Krystal Jean Lee (who has also gone by the name Krystal Kenney and Krystal Lee) is the 32-year-old Idaho nurse who is accused of being tied to Patrick Frazee, the Colorado man charged with murder in the suspected death of his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth.
Kenney has pleaded guilty to felony tampering with evidence accusations, agreeing to testify against Frazee. And new testimony paints a bizarre picture of what she allegedly told police, including an alleged request to deliver poisoned coffee to Berreth.
KMVT-TV reported on January 8, 2019, via unnamed sources, that “Frazee allegedly asked Krystal Lee more than once to murder Kelsey Berreth.”
On January 9, 2019, the same television station ran the account of a Twin Falls couple, Joe and Patty Rockstahl, who say that an employee of theirs told them that her best friend, Krystal Lee, allegedly told her that “a man had asked her to kill the mother of his child.”
“A family friend confirmed to KMVT Friday that the FBI is investigating Krystal (Kenney) Lee in connection to missing Colorado woman Kelsey Berreth,” the KMVT report alleged. They eventually told the FBI.
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. Kelsey Berreth’s body has not been found.
For weeks, Authorities were extremely tight-lipped about the details in the case, even withholding the arrest affidavit against Frazee. However, the charges they filed indicated early on that they think there is someone else involved.
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.” Charging documents accuse Frazee of trying “to find someone to kill his fiancée three times between September and November and causing her death on or around Thanksgiving,” The Denver Post reports. KMVT-TV is alleging that the solicitation charges “involve Lee.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kenney Alleged She Brought Kelsey Coffee But Decided Not to Taint It With Narcotics
KOAA-TV reporter Sam Kraemer tweeted details of the coffee incident from a court hearing on February 19, 2019. He wrote that Kenney allegedly told authorities “Frazee suggested Kenney taint a caramel macchiato from Starbucks with ambien or other narcotics to kill Kelsey Berreth. Kenney said she carried some of those drugs as a nurse. Kenney eventually went to the Starbucks at Walmart and drove over to Kelsey Berreth’s townhome with Kenney’s aunt (Kristi) still in the car. Kenney told Slater she didn’t put anything in the coffee. Kelsey took the coffee, Slater said. Kenney tried building a rapport with Kelsey at Frazee’s direction, suggesting a play date in the future. Kenney gave Krystal a number for a burner phone she bought, again at Frazee’s direction.”
Added Kraemer, summarizing the testimony by authorities: “Kenney parked in the alley. Kristi stayed in the car & couldn’t see where she went. Kenney knocked on the door. Kelsey opened the door slightly. Krystal lied about her identity, said she was a neighbor & wanted to thank her for helping find her dogs.
However, Kenney allegedly told authorities she didn’t put anything in the coffee. Kenney told police “she didn’t drug the coffee because ‘she didn’t want to hurt her.’ Kenney communicated with Frazee after this. She said he was angry & sent an apology text later that day,” the testimony alleged.
One of the clues reported in the case early on was that Kelsey’s cell phone pinged in the area of Twin Falls, Idaho, even though she went missing in Colorado.
ABC News reporter Clayton Sandell tweeted on January 2, 2018: “A woman being investigated for possibly disposing of #KelseyBerreth’s cell phone in Idaho is a 32-year old nurse from Twin Falls, multiple sources tell @abc. For now, ABC News is withholding her name because she has not been publicly identified or charged.” However, Twin Falls police told KKTV that they were not investigating a woman there.
Sandell did not name the woman.
However, KMVT is now reporting that the woman is Krystal Kenney Lee. “She is a registered nurse at St. Luke’s Health System. Hospital spokeswoman Michelle Bartlome confirmed Lee is on a leave of absence,” the television station reported. A high school friend added to the television station that Krystal “comes from an amazing family and it’s 100 percent hard for me to believe that she did anything wrong…I’m super sad for everybody.”
To be clear: There is no public evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever on Krystal Lee’s part.
Authorities have been cryptic about the nature of the charges against Patrick Frazee.
“Due to multiple interviews,” authorities were able to make an arrest, they said when they first accused Patrick Frazee of Kelsey’s suspected murder. The police chief said that he was not able to comment on why there was 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 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. There is now a custody battle for the girl between the child’s maternal and paternal grandparents.
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.
2. Krystal Jean Lee Is a Former Rodeo Queen Who Worked as a Nurse in Idaho
Who is Krystal Jean Lee? Posts on Facebook show her photographed at a county fair with horses, although she appears to have deleted her Facebook page at some point. Before it was deleted, it said she “worked as an RN.” Her name has circulated in a true crime sleuthing group devoted to the case for some time.
“She was probably one of the best queens, she was amazing,” said Laura Stutzman, a friend on the rodeo circuit, to KMVT. “A person is gonna be hard pressed to find someone more honest, reliable, kind and very well grounded. She’s just one in a million. My Krystal, she’s a really wonderful, wonderful person. And I cannot for the life of me, and I can’t imagine any of this, what her families going through, her friends.”
Krystal Jean Lee has an unencumbered license to work as an RN in Idaho, according to licensing records. Her license to practice nursing is scheduled to expire in August 2019.
According to a post on Facebook, Krystal is a former Miss Magic Valley Stampede Queen. That position is a rodeo queen. She was married, but she petitioned for divorce from her husband in 2016 and indicated there was a minor child in the marriage, according to Idaho court records. They had two children together. The only other things that come up for either Krystal Lee or Krystal Kenney in Idaho records are minor traffic cases involving speed and insurance.
An old newspaper article described her as high school body president, and active in volleyball, basketball and rodeo.
Authorities no longer believe that Kelsey is alive, and the investigation unfolded rapidly in the 48 hours before Frazee’s arrest.
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.
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.
3. Kelsey Berreth Vanished on Thanksgiving Day After Being Spotted at a Supermarket
Frazee’s arrest ended 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.
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.
4. Investigators Have Focused Attention on Twin Falls, Idaho – Where Lee Is From – As Well as In Colorado
The link to Idaho was initially the cell phone ping. According to Fox News, Kelsey’s phone “reportedly pinged more than 700 miles away in Idaho days after she vanished.” However, the chief said on December 21 that Kelsey’s phone did “turn up in Idaho.”
According to Daily Mail, Krystal Lee Kenney, when she was married to a rancher in Idaho, “lived in an isolated six-bedroom farmhouse overlooking a canyon in Kimberly, Idaho, seven miles east of Twin Falls. ‘No Trespassing’ notices were posted at the house on Thursday and a brand new chain was strung across the long drive.”
Daily Mail reports that Krystal and Frazee met at a rodeo, but authorities have not confirmed this.
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.”
5. 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.
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.
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 said in the 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 (before his arrest): “The relationship has been good. They’re loving.”
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.