CRIPPLE CREEK • An Idaho nurse pleaded guilty Friday to tampering with evidence in the disappearance and apparent murder of 29-year-old Woodland Park mom Kelsey Berreth.
Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, 32, of Hansen, Idaho, accepted the plea deal at her advisement hearing in exchange for her testimony against Berreth’s fiance, Patrick Frazee, 32, who is accused of killing the mother of his 15-month-old daughter. Kenney, who reportedly was romantically involved with Frazee, admitted helping him throw off suspicion by taking Berreth’s cellphone after she vanished on Thanksgiving Day.
“I learned Patrick Frazee had committed a homicide on or about Nov. 22,” Kenney said in court, reading from a handwritten statement. Choking back tears, she said she moved the victim’s cellphone with the intent of misleading investigators.
Berreth’s phone was pinged by a cell tower in Gooding, Idaho, three days after she disappeared. Gooding is about 40 miles from where Kenney lives.
The charge to which Kenney pleaded guilty typically brings a sentence of up to 18 months in prison, but she also is eligible for probation and community corrections. Kenney, who wasn’t taken into custody, won’t be sentenced until after Frazee’s case concludes.
As a condition of her plea deal, Kenney is barred from speaking to the media.
Kenney has not been accused of a direct role in Berreth’s apparent death, for which Frazee has been charged with first-degree murder and four other felonies.
Kenney, also known as Krystal Lee, was the 2008 rodeo queen of the Magic Valley in Idaho and worked as a pre-op nurse at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, reported the Times-News in Twin Falls.
Although no body has been located, authorities say they believe Berreth was slain in her Woodland Park home on Thanksgiving Day. Berreth was last seen in public Nov. 22 on surveillance video shopping with her daughter at the Woodland Park Safeway, and later met Frazee to hand off their 1-year-old daughter for a visit, authorities have said.
Frazee did not report his fiancee missing — Berreth’s mother who lives in Idaho notified police on Dec. 2 that she had been unable to contact her daughter for days. Frazee, a Florissant rancher, was arrested Dec. 21 and has been held without bond in the Teller County jail while awaiting a Feb. 19 preliminary hearing at which prosecutors are expected to lay out their evidence against him. The arrest affidavit detailing the evidence against him has been sealed and is unavailable to the public and media.
The Gazette’s Liz Forster and Ellie Mulder contributed to this report.