In 1990, the body of 22-year-old Valeri Brooks, a young mother, was discovered in a central Kentucky field. Brooks, a clerk at a local convenience store, went missing on New Year’s Eve in 1990. When her body was later discovered, police determined the cause of death to be numerous slash and stab wounds and ruled Brooks’ death a homicide. More than two decades later, police in Versailles, Ky. may have a new hope in solving this cold case, and righting a grievous mistake made during their previous investigation, following a shocking 2012 documentary on Glen Edward Rogers, a man who has been dubbed the “Cross-Country Killer”.
In 1996, during the initial investigation into the brutal slaying of Valeri Brooks, Versailles police obtained a DNA sample from William Glen Rogers, a man who, as of 2012, was still awaiting his execution in a Tennessee prison for murdering a nine-year-old girl. Unfortunately, due to this disturbing instance of mistaken identity, Brooks’ murderer has remained undiscovered for decades, as William Glen Rogers DNA was not a match to the DNA evidence recovered from the scene near Brooks’ body and he was subsequently cleared as a suspect in the case. Versailles polices had no new leads in the Brooks case until 2012, when a documentary entitled “My Brother the Serial Killer”, which was created by Clay Rogers, the brother of Glen Edward Rogers, aired on a national television network. Detailing the life and the crimes of Glen Edward Rogers, who has been nicknamed the Cross-Country Killer because of the wide geographical area that his crimes encompassed, this documentary revealed that Rogers possessed familial ties to Versailles, Ky. A Lexington, Ky. news network, LEX 18, brought this documentary to the attention of the Versailles police shortly after it aired, giving both the investigators and Brooks’ family new hope that Valeri’s murderer will be brought to justice.
In a 2012 HLN article detailing Rogers’ crimes, Stephen Loiaconi reported that Rogers was convicted of killing Tina Marie Cribbs, a 34-year-old mother of two, in November of 1995 near Tampa, Fl., and a 33-year-old mother, Sandra Gallagher, near Van Nuys, Ca. in September of the same year. The judge in Rogers’ Florida trial “also noted that there was evidence establishing that Rogers killed Linda Price in Mississippi and Andy Jiles Sutton in Louisiana”, according to Loiaconi. Both of these murders also took place in late 1995, and nearly all of these victims were stabbed to death, as was Valeri Brooks. Rogers’ brother, Clay, asserts that Rogers also claimed responsibility for the 1994 high-profile murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, although there is no known evidence to support such claims.
What is known, however, is that Glen Edward Rogers did have ties to central Kentucky. Though he was never proven to have committed the murder, Rogers was also strongly suspected of killing his former roommate, a 71-year-old Ohio man named Mark Peters. Peters’ body, which was badly decomposed, was found in 1994 in a Kentucky cabin owned by Rogers’ family. Furthermore, Rogers was apprehended on November 13, 1995 near Waco, Ky. after leading Kentucky State Police on a high-speed chase, and investigators now have reason to believe that Rogers “was in the Versailles area around the time of Brooks’ death”, according to a 2013 Associated Press report. Rogers, in reply to an Associated Press correspondence, denied any knowledge of Brooks, but invited Kentucky State Police to contact him and stated that he would provide them with information, on record.
This case has the potential to take an even grislier turn, as the Associated Press also revealed that the FBI requested the help of Kentucky State Police in locating the Rogers family cemetery, believed to be somewhere near Beatyville, Ky. According to the Associated Press report, “Kentucky State Police Stg. Rick Saint-Blancard and Trooper Paul Blanton … found the cemetery and notified the FBI of its location, but have had no further contact with the agency”. The FBI investigation of the Rogers family cemetery was likely prompted by Clay Rogers’ statement in his documentary regarding his suspicion that more of Glen’s victims may be buried there, as Clay revealed that Glen once told him that “the best way to get rid of a body is find a fresh dug grave, move the dirt over, put the body into it and nobody ever know it’s there”.
Whether or not more victims are discovered, the family of Valeri Brooks is ready, and long overdue, for closure in this traumatic chapter of their lives. Michael Brooks, Valeri’s brother, has stated that the family is receptive to the idea of Rogers being his sister’s killer. Meanwhile, Kristin Powell, the wife of Valeri’s oldest son, revealed that, while they are hoping for some semblance of closure, because Rogers is already on death row in Florida, it would almost feel like a waste of time and effort, as well as the needless reopening of old wounds, to pursue a conviction if Rogers’ DNA is found to be a match. Valeri’s mother, Caren, on the other hand, has urged investigators to be more careful this time. The Associated Press quoted Caren Brooks as saying, “We just want the right person caught … We want it to be done, but we want it to be the right person. It doesn’t do anybody any good if it isn’t the right person.” To date, however, the results of a DNA test comparing the DNA on file in Florida for Glen Edward Rogers to the DNA evidence recovered near the scene of Brooks’ murder, if a test has been completed, have not been released, and there is no public record of a pending trial in this case at this time.