Below is a rough collection of media snippets and information collected on Christopher Watts. This list will be updated so be sure to leave a comment with anything you know that should be added to it.
Mid-to-end AUGUST 2018
- Christopher was seen barbecuing by himself by a neighbor at 19:15 on August 12, the night before the murders.
- Shanann’s flight was unexpectedly delayed by three hours. That’s why she arrived home at 01:48 on Monday, August 13th.
- In the days before her death, Shanann shared fears with friends that Chris was cheating on her. She also complained of not feeling well.
- On May 7 2018 the Watts family appeared in Strive magazine, the official magazine for Thrive brand promotors.
- In the article Shanann articulated how she turned herself inside out to make others happy: “My role was as a caretaker and to make people feel better, yet I was wiped out…I was working 65 hours a week and was also taking care of my kids. I rarely got any sleep, but my passion for wanting more for my kids was stronger than anything else.”
- Nicole Atkinson, the friend who last saw Shanann alive, attended the same business trip.
- Atkinson described the last time she saw Shanann, after dropping her off from the airport: “She went inside, turned around and waved at me and shut the door.”
- The parents faced a hefty court fine with Wyndham Hill Master Association Inc.a homeowners association. They were due in court on August 24 to face a lawsuit for a $1,533.80 debt. An attorney was not listed in court records for the Watts.
- Shanann had a doctor’s appointment on the same morning of her murder. She was expected to hear her unborn child’s heartbeat for the first time.
- The doctor’s appointment was at 10:00.
- They planned to name their unborn son Niko.
- A Change.org petition started by friends demands that Colorado adopt a new law, named “Niko’s Law,” to make the killing of an unborn baby like the Watts’ son first-degree murder. If passed it will recognize an unborn 15 week old foetus as having the legal right to life.
- Another friend had arranged to meet Shanann on the day of her death. Shanann never showed up.
- A drone spotted a bedsheet in a field near the oil tanks.
- The sheet matched the pattern of several pillowcases and a top sheet recovered from a kitchen trash can from [Watts’] residence early that day.
- Christopher worked for Anadarko Petroleum Co.
- Shanann worked for Le-Vela, a company that sells Thrive health and wellness products.
- She worked at Le-Vel since January 2016 and had become a successful brand promoter, rising to the 80K level.
- Christopher’s income was close to the $60K mark in 2018.
- Shanann had been with her children visiting family for six weeks before her work trip. She then returned home on August 7 and left again for Arizona on August 10, leaving her daughters at home with her husband.
- Shanann’s father is Frank Rzucek Sr., the most prominent family member to speak out about the events thus far.
- On July 31, Shanann wrote enthusiastically on Facebook about her August plans.“I’m so excited about August! Girls and I Fly home August 7th! I fly to Scottsdale Aug 10-12 for an amazing weekend with my Le-Vel family! Gender Reveal for Baby Watts #3! Our team is having lots of success, growth both personally and business, several new friends starting their Thrive Experience and lots of new Promoters who decided to change their life! Lots of excitement, Lots to be Thankful for!”
- Photos taken of the Watts family on a family trip to a trampoline park in Myrtle Beach days before the murders appear to show Christopher disengaged. The photographer, Michele Greer, also said she didn’t see Christopher talking to his wife.
- Shanann was 34 years old when she died. She was a year older than her husband.
- Christopher Watts was originally from Oklahoma.
- In recent times, the Watts family had undertaken overseas trips and appeared to be going through a more prosperous phase. These included vacations to New Orleans, Toronto, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, Las Vegas and San Diego.
- Christopher’s colleagues seemed to be aware that he was having an affair.
- Their list of assets included their home valued at $400,000, a 2006 Ford Mustang with more than 97,000 miles on it, wedding rings and a dog, which they valued at $5.
- The list of creditors included Ford Motor Company and Toys “R” Us.
- Their debts included $11,245 in student loans, according to Denver U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.
- Choice Recovery in Columbus, Ohio, was seeking to recover $740 for health and chiropractic services.
- Byron Falls, who bought Shanann Watts’ house in Belmont, west of Charlotte, said the Watts family had been in a hurry to sell and left behind the furniture as part of the sale.
- The Watts appeared to be going through a rocky period when they moved from North Carolina to Colorado in 2012.
- The address of their home in a quiet subdivision 10 minutes drive east of Frederick, Colorado: 2825 Saratoga Trail.
- On June 22nd Shanann wrote on Facebook: “Success is my best revenge!”
- On August 8th, 5 days before the murders, Shanann posted the following message on Facebook:“Two loads of laundry, dusted the whole house, cleaned the refrigerator and pantry, went grocery shopping to two stores with the kids, took Celeste to a doctor’s appointment, emptied seven suitcases and three backpacks, fed kids a ‘million’ times, showered, went through six weeks of mail, washed the kitchen floor, cleaned up a kids’ disaster and repacked my suitcase for Arizona this Friday. All while four months preggo!”
- Four-year-old Bella has been described as a talkative child, for her age.
- A pair of women’s shoes that had been kicked off lay by the front door.
- A suitcase, apparently from her Arizona trip, stood at the bottom of the stairs.
- The bodies were dumped at a work site 40 miles east of the family’s home.
- The oil site has been identified as CERVI 319 with GPS coordinates 40.21624374, -104.36667
- The girls’ bodies were submerged in crude oil for four days.
- The bodies of the children were submerged in separate tanks.
- Shan’ann was buried near two oil tanks.
- Watts worked at the location until he was arrested.
- The Watts couple married in North Carolina less than six years ago, in 2012.
- They moved to Colorado soon after getting married.
- On Tuesday, the day before his arrest on Wednesday August 15, Watts issued a televised plea for the return of his wife and daughters. The plea occurred on the morning after the murder.
- According to Chris Watts’s 2015 paycheck he was paying $1.20 per month in Child Lie Insurance, and $3.00 per month in Spouse Life Insurance.
- Murder is punishable by death in Colorado.
- After his family went “missing,” Chris didn’t stay in their empty house alone. Instead, Nick and Amanda Thayer opened up their home to him.
- Shanann had a dog called Deeter. In one interview, a dog barks and Chris Watts reacts disproportionately. Dogs also played a role in the Scott Peterson case. Laci had a dog called McKenzie.
- According to Amanda Thayer, Shan’ann had only jokingly mentioned suspicions of Chris having an affair.
- “Honestly, she wasn’t worried, but when your husband doesn’t answer his text messages, as a woman, your thought process just goes to the wrong things. It was never a serious concern of hers.”- Amanda Thayer
- Shan’ann met Chris online during “Dark Period 8 Years Before Murder” – People
- “I believe that everything in life happens for a reason, and I also believe people are placed in our life for a reason.”- Shanann Watts Facebook post, April 2018.
- In the half-hour Facebook-Live clip posted below, we get an inside glimpse into the Watts household. It’s an extended view. In the first few minutes Shanann comments about her younger daughter’s restlessness: “This child does not sit still – ever!”
- At ten minutes into the clip Shanann says: “No matter what you do, you just have to love what you do. And I love what I do.” When she tries to illustrate it with examples, Shanann thinks and apologises for rambling. It’s an interesting moment, because one can’t help wondering – are you really happy?
- From the same clip: “I will continue not letting the haters get in my way. I will continue not to be discouraged. I will continue not letting people judge…me, or what I do. I will continue to not let people influence my decisions on what I do in life. I will continue fighting…for my children.For my husband. For myself.” [Shanann seems a little tearful here]. “And nobody’s gonna hold me back…from…my future. My kid’s future. No one’s gonna tell me the right way of living life. No one’s gonna tell me what I should and shouldn’t do for a job. Like…if I’m bringing in income and taking care of my family then I’m being a better mom than I’ve [with emphasis] ever been because I’m here….You have to be strong, you have to be confident…You have to be you at the end of the day.” What does she mean by this? Chris is in the room with her – is she saying what she’s saying purposely to communicate with him?
- “You’re on top of the world when you surround yourself with people that make you better. Like, they don’t bring the bad outa you, they bring the good outa you. And from that point on I fought like hell. I worked my tail off. I busted my butt. I was never a big…um…dreamer sort of thing, cos…I-my insecurities brought me down. But I was single for a long time [gulps emotionally] and my goal was to buy a house. I was tired of paying someone else’s mortgage, because you know that’s what you do when you rent. And…I wanted to buy a house. Aaannd…I wanted to buy a house that I could resell one day and make a profit off of. And so I worked and worked and worked and worked. I lost a lotta friends because a lotta my friends were still young. And I was 25-years-old when I built my first house. My family doesn’t come from money, we always worked hard for what we had. And…I did. I bought my first house at 25-years-old. And that was the biggest accomplishment I felt I’ve ever done because it felt like I did it by myself. I did it by working my tail off [laughs]. And…um…I had that to show for it. Ummm…and then I met Chris. Uhh…my health challenges happened. Um…I was diagnosed with uh…um…health challenges…[gulps emotionally] and…then I met Chris. I met Chris because of those health challenges. Um…my friend actually sent me a friend suggestion for him. It was actually from his cousin’s wife. And…um…I deleted it. Like…I’mm not interested…I don’t wanna meet a guy. Um, so I deleted her friend suggestion for him…” This has echoes of Laci writing a message on a note, or was it a napkin, and Scott throwing it away. That lives can turn, can be made or broken, on such fickle behavior, such small moments is frightening.
