Shan’ann’s Phone Was Left HERE – and what it means

When retired Detective Karen Smith went on HLN on October 4th, she didn’t go further than to say Shan’ann probably didn’t hide her phone behind the couch cushions, Chris Watts did.  He put it there.

True, but if he did, then what?

Assuming he testifies in court, Chris Watts might say:

  1. Shan’ann and him sat on the couch for a few minutes while having a civilized conversation early that morning. They were discussing his idea of a separation when the phone slipped out of her pocket…
  2. Another possibility is that there was a tussle right there, and that the phone fell between the cushions between an altercation. Since the children’s bedroom is upstairs, and Chris Watts’ version contends that he went from downstairs back upstairs to confront her after seeing her on the baby monitor strangling the children, the upstairs landing area makes sense.
  3. In the same way that Casey Anthony fielded a second defense long after the investigation started, Chris Watts might claim he pushed Shan’ann and she fell down the stairs. In other words, he killed her but “it was an accident”.

What’s the view of #tcrs?

According to the arrest affidavit, the phone was left behind in the loft area between the upstairs bedrooms in the loft area.

Fullscreen capture 20181007 152102

There appear to be two large cushions, grey and white [or tan] on the leather couch.

Fullscreen capture 20181007 141027

Where did HLN source their image of the couch? The “decor” in that image reappears elsewhere in the house too as indicated by the red arrows above.Fullscreen capture 20181007 151003

Without an accurate floor plan it’s difficult to be absolutely certain whether the area indicated is the loft or not, and thus whether this couch is the right couch. But let’s assume for the sake of argument, the information HLN has and the location for Shan’ann’s phone is correct.

The sketch in TWO FACE BENEATH THE OIL provides a detailed explanation for where the crime scene happened [where Shan’ann was killed]. It’s not upstairs.

If the sketch is correct, then it suggests after committing the crime, Chris Watts went upstairs with Shan’ann’s phone and put it under the cushions in the area closest to the landing; there it could be plausibly present but nevertheless hidden from plain sight.

A much murkier question is: did Chris intend for her phone to be found, or was he planning on discarding it later? If he planned to get rid of it, why didn’t he dump it during his long outbound trip before dawn to CERVI 319? There was clearly the opportunity, and no one to see what he was doing, so why not?

Also: why not destroy the phone?

It’s unclear whether her phone was on or off [Nickole Atkinson might know], but if Watts wanted to delay discovery, then he probably knew her phone needed to be around to mislead people that she was still alive. Sometimes Facebook and WhatsApp can lead [or be used to lead] friends and followers to believe someone is online or around when they’re not, the phone is simply on.

In the Scott Peterson case Laci’s phone was found in her car, not turned off. The battery had run down over several hours. Scott Peterson seemed well aware that by calling Laci he was allowing himself to be tracked not only by cellphone tower pings, but by leaving messages. He appeared to do this deliberately to establish plausible deniability.

There is another possibility too. Perhaps Watts’ original plan was to return home and to send messages from her phone, leading others to believe not just that Shan’ann was alive when she wasn’t, but perhaps that she was going somewhere, or would be going offline for a period, when she was already dead.

Since Chris Watts said he sent several messages to Shan’ann’s phone when he knew she was dead, it makes sense that the idea of leaving misleading digital breadcrumbs must have occurred to him [just as it did to Jodi Arias, Oscar Pistorius, Casey Anthony and the murderer of Meredith Kercher*].

And just as it makes sense for him to say he saw what was happening on the baby monitor while downstairs [in other words, he wasn’t upstairs when the children were murdered], by placing her phone upstairs, he also places her elsewhere to where he probably was when she was killed.

If Shan’ann was murdered at the foot of the stairs, then a claim that she’d fallen down and landed beneath the stairs would also pass the evidentiary test.


QUESTION: Where do you think the murders took place, and why? #tcrs

*On the same night Kercher was murdered, Knox and Sollecito [the original suspects and both twice convicted in the murder] both turned off their cell phones. In addition Kercher’s two phones were removed from her room and disposed of outside the house. It later transpired that someone had attempted to use her phone to hack into her British telephone banking account. Only someone very familiar with Kercher would have known about this account. #tcrs investigated the Knox case in a series of narratives, licking off with Despicable.

19 thoughts on “Shan’ann’s Phone Was Left HERE – and what it means

  1. Question here: Nickole A. sounds the alarm. Chris takes his sweet time about driving home, also claims the garage door code isn’t working, buying more time so that the police officers can’t immediately gain access to the house and begin a search. Did Chris call Sha’nann from a location outside the house? I think he claims he made several calls, possibly a text or two. Were officers present when he made those calls, close enough so that they would hear her phone ringing inside the house or not?

