Bardstown, Kentucky home, she was still up, and that when he woke up the next morning she was gone. Brooks said he wasn’t too concerned, because Crystal had a tendency to spend the night out with friends or at her cousin’s place.
Two days later, Crystal’s car was found abandoned with a flat tire in the Bluegrass Parkway. Her purse, phone and keys were found inside, and there weren’t any signs of foul play. Crystal was reported missing then, and police started investigating Brooks, who is pictured in the first photo with Crystal and their son.
Brooks gave confusing statements and timelines, but it’s clear that on July 3, he and Crystal went to a farm that Brook’s family owns to feed the livestock. He’d said they’d headed home after and he’d last seen Crystal around 11:00 pm. However, surveillance footage from the farm showed the couple arriving together but only Brooks leaving, at around midnight. Police also found evidence that Brooks had burned something that night; he claimed it was trash.
During a police interview on July 8, Brooks received a phone call from his brother Nick, who turns out was a police officer. He apparently was calling to alert him the investigation was starting to focus on him. That same day, the two brothers were seen going to the farm and stayed there for a couple of hours, but when asked about it later both claimed not to remember what they were doing. Nick Houck was eventually fired from the force for interering with the investigation and allegedly failing a polygraph. In one interrogation, the detective in charge asked him about some body fluids that had been found in the trunk of his car, but it’s unclear what came out of that.
Basically, police believe that Brooks killed Crystal that July 3 night, and that his brother helped him get rid of the body and cover up the crime. None of them have been charged so far, but police has kept searching for evidence.
Crystal’s parents, Sherry and Tommy Ballard (second picture), have been tireless in their search for justice for her daughter, even putting up signs all over town that say “Solve this Murder” and directly accusing Brooks of her disappearance.
But the case still has a tragic twist ahead.
On November 19, 2016, Tommy Ballard (54) was preparing to go hunting with his 12 year old grandson when he was shot once in the chest and killed. According to what was initially reported, they were in Tommy’s property and the boy had gone back to the car to get something when his grandfather was shot. Tommy’s rifle wasn’t used. In case you’re wondering, the boy was cleared as a suspect.
Police has remained very quiet about this murder, but it’s been treated from the first day as “suspicious”. Tommy’s death not only connects to the disappearance of her daughter, but also to a disturbing streak of unsolved murders in Bardstown. In May 2013, police officer Jason Ellis (33) was shot and killed while picking up tree branches that had been left in an exit ramp, apparently on purpose to make him stop. Then, in April 2014, teacher Kathy Netherland and her teenager daughter Samantha were found murdered inside their home; the first had been beaten to death and the second had her throat slashed.
That’s not to say all these cases are linked, but it seems like they have been very tragic years for a small, quiet town. And like them, Crystal’s case is also still unsolved, although with such a clear suspect there’s hope some resolution will come soon.
This man is stacking barrels of aging Bourbon at Heaven Distillery in Bardstown, KY, one of eight distilleries on the Bourbon Trail which intersects with the Lincoln Heritage scenic Highway. Bourbon is an American Whiskey.
Queer Women and Coffee is a twice-per-month meet-up for queer-women-identifying individuals. This is a great way to meet new people, connect with like-minded people, and relax in some solidarity in a safe, friendly space.
DATE: Sunday, January 29th, 2017 TIME: 8 PM EST to 10 PM EST LOCATION: Highland Coffee (1140 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204)
Let me know if you have any questions. See you there! Spread the word if you’re an ally!
Jones’ Kentucky Home Restaurant & General Nelson Motel - Bardstown, Kentucky
Bardstown, Kentucky 40004 On U.S. 62 West - One Block off 31-E The GENERAL NELSON MOTEL 39 deluxe units, TV, phones See: MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME, famous distilleries - THE STEPHEN FOSTER STORY, St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral A Quality Motel