- “I was diagnosed two months later…and I went through…I would say…one of the darkest times of my life because things just got scarier. Um…worse. I thought my life was crumbling underneath me and I didn’t know which way to turn. I didn’t have a lotta friends at the time because [dog barks]…friends I did have I lost because they didn’t understand that I looked perfectly fine, and I felt horribly inside. Uhm…horribly. I felt a lot of discomforts. A lot of aches. A lot of bad moods. Ummm…I met a lotta friends online…aannnnndd in the part where I gave up on everything, I quit my job [it was kinda temporarily] of nine years. I just said I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. You don’t understand me. You don’t understand what’s going on in my life and I quit. And…I…gotta friend suggestion-friend request from Chris.” Smiles.
- “I was in a really really really bad place, and I gotta friend suh-friend request from Chris on Facebook. And I was like – uhhhh, what the heck. I’m never gonna meet him. Accept.”
- “Well one thing led to another and eight years later we have two kids, [gushes breathlessly] we live in Colorado and he…he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. And because of my health challenges. Because I got so sick, I let him in. And he only knew me at that time. He knew me at my worst. And he accepted me.”
- “And [brushes the hair off her face]you know, through your vows, like through sickness and everything…he’s been there. He was the one who let me lay on him and fall asleep for 3-and-a-half hours, on his lap, while he had to pee. Um…he is the best thing that has ever-ever happened to me.”
- “Know that no matter how hard life gets. No matter how low you feel, know that deep down, like in your heart, that’s there’s a purpose, there’s a reason – for everything. We may not understand it at the time. It’s hard to understand it at the time [laughs]. I’m telling you, when I met Chris I pushed him away. I gave every excuse for him to run [looks at the sky] …I gave him an out every single day. I gave him an out. And if you guys know my story with Chris, you know I gave him an out. I mean, he went to my colonoscopy. I…tortured him. I rejected him. I pushed him away time and time and time again. But when I cancelled dates – last minute – cos that’s how life is with my health challenges, you cancel things last minute and it’s hard for people to get, it’s hard for me to understand, but – he stuck around. And he stuck around because…he was the one for me. And he…is amazing. And I can’t tell you how wonderful he is.”
- “But on top of all of that, when I got sick I reached out to support groups online. And I built relationships with so many – so many people that have similar health challenges or the same, and we’ve built a relationships stronger than some relationships I’ve known for over 20 years. Some that I’ve known over – my whole life. And these people are in my life for a reason.”
- “Life happens [Dog barks, Shanann snaps her finger]. So write down all the things you think are bad in your life. All the negative in your life. Write it down. [Sniffs]. But then I want you to…on the other side of the paper, write down what has happened in your life that you’re grateful for. The third step is – take a pen and mark over, like the connect the two things that happened.”
- -5:30 – -5:00: “Do you see what I want to do here. I want you to connect the negatives with the positives in your life. And when you look at that, life becomes so much brighter. Like [glances up], so much brighter when you can do that. So, you know, sometimes we have to reassess. Like…reassess our life, like…[glances sideways]…sometimes we feel like life’s attacking us. And when we do, we have to sit back and look at the big picture. And it may not be something right away, and if it’s happening to you right now, you may not see the big picture. You may not see it until six months down the road, or what the connection is. But when you do, it’s gonna all make sense. It’s all gonna click. And you’re gonna be like, why was I beating myself up for no reason at all! Like no reason at all! At all. “
- On August 2nd, two weeks before the murders, Chris seemed indifferent to his wife and children.
- “I’m living proof that something good comes out of everything negative. Something good comes out of everything you don’t want.”
- Unconfirmed on August 28 [and probably not true]: Chris Watts may have been having an affair with an ex-stripper, a man. More here.
- Shanann was suffering from the auto-immune disease lupus, which causes fertility problems and high-risk pregnancies. Longevity is also curtailed. More here.
- On August 29 People provide teasing “corroboration” that Chris Watts was a serial adulterer with both men and women, claiming: A source close the investigation tells PEOPLE that Chris has had relationships with both men and women outside of his marriage. That may or may not be. If the man claims to have been in a 10 month relationship with Watts, doesn’t he have a single selfie, or a photo taken at Watts’ place? If he had, that story would be gold to the tabloids. So where is it?
- On August 30, some popular support becomes evident for Chris Watts. https://twitter.com/JWinston31/status/1035074582884114432
- Chris Watts’ fate lies in the hands of District Attorney Michael Rourke. Colorado law gives prosecutors up to 63 days after a defendant’s arraignment to determine if the death penalty will be sought. According to The Coloradoan, Chris Watts’ arraignment has not yet been scheduled. Rourke would not say whether he was considering capital punishment in the Watts case.
- Chris Watts and Shanann were seeing arguing earlier in the summer of 2018. One could say “all couples argue” but this argument becomes relevant and important given what ultimately happened to the other half of that couple. It would be useful to know what they argued about and if Shanann ever told anyone. According to People:“I think they were always putting on a show,” says Melinda Phillips, who recalls seeing Chris and Shan’ann “clearly having an argument” in their driveway one day earlier this summer.“Their body language was really angry, and they were just fighting back and forth,” Phillips, 34, says. “He was gesturing his hands and they were shaking their heads, and it was definitely an argument.”“I didn’t really think much of it, because Lord knows that I’ve had the same arguments with my husband,” she continues. “They caught my eye and suddenly, everything changed. They stopped being so angry, and they started talking a lot more calmly. He even gave her a hug. Mind you, this was in the space of 30 seconds to a minute.”“From a full-blown fight to hugs in less than a minute, it was incredible,” she says.
- After initial reports that Watts showed no emotion, on August 31 a “second” source reported that he’d seen Chris Watts in jail, that he was “in mourning” and that it [grief?] was starting to “sink in”.
- Shanann Watts’ friend, Ashley Bell, told KDVR the “gender reveal” party was going to be held at the Watts’ home on Saturday 18 August in the town of Frederick, north of Denver. Shanann and her children were murdered early on Monday morning, August 13.
- Shanann’s funeral, along with her children, was held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Boles Funeral Homes oversaw the service.
- A tribute from her younger brother Frankie Rzucek read: “She was born to be a mother, boy was she ready. She couldn’t wait, she was my mum x10. Growing up she was a perfect role model. he was ready to take on the world, and we know she did.”
- Frank Rzucek described his daughter at the funeral with two words: “Pure love.”
- Colorado is one of 12 states without a law broadly allowing for homicide charges in the violent death of fetuses.
- From the funeral nomenclature it’s clear that her name is spelled Shan’ann. Apologies for previous posts and mentions that spell her name otherwise.
- There may be further “evidence” on Trent Bolte, the alleged gay lover of Chris Watts. The problem is it’s also from Trent Bolte. And since it’s from Bolte’s own Facebook account, and no other media are covering it, it seems less and less likely that Bolte has anything to do with the Watts family. Personally I still don’t buy the Trent Bolte gay lover theory, but here goes. On September 1, “pasdar” posted this on reddit: I’m not convinced he is telling the truth, but he apparently posted on his Facebook page that he met with detectives on Friday night and provided DNA samples, buccal swabs and texts that he exchanged with Chris. He also said that they took towels that apparently had Chris’ DNA on them. Also took a gold chain that Chris had given him for Valentine’s Day. The detectives also told him he could have been next, that Chris was plotting against him because he blames him for breaking up his marriage after Shan’ann found texts from him to Chris on July 4. Could it be true? I guess time will tell. Shan’ann was is NC on July 4th, so how did she see the texts? (Unless that’s when Chris was visiting or she somehow had access to his texts). Also, he’s been broken up with Chris since April and he still has used towels laying around? But if it is true, it shows how messed up this guy was that he could portray this devoted family man to the world…
- “You are always Daddy’s little girl.” – Frank Rzucek
- “From a young age I always knew my sister was going to be successful and nothing would stand in her way. She was born to be a mother. Boy, was she ready! Closets were full even before she knew she was pregnant. She couldn’t wait. She was my mom, times ten — whether either one of them wanted to admit it. She had ambition in her eyes and wanted a great life for her children and herself. She was ready to take on the world and we know she did.” – Frankie Rzucek. Notice the mismatch between Frank’s message and her brother’s. Funerals are all about sentiment, and it may be unkind to read to deeply into emotional messages, but it’s also at funerals where a crucial aspect is revealed – the identity of the victims. What we get here is this contrasting idea of someone who is prepared and ready, and someone who is, in a sense, still a little girl. It’s not necessarily the case that murder victims are naive. Sometimes killers are cold, cruel and callous no matter how paranoid their prey. But in a family murder, we really do have to look at the idea of naivete and vulnerability. Were either of these adults really ready to take on the world? Were they really ready to be married? Were they really ready to be parents? Was the one more ready than the other in one area, and the other less ready than the other in another area? If we consider this idea from the perspective of the two meeting on Facebook, it casts further aspersions on their experience of real life and real love. Couldn’t they meet the right people in the real world the “right way”? Or is meeting people on Facebook with a view to romance the new normal? If so, how do we tell what’s not normal on social media?