    Also I think he ditched her phone upstairs between the lounge cushions intentionally, but given his slipshod disposal of the pillow cases I haven’t quite figured out why he ditched the phone there. I mean did he think that well ahead? That he would come home later and pitch the phone somewhere else? Or that it would make for a good alibi – she was actually upstairs herself? I doubt that, since he changed his story 3 times. So I’m still mulling that one over. Why the phone ended up specifically there.


  2. Also Minnie Mouse is in a different location as well – downstairs, then upstairs. So yeah, I’d want to know where HLN sourced their picture of the room they have depicted.


  3. I’ve often wondered about the final resting place of the phone, and, again, thought it may have been located there due to a struggle between Shan’ann and Chris. However, assuming the murder was committed downstairs upon Shan’ann’s arrival, I envision that Chris later on sat on the upstairs couch to look through Shan’ann’s messages to figure out her commitments/plans for the day or to even try to break into her phone if he wasn’t privy to the password or code. If he did do this, it would likely have been a cursory look or a hasty breakin attempt given the time constraints and general stress he was undergoing. Also, stress causes memory lapses, and given that Chris’s stress was acute, that he had murdered Shan’ann, likely his two children, and needed to process and dispose of their bodies prior to reporting to work, it’s possible that the phone slipped between the cushions and he forgot where it was. In a large house like that and given the general chaos and Chris’s panic, I think it’s possible he couldn’t locate it after disposing of their bodies and ran out of time to do so.


  4. That’s an excellent theory Cheryl. And I agree, that if he killed S. downstairs, when she arrived home from her trip it doesn’t mean he did not have occasion to do more work upstairs before leaving with all three bodies in the truck. Taking her phone upstairs and looking through it seems very plausible to me. He also wouldn’t want to turn on lights, so dropping it or losing it where he did makes sense.

    I’m wondering how much they found on HIS phone – calls to the co-worker, etc. I don’t believe Trent Bolte however. Damaged people tend to come out of the woodwork for their 15 minutes of fame in what would be perceived as a high-profile case. Who would save soiled towels from an encounter (his story)?


    • Thanks, Pauline, sometimes I wake up at night thinking about this case and its vexing details. I don’t know exactly why it’s so compelling to me, other than Chris’s passive-aggressive nature reminds me of a previous relationship. Once I understood it (or thought I did!), I thought it was fairly benign, but now realize that’s not necessarily or always the case.


    • Just another comment on the loft area. And thanks for a bigger picture Piktor. I think the one supplied by HLN may have been a much earlier picture. Some of their toys, like the Minnie Mouse, the “washer-drier” and the two little chairs may have been moved downstairs to the playroom, freeing up the loft for adults. It’s a big house, and a nice one. I have no doubt CW would have wanted to keep it at all costs. Maybe this does come back to greed. The thought of having to sell the house, and buy her out, just the thought of losing the house would be something he just couldn’t have happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Concerning the phone, who found it between the cushions? Did that person hand the phone to Chris and have him take it to the police or was that just a theory?


  6. I did notice that Shanánn got home at 1:48 am on the 13th and the affidavit was printed at 1:50 am. on the 16th. Almost 72 hours to the minute that it all began, although he was arrested on the 15th. Was he at home when he was arrested?


  7. There is always some truth in lies. We all know that so I’m wondering how the baby monitor(s) factors in. He said he saw Shanann in the monitor so no doubt somehow they do factor in.


  8. I was just sitting here thinking back a couple years ago when my daughter was here visiting me. She’s 5’4 and weighs about 150 lbs. I’m 5′ and weigh about 130. She had been in her room reading for about 3 hours. I went in to ask her about lunch and found her unconscious. I was thinking about the struggle Chriss Watts had to get Shanann into the truck, It took everything in me to just get my daughter off the bed onto a flat surface. She was extremely heavy. I know my adrenalin was pumping and it was still difficult and I imagine Chris Watt’s was as well. Imagine he had to get her out to the garage and lift her into the truck. It took 2 paramedics to lift my daughter onto a gurney. Dead weight in both cases. ( I hate to use that term but that’s what it is) Imagine the smaller confined space of the backseat of the truck. He had only the front doors of the truck and he had to get her in the backseat. If you’ve ever seen a truck like that you would know how small the space is.


  9. I hope everyone doesn’t think this is a stupid question but does the cell phone still ping to towers if the battery is dead or if the battery is removed?


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