By now, most people are probably familiar with the name Chris Watts. August of 2018, you may have actually watched the story unfold on national television. To some, Chris is a household name. If you are not familiar with Chris Watts, let me be the first to tell you about the heinous murders he committed. August 13th, 2018, Shanann Watts- wife of Chris, returned from a business trip around 2 am. She had been dropped off from the airport by her good friend Nickole Atkinson. As the sun began to rise, and the day actually started, Nickole had tried reaching out to Shanann to make sure she remembered to go to her ob-gyn appointment. Nicole was unable to reach Shannan, instantly worrying her. Nickole decided to call Chris and the police. After all, this was very unlike Shannan.
The police arrived to the Watts’ family home where Nickole had been waiting. Not long after the police showed up, did Chris. Noticing that Shanann and their two young girls, Celeste (CeCe for short) and Bella were not at home, an investigation ensued. Shanann’s vehicle and personal belongings were still at the house, as well as her phone which Chris claimed “was her life-line.” Chris continued to state that he had no idea where the girls could have been, and he had no more options of where they would run off to. Netflix released a documentary on September 30th called American Murder: The Family Next Door, which has police footage of the original house call and investigation. The documentary also shows Chris, and the police officer called to the scene, watching security footage of that night from the neighbors house. After Chris leaves to go back to his home, the police officer sticks behind at the neighbors house to talk to him individually. Whilst there the neighbor pushes his concerns and tells the officer that Chris isn’t acting right. Chris’s demeanor was off from the beginning. He never seemed to have a look of worry or care that his entire family had been missing. Another detail is that Shanann was pregnant with their third child, a boy to be named Nico. The next day, Shanann and the girls were officially declared missing, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation released Endangered Missing Person alerts.
The days following their disseverance, Chris Watts was still acting quite suspicious and had yet to shed a tear, which confused police. His story had been changing drastically as well. It had been decided a media appearance made by Chris was the best option, in hopes the appearance would be seen by the girls. The interview he had done, set off major red alerts to seemingly everyone watching. He had brought up and “argument” between him and Shannan before she went missing, not going into any further details. Investigators had declared Chris as the top suspect. Going through his phone records, they had found details of his affair with a co-worker, Nichol Kessinger. He had previously denied any sort of affair to the police leaving their suspicions raised.
August 15th, Chris was brought in for a polygraph addressing the disappearance of his family and his involvement. He had failed the polygraph. Asking to talk to his father who had flown in from across the country, Chris ended up confessing to his father his story of the previous nights. Chris had told his father that Shanann killed Celeste and Bella, leaving him in a fit of rage and leading him to kill Shanann in return. Police still had a hard time believing his story, as it was unlikely a mother, as loving as Shanann would kill her own babies. Chris finally admitted to killing both Shanann and the girls and dumping their bodies at one of his work sites. The seemingly ‘true’ story he told goes like this. Moments after Shanann had gotten home, she got into bed and began “rubbing on” Chris leading them to have sexual interactions. Shortly after he had told Shanann he did not love her anymore. Shanann had, had a feeling Chris was cheating on her for weeks, and she assumed this is why he had a sudden change of heart. He describes the next moments of him chocking her and ultimately killing her. Chris’s story has evolved over time, and he has now stated he knew he was going to kill his family for the sake of being with Nichol, for quite some time. Wrapping Shanann’s body in the bed sheets, he put her body in the back seat of his truck on the floor and put the kids in the backseat with her. He drove to his work site, where he then proceeded to smother both his children, dumped both their bodies in the oil tanks, and burying Shanann not to far away. Chris had pleaded guilty to all nine counts against him: five counts of first degree murder (including two additional counts for his daughters because they were under the age of 12), one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.
Chris was sentenced to five life sentences, plus 84 more years. Chris continues to serve his life sentences at a maximum security prison in Wisconsin.
Many conspiracy theorists today, believed Nichol Kessinger also had something to do with the case, but she remains free. Nichol had gone to the police station on her own terms to discuss the case. While there she had claimed that Chris had told her Shanann and him were separated and that they were towards the end of their divorce proceedings. She had no idea Chris was still with Shanann, or that they were expecting their third child. The Weld County District Attorney’s Office later revealed that Nichol’s search history included a google search with the phrase, “Man I’m having affair with say he will leave his wife.” she also googled topics related to “marrying your mistress.” Records also revealed Kessinger’s phone had hours-worth of searches related for “Shanann Watts.” After the murders, she had also searched “can cops trace text messages.” What do you think? Did Nichol have something to do with the disappearance and murders of the Watt’s family, or did Chris act alone? Overall this case is extremely difficult to read into, but if you are interested in discovering more, I highly suggest you watch Netflix’s new documentary and read into some of the books Chris has done interviews for!