Popular IFBB Pro husband and wife team Kelly Ryan (Fitness) and her husband Craig Titus (Bodybuilding) are both being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on crime(s) of Murder, Arson and/or Accessory to Murder committed on or about 12/14/2005 of their live-in female assistant Melissa James. May God rest her soul. Craig and Kelly were apprehended in Boston after allegedly fleeing Las Vegas last December 2005.
Something had gone horribly wrong in the supposed healthiest of industries and it was a juicy story for the haters, gossip hungry followers as well as the curious Bodybuilding fan.
Questions still lurk in minds that wonder what really happened.
- Was this horrible story an unfortunate series of events that lead to disaster and death?
- Was this the aftereffect of a decadent lifestyle in the jumbo-sized, full-tilt life-style antics of the Pro Bodybuilding community?
- Was this just an ill thought out panic attack?
- Was this some sort of conspiracy?
This sad, morbid story seems to have invoked a thrilling type of interest in print publications, around the world on TV and full force on Bodybuilding Internet Boards as well.
Both Craig and Kelly were on the front page as a Muscles/Murder story of THE GLOBE (Jan 16, 2006 issue) along with many other gossip publications like People Magazine.
This case was also covered on FOX News Live and popular Bodybuilding gossip boards have special "Craig and Kelly" sections where fans can go to learn the latest or to check in with their own views.
On July 25, I went from LA to Las Vegas to visit and hopefully interview my friend, Kelly Ryan to check out how she was doing for myself. Kelly and I had been friends and colleagues for years. There has been so much speculation within the core Bodybuilding industry about this case and I had read some of the posts online from some of the "Craig and Kelly Saga" threads.
I had a suspicion that other than the court documents, many did not know what they were talking about and much of the so-called information was not proven or true. Who could know? Were they there? No. Had they gone to see either Craig or Kelly?
I did not know what mindset I would find Kelly in or if she would even want to talk to me. I decided to try to visit her and offer support in the way I could as a friend... in the media, as I have been a published journalist/writer in the fitness industry for 5 years.
Clark County Detention Center:
Clark County Detention Center is located at the end of Main Street in Downtown Las Vegas. It serves as a reminder of the type of town Las Vegas is said to be all about... Sin City. The theme of "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" does not tell the rest of the story if you are not very careful!
The rest of the sentence could very well read...or pay the price for it all at the other end... if you get caught... at the jail! Oh, I mean Clark County Detention Center.
When visiting the Detention facility, you are not allowed to see any inmate in person. I did not know this. I thought I would at least see Kelly through a glass partition and had brought her stationary, stamps and a journal. I will have to mail them.
Each visit is 25 minutes timed and only from monitor to monitor with each of us on a phone. Two people are allowed during each visit. The center has many rows of visiting stations and it is something I had never experienced. Two police officers scan your belongings and you have to walk through a metal detector just like at the airport. You must check in one hour ahead of time.
They keep your ID and do a check on you before your visit. No convicted felons can visit another inmate period. There are many rules including a dress code, no profanity and no audio or video equipment. I was nervous. I was happy for the support of my friend and associate, Stephen who came with me to take pictures during the visit if possible.
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Kelly and I had a wonderful talk. It was quite emotional and we were happy to see each other even if it was through a monitor. During all of this it is strange watching the digital LED counter at the bottom of the screen count down your time the whole time you are talking.
After 25 minutes, the screen goes blank and it is over. Kelly was very aware of this and knew before I did and kept telling me how much she blessed me and loved me for coming. It was intense.
Kelly told me that virtually no one has come to visit her from the industry except Monica Brant. Kelly said they prayed together the whole time. Monica is an angel.
I first met Kelly Ryan on a VHS tape at my fitness coach's request. She had just won the Fitness America National title in 1998 and my coach had it on tape. All of his "wannabe" new fitness athletes had to study and watch Kelly's routine and he told us this was the level we all needed to aspire to. Kelly was simply phenomenal.
Her gymnastics, dance, physique and stage presence combined were some of the best we had ever seen on the fitness competition stage. I was motivated and impressed. Kelly was and has been the standard in the routine round for fitness athletes from the Fitness America stage to the IFBB Fitness pro ranks. Kelly inspired me before I had even met her.
I first met Kelly in person backstage at the USA's, an IFBB National Pro qualifier NPC event that my friend Jon Lindsay runs annually in Vegas. Kelly got her IFBB Pro card that year. She was on top. I turned pro the next year in the inaugural International Fitness America/Universe Pageant and we both traveled in different circles.
We still saw each other a lot year after year at every major Bodybuilding event. We had become friends right away and have remained friends and worked together at many fitness Expos representing the same companies like Pinnacle and Bodybuilding.com at major shows like the Olympia, Arnold Classic, GNC SOS, USA's and NPC Nationals together.
Kelly and I had the pleasure to appear in the same publication of Iron Man Magazine's Dec. 2002 issue. This was Iron Man Magazine's inaugural Women's Workout issue. The first ever for a mainly Men's hard core Bodybuilding Magazine that focused on women's based exercises.
Kat Meyers and myself were the Cover Models and workout female models throughout the magazine.
