DENVER (Reuters) – Police looking for a Colorado mother who was reported missing from her small mountain town nearly two weeks ago searched her fiance’s ranch on Friday but stopped short of calling him a suspect in the case.
The police chief of Woodland Park, Colorado, also publicly called on Patrick Frazee, 32, to submit to a formal interview with detectives, saying he was the last person believed to have seen or heard from his fiance, 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth.
“We are asking him to sit down with our investigators since he was the last person to talk with Kelsey,” Woodland Park Police Chief Miles DeYoung told reporters at an afternoon press conference.
DeYoung said Frazee of nearby Florissant, Colorado, had so far been communicating with authorities through his lawyer. He has not been labeled a suspect or “person of interest” in the case, the chief said.
A spokeswoman for Frazee’s Colorado Springs-based attorney, Jeremy Loew, told Reuters the lawyer would have no comment on Friday. Loew has previously said his client was cooperating in the investigation, giving them access to his phone and supplying DNA samples.
DeYoung said it was possible Berreth was still alive, adding “that is our hope.”
State and local police, assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have been searching for Berreth since Dec. 2, when her mother said she had not been heard from in several days.
Berreth was seen on surveillance video entering a Safeway grocery store in Woodland Park, about 90 miles southwest of Denver, on Thanksgiving Day. Frazee told police he saw her later that day when he picked up the couple’s 1-year-old daughter Kaylee.
Three days later, Berreth’s employer received a text from her phone saying she would not be coming to work for a week, police said. That same day her phone pinged off a tower near Gooding, Idaho some 700 miles away.
In August, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, a pregnant mother of two daughters, vanished from her home in the town of Frederick, north of Denver.
Her husband, Christopher Watts, was arrested and last month pleaded guilty to killing his wife and daughters. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by Chris Reese