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Utah mom slain on cruise ship was 'light of our lives,' family says



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SALT LAKE CITY — Family of Kristy Manzanares, a Santa Clara mother of three whose husband has been charged with murder in connection with her death on an Alaskan cruise ship Tuesday, called her "the light of our lives."

"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," the family said in a prepared statement released late Friday by family spokeswoman Miranda Barnard.

The statement from the Hunt and Manzanares families also asked "for privacy as we mourn together and continue our focus on Kristy’s children.”

Kristy Manzanares, 39, was found dead Tuesday night with a severe head wound in a blood-spattered cabin on the 3,400-passenger Emerald Princess that left Sunday from Seattle for Alaska.

Her husband, Kenneth Manzanares, also 39, was charged with murder after he was found with blood on his hands and clothes, according to a criminal complaint.

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According to media reports, the couple had gone on the cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The couple has three daughters who were on the cruise with them. She was a real estate agent in the St. George area.

A man on the ship told authorities when he asked Kenneth Manzanares what had happened, he replied, "She would not stop laughing at me," according to an FBI criminal complaint.

The statement from the Hunt and Manzanares families thanks friends and family in Carbon and Washington counties for their support as well as the assistance of Princess Cruise Lines and Alaska Airlines.

According to the family statement, an account to assist the Manazares children and to defray costs of Kristy Manzanares' memorial service has been established by the St. George Board of Realtors. Donations can be made at any Zions Bank branch.

Marjorie Cortez

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