Kelly As A Friend:
Kelly taught me about the Bodybuilding and fitness industry when I moved to LA. She used to talk to me very personally, woman to woman. Kelly warned me about making sure to offer respect and offer support for my fellow competitors, men and women alike.
She warned me about the boundaries I had with fans and photographers. She taught me to get involved safely and I have always appreciated her words and support. Kelly has always been completely available for her fans and promoters and I have always called her a friend.
Although I did not see Craig on this visit, I have also worked along side him at many Expos and shows and been back stage with him as a competitor for years as well. Craig always invited me to his after parties personally and was every bit professional in his invite.
Yes, I had heard rumors about Craig's temper and excessive party ways and was told to stay far far away. I had also seen signs of this. There was one USA event in Vegas where I saw Bob Cicherillo go up to Craig and confront him on some smack Craig had been saying about Bob in the Internet and Mags.
Bob asked if Craig really wanted to go out into the parking lot to punch it out and roll around like a couple of goofs or bury the hatchet. Craig wisely chose to bury the hatchet and all was good. Craig did seem to always be in some sort of war with another Pro Bodybuilder; however, I never had an issue with him.
Since I was warned about his loose sexual behavior even before Kelly and he hooked up and got married, I waited for this side to come out but it never did. Craig was always a perfect gentleman with me and it never changed.
The visit/interview with Kelly went exceedingly well and was both wonderful and emotional. I had been warned by my own mother to expect perhaps I wouldn't like what I might find changed in my friend, Kelly and prepared myself for the worst. I found someone so much different than I expected in even my imaginary best-case scenario.
Kelly was radiant with an inner light that shone even across the monitor screen. Kelly looked wonderful actually and wore glasses that were becoming to her although I had never seen her in them. They suited her and I recognized her right away.
She took them off to cry here and there and even so she was really clear in word and focused in her thoughts. Kelly wanted me to help her point of view be known. She wanted to have a voice in the media since she was appalled at the way they were conveying her story.
I am sure she talked to me so freely since we were friends, had competed and worked together since 1990 and of course we were both women. We both cried more than once and she kept blessing me for the support and visit saying how much she loved me and appreciated my friendship.
I told myself before the visit I would be strong and not cry - what did I have to cry about? Yet it was hard for me to hold myself in control. What would be gained from us both crying for the entire 25-minute visit... and that could have easily happened had we both let it.
Perspective comes fast in situations like this, yes? Kelly and I were very connected right away from the moment we saw each other and it was intense as the digital clock was ticking by fast reminding us the visit would be too soon over. I asked her questions.
Kelly spoke of:
1. Kelly's Marriage, Craig And Their Future Plans Together.
Kelly proudly says Craig and she have never been doing better as a couple as they have both shifted their priorities from focusing on Bodybuilding and Fitness back to the basics of a husband and wife family unit. They want to start a family as soon as they can resume their lives together. Kelly and Craig get to have a 30-minute conversation over the phone each week that they cherish.
2. Kelly's Mother And Grandfather's Passing While She Was Incarcerated.
Kelly lost both her Mother and Grandfather while she has been incarcerated. The courts let her out to be with her family to view her Mother's service on DVD. Her priorities she has realized have been off. By striving so hard professionally, she had seldom time for her family and now during this difficult time both Kelly's Mother and Grandfather have passed.
Kelly said she was astounded when she read an article in Oxygen, a popular women's fitness magazine, about her Mother dying of a broken heart. She can receive mail and said Robert Kennedy the publisher had mailed her a copy. Kelly couldn't believe what it said.
She asked me,
just make stuff up as factual and print it?"
I replied about the need for media sensationalism. She just shook her head. She said she heard people were saying her mother died of a broken heart when truthfully; her mother had a serious heart condition that runs in the family.
Her mother died 5 years later than her mother before her of the same condition. Kelly said both her brother and she had been warned and watched for this as well. Perhaps this is why Kelly has had this desire to stay so ultra fit for so long.
We all know what a difference your physical fitness level will bring to your health and many children of hereditary ailments are healthier than their ancestors before them because of diet and exercise.
3. Kelly's Wish For The Bodybuilding Industry:
Kelly wants to let the fitness industry know she prays for us all every day. She prays about the misguided ones... and I do know what she means since I agreed with her on this point... she has seen so many of our sisters and brothers climbing so hard to get to the top with such little actual gain to be had that friends will climb over friends, respected athletes and models will climb over their companies who got them their start in the first place.
Perhaps this is not fair to say this only happens in the bodybuilding and fitness industry... however, in most other top industries the money wheel is not so stuck and held down so there is more to go around and make do with. It is hard to watch for sure. It made us sad and when she started to cry again for the lost one's, my eyes teared up also.
In this self-serving type of setting God and the family take a back seat and Kelly says this is not good or healthy. She believes your family should be top priority with God in the lead always. Kelly prays for us to remember this and live it.
3. Kelly's Girl Talk:
We talked girl talk about skin and hair. She said she loved my highlights and stood up to show me how healthy and full her hair was. I was astounded! I had never seen Kelly's hair so luxurious and long! It was beautiful. I told her so and she went on to say she had not felt so healthy in years. Kelly also commented on the smoothness of the skin on my face.
