Time. That’s the main difference between the Frazee case and Watts case. Just three days after Chris Watts was sentenced to life in imprisonment in Greeley, 29-year-old Colorado pilot Kelsey Berreth was last seen seen at a Safeway grocery store in Woodland Park, Teller County. CCTV recorded Kelsey shopping with her daughter from 12:05 to 12:27 on Wednesday, November 22nd.
While the cops were alerted to Shan’ann’s disappearance at about noon on August 13th, or within about ten hours after she was last seen by Nickole Atkinson, Kelsey was reported missing at noon on December 2nd by her mother Cheryl Berreth, ten days after she disappeared. Like Shan’ann, Kelsey was described as “not the kind that runs off.”
While it’s not relevant, strictly speaking, where the Watts home was relative to the Berreth’s home, for those unfamiliar with this case, and with Colorado, this map provides the basic geographic context.
Frazee lawyered up. It’s not clear precisely when Frazee lawyered up, but Jeremy Loew, his attorney features in the timeline on December 12th, 22 days after Kelsey’s disappearance. Watts, of course, never lawyered up.
On December 12th, Frazee handed over his cellphone and a cheek swab for DNA. That’s very late compared to what happened in the Watts case, where Shan’ann’s cell phone was seized on the afternoon of August 13 [Day 1], while Watts’s phone was confiscated at 21:00 on August 14th [Day 2].
Human remains. Shan’ann’s remains were found and exhumed approximately 67 hours after her murder. When Frazee was finally arrested on December 21, one day short of a month after Kelsey’s murder, it wasn’t clear whether her body had been recovered. What is clear [at the time of writing], that while it took less than three days to find Shan’ann’s body, Kelsey’s cadaver was missing for 696 hours, or four weeks and one day.
Frazee didn’t live with Kelsey. Frazee was based in Florissant, about 15 miles West from Kelsey’s home. The geographical distance between the couple could mean there was space for a third party to be involved as we saw in the Watts case. Since Kelsey was a young mother, the likelihood is greater that Frazee was cheating on her, than the other away round [assuming infidelity is even a factor].
Kelsey’s phone wasn’t found at her home, but eventually tracked to Gooding, Idaho, about 35 miles north of Twin Falls, almost 800 miles [1 290 kilometers] north west of Kelsey’s home. Shan’ann’s phone was found in the loft lounge, under some cushions on the couch. It is possible Watts took her phone with him, and returned it, or put it in the Lexus and retrieved it from there when he entered the garage.
Kelsey was a strong Christian, who wanted the same qualities in her partner.
Frazee didn’t participate in a press conference set up to find Kelsey. Lesson learned from Chris Watts’ catastrophic Sermon on the Porch.
Frazee did not agree to an in-person interview with law enforcement. Watts did and was arrested within three days of committing the crime.
Kaylee Berreth, the couple’s 1-year-old daughter, survived the murder of her mother.
Now for the similarities between the Frazee case and the Watts case:
- Authorities have declined to provide a motive for Kelsey’s death.
- Authorities have not – thus far – disclosed how they believe Kelsey was killed. Due to the length of time her remains have likely been out there, we may never know. A similar uncertainty exists around time of death and precisely how or where the Watts family were killed.
- Frazee was the last person to see Kelsey alive. Watts was the last to see his family alive.
- Frazee appears to co-operate with law enforcement, though he’s less co-operative than Watts when one looks at the media aspect and the Frazee having a lawyer speak on his behalf. Nevertheless media were told he was co-operating. As a result of these shenanigans, Frazee appeared less plausibly a suspect -arguably – than Watts did.
- Frazee is charged with premeditated murder. This tends to support the supposition that a third party may have been in involved. The third party may refer to the “solicitation” charge.
- Cellphone data [and “other data”] proved to be instrumental in both cases.
- Certain aspects of the cell phone data appeared to be a ruse, contrived and calculated to create the impression Kelsey was alive when she wasn’t. Watts also made a call and texted Shan’ann hours after she was already dead. Unlike Watts, however, Frazee travelled a long distance to reinforce the impression that Kelsey was somewhere else. As mentioned above, Kelsey’s phone was recovered from Idaho. Since she was a pilot, it was somewhat conceivable that she’d flown somewhere. The cellphone is key. Police said the only signs of Berreth after Thanksgiving were some text messages and that location data suggested the phone by November 25 was near Gooding, Idaho, 800 miles (1,290 kilometers) from her house. – abc7
- The crime appeared to be committed inside Kelsey’s home [which implies Kaylee was present].
- Frazee was described as a “gentle soul” would never hurt anyone. From CNN: Sonja Oliver, who says she has known Frazee for five years, told Inside Edition, “I’ve always considered him to be a gentle soul. Soft spoken and just really down to Earth and practical.” Oliver says she “couldn’t imagine him doing anything that would harm anyone.” When asked by Inside Edition if she believes he had anything to do with Berreth’s disappearance, Oliver again stated, “I just can’t imagine Patrick doing anything like that.” This echoes the multiple early character references for Chris Watts – including from teachers, high school friends, co-workers, the Thayers, from his pal Jeremy Lindstrom, and from his parents. Nickole Atkinson and Cassie Rosenberg, who had the inside track into Shan’ann’s world, knew better, however.
- The initial searches of the respective residences didn’t turn up anything. This suggests Frazee also covered up extensively, just as Watts cleaned up his crime scene. The digital deception suggests a real world parallel.