- A colleague of Shan’ann’s mother told WRAL that the couple “was having problems” and that Shan’ann’s mother, Sandi Onorati, told her that Shan’ann and Chris were planning to separate. It may be that Shan’ann was continuing to peddle a fairy tale on social media simply to make money.
- According to The Daily Beast 2 friends said Shan’ann had confided in them that Chris was cheating on her:Two of Shanann’s friends said she suspected Chris was cheating on her. Amanda Thayer told Denver7 that Shanann thought infidelity was “a possibility” but had said Chris wasn’t a player. “At the same time, she was like, ‘He has no game.’ He didn’t have it with her when they first met… She did everything,” Thayer said.Nickole Atkinson—the last person besides Chris to see Shanann alive—told ABC Newsthat Shanann “entertained the idea” that he was unfaithful. “He wasn’t being the loving Chris that he normally was. He wasn’t touching or hugging or doing stuff like that. He wasn’t being as attentive to the girls as he normally is,” Atkinson said.
- Chris’s friends described him to The Daily Beast as reserved, smart and gentle, and a man known to get along with anyone. In other words, a charmer.
- Brandi Smith, a high-school friend, told The Daily Beast:“Everyone liked him. It’s actually amazing how many people that knew him have completely turned on him and think he’s this monster when he hasn’t even been convicted…Chris found himself as a father. Those girls brought him to life and out of his shell. He’s not a crazy person. He’s not a violent, abusive or mean person.I’ll be broken if he’s convicted and it was a lie but there’s a chance… and it’s not fair that he’s being crucified.”
- But why was he in a shell to begin with if everyone liked him?
- “This was one of the smartest students I ever had … the guy had a photographic memory. He knew chapter and verse, everything you could ask about NASCAR. Anything.” — Retired automotive teacher Joe Duty, on Chris Watts
- Smart – but how smart is smart in the context of an auto mechanic?
- “It’s amazing that my husband and I have created more memories in the last two years than we did in the previous eight,” Shan’ann in STRIVE article
- Shan’ann boasted of Chris’s fitness progress—he went from a pants size of 38 to 32 in 2018
- In a June Facebook post, Shan’ann discussed grocery shopping for Chris, who would be a “bachelor” for five weeks while the family was gone. He joined them for the last week of the vacation.
“He was very passive … She was very aggressive with him. Bossy. Do this. Do that. Telling him what to do. Dominating the relationship.” — Greg Alore, Shanann’s former boss
- Now some evidence on Bolte that’s not from Trent Bolte, but from his brother. The fact that The Daily Beast is citing this is significant:When reached by The Daily Beast, the man’s brother said the story was true. “I know my brother saw a different side of ‘loving’ Chris Watts,” the sibling said, adding that Chris “gave my brother his first lip botox injection.”The alleged lover told HLN that Chris “portrayed himself as this victim” who “would be shunned and he wouldn’t be allowed to see his girls” if he came out as non-heterosexual.“He told me that he was the victim of emotional and verbal abuse, and he was trapped in a loveless marriage,” the man said. “And he didn’t know any way out because of the kids.”
Why did the Watts family move to Colorado in the first place? Alore said the Wattses moved to Colorado after Chris accepted a job as a mechanic at the dealership in 2012. Shan’ann was hired by the company’s internet sales department and, according to online reviews, was a talented salesperson.
- “Shannan went out of her way to find the vehicle I wanted, as well as tirelessly went back and forth to get me the payments that I needed to get me into a new car. She was never pushy, and while I know she really wanted to sell a car, she never tried to sell me something that I didn’t want,” one customer wrote in April 2013.
- Linda Biggers, a realtor who listed Shanann’s home, told The Daily Beast she believes the couple moved because Chris got a job out West. “I think she wanted to get married and move to Colorado with him,” Biggers recalled. “The house was hers; it wasn’t his…. She just had a really beautiful home, it was beautifully furnished.”
- Shan’ann King hurried to sell her residence and left furniture behind as part of the sale, the buyer told the Associated Press. A deed for the house was signed in August 2012 while Shan’ann was living in Colorado, property records show.
- Bella Marie was born in December 2013
- A month before the birth of Celeste in July 2015 the couple filed for bankruptcy
- In April 2017, Shanann announced was leaving her job at the children’s hospital to become a full-time stay-at-home mom working for the Le-Vel supplement company, which makes Thrive dietary patches.
- On her one-year anniversary with the brand, she told Facebook friends she was “broke” when she started Le-Vel.
“Sometimes when you have children and your relationship starts to deteriorate a child could help repair it.”— Chris Watts, in a YouTube video on ‘Relationship Deterioration and Repair’
- March 15, 2018: Had about 2 hrs of sleep last night. I couldn’t sleep, I had a lot on my mind with girls surgery today. Took my 3 simple steps and I feel good! Love my Thrive. I can be awake and focused for my girls.
- May 7th post by Shan’ann of her husband: “Someone’s thrivin’…Up for work at 4am. Just got home and now mowing the grass. #likeaboss#helovesme
- June 15: “Chris, just said he’s been more talkative since he started #Burn! Talking to random strangers. #Hesaintrovert.”
- “I am really feeling the need to ‘gift’ this to my hubby for Father’s day!” one of Shan’ann’s friends commented. In response, Shan’ann joked, “Gift it then leave for the day.”
- Frankie Rzuce: “They were always well-dressed and well mannered. [Shan’ann] taught them to be brave and independent, just like Shan’ann. She was very successful and independent, before any man came along — and that’s just the way she wanted it.”
- Despite Shan’ann’s independence, Rzucek was always concerned about the distance between them. “I always worried about her and the girls being so far because I couldn’t protect them. Growing up, she was a perfect role model. She had a lot of friends and was very popular, which made it hard for me being her little brother trying to protect her from heartbreak and other things. She moved out at 18 and never looked back.”
- By early September, just three weeks after the murders that rocked Colorado, the Chris Watts case has become “an obsession” on Facebook.Shanann painted a portrait of the perfect family on social media. Homemade videos and photos she posted show what seemed to be a doting father and happily-married couple.“Eight years later, we have two kids, we live in Colorado and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Shanann said in one of her Facebook live videos promoting her business.Other videos show Chris playing with Celeste and Bella while Shanann can be heard from behind the camera laughing and playing along.But that picture-perfect image was shattered when Frederick police along with Weld County prosecutors arrested Chris Watts for killing his own family and unborn child and then allegedly hiding their bodies at a Weld County oil and gas site where he worked.People from around the world are now combing through Shanann’s Facebook videos for answers or any clue to help them understand how a family who seemed so happy could end this tragically.
- According to an arrest affidavit Chris purportedly said he “went into a rage” and strangled Shan’ann. This is Chris’ version of what happened. It’s the “heat of passion” defense, but is it true?
- A source who has spoken with Watts in jail tells PEOPLE that the 33-year-old suspect was “aware” of the funeral proceedings, but had no input in it. “He knew better than to suggest anything,” the source says. – People
- Cadaver dogs are the reason Chris was forced to confess. When they were brought into the home they alerted to all three victims, which proves all three were murdered inside the home.
…detectives believe Watts killed his children first and then killed his 15-week pregnant wife, the Daily Mail reports. According to police documents, Shan’ann was killed on August 13, the same day she returned home from an out-of-state business trip. The charges allege that Watts killed Bella and Celeste “between and including August 12 and August 13”. One way to determine if the children had been killed earlier is to test the cadaver traces. A stronger scent would obviously indicate an earlier death.
- The Daily Mail has mistakenly reported the following image as the last of Shan’ann Watts while she was still alive. In fact there is a more recent but blurry image of her here taken at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill. Shan’ann Watts’ final social media post appears to be after 18:30 on August 12th, in Tempe Arizona. It was a comment following a power outage in response to the above image.
- Scenes of the interior and exterior of the Watts home…
- Status on September 4th:Since he was put in jail, Watts has been placed under watch protocol, which is better known as suicide watch, and must be checked on by a detention officer every five to 10 minutes.Several times a day, someone enters Watts’ cell to make sure he is still alive and still in custody. There is also a cell check every day, in which he has to be completely searched.For one hour each day, Watts is allowed out of his cell, into a room where he is the only person present. He has also been denied access to television and is not allowed to have reading material in his cell.
- Chris Watts had “a lot of secrets…Every day, we learn more and more about him.” – People
- Was the fact that Chris was younger than Shan’ann a factor in his wanting to get rid of her the way he did? What’s the inference in a younger man with a slightly older women pregnant for the third time…?
- Is it possible for a small screen to capture a scenario of an adult strangling an infant? https://twitter.com/CrimeJusticeHLN/status/1037117441845866496
- September 5: Another woman has come forward saying she had an affair with Watts, and that they met on tinder. Not sure whether to put much faith in it, but if true, the allegations of rape fantasies show he did not like to be dominated as he was in his marriage. It also suggests he fantasized about strangling his wife long before he did, which feeds into premeditation and sadism.
