Authorities who investigated the death of the 42-year-old stay-at-home mom retraced not only the night of her death, but also her online life. "48 Hours" goes inside the case in "The Mysterious Death of Kat West."
In the early morning hours of January 13, 2018, stay-at-home mom Kathleen "Kat" Dawn West, was found dead from blunt force trauma to the head. Her partially nude body was discovered across the street from her Calera, Alabama home.
Married in Vegas
Kat was married to Jeff West, a campus police officer and former Army recruiter. After four months of dating, the couple married in 2004. In 2005, they had a daughter named Lola.
Brittany Driesler, the couple's friend, says when she first met the Wests, they seemed like an unlikely duo. "I know opposites attract. But I was like, that guy pulled that girl?"
"Coco Chanel of Crime"
Veteran crime reporter and CBS consultant Carol Robinson, known as the "Coco Chanel of Crime," says Kat's death was unusual for Calera. "A beautiful woman nude in a street, in a nice subdivision. That is what doesn't happen every day around here," she says.
The couple had a standing date night, and on the night of January 12, 2018, while Jeff's parents watched then-12-year-old Lola, Jeff and Kat went out for dinner and drinks. After dinner, a liquor store security camera captured them buying alcohol on the way home.
It was the last time Kat West was seen alive.
When the Wests returned to their home, they continued drinking. On Instagram that night, Jeff posted this picture of the liquor bottle they had bought.
A Chilling Discovery
Macorsha Purifoy, a neighbor of the Wests, was driving to work before dawn the following morning, when she discovered Kat's body lying halfway into the road. She returned with her parents and they called 911.
When Calera Police Sgt. Mike Mehlhoff arrived to the scene, he observed that next to Kat's body was her cell phone and an open bottle of absinthe liquor. He showed "48 Hours" the positioning of the bottle and cell phone, which he believes indicates the scene had been staged.
At the scene, Sgt. Mehlhoff also observed two blood pools – one on the ground and one in the grass. He believes it is evidence that Kat's body had been moved.
In this photo, snapped by a neighbor, two police officers are seen at the site where Kat's body was found.
Kitty Kat West
Investigators soon learned that Kat was active on OnlyFans, a subscription-only website some use to share adult photos and videos. The couple's friend, Brittany Driesler, told "48 Hours" Kat was "very out loud" about her online activity and that her husband loved it.
Jeff West told authorities that he helped to photograph Kat for her online followers. Police looked into the possibility that one of her fans may have stalked and killed her, but investigators say they found no viable online suspects.
On February 22, 2018, police arrested Jeff West and charged him with his wife's murder. His bail was set at $500,000.
"He Loved my Daughter"
Since his arrest, Jeff West has maintained his innocence. Two of his biggest supporters are the people you might least expect – Kat's parents, John and Nancy Martin. The Martins strongly believe that Jeff never would harm their daughter. Kat's father is so certain, of Jeff's innocence, he told "48 Hours," "I know he didn't do it."