An Idaho couple has come forward with information on the alleged murder-for-hire plot of missing Colorado mother Kelsey Berreth.
Joe and Patty Rockstahl told KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, that one of their employees came to them in October saying a man had asked her best friend “to kill the mother of his child.”
That friend, identified as a 32-year-old divorced nurse named Krystal Lee, is reportedly under investigation for disposing of Kelsey’s cellphone. (Lee hasn’t been charged or named as a suspect in Kelsey’s disappearance.)
The Rockstahls, who own a personal injury law office, told their employee to have Lee come in and speak to them. They said Lee never got in touch.
According to the couple, Lee allegedly told her friend “to forget the whole thing.” They told KMVT that at the time, they didn’t have enough information to alert authorities.
“If we could’ve just gotten the police to call or drive by and say ‘Are you thinking of killing someone?’ that would’ve stopped it,” Joe Rockstahl said in the interview, which is airing in three parts. “We wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have all of this going on.”
Kelsey was reported missing on Dec. 2, after her mother couldn’t reach her. The last known person to see her alive was Patrick Frazee, whom police and relatives described as Kelsey’s fiancé and the father of her 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee.
Frazee allegedly told cops that he saw Kelsey on Thanksgiving during a custody exchange for Kaylee. During a press conference in early December, police said Frazee was not considered a suspect in Kelsey’s disappearance.
But on Dec. 21, Frazee was arrested and charged with Kelsey's murder—and with trying to enlist someone to kill her. Authorities are still searching for Kelsey, who they now believe is dead.
Frazee appeared in Teller County court on Dec. 31 to face criminal charges: two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. He did not enter a plea during the proceeding.
As The Daily Beast reported, prosecutors have two theories of the alleged slaying. Frazee allegedly killed Kelsey on Thanksgiving with intent, after deliberation; or he allegedly murdered her during a robbery, while he was “alone or with one or more persons.”
According to prosecutors, Frazee solicited someone to murder Kelsey at least three times between September and November 2018.
Police haven’t publicly named any other suspects in Kelsey’s death, and a judge has ordered an arrest affidavit for Frazee to remain sealed.
Last week, reports surfaced that cops were investigating a 32-year-old nurse in Twin Falls, Idaho—believed to be Lee—for her possible role in discarding Kelsey’s phone.
Kelsey was last spotted entering a local supermarket on Thanksgiving morning along with her child, who was in a car seat, according to the store’s security footage. “She’s not the kind that runs off. This is completely out of character,” Kelsey’s mother, Cheryl Berreth, told reporters at a press conference.
Patty Rockstahl said she called the FBI after seeing Kelsey’s mother on national television, asking for help in finding her daughter. That’s when she said she connected the dots and realized she might have information on the case.
“I think the mother that had the courage and go on TV when her daughter was missing, saying that someone knew where she was at,” Patty said. “At that point in my mind I thought that Patrick, and that was the only name I had heard him called, I didn’t know his last name, had done something to her daughter and he knew where she was at.”
The couple said they spoke to KMVT after their employee received threats and harassment on social media.
They said Frazee was arrested four days after they called the FBI.
KMVT says that in the next interview segment, airing Friday, the Rockstahls discuss what was said in their conversation with the feds.
In an interview slated for Sunday, the couple will share what they were told about Lee’s alleged trip to Colorado that prompted police to swarm Twin Falls, Idaho.
On Facebook, KMVT reporter Kelsey Souto said the Rockstahls believe that Lee was in fear for her life when Frazee allegedly solicited her to kill his fiancée.
After Kelsey vanished, her cars were found parked outside her house and her luggage and makeup were still inside. The only items missing were Kelsey’s purse and cellphone—which pinged about 800 miles away in Gooding, Idaho on Nov. 25.
That day, Kelsey’s phone sent text messages to Frazee and to her employer. The message to Kelsey’s boss at Doss Aviation in Pueblo stated she wouldn’t be at work the following week, while the message to Frazee is unknown.
The 29-year-old flight instructor moved from Washington to Colorado in 2016 to be with Frazee but the couple never lived together. “The relationship has been good. They’re loving,” Cheryl Berreth told NBC News in an interview last month. “It hasn’t been ideal, you know, given the economy and things. They had plans that haven’t worked out as they would have liked.”
On Dec. 14, police executed a search warrant for Frazee’s cattle ranch, a 35-acre property in Florissant where he lived with his mother. At the time, De Young announced that Kelsey’s “disappearance is more suspicious” but declined to name Frazee as a suspect.
When Frazee was arrested one week later and charged with murder, De Young said authorities no longer believed Kelsey was alive. Investigators collected evidence indicating Kelsey was killed at her Woodland Park townhouse, he added.
De Young suggested police could soon make more arrests in the case.
Meanwhile, Kelsey’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Frazee. Their complaint alleges Frazee killed Kelsey or “collaborated to commit the murder” and that he “enacted physical, mental, and emotional acts of violence upon Kelsey Berreth prior to her death.”
Frazee is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 19.