CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — Investigators and police were called to the witness stand on Tuesday morning, as the third day of Patrick Frazee's murder trial began.
Frazee, 33, of Florissant, is accused of murdering Kelsey Berreth, his 29-year-old fiancée, on Thanksgiving Day 2018 in Woodland Park. He is also accused of soliciting Idaho resident Krystal Lee Kenney, whom he had dated, to help him carry out the murder.
He faces eight charges, including first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body and solicitation. While he pleaded not guilty to the charges, Kenney took a plea deal, pleading guilty to a tampering charge and agreeing to testify at Frazee's trial.
The prosecution will continue to bring witnesses forward Tuesday, and the defense will cross-examine them if they wish. Frazee was wearing a red checkered dress shirt with khakis on Tuesday morning.
Here is Denver7's coverage from previous days of the trial:
Day 1 (Nov. 1, 2019): Prosecutor calls Patrick Frazee 'calculated manipulator,' but defense says 'facts don't make sense'
Day 2 (Nov. 4, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Family, police describe suspicions after Kelsey Berreth’s disappearance
Day 3 (Nov. 5, 2019): Patrick Frazee trial: Defense questions timeline, lack of black tote in surveillance photos
Day 4 (Nov. 6, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Krystal Kenney recounts cleanup of Kelsey Berreth murder scene
Day 5 (Nov. 7, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Defense questions why Kenney never alerted anyone to murder plot
Day 6 (Nov. 8, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: ‘I figured out a way to kill her,' friend testifies Frazee told him
Day 7 (Nov. 12, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Frazee's friend testified he said Berreth was 'never coming back'
Day 8 (Nov. 13, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Berreth's coworkers describe her as quiet, sweet, loving to her newborn
Day 9 (Nov. 14, 2019): Frazee trial: CBI agent says he doesn't know where investigation would be without Kenney's testimony
Day 10 (Nov. 15, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Ex-inmate says Frazee asked him to kill witnesses, including Kenney
Day 11 (Nov. 18, 2019): Did Patrick Frazee murder Kelsey Berreth? Jury deliberating following closing arguments
Day 11 (Nov. 18, 2019): Jury finds Patrick Frazee guilty of murdering fiancée Kelsey Berreth last Thanksgiving
Digital expert explains surveillance footage from Berreth's front door
Chad Mininger, who has worked as an investigator with the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office, was the first witness to take the stand Tuesday morning. He is a digital expert and during his testimony on Monday afternoon, he explained that his office had obtained a grant to use Cellebrite technology, which can quickly extract information from drones, cell phones and other type of digital tech. He showed multiple images from Berreth’s neighbor’s surveillance cameras showing Frazee and Berreth entering and leaving her Woodland Park condo.
On Tuesday, Mininger continued walking the court through his surveillance findings from the days around Berreth’s alleged murder.
He experimented with how well the neighbor’s cameras worked with several tests. While some of the cameras caught his movement immediately, others had a delay. The camera is 16 feet from Berreth’s front door.
When he looked at downloaded surveillance footage between Oct. 30 and Nov. 21, 2018, he spotted Frazee one time on Oct. 30 at 4:36 p.m. It was the only photo he found of Frazee in that time, he said. There were no downloaded images of Berreth or Frazee between Nov. 23 and Dec. 2, he said.
On a PowerPoint, Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May showed surveillance stills from Nov. 22. In the first one, he pointed out Berreth, Frazee and Kaylee, their then-1-year-old daughter, entering the condo at 1:23 p.m. Berreth was carrying flowers and the baby carrier.
This is the last known picture of Berreth, May said.
At 1:24 p.m., May showed a surveillance picture showing Frazee with something in his hand as he closes the front door.
About three hours later, at 4:20 p.m., Frazee is again pictured with his back to the camera. He appears to be holding Kaylee. About 10 minutes later, he’s spotted again. He has his back to the camera.
This was the last time he’s captured on the camera, May said.
During cross-examination, Frazee’s primary attorney Adam Stiegerwald asked Mininger if the last few surveillance pictures were the last time Berreth and Frazee were seen on the system, which Mininger confirmed.
Stiegerwald pulls up the photos of Frazee that were caught between 4:26 p.m. and 4:28 p.m. In each photo, he appears to be holding a child in his left arm, presumably Kaylee. Stiegerwald pointed out that none of the pictures show Frazee carrying a large black tote.
