Kentucky man arrested in cold case disappearance of Crystal Rogers

Posted at 11:22 AM, September 8, 2023

By: Audrey Fowler

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Court TV/Scripps News Lexington) — An arrest has been made in connection to the cold case disappearance of Crystal Rogers.

Till Ballard, Roger’s grandfather, confirmed to Scripps News Lexington that the FBI contacted relatives to let them know about the arrest of 32-year-old Joseph L. Lawson.

joseph lawson and crystal rogers combo image

(L) Joseph Lawson (Nelson County Detention Center), (R) Crystal Rogers (NamUS)

Lawson is charged with criminal conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Court documents show a plea of not guilty was entered on Sept. 7. A pre-trial conference was scheduled for Oct. 26.

Rogers was reported missing July 5, 2015. She was last seen at the home of her then-boyfriend, Brooks Houck.

Two days later, police found her keys, cell phone, and purse inside her abandoned Chevrolet Impala on the Bluegrass Parkway. Her mother, Sherry Ballard, believes the car, with a flat tire, was staged to throw off investigators.

Nobody has reportedly seen or heard from her since, and her body has not been found.

The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office named Houck a primary suspect in the case, but he was never charged.

16 months after Rogers vanished, her father, Tommy Ballard, was shot and killed by an unknown gunman while hunting on his own property.

Sherry Ballard said she believes her husband was killed because the person responsible knew they would never give up searching for Rogers.

In January of this year, Attorney General Daniel Cameron appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the deaths of Crystal Rogers and Tommy Ballard.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Lexington, an E.W. Scripps Company.