- September 5 according to People: The co-worker with whom Colorado triple murder suspect Chris Watts was allegedly “actively involved in an affair” at the time his wife and daughters were killed has been opening up to police. He had initially denied the work affair to police, his arrest affidavit alleges. But authorities said they carried out a two-day investigation and confirmed the cheating.
- Shan’aan’s social media output dropped drastically in the month she was murdered. Did she suspect a serious deterioration in the family dynamic, or was she starting to experience it?
- Shan’ann Watts appears to be related to the actor Peter Onorati.
16. Arie King is the brother of Shan’ann’s first husband. Arie King told 9News.com in mid-August 2018: “I am sick over it, honestly. Any family she has here in North Carolina, we are heartbroken.” What was her first husband’s name and occupation? Why did they divorce?
17. The following neighbors have been identified thus far: Colleen Hendrickson, Ann Watt and Bette Marcoux. According to Marcoux:
Watts’ truck was on when she left for the gym early Monday. She goes to the gym at 5:15 a.m. five days each week, she said, and hadn’t noticed him heading out somewhere at that time before. The night before, he was barbecuing, she said.
18. Public records show that they were each arrested multiple times in North Carolina – he three times and her 15 times – but the charges in the arrests are not known. – Daily Mail, August 17. This could explain why the couple left North Carolina in such a hurry, and sold their house with all their furniture still inside. On the other hand, it’s possible the Daily Mail confused Shan’ann Watts with Shannon Ann Watts, a 28-year-old woman arrested 3 times and facing 16 charges in North Carolina.
This snippet was provided by one of the regular visitors to this blog, thanks Pauline.
19. More reason to believe Chris Watts could be bisexual comes via a profile posted on Adam4Adam, and the profile picture, showing a man with a goatee. The couch in the rear of the picture also looks like the same couch the 3 foot doll was modeled onto.
Unless he updated his waist size [last login was April 2008] but didn’t change his age, the waist size is also off.
The area code for Denver Colorado is 80205. Check of this profile for Bi-Guy #80205. Star sign Gemini [21 May – 21 June] Chris Watts’ birthday is May 17, 1985.
20. The Walk to the top of an oil tank & Actual Photos of Anadarco Oil Tank Site.
21. Police have found hundreds of hairs in the trunk of Chris Watss’ truck. It sounds like hair fragments, which suggests the hair was cut or shaved. If true, it’s a clear sign of processing a body, which invokes the idea of planning and premeditation.
22. Published on September 10th TWO FACE – the first definitive account of the case.
137. Defense attorneys for a Frederick man accused of killing his wife and daughters have filed a motion asking the government to investigate whether the prosecution has made extrajudicial statements or tried to prevent the spread of prejudicial information. What this means is the authorities are accused of leaking evidence to the media and thus potentially prejudicing a jury trial. Stan Garnett, the former district attorney for Boulder County, said it is not unusual for the defense to raise such issues early on, especially in high-profile cases.
While it’s standard to point out potential to prejudice a jury , Garnett said the wording of the motion — requiring “the government” to investigate the issue — is unusual.
It raises an issue, as the district attorney’s office is part of the executive branch of the state.
“If you’re asking them to be investigated, who would do it?” Garnett said. – timescall.com
23. 18CR2003 The People of the State of Colorado v. Christopher Lee Watts case archive.
24. Ashley Bell, a close friend of Shanann Watts who owns a tanning salon, said she got to know her because she was a customer.
Bell said the gender reveal party was supposed to be held at the Watts’ family home on August 18. Amanda Thayer’s daughter Emily was also meant to sleepover at the Watts’ home that weekend.
140. “He didn’t have a plan. Things unfolded so quickly that he was trapped with no alternative but to cooperate with the reporters [in his TV interviews]. I don’t think he anticipated that a friend of his wife would so quickly alert authorities to her failing to show up for a scheduled medical appointment and was not at the house on Monday.” – Philip Stinson, criminologist
25: Nickole Utoft Atkinson found out Chris Watts planned to separate from Shan’ann on the morning she disappeared, when she called him to find out whether he knew where she was.
“I didn’t find out that they were going to separate or anything like that until I called Chris that morning,” she told ABC (who credited her as Nicole Atkinson). “When I called him [August 13 at noon] and asked him where she was, that’s when he told me and I basically told him that that wasn’t my [concern] at that particular moment, because it wasn’t and that their business was their business, that they would either work it out or they wouldn’t.”
26. “He was defending himself, but it just didn’t make sense.” – Nickole Atkinson
27. “Things were not how I would think that they were…supposed to be…I guess. I had [inaudible] look in the garage, to see if her car was there and it was there, which was like peculiar, because Shan’ann doesn’t [shurgs] like go places without her car, usually, because both of the girls have car seats. The front door was locked different to the way it normally was. The girl’s beds weren’t made. Shan’ann was very OCD. Everything in her house had a place. Everything was labelled. If something was out of the ordinary it was really out of the ordinary for her.” – Nickole Atkinson
28. When Chris Watts told Nickole Shan’ann was on a playdate with the kids, she immediately wondered why she’d go on a playdate without her car, and why did he know she was on a playdate but couldn’t say who with.
“He just kept saying that he didn’t know where she was and that she was on a playdate. But he couldn’t give us the name of the friend. I knew he had something to do with it the day I was at his house with him, but I didn’t want to think that. Anyone in their right mind will start piecing things together and think something had happened, but you don’t want to go there. You want to believe the best in people.” – Nickole Atkinson
29. “I know that Chris and her were having some issues about three weeks prior to everything happening.” – Nickole Atkinson [But three weeks prior she was in North Carolina with her folks and he was in Colorado].
Watch the interview here.
30. Nichol Kessinger’s father appears to be Dwayne Kessinger, Chris Watts’ boss. The image from his LinkedIn page still exists on Google cache, but appears to have been recently removed from his profile.
31. September 12: Motion to obtain clear and visible Polaroid photograph and digital photographs of both Chris Watts’ right and left hands.
32. Kirk Nurmi [who defended Jodi Arias] weighs in.
33. On September 11 an unsubstantiated rumor on Twitter that Chris was involved with a Thrive colleague of Shan’ann’s surfaced. Josh Rosenberg appears in several images from the San Diego trip. This doesn’t appear to be credible line of inquiry.
34. Chris Watts does appear to have been actively cheating on his wife. Was it with one woman or several? Was it with women, or women and men? One thing is clear, he was paying an inordinate amount of attention to grooming himself in the lead up to this crime.
35. Trent Bolte – the man from Wyoming who claims to have had an affair with Chris Watts – has produced communications suggesting an affair between the two men. Previous screenshots of texts appear to have been fabricated so there’s some reason to believe these might be too. It ought to be very simple to prove whether they were in a months-long relationship – a photo of the two together.
Bolte provided CrimeOnline with screenshots of text messages between him and Watts that appear to support some type of relationship with Watts. Bolte said they were the first text messages he and Watts exchanged away from the MeetMe app. The messages differ starkly in tone from screenshots circulating on social media, purporting to be messages between Watts and Bolte. Bolte is aware of the images that have circulated and insists they have been fabricated, pointing out that the messages indicate the two men met on Tinder, which Bolte says is not true.
37. Chris Watts is very specific at turns during his porch interview. He refers to Shan’ann arriving home at 01:48 [that’s very exact] and Nickole Atkinson calling him at 12:10. He also describes Shan’ann going to bed at 02:00 but not getting much sleep. In a police interrogation he said they’d discussed separating at 04:00 that morning. When he descibes himself leaving, he’s vague – it’s between 05:15 and 05:30. In fact he left at 05:37. This specificity is indicative of planning. He’s finely tuned to exact times, just as he had to be to the evolving pregnancy and the deteriorating numbers on their balance sheet.
38: CHRIS: I mean…could she have van- [interrupts himself]. Could she have just taken off, I dunno. But if someone has her and they’re not safe, I want them back now.
He starts off saying “could she have vanished” then tailors that to something better: “Could she have taken off? Could someone have taken her…” He’s doing this to seed the audience’s mind with the most credible alternative to what’s actually happened, to what he knows has actually happened.
39. As part of ongoing research into this case, I contacted a guy I’ve known since school who went from being in law enforcement to working for the oil and gas industry. I sent him information on the Anardarko oil site, and asked for his input on what the conditions are inside a tank. I will address some of the insights in a separate blog post, but a few things that stood out from our discussion included the following:
- Only an oil maintenance worker would have the tools/know-how to access and open the tanks. This would in theory limit the chances of discovery by anyone else to almost zero, at least while Watts was in charge of that particular site. This also explains why Watts initially repeated the words “vanished”. He wanted people to think that’s what had happened, because that’s what he intended to happen.
- The maintenance of the various oil sites are scheduled, sometimes with annual checks, sometimes once every 5 years. If Watts knew the schedule, and especially if the checks had just been completed for the year [or if Watts himself was responsible for performing them] then he could theoretically supervise and control the access and information regarding his own crime scene.
