Ky. Mom Crystal Rogers Vanished in 2015, and Her Mother Plans to Honor Her on Christmas

Harriet Sokmensuer
·2 min read

Crystal Rogers Task Force Crystal Rogers (second from left) with her family

It has been more than five years since Kentucky mom Crystal Rogers vanished overnight from her boyfriend's family's farm. During the holiday season, her mom will honor her memory by giving special gifts to Crystal's children, who she now takes care of.

"Every year for Christmas I always get them gifts but this year I'm wrapping them gifts especially from their mom," Sherry Ballard tells PEOPLE. "I don't usually do that but this year, I am. I mean, I don't want to ruin the day for them, but this year I want them to have something a little extra special from their mom."

Three of Rogers' five children, ages 15, 17 and 19, have lived with their grandmother since their mother disappeared on July 3, 2015.

At the time of her disappearance, her boyfriend, Brooks Houck, told police the couple had gone to bed together, but when he awoke, she was gone. The couple had one son together. Houck was never charged with a crime.

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Months later, however, Houck was identified as a main suspect in Rogers' case and his brother, Nick, was fired from the local police department after he was accused of interfering with the investigation, according to the Kentucky Standard.

One year after Rogers' disappearance, her father, Tommy Ballard, was shot and killed while hunting with his son and 12-year-old grandson. Tommy Ballard had never stopped looking for his daughter, his wife says. No arrests have been made in connection with his death.

While her family likes to keep their spirits up on Christmas Day, Ballard says the devastation of their recent losses remains.

"It’s just, it's always a hard time of year for us. I know people say it gets earlier, [but] it doesn't get easier," Ballard says through tears. "I don't know where people get that idea...it’s still very hard."

In July, human remains were found near the site where Rogers was last seen alive. However, in November, federal authorities announced that the remains did not belong to Rogers.

If you have any information related to the disappearance of Crystal Rogers, or the death of Tommy Ballard, please call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.