Kentucky Murder Suspect Busted... For Glorified Shoplifting
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Kentucky Murder Suspect Busted... For Glorified Shoplifting

Nelson County Jail

Network television news affiliates are reporting that local slumlord Brooks Houck was arrested by federal agents on Wednesday the 18th, and quickly indicted for eight counts of theft by unlawful taking.

Evidently, he had re-appropriated several thousand dollars' worth of building construction materials, primarily roofing shingles, from the Loews store in his hometown of Bardstown, Kentucky back in April of this year, prompting not city or state but federal officers to seek a warrant to search his home, where what remained of the materials were found. While he will remain under a variation of home incarceration until his arraignment in August, it should be noted that the arresting officers also confiscated his home computer system.

These details are far more than trivial, as Houck has always been the only real suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend Crystal Rogers three years ago. Ask anyone in Bardstown's Nelson County not wearing a badge, and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that beyond any shadow of a doubt he killed her and disposed of the body. As a former candidate for Nelson County Sheriff himself, he has always maintained a close relationship with local law enforcement, to the extent that the investigation into Crystal's likely murder irrationally did not incorporate a search of the Houck residence until a year after she vanished. Nicholas Houck, the younger brother of Brooks and a second patrolman with the Bardstown police, had failed a lie detector test badly enough to have his patrol car seized and searched. Initially he was suspended from the force with pay, until public outcry compelled the city council to deprive the probable accomplice of that as well. Yet his reprimanding including no actual charges. Kentucky State Police have twice dropped their own investigation into the matter, without public explanation either time, with the prevailing theory being that on each occasion they must have found evidence incriminating members of the Bardstown police department and/or sheriff's office, and simply did not wish to help make any of their brothers in blue look less than heroic.

Awhile back I myself wrote a broader piece citing local history in examining why such collusion might not only exist, but endure so strongly. My summary of the Houck case is worth repeating here:

A former candidate for sheriff and notorious philanderer, Houck later made national headlines for his own girlfriend Crystal Rogers vanishing from off the face of the Earth. Detectives easily found cause to confiscate the patrol car of patrolman Nicholas Houck, younger brother of Brooks. There was enough evidence to remove him from the Bardstown police department, but neither brother has been charged with anything. The Houck family farm was not even searched by authorities until over a year after Crystal’s disappearance, with no rational explanation provided for that either. The people of Bardstown know why though, just as I know for a fact that 5 of the laborers hired by Brooks for maintenance of his rental properties in the last couple of years by total happenstance hold records for both possession and selling of narcotics. Yet more recyclable pawns.

Since these tragic, infuriating events the yards of Bardstown had been decorated with signs reading PRAYERS FOR CRYSTAL’S SAFE RETURN, and the more blunt SOLVE THESE MURDERS, until late last year when Mayor Royalty tastelessly ordered for one and all to be taken down. Because they were hurting the feelings of a police force either too laughably inadequate to perform their hired functions or completely complicit in the murders themselves. And alongside this travesty, the father of Crystal Rogers was himself shot and killed in a “hunting” accident, naturally with no suspect arrested. The fact of his becoming a fierce advocate for police accountability since the loss of his daughter was one heck of a coincidence.

I see all of this as a growing trend however. Not necessarily good old boys like Brooks Houck getting assistance from the local police to avoid the embarrassment of incarceration, but the ineffectiveness of police in general. I do not believe that crime rates are irregularly increasing nationwide, but rather police are choosing to hold back from performing the full extent of their hired functions as public servants. Then, when communities are presented with such occurrences as even lil Bardstown has faced and is facing, occurrences such as domestic abuse, bank robberies, meth labs, unsolved murders and missing persons, then those in such communities may prove all the more eager to accept prospects of a police department possessing flamethrowers and grenade launchers. Willfully lazy policemen enabling crime statistics to air, as excuse for further militarization and expanded powers. I sincerely believe this is precisely what is happening all around the country right now.

Ideally, with federal agents being the ones who pursued the grand theft of mere roofing supplies, and swiping the computer along the way, then hopefully it means that Brooks Houck is under watch, and that there actually is an in-progress investigation of his graver sins being conducted at the federal level, outside the claustrophobic confines of a small town Bible Belt circle of good old boys being Bible Belt good old boys. The surviving members of the Rogers family have certainly waited long enough for any degree of closure, having accepted long ago that actual, full-on justice simply does not happen anymore.

Author: Richard Caldwell