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Tag: custody

Was Custody a Factor in the Watts Case?

On February 15 “new court documents” were revealed to the media about a possible motive in the Patrick Frazee-Kelsey Berreth case. The cops reckon custody was the main motive. It’s taken them awhile to figure that out, hasn’t it?
On December 23rd, almost two months ago at the time of writing, TCRS made a call on the motive in the murder of Kelsey Berreth. In fact the motive was mentioned in the very first paragraph of that assessment and infidelity was mentioned in a post on December 22nd.

I noted the strange circumstances surrounding Thanksgiving. Why would a couple who were engaged not be spending Thanksgiving together? Why was Patrick Frazee coming to pick up his daughter, and not his wife as well? 

I will do more analysis on the Frazee case at some point, perhaps even a book, but first things first. Was custody a factor in the Watts case?
On the face of it, no. There are 44 instances of the word “custody” in the Discovery Documents, the overwhelming majority have to do with chain of custody issues affecting law enforcement, as well as evidence and cadaver collection.
In Nichol Kessinger’s lengthy interview on August 16th, she brings up custody a couple of times.
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On page 1494 of the Discovery Documents, Shan’ann brings up custody [during her discussion with Olayinka Hamza, a lawyer from Glendale in March or April 2018]. She wants to know whether the custodial parents can be told where to live by a court, or whether a man can get custody. This discussion illustrates that even prior to the third pregnancy or the trip to North Carolina [or, arguably, the affair] Shan’ann knew her marriage was in terminal decline. This is difficult to reconcile with the glowing posts of her husband and marriage on social media at the time.
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It’s interesting, in this respect, that Hamza recommended to Shan’ann to do everything in her power to save the marriage, rather than file for a costly divorce, and insodoing become embroiled in a long battle. It appears Shan’ann took this advice to heart. We know in the last days of her life, what with the self-help book, the getaway to Aspen, the counselling she had in mind, the letter she wanted him to write, Shan’ann wanted to avoid divorce.
But she was also ready to do battle.
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On August 8th she told her pals Cassie and Nickole that if it came to a divorce, she would fight for full custody.
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Significantly, this is the first and only time the word is directly linked to Shan’ann. The timing is important, given what happens next. Watts, who at the time had been away from wok for a week spent just one day two days at work, and then took the next day [August 9th and 10th] off work leading to the weekend.

[Note: the August 9th “day off” [see below] is an error in the Phone Data Review.] The Augusy 10th “day off” however, is accurate.

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It may be that during these days this day off he and Shan’ann discussed the custody issue, and discussed divorcing. And as the battle lines were drawn, he realized he was standing inside a tank with excrement swilling around his heels, warming them, and rising inch by inch.
So he told Shan’ann “he wasn’t in a hurry” to get divorced, which made her think she could still convince him to stay.
She was wrong.
This taking off of work may have had a dual purpose. Firstly, to prepare for the battle he had in mind [triple murder]. And secondly, to muddle those at work about his whereabouts. If he appeared at CERVI 319 on Monday morning, the few operators he encountered there might not think that much of it, and those who didn’t see him may have assumed he was still in North Carolina.
It may also have been intended to muddle Shan’ann. To pretend that things were okay after all and raise the white flag, at least until she was out of town again.
In any event, on the evening of August 9th Watts [Shan’ann was due to fly out first thing the next morning] he appears to be car shopping online. If he was going to do away with Shan’ann, the Lexus would probably have to go, and then he was going to need a chariot to ferry his beloved around in. He couldn’t do that with the work truck. He was going to need some wheels. And fast.
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Because Watts was a mechanic and a car nut, it stands to reason that wheels played significantly in his calculus at this stage of the game. But he had a problem. Could he afford an Audi? Because that’s specifically what he was checking. Not just an Audi Q7, but the prices of an Audi Q7.
A second-hand Q7 sells for anywhere from $22 000 — $80 000 depending on the year of the model. Watts said he could only afford $1100 – $1400 to rent an apartment. Does that include money for a car payment?
It appears to be a family car Watts is after, here, doesn’t it? At this point Watts was probably doing the math and realizing he couldn’t afford any of it. He couldn’t afford a divorce. He couldn’t afford to move out. He couldn’t afford alimony. And if he wanted to keep Kessinger and do things the right way, he was going to lose everything – his home, their vehicle, the kids, his reputation and with no money, probably Kessinger too.
Without going into too much detail, we know that the week of the disappearance, Watts and Kessinger had agreed to go and look for a new apartment for him [and the kids]. But then by Saturday night [August 11], Watts’ mood had changed and he was no longer interested in getting an apartment.
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What changed?
Watts did the custody calculations and realized he couldn’t afford to lose the house. He wanted the kids but if he fought for them he’d lose. And then he’d lose everything. It was either her and the kids [three kids], or Kessinger. Shan’ann made her choice. Then he made his choice.
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TCRS call on the evidence found in Idaho during search for Kelsey Berreth

