FBI search for Crystal Rogers on Houck’s farm ends

In a statement, the FBI said it hopes the “evidence gathered” at the Houck family farm will move their investigation forward.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After a five-day investigation, the FBI has concluded its latest search for a Bardstown farm linked to the disappearance of Crystal Rogers.

The agency said in a statement that it hopes “the evidence gathered will bring our investigation closer to accountability for the person(s) responsible for Crystal Rogers’ disappearance.”

Investigators did not specify what evidence they might have found at the farm.

Over the past five days, federal investigators have searched the property, which belongs to Rosemary Houck, Brooks Houck’s mother, for evidence of Rogers’ disappearance.

Brooks Houck is named the prime suspect in the Rogers case, but he was never arrested or charged.

At the scene on Friday, WHAS11 saw several trucks carrying all-terrain vehicles, potty carriers and even the FBI’s mobile command center unit.

By 1:30 p.m., the Bardstown Police Department cruisers on Paschal Ballard Lane, which had been blocked during the investigation, had disappeared.

Rogers, who has been missing for more than seven years, was last seen alive at the Houck family farm.

Media were not allowed beyond the police barricade, but FBI agents confirmed on Thursday that the search had moved to the rear of the 245-acre property.

This isn’t the first time investigators have searched the property. WHAS11 records reveal that the family farm has been searched at least three other times over the past seven years.

Rogers’ mother, Sherry Ballard, said she prays that this research will finally bring answers to the family.

“Every day it gets closer. I’m ready for answers. Our family just needs answers,” she said. “I pray that they find my daughter and that I bring her home.”

For years as the division’s chief counsel, former supervising special agent David Beyer reviewed search warrants before leaving the FBI office and eventually going to a judge.

Beyer believes all signs of this latest research point to progress.

“I think there’s a lot of hope,” he said. “They won’t spend as much time and resources if they’re not confident they’ll find something of value there.”

Now, the extent of progress is unclear, but Beyer said the FBI’s 24-hour presence all week was important.

“The duration of this one is more than likely due to someone trying to cover something up,” he said.

It’s also up in the air whether there might be more research in the near future, either on the Houck family’s farm property or elsewhere.

“If they develop that reasonable belief, a judge could authorize another search warrant at this location or any other location,” Beyer said.

Rogers’ family said they have full confidence in the work done by federal and local agencies this week and hope the evidence gathered will lead to accountability for Crystal’s disappearance.

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Brandon D. James