The prosecutors have accused Frazee of killing Berreth in the condo and putting her body in a tote bag before bringing it outside and putting it into the back of his truck.
Mininger said there’s a void between Frazee and the door, and he can’t tell exactly what it is. He also mentioned that some cameras may have distorted lenses, which could alter the perception of the void. He said the cameras are of good quality, but zooming in makes the image pixelated.
Between 4:24 p.m. and 4:32 p.m., the door is pictured as open with nobody around, then closed in three pictures.
Because of the angle of the camera and fence dividing the properties, Stiegerwald pointed out that the camera can only capture what’s at or above the level of the door knob to Kelsey’s condo.
Stiegerwald then asked how Mininger had determined the order of the photos and he responded that they were pulled in chronological order. Stiegerwald pointed out the sunlight and shadows in the photos over the course of the day on Nov. 22, noting that the pattern seemed irregular. Mininger said it could have been from trees or clouds, but that isn’t his field of study.
Stiegerwald also pulled up some images taken around 11:57 a.m. — within seconds of each other — that showed dramatic changes in sunlight. Mininger again suggested clouds could have caused that.
Police corporal recalls beginning of investigation
Woodland Park Police Department Cpl. Beth Huber, who has worked for the department for four years, was called to the stand. She joined the investigation on Dec. 3. Prosecutor Beth Reed interviewed her on the stand.
Huber said she had talked with Cpl. Dena Currin, who had responded to Berreth’s mother’s request for a welfare check on Dec. 2. Currin told Huber that she felt weird about the situation and hoped Berreth would show up to work the following Monday, Huber said.
During a phone call with Berreth’s mother, Huber said she learned she had talked with Frazee, who’d said he was talking to Verizon to see if Berreth had texted anyone since she went missing.
Huber entered Berreth as a missing person in multiple systems and sent out an alert through Colorado, she said.
When she sat down with Frazee, Huber said he told her he had last seen Berreth on Nov. 22. They had talked the day before about breaking up, but were both good parents to Kaylee. He said he gave Berreth her belongings back. As far as visiting her Woodland Park condo, he explained he had gone to the home on Nov. 22 to pick up Kaylee, but Kelsey wasn’t there, so he ran some errands and returned later that day. They exchanged the child in the alley, he told Huber. He then left, Huber said.
Frazee told her he didn’t have contact with Kelsey later that day, or around 4:30 p.m., Huber said. They talked on the phone later that day — Nov. 22, 2018 — as well as the following three days.
A few days after Thanksgiving, Frazee received a text from Berreth asking, “Do you even love me?” he told Huber. She said Frazee told her that he tried to reply, but later learned his text didn’t go through.
On Dec. 3, Huber called Verizon and asked for the last known location of Berreth’s phone. She learned it last pinged off a tower in Gooding, Idaho on Nov. 25 at 5:13 p.m, she said.
After securing a search warrant to look through Berreth’s home, Huber said she called Frazee to ask about the items he had returned to her. He mentioned he had given back her revolver which had ammunition. At the time, Huber was searching for Berreth’s purse, keys to her vehicles and apartment, and her gun. None were found in her condo.
The state then entered exhibits, which were surveillance pictures showing Berreth with Kaylee at Safeway early on Thanksgiving Day.
Court went into recess at 10:16 a.m. before returning at 10:35 a.m. Reed continued with Huber's testimony.
Huber explained retrieving surveillance video of Frazee and Kaylee in the local Walmart. She said she noticed large crates in the back of his truck.
Frazee's brother details Thanksgiving Day with family
District Attorney May then asked Frazee's older brother, Sean Frazee, to stand as witness in the courtroom. Sean is a Colorado Springs Police Department officer. He lives in the city with his family.
Patrick appeared to look at him with more interest than with other witnesses.
May first asked about the Frazee family ranch. Sean explained that his mother had lived at the ranch for 20 years and Patrick lived there as well. He said he hadn’t been close with his brother for the last two or three years.
On Thanksgiving Day 2018, Sean arrived at the ranch with his wife and children around 2:30 p.m. Only his mother was there, he said. They had dinner shortly afterward for about 60 to 90 minutes and Patrick still hadn’t showed up.
