People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Exclusive

Husband Allegedly ‘Snapped’ and Killed Wife on Alaska Cruise After She Asked for Divorce, Source Says

Posted on

It was a shocking sight: On July 25, Kristy Manzanares, a 39-year-old mother-of-three, was found lying on the floor of her cruise ship cabin with a severe head wound and was pronounced dead by medical personnel minutes later.

Her alleged killer was her husband of 18 years, 39-year-old Kenneth Manzanares. The high school sweethearts had been celebrating their wedding anniversary with their daughters and extended family on a week-long Princess Cruises voyage from Seattle to Alaska.

The killing allegedly culminated a night of marital tension between the couple that began when Kenneth became belligerent at dinner, a family source who was not on the boat tells PEOPLE.

“He had been acting terrible all night,” the source says. The source adds that at some point that evening, Kristy asked for a divorce. At that point, Kenneth allegedly “snapped” and killed her, the source says.

The couple’s apparent marital discord was news to the source, who tells PEOPLE, “If they were having [marital issues] they never showed any of that to anyone else.”

According to the source, the night of the killing, Kristy’s father and brother broke down the cabin door after hearing Kristy screaming from her room. In the blood-covered cabin, they discovered Kristy mortally wounded and Kenneth allegedly covered in blood as well.

Ever since, Kristy’s family has been reeling.

“We are devastated over the loss of Kristy. She is the light of our lives,” Kristy’s family said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

• For more on the Manzanares’ fatal vacation at sea, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.

Passengers aboard the Emerald Princess ship told ABC News they heard a couple arguing in their room before they heard the woman “screaming for her life.”

One guest on the ship at the time told KTVA that he and his wife were two floors above the site of the incident.

“There was a lot of yelling started up again between men, fighting you know, somebody hurt somebody’s sister and it was a family dispute,” Charles Rowlen alleged.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by PEOPLE, Kenneth allegedly told one witness in the aftermath of the killing, “She wouldn’t stop laughing at me.”

“I have my doubts that she was even laughing at him,” the family source tells PEOPLE of Kenneth’s comments. “Because everyone else said they heard fighting and yelling, not laughter.”

From left: Kristy and Kenneth Manzanares
Kristy Manzanares/Facebook

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter. 

At a press conference last week, FBI officials revealed that multiple people witnessed the alleged murder, though they did not specify further. Passengers told local outlets the couple’s daughters were seen outside their parents’ room visibly upset.

Passenger Natalie Beckstrom told the St. George News she saw a 13-year-old girl “standing there wrapped in a blanket, just sobbing.”

When a man emerged nearby in blood-covered clothes and said, “It doesn’t look good,” the girl “just lost it,” Beckman recalled.

“She just started sobbing, ‘I want my mommy. I want my mommy,'” Beckman said.

Kristy Manzanares at her hotel before boarding a Princess Cruises ship to Seattle
Facebook
Kristy Manzanares

Kristy’s cause of death is pending an autopsy in Juneau, according to multiple reports.

Her cousin Kasey Hunt told PEOPLE that Kristy “had a glow to her, and filled a room with life,” adding, “She was so damn nice to everyone, she was amazing.”

According to Alaska state officials, Kenneth made his first court appearance by teleconference on Thursday and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing for Aug. 10. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McCoy determined Kenneth must be detained pending trial.

While being processed by FBI agents in Alaska, Kenneth allegedly said, “My life is over.”

The St. George News reports Kenneth has no criminal history in Utah, according to state court records. His attorney, Jamie McGrady, declined comment to PEOPLE. Kenneth has not entered a plea.

GoFundMe page has been launched to help with the family’s expenses.