- The interior of the oil tanks is fairly static, with natural gas sequestrated through outlet sieves. These sieves could theoretically be blocked by human hair, and human hair could also theoretically be glued to the lid of the tanks. This might indicate a need to remove excess human hair, and possibly also clothing.
40. More photographs of Chris Watts with Shan’ann during her other pregnancies.
41. When were Bella and Celeste last seen alive? From early reports it seems this could have been at a birthday party in Erie on Sunday, August 12. Erie is less than 20 minutes drive east of Frederick.
The Watts’ home on Saratoga Trail was about half that distance to the Lindstrom’s house in Erie.
The party was held by Jeremy Lindstrom for his 5-year-old son. Chris Watts was there, and so were his two daughters.
Murder suspect Chris Watts and his two little girls, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celste, were just at Lindstrom’s home for Jeremy’s little boy’s birthday party. The girls were happy. They were normal. And, so was Chris. Or so it seemed.
“He would reach out and help anybody that needed help with anything,” Lindstrom said. “He was a good mechanic if you needed help with your car – he’d help you. If you needed help with furniture, he’d be over there in a heartbeat to help you out. You don’t know what, when, why, where or how everything goes weird.”
42. Should the DA pursue a death penalty in this case?
According to Colorado law, a district attorney has 63 days from the date of an arraignment to determine whether to pursue capital punishment in a murder case. An arraignment hearing isn’t on the docket yet and won’t be scheduled until Watts’ next hearing in November. – Denver Post
43. Photos of Chris Watts as a young man:
44. More photos of Shan’ann during previous pregnancies and the aftermath after giving birth.
45. Chris Watts isn’t talking to his family, even though he has nothing else to do except sleep all day. He’s not allowed reading material or television, and has virtually no one to talk to except the prison guards who look in on him every 15 minutes as part of an ongoing suicide watch.
If Chris Watts isn’t talking to family this may be because:
- He knows [and perhaps they do too] that calls are monitored, and that anything they say over the phone can and will be used against him [or them] in a court of law.
- He doesn’t want to talk to them [for the above reason and perhaps other reasons].
- They don’t want to talk to him.
We know Chris Watts’ dad flew in to see his son at around the time of his arrest and confession. We don’t know much more than that – who Watts senior is, what he does etc. We do have a photo of him at the house on Saratoga Trail, however.
46. Shan’ann’s father was in court during the initial hearing, and was memorably emotional about the fate of his daughter and granddaughters. Chris Watts’ father, evidently wasn’t in court, even though he possibly was in town. Interestingly, neither of the mothers were in court, perhaps because they couldn’t all afford to travel.
47. On September 17, 2018 District Attorney Michael J. Rourke vehemently opposed the release of autopsy reports on the basis of “injury to the public interest”. As the motion notes, autopsy reports are public documents, so Rourke is likely to have an uphill battle withholding them from the public and also from the media, until November.
The motion is explicit in that all three victims were dead when they were moved from the crime scene [the Watts residence]. The District Attorney notes that the cause of death has not yet been made public. I’m not sure that’s accurate.
Police and prosecutors have not said officially how any of them died, though court records suggested they were strangled. – Denver Channel
Besides that, Chris Watts has suggested the same and that irrespective of who committed murder, it was murder by strangling. Possibly this isn’t accurate, but even if it isn’t, the defense attorneys will be in possession of the same facts. It may be that by going through the motions of putting forward this motion, the District Attorney wishes to be seen as being responsible and conservative, as opposed to purposefully and recklessly leaking sensitive documents.
Given the high profile nature of this case, it seems a stretch to imagine October will go by without even a redacted version at least being made public, as occurred in the Ramsey case which also had a sensitive autopsy-situation.
In the Ramsey case it took as long as seven months for portions of the autopsy to be made available, prior to any hearing. In that case there was an army of lawyers and a reluctant prosecutor’s office holding the tides at bay, and ultimately they succeeded – the case never went to criminal court.
An example of a redacted autopsy report [although minimally redacted] is the autopsy of Travis Alexander, the infamous murder victim of Jodi Arias.
Back to the Watts case: the District Attorney, through this motion, also appear to be concerned about autopsy results tainting witness testimonies and “impacting” potential jurors. By handing this over to the court, the prosecutor’s office effectively keeps their side of the story clean, and the onus for the release then lies on the partiality of the presiding Judge.
48. HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield interviews Richard Hodges, a former college roommate Chris Watts. This is going back more than 13 years – approximately 2003 – 2005. What was he like? “Straight as an arrow,” according to Hodges. It doesn’t seem like he intended this as a double entendre on the word straight.
Hodges describes Watts as very dedicated, and he does look the part of the dedicated husband – washing dishes, mowing the lawn, keeping fit etc. But Hodges goes further, describing Watts as a dude that didn’t go out partying when everyone else did. He was “very hard on himself” according to Hodges.
Banfield raises an interesting point when Hodges admits he was the closest to Watts out of their group of friends, and that even they weren’t really close. They weren’t Facebook pals either.
“Chris was quiet. He was pretty reserved. But not in like…what I would say a negative fashion….He was more of the kind of guy who you become friends with…out of like…happenstance. We were obviously friends because we were in classes together, and that’s how we ended up meeting. He very very rarely went out with us, so maybe that contributed to it…He wanted to get those good grades. He wanted to do well. So he would never do anything to jeopardize that like partying, or drinking…”
163. Just in from the Longmont Times-Call, a daily newspaper serving Northern Colorado, prosecutors are asking the court to order Watts to provide ink footprints [as opposed to fingerprints]. This is according to court documents filed on September 18th.
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke wrote in the motion that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has “developed possible bare foot impressions” from “items of evidence.” The items of evidence are not described in the motion, but Rourke does say they were collected at the scene where police found the bodies of 34-year-old Shanann Watts and her children, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. – Longmont Times-Call
49. Ashleigh Banfield interviews a tech expert on the data her Apple series 3 watch may have stored [automatically uploaded to the cloud] in the last hours of her life. Apple watches automatically record movement and effort level. Both Shan’ann and Chris had these expensive Apple watches. Banfield raises a good point. The data rests in the cloud for 30 days, and that period has now passed since she died. Have prosecutors managed to extract the data in time?
50. In an order oddly dated two days from now, Judge Kopcow denies Chris Watts’ request to investigate leaks by the law enforcement.
166. Chris Watts has also refused to consent to DNA tests citing lack of probable cause.
51. Chris Watts case: Expert says ‘trace DNA’ could be found on daughters’ bodies – this turns out to be lousy clickbait, with a play on the word “could”. The article isn’t about stating that trace DNA was found as fact, but that it could [foreseeable] be found. The news cycle seems to be slowing down and drying up.
The only useful point in the above article notes that both sides are being very thorough because this is lining up to be a death penalty case.
52. In the same way that the Denver Channel appears to be using suggestive language to lure clickbait, the Daily Camera is at as well.
Their article on Chris Watts defense attorneys accusing the DA of “withholding evidence” is actually another version of the story that the DA don’t want to release the autopsy evidence to the public.
53. If his adultery [adulteries] played a significant role in why he committed murder [murders?], then Chris Watts must be aching to see his lover/lovers. But to do so could wreck his legal case if the “list” were made public. Something of a conundrum, right?
A judge has denied the request of an accused Colorado killer to keep the names of all his jail visitors under seal. – Daily Mail
54. The autopsy results must be submitted to court no later than today [under seal] – September 25th.
The prosecution meanwhile is already doing all it [can] to keep the autopsy reports under seal…
55. Meanwhile, on HLN:
The above discussion analyses the importance of bruise patterns on the children’s necks. In the Amanda Knox case, the bruises on Meredith Kercher’s neck were so clear, investigators were able to tell that they matched the size and shape of a woman’s fingers. But it’s no as conclusive as a fingerprint unless there’s DNA present as well.
Far more key, in terms of evidence, will be the autopsy results, particularly the food contents of the girls’ stomachs. It could turn on whether the birthday cake treats from Sunday were still in their digestive tracts or not when they were killed.
56. Many were expecting the arrival – if not the release – of the autopsy reports today. At noon the Denver Post confirmed that according to the prosecution, the autopsy reports were not available.
57. According to the Coloradoan the court has ordered WELD DA to release autopsy results to Chris Watts’ attorneys.
58. There appears to be unprecedented interest in gaining access to the autopsy results of the four victims. Not only have media made their intentions clear, but members of the public as well. Media is apparently calling the Weld County Coroner’s Office on a daily basis.
59. Shan’ann made a Facebook page for Bella when she was born. From the list of 38 friends on Bella’s page, some are family and several list themselves as “Brand Promoter at Le-Vel”. The page lists her favorite sports teams as the Pittsburgh Steelers, and her favorite music as Bruno Mars. Final activity on the page was on May 24th, 2014.
60. Chris Watts isn’t supposed to have access to any media reports, but apparantly he’s aware of how “infamously famous” his case has become, including internationally.
Watts has said he feels the public doesn’t know the full story, the source says. “He feels like no one understands him, and nobody knows what happened,” says the source. “He thinks if they did understand, they’d realize that he’s not the monster everyone says he is.” – People
My personal view is that he’s right that most people don’t understand who he really is, but I’m not sure that makes what he did any less monstrous.
