Disabled Kentucky man Joseph Lawson charged in Crystal Rogers cold case

A Kentucky man was arrested last week and charged in connection with the unsolved disappearance of Crystal Rogers eight years ago.

Joseph L. Lawson, 32, pleaded not guilty Friday in Nelson County Circuit Court to charges of criminal conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with physical evidence on or about July 3 and 4, 2015. , which was when Rogers was last seen alive, WDRB reported. .

Rogers, 35, was last seen alive on the Fourth of July weekend, 2015, when her Chevrolet Impala was found still running with her phone and purse inside in Bardstown, according to the FBI.

His mother reported him missing the next day.

Just over a year later, on November 19, 2016, Rogers’ father, Tommy Ballard, was mysteriously shot to death while hunting on his private property.

Rogers’ disappearance and her father’s death, and possible links between the two incidents, made national headlines in 2018, when they were the subject of the Peacock documentary series “The Disappearance of Crystal Rogers.”

It is unclear what evidence exists against Lawson, other than the accusation.

Joseph Lawson, 32, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday. Grayson County Detention Center

Lawson was first charged with the tampering charge on June 21, but the case was sealed until Thursday, local news outlet WDRB said, citing court records.

The indictment on the conspiracy charge was handed down on July 24, the outlet said.

Rogers is not named in the indictment, but Lawson’s attorney, Kevin Coleman, confirmed to WDRB that his client’s case is related to her disappearance.

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“Obviously I don’t know much about this case at the moment, but I’m sure there will be a lot to do,” he acknowledged.

Lawson’s bond was set at $500,000 and he is due back in county court on October 26.

He is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair, and is held alone in a cell adapted for disabled inmates, WDRB reported.

Crystal Rogers.Crystal Rogers was last seen on July 3, 2015. Courtesy of family

The conspiracy charge indicates that prosecutors do not believe Lawson acted alone, even though he is the only person currently publicly charged in the eight-year cold case.

Just a year earlier, the father of Rogers’ youngest son, Brooks Houck, was named a suspect in her disappearance, but was ultimately never charged.

Joseph Lawson’s name did not appear in the initial investigation, although Huock verified the name of an employee named Steve Lawson during an interview with police, WDRB recalled.

Steve Lawson may be related to Joseph Lawson, public records indicate.

The exterior of the court/jail.Lawson’s bail was set at $500,000.WDRB
Rogers' boyfriend, Brooks Huock, called employee Steve Lawson during one of his first police interviews.Rogers’ boyfriend, Brooks Houck, called an employee, Steve Lawson, during one of his first police interviews.WDRB

In a phone call during a police interview, Houck can be heard asking Steve Lawson for help, recalling a late-night conversation the night Rogers disappeared, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

“Do you remember the night you called me very, very late, I forgot what you asked me… can you, can you remember what you asked me or what you were looking for? I don’t remember,” Houck asks in the footage obtained by WDRB.

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“Of course I can. I asked you for the house numbers,” Steve Lawson responded.

“Oh, for a rental house,” Houck stated.

Crystal Rogers.Rogers was reported missing by her mother on July 5, 2015. FBI

At the time, Houck, whose family was well-known in the area, owned several properties, the outlet noted.

In 2021, investigators broke up a concrete path on one of the properties Houck built in the Woodlawn Springs subdivision, WAVE reported.

“It’s just sad,” neighbor Joey Hicks told the outlet about the Rogers case.

“It’s very, very sad to hear something like that, especially, you know, so close to home. “I’m sure everyone feels the same as me, they just want this case to be solved.”

Over the years, the Houck family farm, the homes of Houck and his brother and a storage unit listed under Rogers’ name have also been searched several times, according to WDRB.

Joseph Lawson, who has an extensive criminal history, including a domestic violence citation and multiple counts of possession of a controlled substance, is being held at the Grayson County Detention Center, WHAS said.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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