Frederick, Colorado (VEN) – Christopher Watts, 33, stands accused of murdering his pregnant wife Shanann, 34, along with their two daughters, Bella, 3, and Celeste, 4.
A 15-week pregnant Shanann and her two young daughters vanished from their home in Frederick, Colorado. A “check well-being” call was made to the Frederick Police Department on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018 by Shanann’s friend, Nicole Atkinson.
Nickole was concerned about Shanann because during their Arizona business trip she did not feel well. She had dropped her off at home 1:48 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2018. The two had arranged to meet up, but Shanann never returned her calls nor did she show up to her 10 a.m. her doctor’s appointment. According to the arrest affidavit, ” Nicole had went to Shanann’s residence and discovered her car in the garage with car seats positioned inside of it.“
An “Endangered Missing Alert” was issued for all three.
Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, her husband, Chris Watts gave a television interview on the porch of the while standing about the disappearance of his family. “She came in from the airport around 2 a.m. and I left around 5:15 am and she was still here,” he said. “Around 12:10 in that afternoon, her friend, Nicole showed up at the door. I texted Shanann a few times that day, called her, but she never got back to me. She never got back to any of her people as well. And that’s what really concerned a lot of people…”
In his interview, he was thorough and direct, maintaining eye contact with the interviewer as he swayed back and forth the entire time. Chris looked directly into the camera at the end of the interview and pleaded, “Shanann, Bella, Celeste if you’re out there just come back. If someone has her just please bring her back…”
The next day – Wednesday night – Watts was arrested in connection to the disappearance of his family.
Investigators searched the Watts’ home. They found Shanann’s personal items, such as wallet, purse, cell phone and medication. However, there were no signs of foul play. Investigators questioned Chris about events leading up to her disappearance.
Chris contributed new information about the last time he saw his wife. He told police that he “began talking to Shanann about marital separation and informed her he wanted to initiate the separation.” He described the conversation as “civil” and “emotional” for both of them. According to ABCNews, “Watts allegedly told police that Shanann informed him that she was going to stay at a friend’s house that evening.”
During the investigation, police discovered that Chris was having an affair with his co-worker, which he denied in previous interviews.
After he spoke to his father, he confessed to police that he murdered his wife. However, his confession came with an interesting twist.
Chris alleged that after he discussed a marital separation with Shanann he went downstairs for a moment. When he came back upstairs to talk to her again, he noticed something disturbing on the baby monitor. He claimed that he saw three-year-old Bella “sprawled” across the bed and blue, while Shanann was strangling four-year-old Celeste.
Enraged by what he saw, he strangled Shanann to death.
Afterwards, he packed their lifeless bodies into the backseat of his truck and drove them to an Andarko Petroletum oil site that he used to work for. He buried Shanann near two oil tanks and disposed of Bella and Celeste bodies inside the oil tanks.
Police presented an aerial view of the oil site to Chris, and he pointed out the locations of where they could find the bodies.
On Aug. 15, 2018, Shanann’s body was found. Chris was charged with murder on the same day. Bella and Celeste bodies were found not far from their mother’s on Aug. 16, 2018.
Prosecutors charged Chris with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree murder – victim under 12/position of trust, three counts of tampering with a deceased human body, and one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy on Aug. 20, 2018.
An outpouring of support has come from the Frederick community for the deceased victims. A candlelight vigil was held and stuffed animals were laid on the lawn of the Watts’ home.
What Went Wrong?
In the Frederick, Colorado community and among friends and family, Chris was hailed as a devoted father. Many people were shocked and devastated to learn of Chris’ murder charges.
On social media the Watts are depicted as a happy family. Before her death, Shanann posted a video expressing admiration for her husband. “He was the one for me, and he is amazing and I can’t tell you how wonderful he is,” according to Inside Edition.
“My kids are my life. Those smiles light up my life,” Chris said in the interview.
There were struggles behind the cheery images on social media. In 2015, the couple had to file bankruptcy because they were $70,000 in debt. However, recent photos on social media suggests that the couple may have recovered.
Shanann confided in a friend – Amanda Thayer – that she believed Chris was having an affair.
The motive behind the killings is still unknown.
R.I.P Shanann, Bella, Celeste and Baby Niko.