Around 4:30 p.m., Patrick called the ranch’s landline and said he was coming but would be late. Sean said he arrived with Kaylee around 5 p.m. and made some food for himself and Kaylee. Afterward, Patrick went outside for some chores and to feed the horses, Sean said. After he came back inside, the family had dessert and Sean’s family left around 7:30 p.m.
When asked, he said he wasn’t sure if Patrick was on his phone throughout the visit. When May asked if Sean saw anything in the back of his truck, Patrick said it was parked out of sight, so he didn’t notice, but it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary to see a black box in the back of the truck.
Sean and Patrick’s father passed away on Aug. 28, 2018 and his children were still going through his estate at the time. They still are, Sean said. About $400,000 is at stake, he said, including property.
Sean said he knew some boys did odd jobs on the ranch. He met some of them in Colorado Springs on Nov. 29, 2018 when he had to meet Patrick to get a death certificate for their father. Patrick and the boys were headed to a scrapyard and Sean offered a recommendation— Evraz Steel off Las Vegas Street in Colorado Springs.
May asked when Sean first heard that Berreth was missing, and he said Patrick told him over the phone on Dec. 3. Patrick mentioned that her grandmother was sick, so she may have gone to visit without telling anybody. He also mentioned that she had alcohol issues and had sought help before so she may have gone away to seek more help, but again, without telling anybody. Sean said he told Patrick that he hoped she would be found alive.
During that call, Patrick also said he’d received a call from Doss Aviation about canceling Kaylee’s health insurance because Berreth hadn’t been working enough.
Sean said he thought his brother’s demeanor was concerning during the call.
He said he was with Patrick in a parking lot on Dec. 4 when a police officer approached them and asked Patrick for his phone. Sean asked if they had a warrant and the officer said no, but they planned to get one. Sean told Patrick to give the officer his phone, which he did, Sean said.
When Sean was dismissed from the witness stand, he looked over at his brother, turned his head and rolled his eyes.
Cameras at furniture store capture Frazee’s truck
Jason Memmer walked to the witness stand and introduced himself as a sales and delivery employee at Williams Furniture in Woodland Park. Memmer said he’s also in charge of cameras.
This is the store that caught Frazee leaving and driving toward Berreth’s townhome. It’s about two or three blocks away from her home.
At the time of the alleged crime, Williams Furniture had four cameras in the parking lot and in front of the store. The cameras record 24 hours a day and if motion is detected, will capture an image.
Authorities asked him to collect clips for Nov. 22, 2018, which he did before handing over the entire 30-day hard drive, he said. In court, he explained that the time stamp on the cameras is about six minutes ahead of true time.
Investigator notes surveillance video, positioning of tote in Frazee’s truck
Just after 11:30 a.m., Investigator Stephanie Courtney with the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office was called to the witness stand. She’s worked with the DA’s Office for seven years and works in the special investigations unit. She was assigned to the case on Dec. 6.
Prosecutor Jennifer Viehman asked about the volume of tips, photos and videos tied to the case. Courtney explained part of her line of work was to help with that. She was able to track down Frazee in the Walmart surveillance video and ATM surveillance video. She also confirmed she found Berreth on Safeway’s surveillance video.
Berreth was in Safeway between 12:02-12:27 p.m., she said. The prosecution put the images from this camera on the court slideshow.
Courtney said Frazee’s truck was headed north on Fairview at 12:30 p.m., according to the surveillance video from Williams Furniture. He was driving toward Berreth’s home. At 12:31 p.m., a still showed Berreth driving toward her home, just a minute after Frazee.
At 12:38 p.m., just a few minutes later, Frazee’s truck is seen headed back south on Fairview. Prosecutors believe he had gone to Berreth’s house, but seeing that she wasn’t there, had decided to run some errands and return later. The same surveillance photo, just a few minutes later, showed his truck with a white dog carrier and a black box in the back.
He used an ATM between 12:42 p.m. and 12:50 p.m., Courtney said. A second photo from the ATM surveillance showed the back of his trunk, which also showed the dog carrier and black tote. The tote has silver clasps on the front.
