NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) —Before the discovery of Kathleen Moore’s body late Tuesday morning, Pasco County investigators say they had enough evidence for probable cause to arrest and charge her boyfriend Collin Knapp with second-degree murder.
“I hope they do find her I pray every day that they do find her and only God knows where she is and he has the last word,” Karyn Moore told 8 On Your Side Monday afternoon after learning her daughter’s disappearance had become a homicide investigation.
Less than 24 hours later, Pasco deputies say they recovered Kathleen’s remains in a heavily wooded area behind her on and off again boyfriend’s home in New Port Richey.
“We positively identified her body based on tattoos,” Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
There was a deliberate attempt to hide the Largo woman’s body 50 yards away from the house, Sheriff Nocco added.
“As detectives will tell you, even when you’re two feet away from her, it’s hard to see that her body was there,” he said.
As Pasco detectives and crime scene technicians returned to the Carmel Avenue area, Knapp made his first appearance before a judge.
“Perhaps you’re not aware of this there have been new developments in that case as well which make it even clearer,” the judge said as he decided to keep Knapp in jail without bond.
According to newly released court documents, Knapp initially told detectives he did not leave his home around the time of Moore’s disappearance.
The affidavit describes how his story changed and he later said he drove to his workplace, Harold Seltzer’s Steakhouse in Port Richey, in the early morning of Nov. 29 to do an inventory check.
Deputies obtained surveillance video from around 1:30 a.m. showing his Cadillac arrive and park next to the restaurant’s large industrial dumpster.
When the dumpster was emptied at the county landfill, the detective writes they noticed several black trash bags that were different from the rest. Inside those bags, deputies found a comforter, bed sheet and mattress cover with “a significant amount of apparent blood on it.”
“What was priority for us was getting into those dumpsters and making sure (Kathleen) was not in there,” Sheriff Nocco said.
The affidavit said deputies did find several of Moore’s belongings during the dumpster search including her bank card, set of car keys, a backpack and the light blue Rugrats sweatshirt she was wearing the night she vanished.
Deputies also found a pair Knapp’s gray cargo pants with apparent blood on them.
After being sent to the FDLE biology lab in Tampa, an analyst on Dec. 6 identified the blood evidence as matching Moore’s DNA profile, the affidavit said.
“We have the evidence, we have Kathleen now,” Sheriff Nocco said. “If (Knapp) wants to make a positive differences in somebody’s life, help the family out and answer questions.”
Karyn Moore shared with 8 On Your Side the question she wants answered most.
“Why? why didn’t he just let her go,” she said.
Deputies say it is still too early to determine the cause of Moore’s death.
A close friend told 8 On Your Side they are planning a celebration of Moore’s life later this month.