The father of a missing Bardstown woman was shot in the chest and killed while he waited in a field for his grandson, and the juvenile was not involved in the shooting, according to police and media reports.
The Kentucky Standard reported that Tommy Ballard’s death Saturday morning was being investigated as a possible homicide, but state police said Monday investigators have to evaluate the evidence and facts before ruling on a cause or manner of death.
“We are consistent on how we handle all death investigations before we determine the cause and before we decide if there is any criminal intent,” state police said in the release.
Anyone who was traveling the Blue Grass Parkway between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Saturday and observed people or vehicles on the road near the Bardstown exits, or the 21 and 25 mile markers, were urged to call police at 270-766-5078.
Ballard was a constant presence in the search for his daughter Crystal Rogers, 35, who disappeared in July 2015. The mother of five is thought to be dead. Her boyfriend at the time, Brooks Houck, was named a suspect. The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office searched the large farm belonging to Houck’s mother in August. Houck’s brother Nick Houck was fired from the Bardstown Police Department for tipping off his brother about investigators’ activities.
Ballard and his grandson were preparing to hunt on a family farm off Ed Brent Lane near the Blue Grass Parkway, according to media reports and police.
Ballard, 54, was shot while waiting in a field for his grandson who had returned to the vehicle they used, according to The Kentucky Standard, which cited unnamed sources. The grandson heard a shot.
The Standard reported that Ballard’s weapon had not been fired.
Police have not confirmed any connection between Ballard’s death and his daughter’s presumed death.
Ballard’s slaying is the latest in a string of high-profile homicides or deaths in and around the small community. In addition to Rogers and Ballard, there are the unsolved slayings of Bardstown officer Jason Ellis, who was ambushed and gunned down May 25, 2013, at an exit off the Blue Grass Parkway, and the deaths of a mother and daughter, Kathy and Samantha Netherland, in April 2014. Kathy Netherland, 48, was shot multiple times, and her 16-year-old daughter was beaten.