Deputies announced that citizens found the body of missing woman Kathleen Moore, 34, on Tuesday. She was about 50 yards from the home of Collin Scott Knapp, 30, the person arrested for allegedly murdering her. Knapp killed her after a night of arguing, and he refused to tell law enforcement her whereabouts, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco previously said.
Investigators were able to positively identify Moore based on her tattoos, the sheriff said in a press conference Tuesday.
“I wish to God we could bring her back,” he said.
Moore was in a heavily brushed area, covered on purpose, Nocco said. Citing detectives, the sheriff said it was hard to see her body even if you were two feet away from her.
Nocco credited citizens with helping out and finding Moore. In trying to explain why authorities overlooked Moore, the sheriff said the focal point of the investigation was elsewhere, including 14 dumpsters that could potentially have contained her body.
The cause of death has yet to be determined, sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Rosa said.
Moore mysteriously went missing last week after a night hanging out with friends.
Friend Nikki Wallen said Moore left Wallen’s home in the city of Largo with Moore’s on-again, off-again boyfriend at 11:30 p.m. on the night of Sunday, Nov. 28, according to WTSP in a Thursday report. Kathleen said she would pick up her car the next morning, Wallen said.
“It’s like her to leave her car at my house,” she said, according to WFLA in a Saturday report. “But it’s not like her to miss work and school and to not contact me, so it’s not her having her car there for days, it’s me not hearing from her that I know something isn’t right. Something happened.”
That something was Knapp, according to authorities. He and Moore argued while socializing at some bars in Largo and Indian Rocks Beach, and left in his Cadillac late Sunday, Nov. 28, Nocco said in a press conference on Monday. That vehicle arrived at around 12:30 a.m. the following morning at a 7-Eleven at Carmel Avenue and Seven Springs Boulevard, he said.
Knapp claimed Moore was in his car when he got cigarettes, but surveillance footage is unclear, Nocco said. Knapp claimed they went to his home on Carmel Avenue, argued again, and Moore left with her backpack, the sheriff said. There is no evidence she ever left, Nocco said.
Moore’s phone was found in a dumpster behind a nearby Walgreens by a man who Nocco said told deputies he was a dumpster diving.
Knapp initially cooperated in the search for Moore, but his first statement about her disappearance was inconsistent, making investigators suspicious, sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Rosa said.
In Knapp’s alleged version of events, he went to his workplace at Harold Seltzer’s Steakhouse in New Port Ritchey for meat inventory at 1:30 a.m. shortly after Moore left his home. But the sheriff said that authorities checked the restaurant’s dumpster and found Knapp’s bloodied clothes. This and other evidence made authorities believe Moore was dead.
Knapp had a head-start on investigators, Rosa said. He refused to reveal the whereabouts of the victim’s body, the sheriff said.
Authorities responded by releasing pictures of his vehicles Monday night in an attempt to find his whereabouts in the early portion of Moore’s disappearance.
“Collin Knapp’s black 2006 Cadillac CT6 with Florida tag Z917XC. If anyone has seen these pictured cars between Monday, Nov. 29 at approx. midnight and afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 30, please contact us,” deputies said. “Tips should be submitted by calling 727-847-8102, option 7.”
“If anyone has seen these pictured cars between Monday, Nov. 29 at approx. midnight and afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 30, please contact us. This vehicle is a black 2004 Chevrolet Silverado with bed cover with a Florida tag QXLT69,” deputies said, referencing the truck below.
Knapp faces a count of second-degree murder. Records show no attorney.
[Images via Pasco County Sheriff’s Office]
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