An Idaho nurse who pleaded guilty Friday to tampering with evidence in the disappearance and apparent murder of 29-year-old Woodland Park mom Kelsey Berreth helped cover up the death because she reportedly feared for her life, CBS News said Monday.
Krystal Jean Kenney, 32, of Hansen, Idaho, accepted a 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 their year-old daughter. Kenney, who reportedly was romantically involved with Frazee, admitted helping him throw off suspicion by taking Berreth’s phone after she vanished Thanksgiving Day.
Michelle Stein said she is a close friend of Kenney, who told her that she had helped Frazee conceal Berreth’s death, CBS News reported.
“I will just tell you Krystal was very, very scared,” said Stein of Twin Falls, Idaho, to CBS News. “Krystal’s a very level-headed, kind, fun-loving, happy-go-lucky person. She’s a tough cowgirl. But she was absolutely scared and extremely upset.”
The rodeo queen, also known as Krystal Lee, has known Frazee for 15 years, and they had dated previously, CBS News reported. Only recently did Kenney learn Frazee was engaged to and had a child with Berreth, Stein said.
Kenney reportedly told Stein “she has never seen that kind of evil in anybody.”
In court, Kenney admitted moving the victim’s cellphone to mislead 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.
“I learned Patrick Frazee had committed a homicide on or about Nov. 22,” Kenney said in court, reading from a handwritten statement.
She 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.
Although no body has been found, authorities say they believe Berreth was slain in her Woodland Park home on Thanksgiving Day. Berreth was last seen in public that day on surveillance video, shopping with her daughter at the Woodland Park Safeway, and she later met Frazee to hand off their daughter for a visit, authorities have said.
Frazee did not report his fiancee missing. Berreth’s mother, who lives in Idaho, notified police Dec. 2 that she hadn’t been able to contact her daughter for days.
Lee and Frazee met after high school at a ranch and bonded over horses, CBS News reported.
Kenney 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.