The parents of missing Colorado mom Kelsey Berreth believe a custody fight was the motive in her presumed murder.
That belief was revealed in an updated wrongful death lawsuit filed by Cheryl-Lee Ellen Berreth and Darrell Lynn Berreth against Kelsey’s fiancé Patrick Frazee, who is also facing criminal murder charges in the young mom’s disappearance.
“Upon information and belief, Frazee had motive to kill Kelsey in that he wanted full custody of [their daughter] KB and/or Kelsey to leave KB with him and Kelsey would not agree,” the amended lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Friday said, according to CNN.
They claim Cheryl-Lee called Frazee on Dec. 2 to ask about her daughter’s whereabouts after the worried mom hadn’t received any calls or texts from her 29-year-old daughter in a week. Kelsey was last seen publicly on Nov. 22 shopping at a local Colorado grocery store with her 1-year-old daughter in tow.
Kelsey’s parents now claim that during conversations with Frazee on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, he lied to them and made a series of “false statements, misrepresentations and/or calculated omissions,” according to the court filing.
They say Frazee told Cheryl-Lee that he and Kelsey had broken up on Thanksgiving, the day she was last seen alive, and that they had gone to dinner at Cracker Barrell and agreed to split custody of their daughter 50/50, the Denver Post reports.
His attorney in the civil lawsuit, Ed Farry, declined to comment to CNN and said any response would be made in a court filing.
Frazee also told Kelsey’s parents that the flight instructor “may have flown somewhere with a friend or coworker” and that’s why she hadn’t been seen, the filing alleges.
However, Colorado investigators believe that Kelsey is dead and that Frazee is behind the murder. Frazee has been charged with first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation to commit murder.
He’s expected to appear in Teller County District Court Monday for a preliminary hearing that may provide additional details about the case against him.
Prosecutors will be required to demonstrate why they think the young mom is dead and why they believe Frazee is responsible.
“We are going to learn new things tomorrow but we aren’t going to learn all the details. It’s a general outline of the case,” legal analyst Chris Decker told KDVR on Monday.
Earlier this month, Krystal Lee Kenney, 32, pleaded guilty to felony tampering after admitting she took Berreth’s cellphone to Idaho to interfere with the investigation into her disappearance.
Kelsey’s young daughter is currently being cared for by her parents, Cheryl-Lee and Darrell.
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