Usually when a woman goes missing, her fiance or husband makes a big public display of trying to find her (think Scott Peterson or the fictional movie Gone Girl.) That didn’t happen in the case of Kelsey Berreth, a missing Colorado woman, raising eyebrows early on, and, now, her fiance, Patrick Frazee, is accused of murdering her.
Frazee, a Colorado farrier who runs a cattle ranch, was arrested on December 21, 2018 in the slaying of the 29-year-old mother and flight instructor who has been missing since Thanksgiving Day. “#KelseyBerreth case: Patrick Frazee is in custody and at the Teller County Jail,” confirmed the spokesman for the Teller County, Colorado Sheriff’s Department.
Here’s Frazee’s booking photo:
“Today we arrested Patrick Frazee on charges of first-degree murder,” the police chief said, adding that Frazee was taken into custody on the morning of December 21. He is being held at the Teller County Jail. Kelsey’s daughter is in protective custody and will be united with Kelsey’s family, according to the police chief. He said her family is not providing interviews. Authorities said that Frazee was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and solicitation of murder.
On December 31, 2018, Frazee was charged “with two counts of murder in the first degree and three counts of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree,” according to CNN. CNN reported that prosecutors have two working theories in the case; “One says he acted alone to kill Berreth, and another says he alone or with other people killed her during a robbery.”
“Due to multiple interviews,” authorities were able to make an arrest. The chief said that he was not able to comment on why there is a solicitation of murder accusation involved. He said the investigation was still unfolding, and that it’s possible there could be additional arrests relating to that charge but only Frazee is under arrest at this time. The police chief said things had been unfolding hourly in the case, and authorities have recovered information that makes them think the crime occurred in Kelsey’s residence. He declined to specify a motive, though.
The solicitation of murder statute requires authorities to show that the suspect solicited someone to take part in a crime and took a substantial step toward completing it.
There was a Facebook page devoted to finding Kelsey Berreth. Family members insisted from the start that it was not like Kelsey to disappear, especially because she has a very young daughter with Frazee.
“We are treating Kelsey’s disappearance as a missing person’s case at this time. We have not identified anyone as a suspect,” said Police Chief Miles De Young in a press conference on December 10, 2018. However, that apparently changed in the 48 hours before Frazee’s arrest.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kelsey Was Seen at a Colorado Grocery Store & Then Vanished
Authorities no longer believe that Kelsey is alive, and the investigation unfolded rapidly in the 48 hours before Frazee’s arrest, according to ABC News.
The police chief called the investigation “methodical and time-consuming.” Authorities have still not found Kelsey but information “has been developed to narrow down our search…sadly, we don’t believe Kelsey is still alive,” the police chief revealed. A family member told Daily Mail that Kelsey met Frazee online and he helped her move to Colorado from another state.
Authorities now say they have collected evidence in Twin Falls, Idaho, although they haven’t said what it was.
The chief promised to continue authorities’ “relentless pursuit” of justice for Kelsey Berreth. He confirmed that multiple searches were conducted of Kelsey’s home. As for the circumstances surrounding Kelsey’s murder, authorities did not provide many details. In fact, the prosecutor said the affidavits in the case may be sealed for 30 days because there are “a lot of investigative leads that still need to be done.”
Authorities recently searched Frazee’s residence also, but they previously stopped short of outright declaring Frazee a suspect. Frazee was taken into custody at his home, Fox News reports.
The tragic announcement ends weeks of searches for the young mother, who was last spotted at a Safeway supermarket near her Colorado home, Fox News reports. After her mother reported her missing on December 2, 2018, no sign of Kelsey Berreth could be found. Police released surveillance video from the grocery store (see above) in an attempt to figure out what happened to the young mother and flight instructor.
Kelsey was shopping with her daughter at the Safeway, the police chief said in a news conference. She then exchanged her daughter with her fiance that day, according to the chief.
Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey’s mother, was at an earlier press conference. “She’s not the kind that runs off. This is completely out of character…Kelsey is reliable, considerate and honest,” she said. “…Like I said, she doesn’t run off and someone knows where she is at. Kelsey, we just want you home…and we won’t quit looking.”
According to a missing person’s poster from the Woodland Park Police, the community where Kelsey lived, Kelsey Berreth was last seen on November 22, 2018 in the area of her residence, 200 block of E. Lake Avenue in Woodland Park, Colorado. She has family in both Idaho and Washington, the missing person’s poster says. People with information are urged to call the Woodland Park Police Department at 719-687-9262.
