Brooks Houck is a businessman who is also the former boyfriend and main suspect in the disappearance of Crystal Rogers, a 35-year-old mother of five who went missing under suspicious circumstances on July 3, 2015.
There are multiple people around Houck who have been implicated in her disappearance and Houck has also been accused of theft, for which he was acquitted.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Houck Runs A Rental Business
Some of those properties Houck sold represented properties he had owned for many years, some as far back as 2005. Houck has been in the rental and real estate development business in Nelson County since the mid-2000s, and his business Houck Rentals was formed in May 2007.
— Spalding ⚽ (@spaldinghurst) September 8, 2018
Houck runs Houck Rentals, a business involving real estate holdings of more than 130 parcels in 2018, the Kentucky Standard reported. According to WDRB, he owns 129 properties and 11 houses. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the company has four employees and made nearly $330,000 in sales.
In 2018, he sold 24 properties that he called old and depreciated for more than $1.8 million, the Kentucky Standard reported. However, he described his business as “thriving” and reportedly planned to replace his older property with new properties.
In 2019, a partially-built home on Wheeling Avenue was destroyed in a fire and according to what Fire Chief Billy Mattingly told the Lexington Herald-Leader, the fire was being investigated as arson.
2. Houck’s Home Was Raided By the FBI
Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa told WHAS-11 that Houck is the main suspect in the case of Rogers’ disappearance, even though he was never charged.
Houck told police that the last time they talked, he and Rogers got into an argument over “how he treated her children,” but he said that she was still at home when he went to bed, according to WHAS-11. He said that Rogers was on her phone when he went to sleep and gone when he woke up.
However, Rogers’ mother, Sherry Ballard doesn’t believe him.
Ballard told WDRB that she believes that Houck is guilty of something and that her daughter “got mixed up with the wrong person” when she started dating him. “He’s very deceiving,” she said. “When you first meet him, everyone just thinks he’s the perfect gentleman. But when you really get to know him? You don’t know what kind of monsters live there.”
Several people around Houck, including two relatives and one employee, have also been implicated in the case. According to WKLY, one of Houck’s employees, Danny Singleton, pleaded guilty to false swearing after he initially faced 38 counts of perjury for lying to detectives. Houck’s grandmother, Anna Whitesides, was also implicated when she invoked her Fifth Amendment right when called to testify in court; the station reported that whoever was responsible for her disappearance used Whitesides’ car to move Rogers’ body.
On August 6, the same day that the FBI announced its was taking over Rogers’ case, Brooks and his brother Nicks’ homes were raided.
Witnesses also said they heard loud noises at Brooks Houck’s residents and watched agents leaving with manila envelopes, the Kentucky Standard reported. Houck, who started mowing the lawn after agents left his home, has raised some eyebrows.
— Travis Ragsdale (@TravisRagsdale) August 6, 2020
3. Houck’s Brother Was Fired From the Bardstown Police Department
And @WHAS11Hasch is at Nick Houck’s home where federal search warrants are also being served this morning. FBI said they aren’t doing any on camera things just yet. Did confirm federal warrants being served at both locations. #Bardstown #CrystalRogers https://t.co/dguQlsLZxp pic.twitter.com/NJz6DIetlQ
— 😷 Hayley Minogue (@HayleyMinogueTV) August 6, 2020
Nick Houck was a Bardstown Police Officer at the time or Rogers’ disappearance. However, Nick Houck’s behavior led to his dismissal.
Former Chief Rick McCubbin said that Nick told his brother, Brooks, to leave the interrogation room, and Brooks did. McCubbin said that Houck’s conduct was unbecoming and showed poor ethics and integrity, WHAS-11 reported. The chief also threatened to take his badge and he said that Nick did not seem very bothered by that idea.
The Daily Beast alleged that Houck refused to be interviewed by the detectives searching for Rogers, failed an FBI polygraph test and tried to warn his brother when police were going to interview him.
He was fired from the department after Rogers’ disappearance, WDRB reported.
On August 6, FBI agents raided his home and witnesses told the Kentucky Standard that they saw agents searching the property as well as other agents “bringing a handcuffed Nick Houck out of the house Thursday morning.”
4. Houck Was Acquitted In A Theft Case In 2018
Brooks Houck entering the courtroom followed by family of Crystal Rogers. This arraignment has to do with felony theft charges. from Lowes. pic.twitter.com/fg7nhk25jc
— Fallon Glick (@FallonGlick) August 2, 2018
WDRB reported that Houck was indicted on four felony counts and four misdemeanor counts of theft after he was accused of taking “more than 200 ‘bundles’ of roofing shingles from Lowe’s” in Nelson County over a period of multiple days.
Bardstown Police Chief Kim Kraeszig told WDRB that they conducted a search warrant at Houck’s house, looking for “financial” records related to the theft allegations. He made bond and was ordered to have no contact with Lowe’s.
Houck’s attorneys had the trial held in Bowling Green out of concerns that Houck would be unable to get an impartial jury in Nelson County due to the disappearance of Crystal Rogers, WDRB reported; after less than two hours deliberating, the jury acquitted him.
5. Houck Won A Custody Battle With Rogers’ Mother
Ballard has also been in a custody dispute with Houck. A judge ruled in February of 2019 that Rogers’ 6-year-old son could not sit with Ballard until the custody case was complete, WDRB reported.
Ballard initially had visitation with her grandson, but after several custody hearings, a trial court began to have concerns. According to WDRB, Houck said that when his son would return from visiting the Ballards, his son would be “sullen and uncooperative,” “extremely accusatory” and demanding to know, “‘what did you do to my mommy.'”
As a result, a three-judge panel said that there was a “detrimental aspect” to the boy’s visits with his grandmother. Ballard has maintained that she will always believe Houck did something to hurt her daughter.