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How cell phone analysis helped convict Patrick Frazee of murder

Posted at 10:37 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 13:43:13-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — In a case lacking physical evidence of a crime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) relied on digital evidence to show something happened to Kelsey Berreth.

The multi-jurisdictional task force comprised of the Woodland Park Police Department, Teller County Sheriff's Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and FBI relied on the best experience available, including expert cell phone analysis from Special Agent Kevin Hoyland.

Hoyland declined interviews on his role in the investigation.

Knowing cell phone records were pivotal in the case, News 5 sat down with local cell phone expert Mark Pfoff for a look at how the cell phone analysis is done. Pfoff, who worked as a detective with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, now owns Rocky Mountain Computer Forensics and is often called upon to testify on behalf of defendants.

"Cell phones, technology in general, is the new modern DNA in helping solve cases," Pfoff said.

Remember, Woodland Park Police shared news that they received location data from Berreth's phone on Nov. 25, showing the phone was near Malad Gorge State Park in Idaho. Frazee also told police he call and texted her through Nov. 25, but that data told a different story.

"It shows that Mr. Frazee was lying," Pfoff said.

When called to help on a case, Pfoff said he receives a myriad of data from providers, like Verizon, in Excel spread sheets. That data includes phone numbers, tower coordinates, the sector (direction) of that tower, dates and times, among other information.

They can then plug that data into software to generate visuals, like the arcs and tower hits shown within search warrants for the Frazee case.

Hoyland's work showed Berreth's and Frazee's phones travelling together, from Woodland Park toward the family ranch in Florissant, on Nov. 22 around 5 p.m., contradicting Frazee's story that he exchanged custody of their daughter with Berreth and didn't see her again.

"With cell phone records in this case, it showed that both these cell phones were in the same approximate location," Pfoff said.

The analysis showed the two phones remaining together throughout Teller County up until Nov. 24. Hoyland said he believed Frazee had both phones when they called each other in the same time range.

On Nov. 24, Krystal Kenney, Frazee's mistress, testified she drove to Woodland Park with Berreth's phone to send texts from there at Frazee's directions. Upon leaving Colorado, Kenney's phone number was seen hitting off the same towers through Grand Junction, Salt Lake City and into Idaho as Berreth's phone, before it gave a final location in Idaho.

Law enforcement eventually figured it out, calling Kenney to ask about her involvement in the case on Dec. 14. Kenney, after getting a Denver-area attorney and a plea deal, told police everything about how Frazee killed Berreth and sought her help to kill her in a 4.5-hour interview with CBI investigators at the Colorado Springs Police Department on Dec. 20.

Frazee was arrested the next day, thanks to the advanced technological work done by law enforcement. At a post-verdict press conference Monday, prosecutors even said the FBI learned from their work on the case.

"If you have a dropped call, they can actually track right to the mile by the speed of sound, with the sound going back and forth between the towers, how far you are from the tower. They learned that from this case," said Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May.

Frazee was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 156 years the maximum sentence he could receive.

Kenney is due back in court for a review hearing Dec. 2. A clerk told News 5's Sam Kraemer that Kenney will be sentenced eight weeks from Frazee's sentence, per Judge Scott Sells's orders.

RELATED COVERAGE:

Life in prison: Jury finds Patrick Frazee guilty on all counts for the murder of Kelsey Berreth

Woodland Park Verizon store employee describes interaction with Frazee on Dec. 11

Warrants reveal cell phone evidence in Frazee case