Police said that she was last seen wearing a “white shirt, grey sweater, blue pants (possibly blue jeans), brown purse and white shoes.” Police said before the arrest that they were looking for information to “help us reunite Kelsey with her daughter.” There were cold cinnamon rolls in Kelsey’s residence when authorities searched it.
A neighbor told KOAA-TV that she saw “two red pickup trucks at Berreth’s home on Thanksgiving Day, when Frazee said he picked up the couple’s daughter.” Both Frazee and Berreth owned red trucks.
There was another clue that added mystery to the case. According to Fox News, Kelsey’s phone “reportedly pinged more than 700 miles away in Idaho days after she vanished.” That remains unexplained. However, the chief said on December 21 that Kelsey’s phone did “turn up in Idaho.”
The Kelsey Facebook page further noted, “Authorities reported recently that her cell phone was pinged to Gooding, Idaho, which is about 35 miles north of Twin Falls, and Idaho State Police are now involved in investigating her disappearance.” CBS News reported that Berreth has family near that location.
A spokesman for the Idaho State Police told East Idaho News that they had received a bulletin “that Berreth could possibly be in the state but that is the extent of their investigation.”
However, Woodland Park police Commander Chris Adams told KEPR-TV before the arrest of Frazee: “It could just be a false ping, or it could be the actual last location for the activity of that phone.” To Good Morning America, he said, “It makes us wonder what she’s doing up there or what the phone is, potentially, because she may not be there.”
2. Kelsey Berreth & Patrick Frazee Are Parents to a Young Girl But Frazee Did Not Show Up at a Press Conference on the Disappearance
When a loved one goes missing, it’s become common to see the fiance or husband of the missing person plead for their return in a press conference. Reporters early on noted that Frazee was taking a different stance: Avoiding the media.
At that earlier news conference – which occurred days before the arrest – a journalist commented to the police chief that it was his understanding that Patrick Frazee “was invited today. Why is he not here?”
“That is a question you’d have to ask him,” the police chief responded.
Asked whether Frazee was being cooperative, the chief responded, “Yes, at this time, yes.”
Berreth and Frazee were engaged to be married, and they were also the parents to a young child. Patrick Frazee is a certified farrier in Colorado.
Kelsey’s daughter is only 1-years-old. Her daughter is safe, according to the Facebook page devoted to finding her.
The post with the family photo of Frazee, Kelsey and their child reads, “Kelsey’s family desperately needs her back. Please call Woodland Park Police Dept. @ 719-687-9262 with any information. Someone must have seen or spoken with her Thanksgiving Day or since. This photo was taken 1 year ago.” The police chief revealed early on that Kelsey’s fiance was named Patrick Frazee, bringing his name up at a news conference.
The police chief, speaking before the arrest, had revealed that the “baby is with her father, Patrick.” Asked whether authorities have searched Patrick Frazee’s residence, he said, “That is something we’re going to have to look into, absolutely. All options are on the table.” He added that Kelsey and Patrick did not live together but were engaged.
Kelsey’s brother, Clint Berreth, posted on Facebook, “After arriving at Kelsey’s house last night and combing through her things, we know 1 thing is certain. Kelsey did not pack to go anywhere. All luggage is here. Her purse is all that seems to have gone.” Her cars are not missing, CBS News reports.
Berreth also wrote, “There are several prayer vigils happening tonight at 7:00 pacific time. Please take a moment at 7:00 tonight no matter where you are to say a prayer for Kelsey Berreth especially, but also the rest of our family as we continue this search. #helpfindkelseyberreth.”
Clint has been sharing repeated photos and posts of his missing sister on Facebook. “Kelsey we love you and we’re looking for you!!!! #helpfindkelseyberreth,” he wrote with one. “I feel like we’re in the middle of the furnace, Lord help us through it. ??” he wrote with another.
3. Frazee Told Authorities He Received a Text From Kelsey
Two text messages, supposedly from Kelsey Berreth, were among the clues that emerged in the days shortly after she disappeared.
Officers were able to contact her place of employment at Doss Aviation down in Pueblo, Colorado. Her employer said they had received a text from Kelsey’s phone on November 25, 2018 saying that Kelsey would not be coming in to work for the next week. Officers went to her residence on December 2. “She was not inside her residence,” said the chief.
According to KDVR, Patrick Frazee “told police the last text he received from her phone was on November 25th. Police said Kelsey’s mother reported her missing on December 2nd.” Frazee said they exchanged the child on November 22 and he said that was the last time he saw Kelsey.
