COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Just one day after being awarded temporary custody of Kaylee Berreth, the parents of missing mother Kelsey Berreth have filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against her former fiance, Patrick Frazee.
Well known local personal injury lawyer, Mike McDivitt says in cases like these, getting a guilty verdict won't affect the outcome of the civil suit.
The documents say the Berreth's are asking for a minimum of 75 thousand dollars but it's likely that money will go to Kaylee, the daughter she left behind.
McDivitt says, "if the evidence shows there was a murder by Mr. Frazee, that's a legitimate wrongful death claim on behalf of Frazee's little girl whose mother has now been killed. That little girl will presumably be represented by grandparents which I think that's what this complaint is accomplishing."
Frazee is currently facing criminal murder charges in Teller County, but the civil case filed in federal court accuses him of wrongful death, negligence, intentional emotional distress and conspiracy.
McDivitt says winning the civil case doesn't hold the same standard of proof a criminal case would meaning the plaintiffs don't have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to jurors.
"The standard of proof in a civil is lower, it's by a preponderance which means more probable than not," he says.
No matter what happens inside the courtroom, Frazee, guilty or not guilty, the evidence that comes out could help determine whether or not any money is awarded to the Berreth family.
"As the proceedings go through, and evidence is developed in the criminal matter that will give the plaintiffs in the civil matter, a great opening as to the evidence necessary to prove the civil case," McDivitt says.
The next court proceeding for Frazee's criminal case is a preliminary hearing on February 19th.