Hey there, this is Micheal from the Unresolved Podcast.
Over the past few days I've received a lot of emails and messages very similar to the voicemail this caller left, so I thought that it would only be fair to give you all an update
In January and February of this year, 2016, I put out a couple of episodes set in the area of Bardstown, Kentucky. The story began with the mysterious murder of Officer Jason Ellis just off of the Bluegrass Parkway, but also included the seemingly-unrelated murder of Kathy Netherland and her teenage daughter Samantha as well as the disappearance of Crystal Rogers.
Crystal Rogers was a 35-year old mother of five, who disappeared after a night spent with her long-time boyfriend, Brooks Houck, in July of 2015. Brooks would plead ignorance, saying that Crystal had gone out without him while they were sleeping, but has long since been implicated in her disappearance.
Crystal Rogers, with her infant son and longtime boyfriend, Brooks Houck
Brooks Houck's brother, Nick, was a member of the Bardstown Police Department, who would later go on to become involved with the story when it became public knowledge that he had interfered with the investigation. What's even more concerning, is that Nick put up the same kind of defense his brother had, not remembering a single second of the time he had matter-of-factly spent with his brother in the preceding days.
In the months since I put out these Bardstown episodes, quite a bit has happened with the story, and the town of Bardstown itself. The area around the town has become plastered with signs forcing remembrance of Crystal's disappearance, or urging police to "solve these murders."
In April of this year, newly-elected city mayor John Royalty, who defeated incumbent Bill Sheckles in a 2014 election, caused quite a stir when he decided to entirely restructure Police Chief Rick McCubbin's staff. Royalty chose to demote two of McCubbin's officers and gave his own appointees the positions, without regard for McCubbin's opinion. Police Chief McCubbin, who was very vocal in the aftermath of Jason Ellis' murder, would announce his retirement just days later.
Royalty, much like his predecessor Bill Sheckles, has been mired in controversy. His decision to replace much of the Bardstown Police command structure with people perceived to be "friends" of his was just the start, as he would soon lock into a war-of-words with one of the local newspapers when they called him a "danger."
In August of this year, Nelson County Sheriffs began serving warrants on Nick Houck, the former-Bardstown police officer believed to be involved in the disappearance of his brother's girlfriend, Crystal Rogers. These warrants included a brief interview with Houck himself; interviews with Houck family relatives; and most noteworthy, a search of the Houck family farm, where Crystal was last seen alive.
Now, months after these warrants were served, Crystal's boyfriend Brooks Houck still hasn't been arrested. He has officially been named a suspect in her disappearance, and Nelson County sheriffs believe his brother Nick was involved in some capacity, but no official answers have been given.
That leads us to: this past Saturday, November 19th.
Tommy Ballard, the father of Crystal Rogers, had been one of the biggest proponents of her investigation. He had led many search parties, and in fact, was planning on leading one of the biggest yet in the coming weeks. Every time he would get a tip or hear a rumor regarding his daughter Crystal's fate, he would follow up on it, no matter where it took him.
On this morning, Tommy was out hunting with his son and his twelve-year-old grandson, on a Nelson County farm not far away from the Bluegrass Parkway, where Crystal's crimson Chevy Impala had been abandoned over a year beforehand.
At around eight o'clock that morning, Tommy Ballard was shot once in the chest, and the bullet would exit through his back. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and investigators have not revealed much information, but they have said they don't believe it was a simple hunting accident; nor do they believe that his son or grandson had anything to do with it.
As of this moment, they haven't revealed any real information or if they have any potential suspects, but have urged the public to come forward with any information they may have: if you may have driven down the Bluegrass Parkway at some point Saturday morning, and may have seen something suspicious, please contact the Kentucky State Police.
I'll be sure to keep you all informed, should anything come to light regarding this story, or others I have touched on in the past.
Until next time, everyone, stay safe. I'll talk to you later.
WDRB - "Investigators question whether Tommy Ballard's shooting death was an accident or murder"
LEX18 - "Bardstown Community Grieves Shooting Death Of Tommy Ballard"
WHAS 11 - "KSP continues investigation into Ballard's death; looking for info. from public"
WLKY - "Former Bardstown officer served warrant in connection with Crystal Rogers case"
WHAS 11 - "Police search Houck farm in Rogers case"
WLKY - "After Bardstown mayor restructures PD, sheriff pulls support of flex team"
WHAS 11 - "Bardstown mayor says he made a 'mistake' after police chief retires"
WDRB - "War of words in Bardstown between the mayor and the local paper"
WLKY - "Bardstown residents rally against mayor, call for his replacement"