Family of mom beaten to death by husband on anniversary cruise want to 'heal' as her killer dies in jail

THE family of a mom beaten to death by her husband on an anniversary cruise trip want to "heal" after her killer died in jail.

Kenneth Manzanares, 43, died in his prison cell this week after he was jailed for beating his wife Kristy Manzanares, 39, to death in July 2017. 

A close family friend told The Sun on Monday: "The pain and suffering they've [Kristy's family] had to endure is unfathomable.

"They want nothing more now than to heal and live as normally as possible."

Manzanares had been sentenced to 30 years in prison plus five years on probation after pleading guilty to second-degree murder last year.

The friend added: "Kristy's family is very near and dear to my heart.Kristy was a lovely soul and deserves to be remembered as such."

The Utah family was aboard an Alaskan cruise in 2017 when Kenneth beat his wife to death in front of their children.


On July 14, Kenneth was found unresponsive in his Alaska prison cell at about 7am local time. He was pronounced dead at 7.42am.

According to a statement from the Alaska Department of Corrections, Kenneth's death was not related to Covid-19, and foul play is not suspected.

The Sun has contacted the department for comment.

The couple and their three kids were traveling on the Emerald Princess cruise ship to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary.

Kenneth apparently snapped after Kristy laughed at him and then told him she wanted to get a divorce. 

The couple's three daughters were present to hear their mother's screams as their father pummeled their mother in the head with closed fists, the Associated Press reported.

Other family relatives were also present on the cruise ship. Not only did the couple's three children partly witness their mother's murder, but Kenneth's brothers and father did as well, the AP reported.


Kenneth’s defense team argued he suffered from an undiagnosed bipolar disorder, had been mixing booze with meds, and was afflicted with brain abnormalities brought on by years of playing contact sports, according to the AP. 

His lawyers argued for a more lenient sentence of 7 ½ years. Meanwhile, 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. 

As the real murder of the mom of three unfolded, many passengers presumed it was all part of the ship’s prearranged entertainment.

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

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

“…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.” 

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

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