61. Large moving truck arrives at Saratoga Drive. Shan’ann’s father Frank seen moving a bed-frame and mirror into it under police supervision. An unknown 30-year-old woman was with him.
62. More than ten days after posting my analysis on the access hatches on Shakedown, HLN has decided to cover it.
Some factoids that emerged from the interview with the petroleum engineering professor:
- CERVI 319 was producing about 200 barrels of oil per month.
- The expert believes liquids were shifted from one tank to another in order to gain access from the bottom, which he says requires not only a lot of technical knowledge but also requires a certain amount of time. He doesn’t specify how much time, but one can assume it would take weeks to fill the tank even a little, rather than days or hours.
- It would take three months to fill the tanks naturally.
- HLN notes what Shakedown indicated earlier, that the access hatches are too small to place an adult inside.
- HLN believes they were also too small to fit the children’s bodies in.
- The professor suggests the clean-out manways [plural] at the bottom had to be opened to dump the bodies, a rigorous process involving the loosening and refastening of a large number of bolts.
- The time to unfasten and refasten the bolts [presumably for both manways]? The professor estimates an hour.
- That’s an eternity at a crime scene trying to get rid of three bodies with the sun coming up..
The only problem with this line of questioning is this, which is a screengrab taken from the video below, depicting a bird’s eye view of the setup similar to CERVI 319.
If that’s an access ladder it suggest there’s enough space not only for a child, but for an adult technician to descend into it. Here’s another diagram showing the internal ladder but not connected directly to any access hatch.
It’s difficult to make out on the HLN image; the angle doesn’t show a stairway leading to the top of the oil tanks, and clearly there was one. The reverse angle does show the staircase.
The below image is of a “floating roof” tank. Although that’s not the sort of tank design at CERVI 319, the design in the floating roof does allow for a hatch with a ladder through it.
63. Image of Deeter posted to Shan’ann’s Instagram.
64. HLN interviews Matt Francis, Shan’ann’s high school teacher. Francis describes “being very impressed with how she did Facebook Live…and how she’d become such an encourager”. He also describes Shan’ann as having come a long way. “You’d be amazed at how far she’s come. She’s a wonderful, beautiful human being…she was a very insecure young lady who didn’t have a lot of friends when I met her at 14-years-old.” She was also teased a lot – humiliated – while in high school.
Francis pronounces Shan’ann’s name as Shanna ‘ann, and says she didn’t correct his mispronunciation of her name in three years.
Francis also describes Shan’ann as “thriving” while under her tutelage. Methinks he’s just another dude that’s drunk a little too much of the MLM Kool-Aid.
65. Chris Watts is inmate #360519 in a Greeley Colorado jail cell.
66. HLN noted in late September that Chris Watts made numerous complaints to the Judge about press leaks. He referred specifically to many complaints but apparently had no comment about People magazine articles discussing his affairs, including with another man.
67: “Listen, everything about this case is over the top. And I think it’s because nothing about this case makes sense. You don’t typically have an accused family annihilator with a background like Chris Watts, with a wife like Chris Watts, with children like Chris Watts. With Facebook pages like Chris Watts. A guy like this who everbody, I mean literally everyone who we contacted, has said, ‘This is not…the guy.” – Ashley Banfield, September 29th, 2018
There’s as good a description as you’ll find for a man with two faces.
1. TWO FACE BENEATH THE OIL is published on October 1st, 2018, exactly 3 weeks after the first book in the K9 series. The second book digs far deeper into issues of identity, backstory and the motives for the murders.
The second book also presents a possible scenario for the murder of Shan’ann Watts, including where in the house it may have taken place, and how it was executed.
2. It appears CERVI 319 is situated on the Guttersen Ranch, a 35,000 acre-ranch 10 miles sutheast of Kersey, which holds Guttersen’s family homestead, barns.,outbuildings and horses. The ranch also is a working cattle ranch with about 3,000 head of cattle that run between Guttersen’s and an adjoining ranch to the east.
3. The autopsy reports of Shan’ann, Bella and Celeste were released today [October 2nd] by the Weld County District Court in Greeley, Colorado. However, as per Judge’s order, the autopsy results remain under seal because of potential “substantial injury to the public interest.”
4. Motion for an emergency hearing. This appears to be about time-sensitive inheritance law. Shan’ann died intestate [without leaving a will], and so, under normal circumstances the surviving spouse would inherit. Life insurance policies of Bella and Celeste will probably be disputed.
6. Almost two months after the murders, HLN continues to provide bumper-to-bumper coverage of the Watts case.
7. Retired Detective Karen Smith explains why she thinks the bizarre location of Shanann’s phone upstairs beneath couch cushions was no accident.
Smith goes about as far to say the phone was deliberately placed between the cushions but no further.
The real issue about where the phone is relates to the murder scene in the house. Was it right there? Did it fall onto the couch during a tussle at the landing on the top of the stairs? Did Chris Watts put it there with some fictitious scenario in mind?
8. On October 5th, an emergency court hearing took place over the phone between Shan’ann Watts’ family and Chris Watts. Oh to have been a fly on the wall. Would a recording exist somewhere?
9. Frank Rzucek senior, Shan’ann’s father, has been identified as the executor of her estate. Chris Watts didn’t object to this.
10. To be confirmed: some have suggested on reddit that Sandi Onorati was a co-signer on the Watts mortgage.
11. Records for the sale of the home show that Chris obtained the home and the loan solely, adding Shanann later to the title possibly via quitclaim deed methods. [I] saw a discussion on FB from a realtor that explained when lenders find out that a home owner has done this, they can call the note out and demand it be paid in full or the home will be foreclosed on. Usually this goes undetected…until you get behind on payments or say an HOA agency decides to file a lien against the home for failure of nonpayment. – reddit
12. After several direct complaints about unfair victim blaming, reddit bans TCRS from posting Chris Watts-related content to its True Crime page.
Fancy that – a true crime blog banned from a true crime discussion page.
13. The news cycle on the Watts case has slowed to the crawl. The best People magazine have been able to come up with this week is a story about the artifacts the triple murder accused has with him in his cell.: A bible and a family photo.
14. Chris Watts’ defense counsel seems to be placing it on record that media coverage to date has already tainted a jury. He doesn’t seem opposed to the release of the autopsy report however, saying he’s satisfied to leave this to the discretion of the court.
This could be a ploy by the defense. On the other hand, if Watts is innocent of killing the children, he may wish the media to have access to the reports.
15. There’s a contention on social media that the tweet below was ‘liked’ by Cirs Watts’ protected account hours before the murders. Have requested confirmation on this claim.
16. Ashleigh Banfield is a little behind the curve in dealing with the family dynamic. But finally, about 10 days into October, almost two months after the murders, she does.
If I may be so bold, the reluctance to deal with the family dynamic this early [or this late] by HLN may be because they’re trying to set up the first phase of the narrative of the fairy tale family, and Shan’ann as a beautiful, innocent victim.
No one is arguing that, but of course as soon as you begin to probe issues around the dynamics, you’re invariably going to figure out the good and bad stuff of the parties involved. You’re going to find out who these people are, warts and all.
If you’re serious about true crime, you do that at the beginning. It should not be about playing out a narrative to manipulate/suck in viewers.
17. Did dad’s work truck lead cops to bodies?
Is everyone forgetting that a) Chris Watts has already confessed to killing Shan’ann? Or b) the bodies have been recovered because he told law enforcement where they were, and we know exactly where they were from the affidavit. And c) there is video surveillance footage showing Watts truck backing into the garage and leaving.
So a tracking device is nice to know, but about as useful as whether the sun was shining that day or not.
The real reason the cops knew Watts was involved was because the video surveillance showed Shan’ann arrive but never showed her leave. But it recorded Watts’ truck leaving. So if Shan’ann wasn’t home, and she wasn’t seen leaving, how else could she have left? QED.
18. The Watts family home has been confirmed as 1107 Vass Road.
More details here.
20. Sherry Wiens appears to have dug out some of the first pictures of Chris Watts’ mother Sandra Onorati Rzucek.
21. Watts Home: 1st & 2nd floor plans.
22. HLN releases material from Shan’ann’s “heartbreaking” blog.
23. Bella sleeping and baby monitor screengrabs.
24. Family grave site. Was Niko buried with Shan’ann?
25. On Friday October 12th, Weld Count District Court denied Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke’s request to keep the autopsies of 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and two children, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste sealed, saying it lacked “subject matter jurisdiction” on the issue.
More info here.
26. Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch has already communicated his intentions in terms of the Watts family autopsy reports. He intends to file a response between October 15 and 17 to state his intention not to release the autopsy reports.
27. On October 12th, Weld County Court provided the first receipt for sealed visitor logs involving the defendant [Chris Watts].
28. Predicted at #25 but here’s confirmation:
29. The Weld County Coroner filed a petition Monday requesting the court keep the autopsy reports of Shanann Watts and her children sealed at this time.
Carl Blesch, Weld County coroner, stated in a news release Monday that a hearing on the request to seal the reports has not yet been set.