Walmart surveillance footage shows Frazee going inside at 12:52 p.m., getting infant formula at 1:06 p.m. and walking in the parking lot at 1:13 p.m., Courtney said. When he drives away, he heads south, away from Berreth’s home. At 1:19 p.m., he’s seen driving back north on Fairview toward her condo.
Courtney said he doesn’t show up on the surveillance video until 4:34 p.m. as he drove south on Fairview. She noted that the tote in the back of his pickup was now in a difference position. He’s seen on surveillance video taking a right onto Highway 24 to head north toward Florissant. The drive from Berreth’s condo to Frazee’s home takes about 22 minutes, Courtney said.
At this point, court went into recess for a lunch.
After court came back from recess, investigator Stephanie Courtney retook the stand and prosecutor Jennifer Viehman started with exhibit 143, the photo of the black tote in the back of Frazee’s truck leaving the ATM.
The black box, which was discussed earlier in the day, appears to be in a different position at 12:38 p.m. than at a later time. The photo showed the left side of Frazee’s truck after he had been to Kelsey’s home and the silver clasps are not visible.
Viehman then pulled up two photos from Williams Furniture showing Frazee’s truck leaving, with the right side of this truck viewable to the court.
The first two photos show the tote without the silver clasps (at around 12:38 p.m.) and the second shows the silver clasps.
Frazee’s primary attorney Adam Stiegerwald returns for cross-examination.
He references the 12:38 p.m. photo from Williams Furniture as Frazee’s truck heads south and goes on to discuss the Walmart surveillance footage.
As the footage plays, Stiegerwald says you can see Frazee loading items into his truck at the Walmart parking lot, some of which are placed in the back of the truck. Stiegerwald asks Courtney if there’s another truck parked in front of his, blocking the view of the items in the trunk, and Courtney says it “sounds familiar.” She can’t tell, however, if it blocks the view of the truck.
Courtney is then excused from the stand.
Special agents detail what they collected as evidence from Frazee’s home
The state then calls Special Agent Charles DeFrance to the stand, who works for Denver’s FBI division. He’s been on the job since 2001 and has been working in Denver since 2007.
DeFrance said he was hired by the FBI lab in 1996 and he’s risen to the post of senior team leader for the FBI Evidence Response Team, which is comprised of 32 people divided in four teams. DeFrance said he began working on the Berreth case when it was requested by the Colorado Springs satellite office.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May questioned him about the specifics of his job.
DeFrance said all members have to go through an 80-hour course for basic evidence collection, crime scene management and photography with opportunities for advancement. DeFrance mentioned he’s been on that team in 2002, and that he started in Puerto Rico before coming to work in Colorado.
DeFranace detailed how he searched the Frazee ranch on Dec. 14 and 15, including the house as well as the property as a whole, and how investigators spent two separate days processing Frazee’s pick-up truck, one day processing Kelsey’s townhome and then returned to the Frazee Ranch on Dec. 21 for follow-up processing on the property and inside the house.
May then asked DeFrance about the evidence collected from inside Frazee’s home on Dec. 15, which turn out to be banking documents and receipts found inside a folder, according to DeFrance.
May handed some photos to DeFrance to look out, and DeFrance explained that they were photos to document the recovery of the banking documents and receipts, which were found on top of the television stand and in the living room.
The photos begin with a wide shot of the room and move in closer to show it. Investigators photographed an Ent Credit Union folder, which had handwritten notes inside an envelope (Frazee’s alibi). The photographs then showed that inside that folder is receipt for Walmart, a receipt for Waste Management, as well as copies of the surveillance photos he requested from Ent Credit Union. There were more banking documents and records and another Walmart receipt, new blank checks from Ent, two envelopes from a Farm Credit address to Frazee and the letters inside them, the photos show.
May then had DeFrance cut open an evidence envelope.
The first receipt showed a Walmart receipt from Woodland Park dated Nov. 22, 2018 at 1:50 p.m. Next was a Waste Management receipt for household trash dump quantity of 70 yards timestamped Dec. 1, 2018, at 12:39 p.m. The next receipt showed an Ent bank account statement for the month of Nov. 2018 in Frazee’s name.
May asked DeFrance if the receipts show transactions for Nov. 22, to which DeFrance replied that they show five deposits at an ATM as well as a withdrawal.
