Kristy Manzanares’ death was allegedly the result of a “domestic dispute,” and her husband Kenneth has been charged with the murder

By Stephanie Petit Harriet Sokmensuer
July 30, 2017 02:37 PM

The family of Kristy Manzanares, the Utah mother who was found dead on her Alaska-bound cruise ship on Tuesday, is remembering her as a kind person with a big heart.

“She had a glow to her, and filled a room with life,” Kasey Hunt, a cousin of Kristy’s tells PEOPLE. “She was so damn nice to everyone, she was amazing.”

In a statement provided by family spokesperson Miranda Barnard to the The Salt Lake Tribune, Kristy’s loved ones expressed their heartbreak over the slaying.

“We are devastated over the loss of Kristy,” they said in the statement. “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.”

Barnard confirmed to the outlet that Kristy was on the cruise with extended family members and her three daughters, ages 13 to 22, who are now back in Utah.

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Kristy Manzanares/Facebook

Kristy’s death was allegedly the result of a “domestic dispute,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.

According to the arrest 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, her 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.”

Witnesses who talked to ABC News described a chaotic scene that drew the attention of many vacationers on the ship. One witness, Jen Larson, said that she heard a woman “screaming for her life.”

According to Larson, one of the onlookers was the Manzanares’ young daughter, who she said was distraught and screaming after the incident.

“She was just really scared,” Larson recalled. “She said, ‘I just want to go and see my mom! I just want to see my mom! What’s happening?’ ”

The ship set off from Seattle on Sunday on a week-long trip but was diverted to Juneau, Alaska, where it docked as a result of the incident, CBS News reports. The Emerald Princess boat was carrying 3,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members, according to CBS.

 

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