After lengthy custody battle, Crystal Rogers’ mom denied proper to see her grandson | Information
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After a protracted custody battle, a Nelson County Circuit judge denied Sherry Ballard the right to visit her grandson, the son of her missing daughter Crystal Rogers, who was shared with her former boyfriend Brooks Houck.
Rogers, a mother of five, disappeared on July 3, 2015. Two days later, her car was found on Bluegrass Parkway with a flat tire and her purse, keys and phone. Houck, the boy’s father and chief guardian, is the only suspect ever named in Rogers’ disappearance.
Stephen Hayden, Nelson Circuit judge, issued a final ruling on Saturday’s custody battle, arguing that “there is clear and compelling evidence that there is significant hostility between the Ballard and Houck families at significant risk of emotional harm represents the child “.
Rogers’ child, Ballard’s grandson, was 2 years old when Rogers disappeared. Ballard and her late husband filed a request to see their grandparents just weeks after Roger’s disappearance.
“I’ve done everything the courts have asked me in the past two years,” Ballard told WDRB News on Friday. “I still don’t have a visit for my grandson.”
Ballard’s husband, Tommy Ballard, was shot dead in November 2016. No arrests were made in connection with his death or Rogers’ disappearance.
“This is my daughter’s son and I refuse to acknowledge that he is not my daughter’s son,” Ballard said. “I feel like they want me to just erase him from my daughter’s life and I don’t anymore. I refuse to do that.”
After several court hearings, a judge initially granted Ballard visiting hours alternately with her grandson. A three-judge panel overturned that decision in November 2018 and agreed that the argument between Houck and Ballard has gotten so far that it is not in the boy’s best interests to spend time with his grandmother. Several hearings followed this ruling.
According to court records, a hearing was held on September 10, 2020 and new statements were made in the case. In October 2020, a judge denied Ballard temporary visiting rights.
Judge Hayden denied permanent visiting rights on Saturday. The court did not interview the child.
Hayden ruled the child had a “strong relationship” with Houck, whom the judge described as a “loving father”. In court hearings, Houck testified that the child only spends time with him, his mother and his girlfriend Crystal Maupin.
Ballard has said publicly and continuously that she believes Houck killed her daughter. The Houck family’s farm has been raided multiple times and law enforcement has issued nearly 70 search warrants in the case, but Houck has never been charged.
“Everyone who walked in my door knew they shouldn’t be talking about their father,” Ballard said. “I made it crystal clear to everyone who went into his house. They knew what it was about.”
In his ruling, despite these comments, Hayden said the Ballard family testified in court that they had not and would not make any comments in front of the child. Houck previously testified that “the boy is extremely accusatory when he comes back from visiting the Ballards and asks him what you did to my mother” and that “everyone wants to know”.
“The court believes that this testimony was sincere as they would not do it on purpose but are not convinced they could keep this vow given their proven hostility towards Houck,” wrote Hayden.
“It would be fair to say that there is a significant gap between the parties that is unlikely to ever be cured,” he continued.
Rogers’ other four children, unrelated to Houck, live with Ballard.
Ballard, who had been out of attendance since November 2018, said she last saw her grandson at Walmart about a year and a half ago. She said she prayed for the day she could visit her grandson again. In the meantime, she said she was keeping a journal for him and saying how much he loved.
“He will not be forgotten,” she said. “We didn’t erase it from our lives just because we couldn’t see it.”
Ballard plans to appeal the decision.
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