Next, May asked DeFrance to look at the handwritten document found in the envelope, and it read as follows: “Approximately 12:30, pick up Kaylee. Meet and exchange from parking area at her house. Approximately 12:45, Ent bank deposits. Approximately 1:30, leave Walmart. Drive 40 miles to check on feed, water cattle. Approximately 2:45, feed, water, check on cattle. Approximately 3:45, drive home for Thanksgiving dinner. Approximately 4:30, get home.”
No cross examination was performed.
The state then called Special Agent Stephanie Benitez, who also works for Denver’s FBI office. She specializes in civil rights and corruption cases. Benitez has been working in that capacity for 18 years. At the time of the Frazee case, however, she was part of the Denver evidence response team working as a photographer. She recalled that she was at the Frazee Ranch search on Dec. 14 and 15, the follow-up search of the Frazee Ranch on Dec. 21, and the search of his vehicle on Dec. 18 and 26.
May handed Benitez an item she collected on Dec. 21 from the top of the television in Frazee’s home in the living room. The item collected was court documents related to custody issues, Benitez told May before she proceeded to cut open the envelope.
She had also found a Shutterfly picture envelope and a receipt from AutoZone dated Nov. 29, 2018.
May gave her photos of the living room and then the documents taken at the search. She was excused from the bench, but not before the custody documents are handed over to the defense and then to the jury.
Former Woodland Park police commander details investigation into her disappearance
The state then called former Woodland Park Police Department Commander Chris Adams, who now works as an agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He had worked with the Woodland Park Police Department for 15.5 years before he left his post as patrol commander. Prosecutor Reed interviewed him on the stand.
He is the 10th witness the state has called forward.
Adams said Berreth was first reported missing on Dec. 2. He explained how he went to her home for a search warrant the next day, on Dec. 3, and looked around her condo. He said he found a couple of items.
He opened her computer to see if she had booked any trips, or left any notes as they were looking for certain items like keys, a gun, or anything that would show she left. He told Reed he did not find any of those items at her condo. He mentioned finding the cinnamon rolls in the kitchen, noting that it was odd.
On Dec. 4, Adams said he reached out to the FBI and CBI for help. He said it was clear the case was exceeding their capability based on gut feelings, as well as the items they were looking for not being there, mentioning that because they’re a smaller agency, they don’t have the capability or experience the FBI or CBI could bring.
Adams said CBI agents Gregg Slater and Kevin Torres came to help, but while waiting for them arrive, he followed up on Woodland Park Officer Huber’s call to Ent Credit Union.
Adams told the prosecutor that Patricia Key gave him the information on Berreth’s accounts and said Key was informed as to what has happening. He also said he was looking for any recent transactions like gas, ATM withdrawls — anything to show where she went, but Key never found this kind of activity.
Adams said he found that the Corolla in Berreth's driveway was registered to both Berreth and Frazee, and that the truck belongs to her parents, Cheryl and Darrell Berreth. He also went back into the home that day, Dec. 4, with CBI agents and a cadaver dog.
On Dec. 3, Adams used a hotspot on his phone to give Berreth’s laptop WiFi. Once connected to the internet, he said he was able to log into her email, then reset her password on Facebook to get access to her social media account. He said he found no recent activity and didn’t see anything about booking flights, as well as no information to suggest Berreth just got up and left.
Adams told the prosecutor he cut his finger that day while searching one of Berreth’s vehicles for evidence, noting he bled outside the condo, not inside.
Adams also told Reed he estimated to have written between 35 to 40 search warrants and was able to search Berreth’s cell phone on Dec. 6. He estimated that the couple exchanged around 26 texts on Nov. 22.
“At this point, the media makes its way in,” Reed told the court.
At this point, the CBI published the missing person’s flier for Berreth.
Adams recalled the first news conference about the case, which happened on Dec. 10. He also mentioned how he followed up on a report on Kings Crown trail in Woodland Park, regarding a sighting by a hiker who found some blood on the trail and on a rock. Adams said his department collected two rocks to be analyzed by the CBI, which found the blood did not belong to a human.
Adams then recounted how he talked to Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey’s mom, on Dec. 15 to get consent to change the locks on Berreth’s condo so that police could have sole control over who came and went. Adams told Reed that was done over the phone and email.
During his testimony, Adams detailed how he obtained a search warrant for Berreth’s Google search records on Dec. 17. He told the court he was looking for anything that could help locate her.
Among her Google search records from the evening of Nov. 21 were song lyrics to Joe Nichols’ "What’s a Guy Gotta Do," bleeding ulcers and how to soothe them, and related searches for other digestive issues. Berreth had called her mom the morning of Nov. 22 noting that Frazee felt sick and she suspected stomach ulcers, Cheryl Berreth said in court earlier in the week.
On Nov. 25, Adams found five different searches for Walgreens from Berreth’s account, and said Berreth had performed those searches.
He told Reed those searches don’t appear to be consistent with a couple that’s breaking up. Instead, he said, they appear to show that Kelsey was concerned for Frazee.
Adams also detailed how he collected buccal swabs from Berreth's mother and brother to eliminate their DNA from anything else collected. He took those on Dec. 10, he said.
He said Clint found blood in the bathroom of Berreth’s condo on Dec. 6, but they didn’t know whose it was at the time.
Adams said the investigation then stagnated for a time but was reignited with the help of cell phone records, which were sent to a FBI special agent who found a call in the area of Berreth’s phone’s last ping that connected them to Krystal Lee Kenney.
They had no idea what happened to Berreth before Kenney was questioned, he said.
That last statement ended questions from Reed. Stiegerwald took over for cross-examination.
“You just told Ms. Reed that… during this time frame (Nov. 22-Dec. 14), you never collected evidence of Kelsey Berreth,” Stiegerwald said, pointing out they knew about the cell phone ping. Adams agreed.
Stiegerwald then shifted to the buccal swabs collected from Berreth's mother and brother. He said they spent a fair amount of time in Berreth's condo cooking food, using dishes, and living in that house before calling police once they discovered blood on the toilet in the condo. Stiegerwald said between six or seven officers were in that home, but never saw it. Adams said this was accurate.
Stiegerwald then went through Adams’ search of Kelsey’s laptop, and said his search of her Google history for flights concluded the former commander’s searches.
At this point, Adams was excused from the stand.
CBI agent explains how they got involved in the Berreth case
The state called Gregg Slater to the stand. He’s a CBI agent and has been in his position for more than two years. He called the agency an “assist law enforcement agency” that responds to calls for help when law enforcement needs assistance on criminal and crime scene investigations. They only get when involved when requested, he said.
Slater told the court he began his law enforcement career in 1983 in Arlington County in the sheriff’s office and has done everything from security for judges and jurors, to transport, to investigations.
Slater said he was hired by the Lakewood Police Department in 1982 and worked there for 20 years. He was a patrol, field training and crime agent, and performed initial processing for crime scenes. He further stated he became a member of the SWAT team from 1994 to 2012. During this time, he also worked on the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force from 2008 to 2012. He went to Afghanistan with the Marine Corps in 2012 as a law enforcement expert to teach them how to investigate crime scenes in an “urban war,” and mentioned he patrolled with them and collected DNA when someone was killed in action.
He also worked with IED collection and returned from Afghanistan to work for CBI on a Department of Justice grant program looking at cold cases. He would later go on to work for the First District Attorney’s Office and then return to CBI to work as a field agent, which entails helping other departments investigate cases, he said.
When questioned by Prosecutor Viehman, Slater confirmed Adams requested their help with the Berreth case on Dec. 4.
His supervisor contacted the on-call CBI crime scene agent to help the search the scene, Slater said. Slater drove up to Woodland Park for a briefing from the Chief of Police Miles De Young and Adams around 1 p.m. on Dec. 4.
Slater said he suggested police start to check hospitals in the area for the missing woman, as well as other criminal contacts. He also asked they search for a positive ID on the couple’s daughter. It was his understanding police hadn’t seen her, Slater said. He has been involved every day since, especially in Dec. 2018 and Jan. 2019.
He also said they reached out to other law enforcement in the region to see if anybody had had contact with Berreth. He said they didn’t receive any word of contact.
Slater told the court the 10-day gap in her last sighting and time she was reported missing was a big disadvantage, as they may have been missing evidence in the case. For him, it was important to first find Kaylee, the couple’s daughter, and make sure was OK and safe. Slater said that was accomplished on Dec. 4 by CBI Agent Torres and Teller County Deputy Paulsen.
