Prosecutors want a judge to bar the public release of Teller County Department of Human Services records involving interviews with a Florissant rancher accused of killing his fiancee and burning her body.
In a March 20 motion made public this week, prosecutor Beth Reed said the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office obtained the documents as part of its investigation into Patrick Frazee, 32, who is charged with first-degree murder in the disappearance and presumed death of Kelsey Berreth, 29.
They include “extensive interviews documenting statements made by the defendant and witnesses in this case,” Reed said.
The nature of the statements isn’t clear, but court testimony has revealed that Frazee claimed that Berreth abused their toddler daughter.
Such an allegation would trigger an investigation by child protective authorities, who investigate in secret and do not publicly discuss their work.
“The people respectfully request disclosure of these records to the defendant in the above-referenced case, subject to a protective order prohibiting dissemination to any person outside of the defendant’s legal defense team,” Reed wrote in her motion.
The defense has yet to provide the judge with a response, and it’s unclear when a ruling will be issued. Court records show no evidence that child protective authorities pursued action against either Frazee or Berreth.
Prosecutors have previously suggested in court that Frazee led a campaign to tar Berreth’s reputation, including claims of child abuse, after she disappeared on Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day.
Frazee had taken steps to seek custody of the girl before Berreth’s disappearance, investigators said in court, supplying a possible motive for the crime.
Although her body hasn’t been found, Frazee was charged with her murder in December. At an evidentiary hearing in February, authorities alleged that an Idaho nurse who was having an affair with Frazee said he confessed to her that he killed Berreth with a baseball bat. Frazee directed the woman to clean up Berreth’s Woodland Park townhouse afterward, she said.
Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, 32, of Hansen, Idaho, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and faces up to 18 months in prison. Under terms of her deal, a penalty will not be imposed until after Frazee’s case has concluded.
Frazee, who is being held without bond at the Teller County jail, is due to be arraigned Friday in Cripple Creek, at which time a trial is likely to be scheduled.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to remove an erroneous statement about the evidence against Idaho nurse Krystal Jean Kenney, who has pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence.