NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pasco County man who killed his girlfriend and left her body to decompose in the woods near his home learned his fate in court Friday afternoon.
“Life is too short and too precious,” said Karyn Moore, Kathleen’s mother.
In what turned out to be their final phone call, 34-year-old Kathleen Moore called her mom to wish her happy birthday in lane November 2021.
“It still hurts,” Moore said. “But god is getting me through it. He’s getting me through it and he’ll get anybody through anything they’re going through, especially if you lost a loved one.”
Now living in Washington state, Karyn Moore said the guilty verdict brings closure to her family.
“I’m just glad,” she said during a phone interview with News Channel 8. “I’m glad it’s finally over and done with.”
Kathleen’s close friend Nikki Wallen testified during the trial.
“I was the last person to see both of them,” she said. “So they left from my house and within a couple hours later she was dead.”
In the days after Kathleen was reported missing, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office began building its case against her on-and-off again boyfriend.
Investigators said Knapp made inconsistent statements and he put bloodstained clothing in a dumpster at a Port Richey steakhouse that deputies later located in a landfill.
“There was just too many things that he tried to hide,” Moore said.
The major break in the case came on Dec. 7, 2021. Nico Tusconi from “We Are The Essentials” found Kathleen’s body in the woods 50 yards from Knapp’s home.
In the nearly two years since, the former law enforcement group has rescued or recovered the remains of about 20 missing people in Florida.
“I believe that god uses people in certain ways to help others in different situations and whatnot, and to me, I feel like god used them to not only help find my daughter, but others as well,” Moore said.
Wallen was in the courtroom on Friday as Knapp learned his fate.
“He will never, ever, have freedom again,” she said. “It’s a relief. It’s not worth what she went through, but it’s a relief knowing he’s paying the consequence now.”
Knapp’s defense attorney said they will discuss the option of appealing, but no decision has been made.