CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. —
Hours before the jury heard from the prosecution’s star witness last week, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent took the stand to describe how cellphone data helped police make an arrest in the murder of Woodland Park mom Kelsey Berreth.
Patrick Frazee, Berreth’s one-time fiance and the father of her child, is now standing trial for first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder, and tampering with a deceased human body for the 29-year-old flight instructor’s death.
While investigators relied on Krystal Lee to bring them to what she said was the scene of the crime, data from Verizon towers helped law enforcement corroborate her assertions that Frazee was not being entirely truthful about his timeline of events — and placed him at the ranch where he’s accused of storing his fiancee’s body.
Berreth was last seen alive entering her two-story Woodland Park condo via a neighbor’s surveillance camera during the lunch hour on Nov. 22, 2018 — Thanksgiving Day. Frazee told police that his last interaction with Berreth was that morning, when he alleged that the pair exchanged custody of their daughter before going their separate ways.
Surveillance video shows Frazee leaving Berreth’s condo as late as 4:30 p.m. that evening. Berreth, meanwhile, would never be seen walking out of her home again. Nevertheless, her phone would be tracked throughout Teller County in the ensuing days, before ending its journey in Idaho on Nov. 25, 2018.
This is according to testimony from FBI Special Agent Kevin Hoyland, who was asked to analyze the records for the phones that belonged to Berreth, Frazee and Lee.
Hoyland, an expert in call detail analysis, explained how when you place a phone call, the device reaches out to the best serving tower it sees. Which tower this is — as well as which direction the phone’s signal is coming from — can help law enforcement place the rough location of a given device. Cellphone companies keep these records for two purposes: billing and to help engineers optimize their networks.
“There aren’t a ton of cellphone towers in Teller County,” Hoyland said. “We’re using four or five different towers for the purpose of our analysis.”
Hoyland’s analysis of Berreth’s phone starts on Nov. 21, beginning with a call from Frazee’s phone to hers at 8 p.m. At the time, Hoyland said her phone was likely in Woodland Park. An hour later, when Berreth called Frazee again, he said the records indicated she had gone to Florissant — which is significant, because that’s where Frazee lived with his mom.
At 11:20 p.m. that night, Hoyland said both Frazee and Berreth’s phones headed south of Florissant toward Cripple Creek. Next, data shows the two phones were in the proximity of Nash Ranch — a property that Frazee leased for his cattle, and also the place where Lee alleges he hid Berreth’s body.
Just after midnight on Nov. 22, Hoyland said Berreth and Frazee’s phones were seen headed away from Cripple Creek toward Florissant. He said Frazee’s phone stayed near his home, but that Berreth’s was seen traveling toward Woodland Park.
During a phone conversation with her mother, Berreth said that morning she had gone to Walmart to buy Frazee medication. Hoyland said phone data indicates this was the case, and that she did return to Florissant to drop it off before returning home at about 4 a.m. — something corroborated by her neighbor’s surveillance footage.
At 9 a.m., Hoyland said Frazee’s phone was still in Florissant. Berreth was in Woodland Park, and after speaking to her mom on the phone at 9:17 a.m. Hoyland said she took a phone call from Frazee.
At about noon on Nov. 22, Hoyland said both phones were in Woodland Park. Berreth was seen on surveillance footage at Safeway, and Frazee was recorded visiting the bank.
The last successful outgoing phone call investigators believe Berreth ever made was at 12:33 p.m. on Nov. 22. Her phone didn’t have any activity that day, and tower data indicated she was in Woodland Park, according to Hoyland.
Hoyland said at about 4:24 p.m., Frazee’s phone utilized the tower in Woodland Park, and then a different tower in the area at about 4:37 p.m., indicating that he was moving from one place to another. During this same time, Berreth’s phone was tracked to these same towers.
“So, taken in total, what this is saying to me is [Frazee’s] phone started in Woodland Park and began traveling west toward Florissant,” Hoyland said. Since Berreth’s phone had the same trajectory, he added, “For me, this would indicate the phones are likely traveling together in a westerly fashion.”
At 4:24 p.m., Hoyland said Frazee made a phone call to his mom. At 4:37 p.m., Hoyland said he called Lee, whose phone was placed in Idaho.
This wouldn’t be the only time that day records show Frazee called Lee. Hoyland said Frazee called her from his landline at 8:49 p.m. and 9:32 p.m. He said she received a text from Frazee at 9:45 p.m.
And perhaps most significantly, the two talked for 47 minutes at 8:49 p.m. that night, Hoyland said.
Later that night — at about 10 p.m. — Hoyland said both Berreth and Frazee’s phones were tracked heading west from the Cripple Creek tower to the Nash Ranch tower. Later that night, Hoyland said it appeared the two phones returned back to Florissant the way they came.
At about 11:30 p.m., Frazee called Lee, Hoyland said. That call lasted for nearly an hour.
At 7:21 a.m. on Nov. 23, Hoyland said Frazee’s phone called Berreth’s phone. The call was answered, and Hoyland said both phones were utilizing the same sector of the same cellphone tower — indicating they were likely together.
Frazee called Lee on his landline at 9:33 a.m. that morning, Hoyland said. Verizon records indicate that she was still in Idaho.
Later that morning, Hoyland said both Berreth and Frazee’s phones apparently traveled together toward the Nash Ranch. Hoyland said later the two phones were seen traveling together in the area of Westcliffe.
At about 3:38 p.m. on Nov. 23, Berreth and Frazee’s phones were both tracked to a tower in Cripple Creek. About 15 minutes earlier, Frazee’s phone sent a text to Berreth. That phone texted him back at 3:37 p.m., Hoyland said.
Later that afternoon, both phones were tracked headed in the direction of Florissant.
“They appear to be traveling together and making calls to one another at 4:40 p.m. specifically,” Hoyland said.
Meanwhile, Hoyland said Lee’s phone was tracked heading from her home in Idaho to Colorado — a 12-hour drive.
Hoyland said her phone left Idaho at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2018 — and that her device arrived in Woodland Park at about 6:30 a.m. the next morning. This is when Lee told police that she went to Berreth’s apartment and cleaned up what she said was a gruesome scene.
That afternoon, Lee told police that she went to Frazee’s home in Florissant and went with him to the Nash Ranch, where she claims he picked up Berreth’s body. The night of Nov. 24, 2018, Lee said Frazee burned a black tote containing Berreth’s body as well as numerous trash bags that contained bloody items from her condo.
Afterward, Lee said she drove through the night back to Idaho. According to Hoyland, her phone left Florissant at about 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 and arrived in Idaho at about 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 25.
“It’s a … 22-hour trip,” Hoyland said. “A very quick trip from Idaho and back — especially given the geographic distance between the two.”
Hoyland’s testimony directly preceded Lee, who spent the better part of two days on the witness stand. Hoyland is still on subpoena, and is expected to be called to the stand once again to discuss where cellphone tower data indicates Lee’s phone was while she was in Colorado.
The Teller County Courthouse was closed on Monday in recognition of the Veteran’s Day holiday. Frazee’s trial is expected to resume on Tuesday morning. It began on Nov. 1, and was scheduled to last for three weeks — potentially ending on the one-year anniversary of the last day Berreth was seen alive.
9NEWS is in the courtroom and will provide updates on 9NEWS and 9NEWS.com during breaks. Per a decorum order, photos, video and live coverage is not permitted from the courtroom.
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