Suspect in disappearance of Crystal Rogers arrested

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The man who early on was considered the chief suspect in the disappearance of Crystal Rogers, the Bardstown woman who went missing in 2015, was arrested Wednesday morning on charges related to the incident, the FBI announced.

Brooks Houck, the boyfriend of Rogers, whose property has been searched several times over the past eight years by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, was taken into custody following a sealed indictment that was returned by a Nelson County grand jury.

After Houcks’ arrest, the FBI Louisville office released the following statement:

Email newsletter signup

“In coordination with the Kentucky State Police and other local and federal law enforcement partners, FBI Louisville has been laser-focused on our commitment to hold accountable those that were responsible for the disappearance of Crystal Rogers.  Today, we take the first step in making good on that promise. FBI Louisville and the Kentucky State Police have arrested Brooks Houck without incident on charges stemming from the Crystal Rogers investigation. The Houck indictment remains sealed and additional details will be revealed during Houck’s arraignment in early October in the Nelson County Circuit Court.”

Earlier this month, 32-year-old Joseph Lawson was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with physical evidence. He was named in sealed indictments handed down by the Nelson County grand jury in June and July but wasn’t arraigned until early September since he was in the hospital after the indictments were returned.

Lawson is not charged with Rogers’ murder itself, but the conspiracy charge means prosecutors believe he was involved in some fashion with whoever killed Rogers.

Lawson pleaded not guilty during his Nelson Circuit Court arraignment, and his bond was set at $500,000. His next court appearance is a pre-trial conference scheduled for Oct. 26.

Rogers disappeared on July 3, 2015, from the home she was sharing with Houck, the couple’s two-year-old son and her other children.

Houck, who was the last person to see her alive, told authorities that Rogers was playing a game on her phone when he went to bed, and when he got up the next morning, both she and her car were gone. Her car was found on the shoulder of the Bluegrass Parkway on July 5 with her purse, keys and cell phone inside.  Rogers’ body has never been found, and she has long been presumed dead.