The autopsy reports were completed Oct. 1, but the Weld County District Attorney had filed a motion in Weld County District Court requesting they be kept from the public.
The court ruled against the district attorney’s request, citing a request filed by three statewide associations representing the media, the Colorado Press Association, the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Steven Zansberg, an attorney for Ballard Spahr, LLP in Denver who is representing the three associations, said previously that they plan to oppose any future filings to seal the reports. Zansberg did not return a call seeking comment Monday afternoon. Jill Farschman, CEO of the Colorado Press Association, declined to comment until she could speak with the other two organizations. – Times-Call
30. Things are certainly getting more and more unusual in the Watts case. Now Watts wants privacy around a sealed motion based on a health insurance law that protects private information. But this only applies to living people…
31. Not sure what to make of this latest legal document in The People of the State of Colorado v. Christopher Lee Watts
MR. WATTS’ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A PLEADING UNDER SEAL
PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 2016-04, AND FURTHER REQUEST
TO HOLD AN EX PARTE HEARING ON THE ISSUE
- Counsel for Mr. Watts hereby respectfully requests the court authorize the filing of a sealed pleading in this case, pursuant to Administrative Order 2016-04. Counsel believes the motion will include information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
- However, based on the court’s Order (C-8), filed September 11, 2018, counsel for Mr. Watts is concerned the court may order the pleading unsealed if it doesn’t believe the information in the filing is protected by Federal Law.
- It must be remembered that counsel for Mr. Watts is not the privilege-holder of protected information. Cf., People v. Sisneros, 55 P.3d 797 (Colo. 2002)(holding that, even where the government called a witness whose memory of the crime was only elucidated after speaking with a psychologist, the privilege-holder herself did not waive the privilege with her testimony at the preliminary hearing.); and Wesp v. Everson, 33 P.3d 191, 199-200 (Colo. 2001)(noting that attorneys may not disclose attorney-client privileged information, even after the privilege-holder has died).
- On top of that, any person who unlawfully discloses information protected by Federal Law is potentially subject to fines and imprisonment. See e.g., 42 U.S.C.A. § 1320d-6. Thus, any further disclosure of protected health information, especially to the government, would potentially violate the law.
- Because of this reality, counsel asks the court to order an ex parte hearing on this issue. In addition, if the court does not believe it has enough information to make its judgment, Mr. Watts requests an ex parte hearing to advise the court further.
The attorney representing three state media associations that petitioned against an initial request to seal the autopsy reports for Shanann Watts and her children said the associations will oppose the latest effort to keep the autopsies from public view.
Steven Zansberg, a media attorney for Ballard Spahr, LLP in Denver, said that while his clients are “glad that the case is proceeding properly,” they still plan to oppose the new petition to seal the autopsies, now filed by the Weld County Coroner’s Office.
Zansberg plans to attend a hearing on the petition, which, because by law it must be set at “the earliest practical time,” he expects will take place before Thanksgiving. Zansberg is the attorney for Prairie Mountain Media Publishing, which includes the Times-Call and the Boulder Daily Camera. The two papers also are members of the Colorado Press Association.
In his motion, Rourke said the autopsies contain information that would be “critical evidence” at the trial, and that early release of that evidence could taint potential jurors or witnesses that have yet to be interviewed. Zansberg said that argument does not meet the burden of substantial injury to the public, which must be proven to withhold public documents subject to open records requests.
The argument that releasing the autopsies would make interviewing witnesses or finding a jury more difficult “is true anytime autopsy reports are released before trial,” he said. “That’s a categorical rule, not unique to circumstances of this one trial.”
He also disagreed with the prosecution’s argument that releasing the autopsies would compromise witness interviews. Typically, that’s usually argued at the onset of a case, before a suspect is arrested or charged for the crime, according to Zansberg.
33. The latest People magazine article analyzes the impact of oil on DNA:
“The prosecution sees it as necessary to try to use as another nail in the coffin, basically but the DNA by itself is really not all that informative in these kinds of cases.” – Dr. Phil Danielson, a professor at the University of Denver’s Department of Biological Sciences who specializes in DNA collection and analysis
In short, this is not going to be a DNA case. One of the most important factors will be time of death. Food contents in the stomach, if there is any, and clothing, if the kids and Shan’ann were wearing any, will prove more decisive in calculating time of death.
34. On October 19th, Chris Watts’ defense submit a three page civil motion requesting that disclosure of the autopsy reports be denied to the media and the public. Excerpts of the report [full report here] are as follows:
CHRISTOPHER WATTS, through his attorneys hereby moves this Honorable Court to hold a hearing on the government’s proffered reason for wanting to deny disclosure of the autopsies in this matter. As grounds for this motion, Mr. Watts states:
2. Out of an abundance of caution, Mr. Watts files this motion before this court, as well. If the court denies Mr. Watts’ motion in 18CV30907, Mr. Watts respectfully moves this court to hold a hearing on whether the release of the autopsies “could result in tainting witnesses that have not yet been interviewed” as the government claimed in its Motion [L] at paragraph 3.
3. As stated in Mr. Watts’ notice (D-039), the government’s alternative claim that the results of the autopsies will taint potential jurors is groundless – the results will almost assuredly be revealed in court proceedings well in advance of trial.
4. However, counsel for Mr. Watts remains concerned about the government’s spurious claims related to tainting witnesses who have yet to be interviewed. Counsel remains specifically concerned that the government possesses information that the defense does not have.
What this reveals is that the defense wants to know which witnesses the state prosecutor has or has yet to interview. Interesting legal arm twist here.
5. It is not clear if the government’s assertion means that it has knowledge that witnesses may change their testimony once they see the coroner’s opinion. It is not clear which witnesses the government knows about who have not been interviewed that may have that reaction to the opinion of the coroner. It is not clear what information the government possesses that would lead them to that conclusion. Perhaps more importantly, it is now clear that no party in the civil case has an interest in developing the record about this specious claim. According to the petition filed in
18CV30907, the coroner (whose office is ostensibly independent from the district attorney’s) “concurs with the District Attorney’s reasoning” and has “no reason to doubt [the] District Attorney . . . .” 18CV30907, VERIFIED PETITION IN RE: THE REQUEST OF THE GREELEY TRIBUNE FOR CERTAIN RECORDS PURSUANT TO THE
COLORADO OPEN RECORDS ACT, C.R.S. §§ 24-72-201, ET. SEQ., at ¶¶ 13, 14.
Counsel for Mr. Watts cannot share the coroner’s apparent confidence. The coroner’s naked deference to the government has therefore made clear that he has no interest in challenging the government’s judgement; consequently, he has no interest in investigating and ferreting out the validity of its claim. Mr. Watts does.
It’s interesting how the defense are shooting warning shots over the bow, basically alleging that the coroner is in cahoots with the district attorney’s office. The tone of the motion also indicates the tone of Chris Watts’ defense – it’s defiant!
7. The respondents to the action may have some interest in determining the validity of the government’s witness claim. But, their interest can, of course, be no greater than that of Mr. Watts. Mr. Watts is constitutionally entitled to know and meaningfully challenge the evidence and witnesses against him and to have and make use of any and all information related to their veracity or credibility. See e.g., COLO. CONST. art. II, §§ 16, 20, and 25; U.S. CONST. amends. V, VI, VIII, XIV; Washington v. Texas, 388 U.S. 14 (1967); Giglio v. U.S., 405 U.S. 150, 154-55 (1972); People v. Bueno, 626 P.2d 1167, 1169 (Colo. App. 1981); Crane v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 683, 690 (1986).
8. Because the government’s claim that the release of the autopsies may taint witnesses who have not been interviewed seems to suggest there are witnesses that the government knows who may slant or change their testimony based on the autopsy results, Mr. Watts has an obvious and substantial interest in developing the record on that claim. In addition, because that result, if true, has a direct effect on the criminal proceedings in this case, this court, should the court in 18CV30907 deny Mr. Watts’ request to intervene, must hold a hearing in this case.
9. Even more concerning, though, the coroner requested the court in 18CV30907 allow him to offer specifics about his agreement with the district attorney “under seal to the Court or in a closed hearing . . . .” 18CV30907, VERIFIED PETITION IN RE: THE REQUEST OF THE GREELEY TRIBUNE FOR CERTAIN RECORDS PURSUANT TO THE COLORADO OPEN RECORDS ACT, C.R.S. §§ 24-72-201, ET. SEQ., at ¶¶ 16. If the court were to allow this extraordinary request, Mr. Watts would be denied the opportunity not only to challenge the evidence but also, and obviously more egregiously, to even know what the evidence is.
10. Because of these realities, the court here should hold a hearing on these matters.
11. Albeit in different contexts, the Supreme Court of Colorado has acknowledged a need to protect “the integrity of the fact-finding process, the fairness or appearance of fairness of trial, . . . [and the] public trust or confidence in the criminal justice system.” People v.
Rodriguez, 914 P.2d 230, 290 (Colo. 1996).
14. Here, if the civil court denies the request to intervene, due process requires this Honorable Court to hold a hearing anyway. Denying such a hearing continues to erode and undermine Mr. Watts’ rights to meet and defend the accusations against him, to learn of constitutionally significant evidence, and, ultimately, to a fundamentally fair proceeding comporting with due process of law. COLO. CONST. art. II, §§ 16, 20, 23, and 25; U.S. CONST. amends. V, VI, VIII, and XIV.
