A passenger aboard the Princess Cruises ship on which a Utah woman was allegedly murdered Tuesday by her husband has recounted to a local newspaper the chaos and horror on the boat that night.
Passenger Natalie Beckstrom met Kristy Manzanares and her family during breakfast in a hotel in Seattle, from which their cruise ship departed on July 23 en route to Alaska, Beckstrom told the St. George News of Utah.
Manzanares, 39, was traveling with extended family members and her three daughters, ranging in age from 13 to 22, family spokeswoman Miranda Barnard told PEOPLE. Authorities say she was found dead in her cabin on Tuesday night and her husband, Kenneth, was soon arrested and charged with her murder.
Beckstrom, who is also from Utah, told the St. George News that amid the chaos of the night of Kristy’s killing, 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.
Another passenger, Jen Larson, told ABC News that she saw the Manzanares’ young daughter distraught and screaming after the incident.
“She was just really scared,” Larson said. “She said, ‘I just want to go and see my mom! I just want to see my mom! What’s happening?’ ”
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Beckstrom said she was watching a Sherlock Holmes-themed murder mystery program that night when an intercom announcement summoned medical and security personnel: “He sounded a little breathless as he was talking [over the intercom].”
She echoed the account of fellow passenger Vic Simpson, who told Inside Edition that he and others initially thought the altercation was make-believe and part of the program.
Beckstrom said that after the announcement, when she went to check on her own kids, one of her family members asked her, “Don’t you think that’s part of the play?”
“I said, ‘Oh yeah, duh.’ So that’s kind of what everybody in the room was thinking was that it was just part of the play,” Beckstrom told the St. George News. “So, you know, we all just kind of sat down and went on with the play.”
Beckstrom said that early the next morning, the cruise’s captain announced the boat was skipping the Tracy Arm Fjord in Alaska and going straight to Juneau because a Utah woman had been killed.
“When he said ‘from Utah,’ we were like, ‘Holy cow,’ ” she said.
Family: ‘The Light of Our Lives’
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by PEOPLE, Kristy was found with a severe head wound on the floor of her cruise ship cabin, with blood “spread throughout the room on multiple surfaces.”
Kristy’s death was allegedly the result of a “domestic dispute,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
Citing the accounts of other passengers, Becktrom told the St. George News that loud screaming could be heard in the Manzanares’ cabin that night.
According to the affidavit, a witness told security he went into the couple’s cabin and saw Kristy on the floor, covered in blood. When he saw Kenneth, Kristy’s husband, with blood on his hands and clothing, he asked what happened, to which Kenneth allegedly replied, “She would not stop laughing at me.”
Kenneth then allegedly grabbed his wife’s body and dragged it towards the cabin’s balcony. The witness told security that he himself grabbed Kristy’s ankles and pulled her back inside the cabin.
Moments later, security arrived.
Kenneth has been charged with murder, an FBI spokesperson previously told PEOPLE. While he was being processed by the FBI, Kenneth allegedly said, “My life is over.”
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.”
A statement provided to PEOPLE by family spokesperson Barnard said, “We are devastated over the loss of Kristy. She is the light of our lives — a devoted mother, daughter, sister and friend. Kristy led by example with her giving heart and we are inspired by the legacy of kindness and optimism she has instilled in her children.”
According to the St. George News, 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.
The paper reports Kenneth has no criminal history in Utah, according to state court records. PEOPLE’s calls to his court-appointed attorney, Jamie McGrady, were not immediately returned. He has not entered a plea.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help with the family’s expenses.