A young mother’s disappearance has captivated the nation. Again.
Kelsey Berreth was last seen in public on Thanksgiving Day shopping at a grocery store in Colorado, and the details that have emerged since she was reported missing over 10 days later are already pretty shocking.
“Right now, there are a lot more questions than there are answers,” Susan Medina, spokeswoman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said during a news conference held on Monday, one that ended up prompting a lot more questions rather than providing answers.
The Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young offered up an update on the investigation that is underway, telling reporters, “I have nothing to indicate other than that it is a missing persons case.”
The missing person is Kelsey, 29, is a pilot instructor who has a one-year-old daughter with her fiancée, Patrick Frazee.
The last time Patrick told police he saw her was on Thanksgiving, when they met up that day to exchange custody of their child, who is currently in his care as police search for answers about what happened to Kelsey.
And in the latest news conference held on December 14, De Young said that it’s “absolutely a possibility” that Kelsey could still be alive. “That is our hope.” He did go on to call her disappearance “suspicious.”
At the first news conference held earlier in the week, a member of Kelsey’s immediate family was in attendance and stood on stage next to the police chief.
“Beside me is Kelsey’s mother, Cheryl. Cheryl hasn’t talked to Kelsey in 19 days,” De Young said. “We’ve reached out to numerous family members and friends.”
Cheryl then spoke at the news conference.
“She’s not the kind that runs off,” Cheryl said of her daughter, asking people to turn to the Facebook page, Missing Mother – Kelsey Barreth, for any information. “This is completely out of character.”
She then added, “Someone knows where she’s at.”
Though Cheryl made a desperate plea during the conference—”Kelsey, we just want you home. Call us if you can and we won’t quit looking.”—some are questioning why she waited until December 2, almost 10 days after she was last seen in public, to report Kelsey missing.
So why did Cheryl eventually report her daughter missing?
It’s because her phone had sent text messages…three days after she was seen grocery shopping on Thanksgiving Day.
Three days after Thanksgiving, when Kelsey was seen on surveillance footage wearing a white shirt, grey sweater and blue pants while shopping at Safeway with her daughter in tow, her boss at Doss Aviation in Pueblo, Colorado, received a test message from the pilot instructor, informing them she would not be at work for the next week.
“We are aware of the current missing persons investigation by local authorities,” a spokeswoman for Doss Aviation told The Gazette. “We extend our support to the family of Ms. Berreth and hope for her immediate safe return.”
On the same day her employer received the text message from Kelsey, her fiancée also received a message, De Young confirmed at the conference, though its content was not share publicly. The police chief told reporters “at this time” Patrick was being cooperative, though he told the reporters they would have to ask him why he was not present at the press conference.
After the 10-minute news conference was held, the law office of Jeremy Loew provided a statement to E! news on Patrick’s behalf that addressed his much-discussed absence.
“Much has been said over the news and social media about Mr. Frazee’s absence at the local new conference recently held by the Woodland Park Police Department on December 10, 2018,” the statement read. “Mr. Frazee was first notified of the press conference approximately an hour prior to its commencement. Had he been given more advance notice, he would have participated.”
Her mobile phone pinged on a cell tower in Idaho, over 700 miles away from her last known whereabouts.
Per The Denver Post, Kelsey has family, including her mother, in Idaho, close to where her phone was used, and Washington. But there was no evidence that she had flown away in an aircraft from her work, or that she and Patrick were having any issues in their relationship prior to her disappearance, according to De Young.
The Facebook page posted on Dec. 6 that it would be “out of character” for Kelsey to not contact anyone before flying a plane.
“Kelsey is a pilot. Although it would be out of character for her to not contact anyone before making a cross-country trip we can’t exclude the possibility. Kelsey has ties to the Pacific Northwest as well as Kansas. She does not own a plane nor do we know of any local friends that she would borrow one from,” the post read. “I don’t believe she has ever made a flight without filing a flight plan. We do realize that it is possible to rent a plane, but I believe someone would be missing it by now.”
As of now, the police have yet to publicly identify any suspects or persons of interests, and are considering all options in the missing persons case. And on December 11, The Woodland Park Police Department released the video footage of Kelsey at Safeway, the last time she was seen in public, putting her daughter in a shopping cart.
According to her family, Kelsey wouldn’t willingly leave her daughter, with ABC News reporting she was described as “responsible” and “grounded,” with her mother saying during the news conference, “Kelsey loves her god, she loves her family and friends and she loves her job.”
Her brother-in-law Brendan Kindle told ABC News, “I just want her to come home. I find myself calling her quite often and her phone just goes to voicemail.”
And on the Facebook page dedicated to Kelsey’s disappearance, her brother Clint Berreth wrote that after going to her house “we know 1 thing [is] certain, Kelsey did not pack to go anywhere.”
Friends of Clint started a GoFundMe campaign to “raise funds to defray the costs of the search, investigations, and any other related expenses that arise.”
After the Facebook page uploaded the video from the news conference held on Monday, an administrator responded to some of the theories and speculation being posted in the comments section.
