DEVASTATED friends and family of Kathleen Moore are demanding justice for the slain mom after her decomposed remains were found near the home of her boyfriend on Tuesday.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Moore's childhood friend Erica Swanson said she was left "speechless" when she learned of the 34-year-old's death.
The body of Moore, who had last been seen alive in the early hours of November 29, was found by the team of TV star Dog The Bounty Hunter on Tuesday following a week-long search.
Her remains were discovered in a wooded area in Pasco County, Florida, around 50 yards behind the home of her boyfriend, 30-year-old Collin Knapp.
In a press conference yesterday, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said that Moore was a victim of domestic violence.
Knapp was arrested on Monday and charged with second-degree murder. He has an extensive rap sheet including prior arrests for domestic battery and drug offenses.
While her body wouldn't be found for another 24 hours, police ruled that she had likely been killed after finding blood-stained clothes matching Moore's DNA in a dumpster outside of the steakhouse where Knapp works. The quantity of blood found on the clothes meant led police to determine that Moore was most likely dead, Nocco said.
As an investigation continues, Swanson and other friends and family of Moore have voiced their heartbreak and shock over her violent and tragic end.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN MOURNING
"I was speechless watching the press conference," Swanson, who first met Moore in high school, told The Sun. "I was so hurt for her, her closest friends, and her loved ones.
"Kathleen was the sweetest person … I'm extremely devastated because he took away a beautiful person who was loved by many. Although she had endured many challenging things in life, she was a wonderful person inside and out."
Despite her hope that Moore would be found alive, Swanson said she had a "gut feeling" that wouldn't be the case.
Having regularly kept in contact with Moore over Facebook she said it was "out of character" for her to simply disappear and cut off all contact from her family and friends.
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Swanson said Moore's killer has "taken away a beautiful person."
"Her daughter will never get to see her mom again," she said. "Her friends will never get to see her again. [Her death] has caused everyone so much hurt and pain."
Moore's best friend of more than two decades, Nikki Wallen, also posted a series of gutwrenching tributes to her "sister" on Facebook.
"Everyone that knows me knows how much Kathleen Moore meant to me, and vice versa. No matter WHAT I was always there for her, and she was always there for me," Wallen wrote.
"She watched my kids grow up and spoiled them every chance she got, helped me with the kids while I got through college, and made sure she saw me walk across that stage. She got her car running and back on the road, and started school recently, and was so proud of herself.
"One thing I can say is Kathleen never let me cry when we were grieving a death of a family or friend, so I am trying to stay strong for her. The message I want everyone to pay attention to is to never hold a grudge, especially when it is petty because u never know when u will never see someone again.
"When she left here Sunday night I had no idea that was the last time I would ever see her, but we were on good terms and that’s a good feeling. I am going to miss her a lot."
Speaking to WFLA, Karyn Moore, Kathleen's mother, recalled her final conversation with her daughter just hours before she was last seen alive.
Karyn said her daughter called her to wish her a happy birthday. The call ended with Karyn telling her daughter how much she loved her.
“And I was telling her I love her,” Karyn Moore recalled. “And she’s like, ‘mom, I’m 34’ and I said I don’t care if you’d be 50 years old, you’re still my baby and always will be.”
Like Swanson, Karyn said she had a "gut feeling" that something bad had happened to her daughter when she was reported missing.
“I had that gut feeling,” she said. “It’s like a mother’s instinct and you just know when you can’t sense your child’s spirit.
“I just want to know why, why didn’t he just let her go, why couldn’t he just walk away,” Karyn Moore added.
“I truly believe that we all in life have to take a journey and I just wish that Kathleen’s journey didn’t stop where it did.
"I’m really gonna miss her really much. I love her with all my heart.”'
Moore was last seen Facetiming one of her friends outside of Knapp's home along Carmel Avenue at 1 am, following a night out drinking with her boyfriend and their friends.
Moore reportedly told her friend that she and Knapp had got into an argument and she was outside waiting for a ride home. The pair had also been seen arguing at a number of bars earlier in the evening, according to police.
Investigators then announced on Tuesday that the decomposing remains of an adult female were found near Knapp's home in New Port Richey. They were later identified to belong to Moore.
In an earlier interview, Swanson told The Sun that Moore and Knapp allegedly endured quite a "turbulent" relationship and would get "into fights quite often."
Swanson claimed that other friends of Moore's have told her that she had previously complained that Knapp would become a different person when he drank, alleging "he would become more angry and violent."
Knapp's arrest for murder on Monday is not his first run-in with police. He has an extensive rap sheet that includes dozens of arrests, including for domestic battery, possession of cocaine and meth, and reckless driving.
During a press conference on Monday, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Moore and Knapp had been in an “on-again, off-again” relationship for about five years.
Nocco said when deputies interviewed Knapp prior to his arrest, there were inconsistencies in his statements.
Knapp told investigators the couple got into another argument at his home in New Port Richey after midnight, and Moore left before he went to the restaurant where he works "to complete a meat inventory order" around 1.30am.
However, Nocco said investigators have no evidence that suggests Moore ever left Knapp's home.
He was arrested and officials were met with a “cold” demeanor as they quizzed him on his girlfriend’s whereabouts.
Knapp reportedly refused to cooperate in the police's search for Moore's body and immediately retained an attorney.
While being interviewed by police, the 30-year-old said that he went to buy cigarettes in the early hours of November 29 and Kathleen was in the car.
Police revealed that deputies attempted to look at video surveillance footage but couldn’t be certain if Moore was indeed still in the car.
Cops then said Knapp “decided to go to his job” – which is believed to be at Harold Seltzer steakhouse in Port Richey.
Friend Jessica Brummett told Fox13 a man found the mom’s cell phone behind a Walgreens in Pasco County and turned it over to police.
Pasco County Sheriff's Office canine units, a drone team and "20 to 30" detectives were involved in the search for Moore's body, Nocca said.
The sheriff also offered his condolences to Moore's friends and family, who had spent the last week conducting their own independent search of the local area for signs or traces of Moore.
"This is a sad reminder that domestic violence takes place in every community," Sheriff Nocco said.
"Our hearts and prayers pour out to the family and friends of Kathleen Moore. I know you were all searching for a better resolution, and we all were, but unfortunately, this is what we have."
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