"Brenda!" she said, "you don't even have a wrinkle and your face is so smooth! How are you doing? You look wonderful!"
Kelly was so positive and clear. Kelly kept asking how I was and what I was up to. She remembered a specific production project that I had been working on in Hollywood and asked all about it. She was so interested and non-self centered.
She read me scriptures from Jesus...that blessed me for coming to see her. The Fitness routines do take their toll on your body and skin from all of the years of dieting. Kelly has been at the top of her game for almost 10 years. The fitness routines are a lot of stress on joints and tendons.
The fitness athletes perform on wood flooring instead of a gymnastic "Blue Floor" which is carpeted and has springs and cushion. This creates a lot of injuries and the need to really be precise, direct and focused. Kelly said her body didn't hurt anymore for the first time in years because of the rest it was being forced to get. She was grateful.
4. Kelly's Living Conditions:
Kelly just got moved into her own cell and she calls it her own little meditating closet. She is at peace there.
6. Kelly's Workout Program:
Kelly is a motivational factor with the women in the detention center. Many of these women have never had any goals, discipline or sense of worth or accomplishment within themselves and she is teaching them to value their bodies with exercise combined with positive verbal affirmations.
They are locked down during the day but Kelly leads about 30 women each evening during their free time outside in the exercise area through a series of workout sets each followed with a verbal affirmation afterwards.
Kelly feels when you are physically active and verbally voicing affirmations, they have a better chance of sinking into your psyche and sticking. I told her I was not surprised and proud of her.
7. Kelly's Upcoming Trial:
Craig and Kelly requested bail and were turned down. Kelly sees this as a blessing and a fact of God needing her to heal and heal others' where she is. The trial is set for January 2007.
8. Kelly's Message To Her Friends And Fans:
I told her how her comments and advice had always helped me throughout the years. I also told her of other fans and friend of hers that had wished her well that she had helped and touched many more than she would know during her career.
Alaska promoter, Derek Snelson wanted to thank her and Craig for coming to Alaska two times. Kelly so influenced Derek's daughter, she is going to start to promote shows with her father and pursue a fitness career!
Kelly was touched and said how unaware we can be of the strength of our words and little things we do for others that can be just the reminder needed for others to continue on. Kelly said,
Stay strong and keep the faith.
God is first."
9. Kelly's Top 2 Miracles:
1. Seeing Craig at the hearing. "We got to sit next to each other and hold hands."
2. Being able to go and view my mother's ceremony with my family on DVD. Kelly's Mother was cremated so there was no actual viewing or gravesite ceremony.
10. Kelly's Faith In God:
Kelly doesn't view this time spent in the Clark County Detention Center in any other way except as a blessing from God. She feels God needed her where she is for good reason. She has never felt so sure of this faith and trust in God and lives by it minute by minute, day by day.
My partner and associate, Stephen Huntsman came with me and was originally scheduling to see Craig at the same time I was going to see Kelly. This did not work out time wise since he needed to be with me for my interview with Kelly and try to take PICS for this article and Craig's visiting hours were completely different.
It ended up working out even better since Stephen got many PICS that I could not have gotten myself while being signed in and watched the entire time on surveillance cameras and with security personal everywhere.
Stephen stood behind me while Kelly and I talked, snapped some PICS that show both her and I and he even took 2 short video clips with his cell phone!
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We also shot some PICS with a regular digital camera of the interior waiting/visiting area and exterior of the facility. This would have been impossible for me to do alone as the 25 minutes are timed and watched. Great job Stephen! Thank you.
Kelly is thrilled for me to send her friends and fans messages from her about how she is doing and she and I will keep in touch through the mail for updates. I plan to visit her again as well.
This was an amazing experience and it was wonderful to see Kelly, as I have been concerned for her as a friend. She is doing better than I ever expected and it made me very happy to find her so positive. She looked really strong and healthy. I do not propose to judge these two friends of mine. Did Kelly do this? Did Craig? Both? Neither?
What do you think?
- Crime of Passion?
- Recreational Drug/Panic?
- Mental Denial/Amnesia?
- The "real killers" will be found?
- Factor X, Y, Z??
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns during both positive and negative times things can change in a moment. We have all seen people and circumstances spin crazily out of control in a very short amount of time exchanging everything forever.
Then comes the time of reckoning. None of us should take anything for granted, ever... even our next breath. Give thanks and count your blessings always.
But still I asked myself, who could hold up like I have just seen Kelly hold up in these circumstances? Could you? Would I? Only someone who had great faith with a champion heart and soul could do this. Kelly Ryan is doing just that.
I will continue to pray for a miracle for my friend. They happen every day.
"We recognize traits in others where we need to answer questions within ourselves."
- - Brenda Kelly
Read Forum Posts About The Kelly/Craig Saga Here.
Kelly Ryan Address:
*Yes she can receive mail.
Send well wishes to:
- Clark County Detention Center
- 330 S. Casino Center Blvd.
- Las Vegas, NV 89101
- c/o Kelly Ryan #01992276.