CRESTVIEW — Kristy Rogers has been missing ever since she returned home from her boyfriend’s house around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, 1997.
At the time of her disappearance, Rogers, then 16, was living with her mother by the overpass on Walnut Street in Crestview. Extensive searches by local investigators — through the woods and into Hurricane and Bear Lake with sonar — were fruitless.
“We have nothing indicating she’s dead; we never found her body,” said Dennis Haley, a special agent with Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement, who originally worked on the case. “For someone to be abducted in Crestview back in ’97, that stuff just didn’t happen.”
The only evidence investigators found was located after the initial search.
“We found clothing behind the old Winn-Dixie that the mother identified as being her clothing, and there happened to be a house key in there and a key ring with a picture on it that was definitely Kristy’s.”
“No one has ever come forward,” said Ralph Garrett, an investigator with the Crestview Police Department who is overseeing the city’s cold cases and crimes against children. “We can’t say she’s dead; she could walk up tomorrow.”
He added, “Shortly after she came home, she disappeared. We don’t know who she left with or if she left by herself, but the information we are receiving at this point might point us in a different direction.”
Recently, some tips related to the case have been called into Crestview police.
No one has been charged with a crime related to Rogers' disappearance. That includes her then-boyfriend, William “Billy” Cawthon, and his entire family, who all passed a polygraph test. Rogers' mother’s live-in boyfriend, Robert Willcut, passed the polygraph twice. Willcut had a lengthy criminal record and spent time in prison for shaking a baby.
“She could be alive and well and married with children for all I know,” Garrett said. “There could be reasons for her not wanting to be found, so I’m just not sure. It’s a very interesting case and very little information has come in on this.”
If you have information related to the whereabouts of Kristy Rogers, contact the Crestview Police Department at 682-3544.