In my first assessment of the Frazee case, I noted the strange circumstances surrounding Thanksgiving. Why would a couple who were engaged not be spending Thanksgiving together? Why was Patrick Frazee coming to pick up his daughter, and not his wife as well? Also, why had no family member come forward to confirm there was an estrangement of the couple, or some fracturing of their relationship, assuming this was the case?

Now we know that it was:

Kelsey Berreth and Patrick Frazee were supposed to be in court for a custody hearing – 9News

That temporary custody hearing was scheduled for Thursday, December 27th. Just as in the Watts case, this murder took place within sight of a major court appearance, which may have had a countdown effect in precipitating the crime. We don’t know who applied for the hearing, but since Kelsey was killed, it seems to suggest her killer didn’t wish to fight for custody. That’s pure speculation of course.

Irrespective of who applied for the hearing, custody of one-year-old Kaylee was a probable bone of contention, and it probably didn’t help Kelsey that she appeared to be estranged [or not close] with her mother Cheryl at the time of her disappearance. We see the same patterns of not just cracks in the core relationship, but also in the relationships with at least one parent here as we do in the Watts case.

Since Kelsey was a strong Christian, we can also see why there may have been resistance, or even denial, in terms of her accepting her relationship was over, or ending. Possibly she dug in her heels at the prospect of admitting publicly that her engagement was over, and effectively, that Kaylee was about to lose regular contact with her father. On the other hand, Kelsey may have felt strongly about applying for the sole custody to raise her daughter as she saw fit.

Again, if an affair on the sidelines was part of this equation, we can see why a custody battle would be all the more fraught, and also why Kelsey may have felt justified in not giving an inch to fiance.

At the time of writing, the custody of the little girl has been transferred from the Frazee family to the Kelsey’s extended family. Frazee himself is currently represented by a public defender.

Now let’s move on to the “possible” evidence law enforcement have recently cited – somewhat cryptically – to the media.

According to

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Those “items of evidence” could be anything from fingerprints to fibers, touch DNA to hairs. They could even foot prints or tyre tracks. But because of the word “processing”, and because it was the Twin Falls police issuing a statement, and finally because that was the location of the cell phone, and the pings, I suspect that the cops are going through Kelsey’s phone, checking on her browser history and checking her emails. That fact and the news of a custody hearing that has come out at the same time as “possible evidence” breakthrough, suggests that the cops have accessed Kelsey’s digital diary and other artefacts [via her phone], rather than someone coming forward. Again, this is purely speculation.

Angry and otherwise emotionally charged online interactions between the couple in the lead-up to the murder may have been found on her computer as well as her phone. Even if records were wiped [from her phone and/or computer], some “residue” of the original data may have been salvageable [as we found in the Watts case, and as happened with the camera metadata in the Jodi Arias case].

Patrick Frazee mugshot

Back to

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It’s difficult to be certain why the cops firmly believe Kelsey is dead. In the Watts case we saw that even though there was almost no evidence of a fight, no physical evidence of blood etc, it was nevertheless clear due to all Shan’ann’s important possessions still being at home, and her missing a doctor’s appointment, that something was likely very wrong. And it was.

Cadaver dogs may have alerted in Kelsey’s home. We know the police believe she died there, and one obvious reason for this is the last time Kelsey was seen alive was also close to the time Patrick Frazee was seen at her home. Small, even microscopic blood traces would clearly raise red flags, and if Frazee’s blood was also found on scene at Kelsey’s home, then even more so.

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If Kelsey’s body is buried on Frazee’s ranch, then there may be traces of her, her clothing or packaging at the ranch, in the car and at the crime scene. Watch this space for more details on this case.