“We are asking yet again, PLEASE STOP THE SPECULATION. Everything that is pertinent to assist in helping us find Kelsey is in the Press Conference video. All other information the family has the right to keep private. We will all be very ashamed of ourselves if we discover that some other reason, other than the conjectures being stated, turn out to be the cause of Kelsey’s disappearance.”
Of course, much of the speculation centered on the status of Kelsey and Patrick’s relationship.
At the press conference, reporters asked if the police had searched Patrick’s residence, which De Young did not elaborate on, only confirming they did not live together. Cheryl clarified, “They have never lived together.”
They confirmed they were still engaged at the time she was reported missing…which leads to another question from the press: Why hadn’t Patrick reported he hadn’t seen the mother of his child since Thanskgiving?
“That’s a question we’ll have to ask Patrick,” the police chief said, noting earlier Cheryl had reported Kelsey missing after calling Patrick and discovering the last time he heard from her was the test message he received on Nov. 25.
So is he a suspect? “At this point he is the father of Kelsey’s daughter,” De Young said, “and we’re going to leave it at that, so this is a missing persons case.”
Since then, Patrick “continues to cooperate with law enforcement in the missing person investigation of Kelsey Berreth,” the statement provided to E! News by his lawyer said.
It also revealed that his cooperation has included “interviews with law enforcement, voluntarily releasing his phone to be searched by law enforcement, buccal [swabs], and photographs. “
The statement continued, “Mr. Frazee hopes and prays for Ms. Berreth’s return. Mr. Frazee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and continue to parent the child he shares with Ms. Berreth. He will not speak to the media about this case, as he does not want to impede law enforcement’s investigation. All calls regarding this investigation should be directed to the Woodland Park Police Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.”
But during the December 14 update, De Young revealed Patrick “hasn’t sat down with an investigator yet. He is communicating with us through his attorney.”
On Tuesday, a reporter for ABC News approached Patrick as he was leaving a law firm, as seen in the video posted by KRDO News Channel 13, asking, “People want to know why you haven’t spoken out about your fiancé? Can you give us your side of the story, please? Is there anything you would like to say?”
Patrick did not respond to any of the questions and remained in his truck before driving off.
Early on December 14, the Woodland Park Police Department issued a statement revealing they were carrying out a search warrant, along with other agencies, to search Patrick’s home, as they continue to investigate her missing persons case.
“This case is the number one priority for the Woodland Park Police Department and we are working around the clock on it,” the department said.
ABC News was outside of Patrick’s home when the police arrived to conduct their search, which is “going to take a number of days to finish,” De Young informed the public, explaining they did “have enough information” to get a judge to sign off on the warrant to search Patrick’s property.
When asked why it took so long for police to search his home, De Young answered, “There are a number of other things we have done up until this point that have led to us being able to search the residence at this point.”
On Thursday, his attorney Jeremy Loew told the Today show that he had “no reason to believe that [Frazee] is a suspect.”
The news conference was held on Dec. 10, but the Facebook page dedicated to updating the public on the case was created by loved ones on Dec. 5.
And after she was reported missing by her mother on Dec. 2, the police searched her apartment, where they found both of her vehicles, her toothbrush, and a possible clue in a baked good.
“Yes, we did search it,” De Young said during the news conference. “Yes, there were some cinnamon rolls. They were cold.”
The small town in Idaho where her phone last pinged near, Gooding, is located on Interstate-84, which is between Woodland Park, Colorado, and Soap Lake, Washington, where family members of Kelsey live.
“Her grandma isn’t in good health so we thought, ‘Well maybe’. In which case she could’ve driven right through the Tri-Cities,” Kelsey’s cousin JoDee Garretson told KEPRtv.
But no one in the family has heard from Kelsey since Thanksgiving Day, which is the last time her mother Cheryl spoke to her over the phone.
In an interview with NBC’s Joe Fryer on Thursday, Cheryl said she spoke to Kelsey twice that day.
It was just small things,” she said of their conversations. “Initially she just needed a recipe.”
Cheryl went on to say she didn’t suspect anything was wrong. “Her voice was fine…it was an normal day for her.”
She also addressed a subject of much focus and interest: Kelsey and Patrick’s relationship.
“Their relationship has been good,” she said. “They’re loving.”
But she added, “The speculation hasn’t been helpful. Don’t try to figure this out. We’ve got people trying to do that. Just share the photo.There’s more important things to be done.”
And similar to what she said during the news conference, Cheryl seemed confident someone knows something about her daughter’s disappearance.
“I still know somebody knows where she’s at. Somebody has seen her,” she said. “There’s more information out there. Somebody just needs to realize and to recognize and to say something.”
Cheryl remains hopeful that Kelsey will be found.
In the back of my mind, sure, there’s a possibility something else could’ve happened, but it does me no good to go down that road and I don’t think it does Kelsey any good either.”
Police are asking anyone with information about Kelsey Berreth’s whereabouts to contact the Woodland Park Police Department at (719)-687-9262.