PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A body found Tuesday in the woods of New Port Richey belongs to Kathleen Moore, according to law enforcement.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says somebody walking in the area of Carmel Avenue called around 11:30 a.m. to report a woman’s remains covered in “thick brush.”
Detectives would later use tattoos to identify the body as Moore, 34, who vanished after a night out with friends in Largo. Her body’s discovery comes one day after authorities made an arrest in her missing person case.
Collin Knapp, 30, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the case. Knapp and Moore had been in an on-and-off relationship for the past five years, according to Sheriff Chris Nocco.
Moore's body was found 50 yards northeast of Knapp's home and was in a very heavily brushed area, according to the sheriff's office. Nocco added that the brush that intentionally covered her body was so thick it was hard to see even while standing two feet away.
At this time, the sheriff's office has not released a manner of death and says it is too early to share if charges will be upgraded.
“I wish to God we could bring her back. She’s with God now. She’s with the angels. And we pray for her and we pray for her family right now because they’re going through so much. But with that, we will bring her justice, we will bring her family justice. You know, that is important," Nocco said.
The area where Moore was discovered was searched with K-9s, air surveillance, drones and line searches. Nocco says factors like wind, weather and decomposition could have been behind why her body was not discovered sooner.
The sheriff was steadfast in his belief that his office will bring justice to Moore's family, once again asking for Knapp to help them in the case.
“There is a God. There is a God who knows everything and he cannot take back – the suspect cannot take back what he did in this case but what he can do is make something positive going forward," he said. "Make it easier on the family. Answer their questions. You know, answer the ‘why’”
On Nov. 28, between 10 and 11:30 p.m., the sheriff's office says Knapp and Moore left their friends in Largo while arguing with one another. At around 12:30 a.m., Knapp is said to have stopped at a 7-Eleven in New Port Richey to buy cigarettes.
Detectives say Knapp claimed Moore was with him at the time; but according to the sheriff’s office, there was not enough video evidence to prove that.
After digging through a landfill, Sheriff Nocco says deputies discovered Knapp's clothes with blood on them. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement would match that blood to Moore.
Moore’s disappearance was recently profiled in an episode of our YouTube series, "The Missing."
The 34-year-old’s friend of 20 years, Nikki Wallen said she knew something was wrong when Moore didn’t stop by to pick up her car after their night out.
"When I woke up Monday morning and realized she hadn’t stopped," said Wallen. "That’s when I knew something’s not right. I immediately called her phone and went straight to voicemail."
Moore didn’t show up to work or school – her friends said that was not like her – so they called the sheriff’s office. Moore’s cell phone would later be found in a New Port Richey dumpster thanks to the help of a homeless man.
The staff at Whiskey Wings wants to start a foundation in Kathleen's name to help fight domestic violence. All four whiskey wings locations are raising money for her family. She was a server at the location in St. Petersburg.