Husband who murdered wife on cruise in front of kids found dead in prison cell

A husband who was locked up for beating his wife to death on a cruise in front of their kids has been found dead in his prison cell this week.

The family, from Utah in the USA, was aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship in Alaska when Kenneth Manzanares, 43, beat his 39-year-old wife Kristy to death on 25 July 2017.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year and was sentenced to 30 years in prison and five years on probation.

On 14 July, Manzanares was found unresponsive in his Alaska prison cell at around 7am. He was pronounced dead at 7.42am.

The Alaska Department of Corrections said in a statement that his death was not related to Covid-19 and that foul play is not suspected.

Manzanares, Kristy, and their three kids were travelling on the cruise to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary.

During the trip, Kenneth allegedly snapped when Kristy laughed at him and told him she wanted to get a divorce.

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His defence team argued that Manzanares suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder and had been mixing alcohol with his medication, asking for a more lenient sentence of seven and a half years behind bars.

But prosecutors argued he should be put away for life.

On the night of Kristy's murder, cruise ship passengers had been expecting to partake in a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery event.

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As the real murder of the mother-of-three unfolded, many passengers presumed it was all part of the act.

Passenger Natalie Beckstrom told St. George News that the murder mystery was interrupted when someone came over the intercom calling for medical and security staff.

"He sounded a little breathless as he was talking," Beckstrom said.

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"That’s kind of what everybody in the room was thinking was that it was just part of the play… So, you know, we all just kind of sat down and went on with the play."

Beckstrom later saw a man who was covered in blood appear from the hallway speak to a woman who was next to a 13-year-old girl sheathed in a blanket.

She heard him say to the woman: "It doesn’t look good."

Beckstrom recalled: "And so, at that point, the 13-year-old just lost it – she just started sobbing, 'I want my mommy. I want my mommy.'"

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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