Nelson County man charged in connection to 2015 disappearance of Crystal Rogers


32-year-old Joseph L. Lawson pleaded not guilty to charges

NELSON COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) — A Nelson County man has been charged in connection to the death of Crystal Rogers.


WDRB reports 32-year-old Joseph L. Lawson pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of criminal conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Crystal Rogers — a 35-year-old mother of five — was reported missing on July 5, 2015. Her body was never found.

WDRB reports that the indictment — which does not mention Rogers by name — says the crime was committed in Nelson County on July 3 and/or July 4, 2015.

The indictment says Lawson “agreed to aid one or more persons in the planning or commission of the crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit the crime when he, and/or, a co-conspirator intentionally caused the death of another.”

Lawson’s bond was set at $500,000 cash.

Brooks Houck, Rogers’ boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, has not been charged. Houck is reportedly the last person to see Rogers alive and was named a suspect in the case by the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office after she went missing.

Over the years, the Houck family farm, the homes of Brooks Houck and his brother, Nick, have been searched multiple times — most recently over a five-day stretch in 2022. In 2021, the driveway of a home built by Houck was ripped up by the FBI.

On July 4th, 2015, police found Rogers’ keys, cellphone and purse inside her abandoned Chevrolet Impala on the Bluegrass Parkway.

More than a year later, Rogers’ father, Tommy Ballard, was shot and killed while hunting on his own property. The FBI is still investing that case as well.

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