15. The High Court has put it most succinctly: “the fundamental requirement of due process is the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.” Mathews, 424 U.S. at 333 (internal citations and punctuation omitted). Mr. Watts moves this Honorable Court to afford him such an opportunity.
WHEREFORE, Mr. Watts is entitled to the relief requested in this motion. Mr. Watts files this motion, and makes all other motions and objections in this case, whether or not specifically noted at the time of making the motion or objection, on the following grounds and authorities: the Due Process Clause, the Right to a Fair Trial by an Impartial Jury, the Rights to Counsel, Equal Protection, Confrontation, and Compulsory Process, the Rights to Remain Silent and to Appeal, and the Right to be Free from Cruel and Unusual Punishment, pursuant to the Federal and Colorado Constitutions generally, and specifically, the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitutions, and Article II, sections 3, 6, 7, 10, 11,
16, 18, 20, 23, 25 and 28 of the Colorado Constitution.
The right to be free from Cruel and Unusual Punishment. What about Shan’ann, Bella and Celeste’s rights? To be free from being murdered by a husband and father?
37. TCRS claims the Watts dog Deeter raised the alarm. The dog’s frantic barking on the morning of the murders caused Nickole Atkinson to call the police to do a wellness check.
39. Christopher Watts’ attorneys want Weld DA out of autopsy battle – Greeley Tribune
40. Update: Court rules Watts attorneys, Weld DA CAN join legal scrap over autopsy reports – Greeley Tribune
41. In an informal poll on a Chris Watts Facebook Group, 70% say they believe Chris Watts’ version of events that there was an argument just prior to the murders.
44. The hearing on the autopsy reports for Shan’ann and her two daughters will take place at 09:00 on December 21st before Weld District Court Judge Todd Taylor.
The status conference to determine the dates of the criminal trial is on November 19th at the same venue.
1.If Christopher Watts is found not guilty, it’s “extremely likely” Shanann Watts’ family would file a civil lawsuit alleging he is responsible for her wrongful death. – Denver Post
The Weld District Attorney’s Office announced late Friday that Frederick triple murder suspect Christopher Watts will appear Tuesday in Weld District Court for a status conference.The hearing is scheduled for 30 minutes beginning at 2 p.m. in Division 17. The district attorney’s office didn’t release any other information.
Watts wasn’t scheduled to return to court until 10:30 a.m. Nov. 19 for a status conference in Division 16. That court appearance remained on the docket as of Friday afternoon.
Is it just bad luck that this hearing has been moved to the same day the US media will be preoccupied with the Midterm elections? In true crime there is no such thing as coincidence.
According to CBSDenver:
The District Attorney’s Office did not release why the status hearing was moved to an earlier date.
3. Speculation continues to swirl around Tuesday’s court appearance. Is Watts going to be offered a plea bargain? Or is the hearing simply timed to avoid a tusnami of news coverage. Or, is it just a random scheduling change?
5. TCRS – as you’d expect – called the plea deal long before anyone else did. In the lead up to the hearing, TCRS posted several blogs on the issue.
When the hearing commenced, just prior to the official announcement by the media, TCRS called it once again. Within two minutes of this tweet, Carol McKinley and all the other media followed suit and made it official.
8. Nickole Atkinson posts message on Facebook on the day of the trial forgiving Chris Watts:
9. The media have already started applying for expanded coverage of the sentencing hearing, set for November 19th at 10:00.
“Chris had to come to terms with reality,” the source reportedly said. “He didn’t like it at all, but he’s smart enough to know that his back was against the wall, and the best thing for him to do was to plead guilty.”
According to People, the source said, Watts was furious at having to enter the guilty plea.
“His story didn’t work. He got angry,” the source said. “… It took a little bit of time for him to come around, but he did.”
The North Carolina couple said they are just trying to find the truth and are frustrated because they say they weren’t allowed to get those answers before their son’s plea agreement.
12. Chris Watts’ parents accuse Shan’ann was being abusive, isolating him and changing him. They also told ABC13 their son was a normal guy who loved sports.
Read more on this:
13. To date Cindy Watts has been quoted by the Denver Post, The Daily Beast and the Times-Call saying: “I know he confessed, but he was railroaded into it.” It’s fascinating that the District Attorney hasn’t responded directly to these allegations thus far. Playing for time?
“It was a very hard relationship…I couldn’t do anything right.” – Cindy Watts
15. TCRS publishes TWO FACE TWO POLLYANNAS, the 3rd book in the groundbreaking series on the Watts Family Murders. On November 14th the first “review” is posted on Instagram.
16. Defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said there is a way to withdraw a plea before sentencing, but does not believe it will happen in this case.
“Remember the mother is not in a position to withdraw the plea,” Steinberg said. “The mother can scream and yell and do everything she wants. Maybe it’s appropriate, maybe it’s not, but ultimately it’s his decision after sitting and talking to his lawyers.
“There is a rule, rule 32 allows the withdraw of plea prior to sentencing if there is a fair and just reason.I don’t know what the fair and just reason is here. So do I think there is a likelihood that any judge would allow him to withdraw the plea? The answer is no.” – KDVR.com
17. More than three months after her murder, the mainstream media still haven’t figured out how to spell Shan’ann’s name.
18. “Bella was just like Chris…shy, cautious, conservative…” – Cindy Watts
19. A flurry of motions and a letter have been recently added to the Chris Watts case file 18CR2003:
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke has been clear that Chris Watts thus far has only provided a “partial motive”.
There are some odd things about the circumstances surrounding the plea deal Chris Watts struck with prosecutors, according to Law&Crime Network host and former Morris County, N.J. head prosecutor Bob Bianchi. Circumstances that he would never have allowed to happen under his watch.
“What I do find to be unusual in this case … is that I would have required a proffer session with the defendant, where he would have sat down in order to be spared the death penalty,” Bianchi said. “He would have spilled the beans on everything, from A to Z, we would have known what the motive is, which we don’t know right now, and he would have clearly allocuted in court, got up and said this is why I did it.”
22. The Watts children attended the prestigious [and expensive] Primrose School in Erie twice a week. Bella was murdered a week before she was due to start kindergarten full-time. Primrose is about 14 minutes drive due south from #2825 Saratoga Trail.
23. For Monday’s sentencing hearing, no “electronics” [cell phones, twitter] are permitted in court.
24. The Livestream link for Monday’s sentencing hearing.
25. Cindy Watts has admitted she didn’t attend Chris Watts’ wedding to Shan’ann on November 3rd, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
26. There is a rumor of a letter Chris Watts wrote, saying if anything happens to him, look at Shan’ann.
27. On October 6th, in a post titled Inside the Mind of His Mistress, I wrote:
If his mistress is the daughter of his boss, then a brand new dynamic emerges with various possibilities of their own. The most obvious is that Anadarko will wish to limit damage to their brand through adverse press coverage not just of one wayward employee, but three. Anadarko may ultimately be calling the shots on what the mistress and her dad’s next move should be.
Now, six weeks later, Nichol Kessinger has confirmed she is the “mystery mistress” in a carefully contrived exclusive published today by the Denver Post. Nicely buried in the 1313 word scoop is this:
Kessinger was working in the environmental department with an Anadarko Petroleum contractor when the two met, she said during a Thursday morning interview in the office of her lawyer, Ed Hopkins.
Ed Hopkins is a privacy attorney based in Denver, specializing in libel and slander.
According to Hopkin’s website:
We investigate, prosecute, and defend complex civil claims involving defamation, deceptive and unfair trade practices, slander, trade libel, false advertising, invasion of privacy, breach of confidentiality, wiretapping, eavesdropping, computer hacking, data theft, trade secrets theft, revenge porn, sextortion, cyberstalking, racketeering, and Title IX actions.
28. After a month-long hiatus [at least] HLN returns to the Watts case with a special report titled “Secrets, Lies and Family Massacre”.
Two experts, one of them Stan Garnett, weigh in about why it’s such a great idea not to try the Watts case in a court of law. Garnett is a pro at not taking cases to court [like the JonBenet Ramsey case] so I’m sure he’s pleased with this result.
30. Chris Watts’ parents retain legal counsel, but Judge Kopcow rules he’s not allowed to petition the court on their behalf during the sentencing hearing.
19th Judicial District Court Judge Marcelo A. Kopcow ruled that Cindy and Ronnie Watts should be able to speak in court Monday and deliver victim impact statements in which they could ask the judge for a more-lenient sentence for their son. They can also deliver such statements through a designee, according to the judge’s order.
Judge Kopcow wrote that state law affords the two the right to do so because they are the paternal grandparents of Bella and Celeste, whom Chris Watts pleaded guilty to killing in August along with their mother and his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts.
But Kopcow ruled that the attorney for the two won’t be allowed to address the court.
[Rocket Science Fact Counter #251]
TWO FACE is available now at this link.
TWO FACE II is available now on Amazon.com
TWO FACE III is available on Amazon at this link.