In the days after her daughter’s death, Serenna said Hager had come to her house distraught about Crystal only once, but had otherwise grown distant from the family. James Sizemore said his brother-in-law showed up two hours late to the funeral and declined to attend a family gathering in Nicholasville afterward.
Hager was not at home when the family returned to Hustonville after the funeral and apparently didn't return for about two weeks.
The allegations and speculation swirling around Hager notwithstanding, Marcum said it is uncertain whether an in-depth review of the case, or even the drastic step of exhuming the body, might take place. Marcum said it is unlikely unless new information comes forward.
“They are fair questions and, I suppose, assumptions,” Marcum said about the family’s renewed interest in Hager's involvement in the death. “But assumptions have to be backed up by facts.”
Kentucky State Police spokesman Paul Blanton said there were no plans to open an investigation into Crystal Hager's death, but indicated police would follow up on information gleaned from other investigations.
No one in the area rocked by recent events involving Hager had known him longer than his in-laws of almost a decade.
Hager told the Sizemores he grew up in San Antonio and came to Kentucky, at least temporarily, in his teens. He was forthcoming about having a criminal past in Texas, but apparently told differing stories about the reason for his incarceration.
James said Hager told him he had served four years in a Texas prison for grand theft auto, but Serenna said Hager told her at one point he was arrested for crimes involving drugs. Serenna said Hager did not have voting rights because he was a convicted felon, she assumed from the Texas drug case.
In the early 2000s, Hager would have been in his late 20s and apparently had been working at AWP Industries Inc. in Frankfort for many years. James said his sister met Hager online 11 years ago and the two lived with Hager’s father in Frankfort until they were married in 2004 in Lexington.
Despite the past indiscretions, James said Hager seemed relatively straight-laced and employable, if not industrious. He worked at R.R. Donnelly in Danville for a while after moving to Hustonville, James said, before bouncing around to several other jobs.
Recently, though, James said Hager had been on disability, mostly because of chronic arthritis, and along with Crystal, had started to abuse prescription pain medications. He said the couple would often go weeks without leaving the trailer, unless it was to come to the house.
James and Serenna both said they also had suspected the couple when things went missing over the last few years, including a 2009 break-in where firearms were taken from the home.
While they didn't know of any major disputes between the couple at the time of Crystal's death, Serenna said Thomas wanted to move to Danville, while Crystal didn't want to leave Hustonville. Serenna also said she had wanted Hager to move out when Crystal got out of the hospital because she believed he was still abusing prescription drugs and didn't want her to be around them.
Crystal actually was granted a divorce in Lincoln Circuit Court in April 2011, but Serenna said they split up so both could continue receiving their individual medical benefits. They continued to live together and didn't intend to separate.
While the family was leery of Hager, they apparently never saw any signs of aggressiveness or violent tendencies.
Hager had been gone for about two weeks following Crystal's funeral, James said, when he returned to the trailer along with Disken. James had never formally met Disken and didn't know how or where Hager met him, he said.
After several weeks of seeing Disken come and go with Hager, the Sizemores stopped seeing Disken around the home in early March. When Serenna inquired about where Disken had gone, she said Hager told her Disken was into harder drugs so he asked him to leave.
Disken's mother, Patricia Devine, was the last person known to have seen him alive, besides Hager. Disken and Hager had dropped by Devine's Harrodsburg home March 3 on their way to an Applebee's in Frankfort.
When Hager contacted Devine a couple of days later, she said Hager told her Disken moved his belongings out of the trailer in the middle of the night. Hager told police he believed Disken went to Somerset, where Disken used to live. Devine has since said she believes Hager was accessing her son's Facebook account in order to make it appear Disken was in Bowling Green.
Hager, who had been told to find a new place to live following his wife’s death, left for good around March 9. He returned to visit the Sizemores only once in late April.
The Sizemores were on their way to New Jersey for a wedding when they saw news reports of Disken's disappearance on May 25. James said he immediately thought about an odor emanating from the barn area for several weeks and called state police to tell them about Hager's former residence.
Police are not investigating Disken's death as a homicide and are awaiting full autopsy results that could take up to two weeks. Disken's remains were released to his family on Friday.
Marcum said it doesn't appear Disken was shot or stabbed, but an exact cause of death has not been determined.
Despite his drug use and shortcomings as an in-law, the murder accusations against Hager and the body of his roommate turning up just a few yards from their front door have shaken the Sizemore family. They say they don't recognize the glowering man with the shaved head they see being led to court in shackles.
With all they know now, though, Serenna said they want to make sure Crystal's death was an accident.
"I personally think he did something to her," Serenna said.