Slater also mentioned he knew Frazee’s phone was seized that day and that his phone records were pivotal in the investigation, though that wasn’t apparent right away.
He went on to recount how CBI forensic agent Dave Yokum searched for evidence at Berreth’s home and how he requested a cadaver dog on Dec. 4. He said after the cadaver dog searched the property, they seized the Toyota Corolla and briefly went into Berreth’s condo that day as well. He said he asked Yokum if he saw anything, and Yokum said no, according to Slater.
He said the dog alerted them to something on the driver side bumper of the car, indicating the presence of human decomposition. Based on that, Slater requested the dog enter the house and Slater briefly entered to watch what was going on but didn’t go into the bathroom.
On Dec. 4, Slater said he had information that Berreth’s phone pinged in Idaho, but that he wasn’t clear on what that meant at the time. He then requested law enforcement in the area to go search the area to see if Berreth was there, but they didn’t find any sign of her.
Slater said the investigation changed when Clint, Berreth's brother, texted him in the early hours of Dec. 6 with news that he had found blood on the lower base of the toilet and on the inside door knob of the bathroom door.
At this point, Slater said he immediately notified Adams and Chief De Young. He then arranged for the crime scene team to do chemical testing to check for blood and other evidence not visible to the eye.
Slater said Berreth's mother and brother were asked to leave the home and their belongings were taken and not given back for a month or two.
He then said BlueStar Forensic Blood Reagent — a blood detection tool that is used to reveal blood stains that have been washed out, wiped off or are invisible to the naked eye — was sprayed and reacted to blood in areas that were swabbed for collection. He said those areas essentially “glowed.” Investigators then did a quick presumptive test for blood applying the BlueStar and it turned out to be positive for blood.
Once they discovered blood, foul play became a factor in the investigation, and they started looking for Frazee.
Slater mentioned it became apparent that cell phone records were important for the case fairly quickly and that he knew they had to seize Frazee’s phone. Investigators did so and started looking at who he tried calling.
He said investigators found a call to an Idaho number on Nov. 22 between 4:30 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. When they found the cell phone in Idaho, Slater said it “sparked interest.”
Eventually, investigators would find out that phone number belonged to Kenney.
Viehman then questioned Slater about custody paperwork.
“When that came to your attention, did you follow up to see if that custody paperwork was ever filed in court,” Viehman asked. Slater said yes, but that it hadn’t been filed.
Slater said there was a fee agreement dated Aug. 9, 2018 that was signed by Frazee and his attorney. The document was a preliminary document to decide who would take custody of Kaylee, Slater said.
He then mentioned bank records, and said he determined Frazee was paying Berreth $700 in child support between Oct. 2017 and July 2018.
Viehman then asked about a certified letter seized from the Farm Credit Bureau. Slater said the letter showed Frazee “defaulted” on a loan. He detailed how Frazee took out $70,000 and didn’t make payments once that loan matured. The payment was due Dec. 1, 2018. He said the letter was dated Dec. 5, 2018.
At the same time, Slater said they periodically checked Berreth’s accounts, which hadn’t been used since November 2018. Slater said he thought the last time Berreth checked her financial records was in September of 2018.
With that statement, Viehman ended his questioning. Stiegerwald followed with cross-examination.
Stiegerwald focused on the time BlueStar was used in Berreth’s condo.
He pointed out Slater requested the cadaver dog for that search, and that BlueStar technology was used as a result of that dog sniffing something of interest.
Stiegerwald said there were two spots on the Corolla that raised red flags: the trunk (a piece of cardboard) and a pair of slipper socks on the front passenger seat. There were two staples in the cardboard that were responsible for the positive BlueStar reaction, and both Stiegerwald and Slater agree this was the case. Slater confirmed his understanding is that there wasn’t blood all over the cardboard.
Stiegerwald then asked about the $700 per month child support payments. He pointed out there wasn’t paperwork found for that.
A juror asked if the cadaver dog search from inside the condo produced a result. Slater said no.
A juror then asked when the dog went to the condo. Slater confirmed that happened on Dec. 4.
After this question, court was excused at early for the day at 3:13 p.m.
Live tweeting and live reporting are not allowed in the courtroom, per a court decorum. The trial is expected to last three weeks.