That’s ten similarities, that’s enough. Now for the Rocket Science treatment on what we don’t know. Please note these speculations are made hours after Frazee’s arrest and need to be seen in the light of extremely limited or non-existent information [check the date this blog was published].
Rocket Science’s Early Assessment of Kelsey Berreth Slaying
1. Why was Frazee arrested?
According to abc7 the cops believe Frazee killed his fiance, but either they don’t know how, when or why, or they know and they’re not telling, or they’re sure of only a limited fraction of information.
“As you can tell from the arrest, sadly, we do not believe that Kelsey is still alive,” De Young said. Authorities also declined to elaborate on the solicitation of murder charge, how they believe Berreth was killed or any other aspect of the investigation.
The easy answer is that Frazee has been arrested because the cops don’t believe Kelsey is alive. The harder question to figure out is why don’t they believe she’s alive. The answer probably has something to do with the cadaver dogs.
There’s a big insight into the mind of law enforcement via the release to the press that Kelsey likely died at home – at her home.
Investigators who went to Berreth’s home found cinnamon rolls in the kitchen and both of her cars outside. De Young said the company where Berreth worked as a flight instructor, Doss Aviation, had accounted for all their planes and that police had no reason to believe she used someone else’s plane for a flight.
This makes sense, because Kelsey was last seen at a shopping center near her home, and was expecting Frazee to arrive later that afternoon to pick up their daughter. The fact that it was Thanksgiving, and he was coming to pick-up their child and take her with him, points to the possibility that they were either on the verge of breaking up, or in the process of it, but had not announced the end of their engagement to the public [which rings many similar bells to those in the Watts case, doesn’t it?]*
…the search and arrest affidavits will stay sealed for now. “There are a lot of investigative leads that need to be done,” May said. Authorities said as many as 30 FBI agents are participating in the investigation in several states.
Kelsey’s cars in the garage, and the sealing of the investigative reports, both echo what happened in the Watts case. It’s clear once the cops were able to confirm the flight logs with Doss Aviation that Kelsey hadn’t flown anywhere, her vehicles at her house and the CCTV footage started to sketch a mosaic that she was probably home.
A cadaver dog search [and reports indicate they searched for her above and below ground] would have confirmed or provided some potential confirmation that her remains, or part of her remains, were in and/or near the residence.
But just as we find in the Watts case, there’s a possibility that Kelsey’s body was transported back to Frazee’s ranch [an area he was as familiar with as Watts was with CERVI 319, and what’s more, could exert access control to] for burial.
According to the Daily Mail:
Deputies arrived and cut the lock on the gate that leads onto Frazee’s property, according to ABC News Correspondent Clayton Sandell.
Frazee was present when they arrived and later left the house with his daughter in the back of a sheriff’s vehicle, according to ABC News.
Several law enforcement vehicles – including a K9 search dog unit and an FBI pick up with a wheelbarrow in the back- were seen driving up the dirt road towards the farm where Frazee keeps cattle and horses. Later a convoy of search personal from Teller County Search and Rescue drove up. Greg Couch, Sheriff’s Office PIO at the scene, told Daily Mail.com: ‘We’re just giving him a courtesy ride off the property.
The excavations below on Frazee’s 35-acre ranch [left] were made by the cops. It’s unknown why they chose to dig in that area. But clearly there is excavation, and probably something was discovered [even a scent] on or under that disturbed earth that provided confirmation that Kelsey was dead.
‘He just left in one of those two cars. We’re just giving him a ride, I don’t know where he’s en route to but he was on the property when we got here. ‘When we do a search warrant we remove everyone so he’s gone.’.
Frazee, a farrier (horse shoer) and cattle rancher, also lives with his mother Sheila police confirmed [she] has also left the farm.
2. How could the cops be reasonably sure Kelsey didn’t go on a trip?
In both cases, there’s a psychology of the spouse or mother “running away” and disappearing. Ironically, this seems to be precisely what the murderer/s is/are doing. Watts wanted to “run away” with Kessinger, and so his motive is imputed – mirrored – onto Shan’ann as her going to an anonymous friend. When Watts was confronted with his affair, he was adamant that he didn’t want to identify Kessinger, which proves the mirroring was clearly in effect. The same scenario appears to be playing out in the Frazee case.
What Frazee couldn’t have anticipated was the Nickole Atkinson-factor.
According to the Daily Mail:
Kelsey’s brother Clint Berreth had earlier revealed he went to her home shortly after realizing she was missing and is adamant she didn’t pack to go anywhere. Her luggage and makeup remained untouched, and her two vehicles were still at her home.
If Frazee was hoping Kelsey’s disappearance wouldn’t be noticed, well, he seriously miscalculated in terms of Kelsey’s brother Clint, just as Watts underestimated Nickole – and Nicolas.
3. The big question is whether Frazee was aware of, and attempted to learn from the “mistakes” of the Watts case. In TWO FACE ANNIHILATION, the 6th book in the K9 series, I will address this aspect. There is a very clear indicator for this being not merely possible, but probable. Can you see what it is?
*Kelsey’s mother disputes the idea that the engagement was crumbling.
Cherly said she spoke with Kelsey twice on the phone on the day of her disappearance. Asked what they talked about she told Today: ‘it was just small things, initially she needed a recipe. ‘Her voice was fine, it was a normal day for her’. Cheryl said while the couple did not live together, their bond was strong. She added: ‘The relationship has been good, they are loving’.
It may be that it wasn’t, or more likely in my view, that Kelsey herself wasn’t fully aware of a dalliance.
COMING SOON IN FEBRUARY 2019…