Police are searching a Colorado landfill for the remains of a woman whose fiance is charged with her murder.
Authorities said their search for evidence or the remains of Kelsey Berreth that began on Tuesday could take weeks. The site is about 90 miles south of Denver.
Berreth, a 29-year-old flight instructor, was last seen on Nov. 22 near her home in a mountain town near Colorado Springs, south of Denver. Her body has not been found.
Investigators testified that Patrick Frazee, Berreth’s fiancé, began planning Berreth’s death in September and enlisted an Idaho woman who told authorities they been having a romantic relationship for several months before that.
Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, a 32-year-old former nurse, told police that Frazee claimed Berreth was abusing the couple’s 1-year-old daughter. Police said there is no evidence that the girl was abused by her mother or anyone else.
Frazee asked Kenney to kill Berreth three times, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Gregg Slater testified Tuesday.
Slater said Kenney reported that Frazee suggested using a poisoned drink from Starbucks in September. Kenney told police that Frazee later told her to hit Berreth in the head using a metal pipe or a baseball bat.
Kenney said he was angry each time she failed to act. She loved Frazee and wanted to make him happy but could not hurt Berreth, Slater said.
Kenney received a call from Frazee on Nov. 22 demanding that she drive to Colorado, Slater said.
“You got a mess to clean up,” Frazee said according to Kenney’s account to police.
She said she arrived two days later and found a “horrific” scene with blood spattered on the walls and floors of Berreth’s townhome, Slater said.
Kenney told police that Frazee had wrapped a sweater around Berreth’s head before beating her to death with a baseball bat and stashing her body on a ranch. After she cleaned the house, Kenney said she went with Frazee to retrieve Berreth’s body and watched as Frazee burned it on his property along with the wooden bat, Slater said.
She said Frazee later told her he planned to throw the remains in a dump or river.
Kenney has pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and is required to testify against Frazee as part of her plea agreement with prosecutors.
Police acknowledged that Kenney did not see Berreth’s body or a baseball bat. They also said Kenney denied knowing Berreth or having a personal relationship with Frazee when investigators first contacted her in mid-December.
Defense attorneys also highlighted a lack of blood or other physical evidence detected in Frazee’s truck and questioned the Berreth family’s access to Kelsey’s townhome following initial police searches. Blood in the bathroom identified as Berreth’s was discovered on Dec. 6, days after police turned the property over to her family.
Apart from Kenney’s account, the prosecution’s case relies heavily on data from cell phone towers charting the physical location of phones belonging to Berreth, Frazee, and Kenney. Investigators testified that data showed Berreth’s cell phone was always in the same location as Frazee’s phone or Kenney’s phone after Nov. 22.
The hearing did not reveal why prosecutors believe Frazee killed Berreth. Her parents argue in a wrongful death lawsuit that they believe Frazee wanted full custody of the couple’s 1-year-old daughter. The child has remained with them while the criminal case proceeds.