Missing pilot’s mysterious texts
THE fiance of a young flying instructor who vanished in strange circumstances in Colorado last month has provided DNA samples and access to his phone data, investigators say.
Patrick Frazee is the last person known to have seen Kelsey Berreth alive before she inexplicably disappeared on November 22 - Thanksgiving Day - leaving their one-year-old daughter in his care.
Police on Tuesday released CCTV of Ms Berreth, 29, pushing her baby in a stroller at a Woodlands Park supermarket at about midday. It was the last time she was seen in public.
Mr Frazee, 32, told police he met up with Ms Berreth later that afternoon to pick up the child and never saw her again. The couple were engaged but lived separately and investigators have not revealed where the exchange took place.
Police say her car remains parked at her home and nothing - apart from her handbag and her mobile phone - appeared to be missing from her home to indicate she planned on taking a trip.
Despite the unsettling circumstances, Ms Berreth was not reported missing until December 2, when her mother filed a report with police after repeated attempts to contact her daughter failed.
Mr Frazee's no show at a December 10 press conference - where Ms Berreth's mother Cheryl made an emotional plea for help in finding her daughter - and his refusal to speak to reporters about his missing fiancee have also raised eyebrows.
In a strange twist, Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young revealed two text messages had been sent from Ms Berreth's mobile phone on November 25 - three days after she vanished.
One was sent to her boss at the Colorado Springs flying school, where she is an instructor, saying she would not be at work the following week, and the other was sent to Mr Frazee, but the contents of that message have not been revealed.
Even more bafflingly, investigators say on the day the texts were sent, Ms Berreth's mobile phoned pinged off a tower in Gooding, Idaho - more than 1200km from where she was last seen and an area in which she has family.
That prompted speculation Ms Berreth could have made an impromptu flight to visit her mother, had trouble and crashed.
But authorities say they have no reports of missing planes have been logged and that Ms Berreth is a highly competent pilot who has trained members of the military.
"Lost pilots are generally associated with a lost aeroplane, but in this case, the authorities are wondering if the missing pilot, Colorado flight instructor Kelsey Berreth, might be an exception to that rule," Plane and Pilot Magazine reported.
"No planes in the area have been reported missing, and Berreth, a single mum, wouldn't likely have gone on a flight of any distance with someone else without notifying friends or family."
Mr Frazee and Ms Berreth with their newborn daughter. Picture: Facebook
Cheryl Berreth said she spoke to her daughter on Thanksgiving morning, just a couple of hours before she seen grocery shopping with her baby, and that she had given no indication she was heading up to Idaho.
"She needed a recipe, she had something she wanted to make that afternoon," Cheryl told Inside Edition.
"There was the possibility of going out for (Thanksgiving) dinner."
While Chief De Young said her disappearance was still being treated as a missing person's case, speculation of foul play is gaining traction in US media and online forums, where armchair detectives have been exchanging theories.
Mr Frazee has refused to speak to media about Ms Kelsey's disappearance and on December 12, an ABC News reporter followed him from his lawyers office to his home and asked him point blank: "Did you do something to Kelsey?'
Chief De Young had fuelled suspicion surrounding Mr Frazee at a press conference two days earlier when reporters questioned why he had not joined her mother for the public appeal.
"I understand Patrick was invited to speak. Why is he not here?" asked one journalist.
"That is a question you'd have to ask him?" Chief De Young replied.
"Is he being cooperative?" the reporter asked.
"Yes. At this time, yes," the investigator responded.
Mr Frazee's lawyer later issued a statement saying his client was cooperating with investigators and had provided cheek swabs for DNA and allowed his mobile phone to be examined.
"Had he been given more advance notice (about the press conference), he would have participated," he said, adding that Mr Frazee "hopes and prays for Kelsey's return."
Meanwhile, Ms Berreth's family is trying to remain positive and has asked moderators of online forums dedicated to the case to stop pointing the finger at Mr Frazee.
The missing woman's mother believes her daughter is still alive "somewhere in Colorado.
"I think she wants to be found," Cheryl told Inside Edition.
"She's got no reason to be hiding, she's got to be desperately missing (her daughter)".