The police chief said that Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey’s mom, reached out to Kelsey’s fiancé, Frazee, and he said he hadn’t heard from Kelsey since November 25 when she texted him. Patrick told officers he hadn’t seen her since Thanksgiving, when they exchanged their daughter, said Chief De Young. Authorities reviewed the video from the local Safeway grocery store from November 22, and it showed her shopping with her daughter. That’s the last time Kelsey was seen.
“At this point he is the father of Kelsey’s daughter and we’re going to leave it at that. This is a missing persons case,” Chief De Young said at a news conference days before the arrest.
4. A Reporter Confronted Frazee to Ask Him Questions
A reporter for KRDO-TV later approached Frazee and asked him questions, also before the arrest. You can see that video above.
“Patrick, people are wondering why you haven’t spoken out about your fiancée,” the reporter said through the closed window of Frazee’s car, imploring Frazee to speak to him. Frazee didn’t respond, and drove off. However, his lawyer later released a statement on the case, which you can read later in this article.
The comment thread on Facebook under the photo of Frazee, Berreth, and their child contains this message, “This is a message from Shannon Hicks, I am one of the administrators/moderators for this page. I would like to respectfully remind everyone that this is an ongoing investigation and that we need to be respectful to all concerned. At some point the truth will be released. Until then, I would suggest that we keep character defining suggestions and/or implications to ourselves. If you have information I would ask that you report it to the police immediately or message the this page privately.”
The Facebook page further explained, “Thank you for your Concern…Kelsey owns a home and lives in Woodland. She is an Aviation Instructor in Pueblo. The ‘man’ in the photo is the little girl’s father and Kelsey’s fiance.”
Her cousin, JoDee Garretson, told KEPR-TV, “They’re a very close-knit family. That’s why I don’t believe she’d just…She’s got to see people are looking for her. She wouldn’t put them through that.”
She added, “She’s such a good person, a loving person. She’s grounded and responsible. She has a one year old child, she wouldn’t just leave her.”
5. Frazee’s Attorney Released a Statement Saying He Was Praying for Berreth’s Return
On December 12, Frazee issued a statement through his attorneys, the Law Office of Jeremy Lowe, saying that he did not attend the press conference because he only learned about it one hour before it took place. He said if he had more advance notice, he would have participated. Frazee also said through his attorneys that he is cooperating with the police investigation and “hopes and prays for Ms. Berreth’s return.”
Frazee’s attorneys at the Law Office of Jeremy Lowe said in a statement, “Patrick Frazee continues to cooperate with law enforcement in the missing person investigation of Kelsey Berreth. Mr. Frazee’s cooperation includes interviews with law enforcement, voluntarily releasing his phone to be searched by law enforcement, buccal swaps and photographs.”
The statement added, “Much has been said over the news and social media about Mr. Frazee’s absence at the local news conference recently held by the Woodland Park Police Department on December 10, 2018. Mr. Frazee was first notified of the press conference approximately an hour prior to its commencement. Had he been given more advance notice, he would have participated. Mr. Frazee hopes and prays for Ms. Berreth’s return. Mr. Frazee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and continue to parent the child he shares with Ms. Berreth.”
His attorneys added, “He will not speak to the media about this case, as he does not want to impede law enforcement’s investigation.”
Kelsey’s mother told Today of Kelsey and Patrick: “The relationship has been good. They’re loving.”
The Missing Mother: Kelsey Berreth Facebook page, which was devoted to finding her, provides additional details about the missing woman.
“Missing Since Nov. 22nd, 2018 – She is a mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend…” the page reads. “She is also a Pilot and instructs in Pueblo, CO., loves hiking, running and bicycling.”
On December 6, 2018, the page added, “Kelsey is a pilot. Although it would be out of character for her to not contact anyone before making a cross-country trip we can’t exclude the possibility. Kelsey has ties to the Pacific Northwest as well as Kansas. She does not own a plane nor do we know of any local friends that she would borrow one from. I don’t believe she has ever made a flight without filing a flight plan. We do realize that it is possible to rent a plane, but I believe someone would be missing it by now. Non-the-less we have to consider every possibility.”
Kelsey’s Facebook page doesn’t have much that is publicly visible, but it does contain photos and artwork of small planes, and a cover photo of palm trees.
The following details were also provided by the page devoted to finding the missing woman:
“Age – 29 yrs., Height – 5’-3”, Wt. 110lbs.
Current Residence – Woodland Park, CO
Phone was last Pinged in – Gooding, Idaho
She has family in – Central Washington, Northeast Washington and Colorado
She was last seen wearing a white shirt, gray sweater, blue jeans/dark blue pants, white shoes and carrying a brown purse.
Please Report any information you might have to the Woodland Park, CO Police Dept. – 719.687.9262.”