Nearly eight years after he was named the suspect in his girlfriend’s disappearance, Brooks Houck has been arrested and charged with her murder, according to court records.
Houck, a 41-year-old Bardstown resident, has long been at the center of the investigation into Crystal Rogers’ disappearance. Rogers was a 35-year-old mother of five children. Houck was named the sole suspect by former Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly in October 2015, when she first disappeared, according to the Nelson County Gazette, and has been publicly accused by Rogers’ family. Houck previously maintained his innocence.
He was not charged with any crimes relating to Rogers’ disappearance until Wednesday, when he was arrested on an indictment that accuses him of acting alone or in complicity with someone else to kill Rogers. He faces charges of murder and evidence tampering.
Houck has only once before faced felony charges in Kentucky, according to court records. He was charged in 2018 with eight counts of theft but was later acquitted in a jury trial in Nelson County. WDRB in Louisville reported that Houck had been accused of stealing roof shingles from a local Lowe’s.
Here’s what we know about Houck and his involvement in the case.
How did Brooks Houck know Crystal Rogers?
Houck and Rogers were dating at the time of Rogers’ disappearance, according to her family. They had a child together who was raised by Houck after Rogers’ disappearance, according to the family.
Investigators said they believed Houck was the last person to see Rogers alive, on July 3 or July 4, 2015. She was reported missing by her mother July 5, 2015.
How has Brooks Houck responded to the investigation?
Houck has made few public statements about the investigation into Rogers’ disappearance, but he appeared on Nancy Grace’s TV show shortly after Rogers went missing to defend himself. He said when he went to bed the night Rogers went missing, and she was playing games on her phone. He said she was missing when he woke up the next morning.
He said he was not alarmed by her being gone, adding that they had a “stressed” relationship and Rogers sometimes left home to stay with a family member.
Accused of not participating enough in the search effort for Rogers, Houck said he had been working with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police to help find Rogers. But he didn’t provide specifics on how he helped, aside from cooperating with law enforcement.
“I am 100% completely innocent in this,” Houck told Grace.
What have officials done to investigate Houck?
Houck — and his family — have been the focal point of several searches conducted by state and federal law enforcement. Houck’s brother, Nick Houck, was fired from the Bardstown Police Department for interfering with the investigation. He was also served a search warrant as part of the case.
After years of work from the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office on the case, the FBI became the lead investigative agency in 2020. The bureau opened its investigation by sending more than 150 state and federal officers into Bardstown to execute nine search warrants.
The search warrants pertained to three properties belonging to the Houck family. Law enforcement was authorized to search Brooks Houck’s home, his brother Nick’s home and a family farm.
Media reports from the scenes of those searches indicated officers took guns, documents and filing cabinets from a property owned by Houck.
The FBI also conducted searches at a subdivision in Bardstown where a company owned by Brooks Houck built more than a dozen homes.
What is Houck accused of doing?
A grand jury charges Houck, “acting alone or in complicity with another, committed the offense of murder by intentionally or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life wantonly causing the death of Crystal Rogers,” according to his indictment.
Houck is also accused of tampering with evidence in the case. He’s one of two people facing charges in connection to Rogers’ death.