This why Chris Watts thought he could get away with the annihilation of his family

Chris Watts thought he could get away with the annihilation of his family by crafting a story about just one thing.


At 06:35 in her interview with 9News, Cindy Watts is asked how she found out about “them being reported missing”.

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CINDY [Touching her mouth with two fingers, pressing them against her lips]: I think Ronnie called me. Ronnie called me and said that they’re missing…and, I thought…[swings head] I don’t believe it. 

CINDY: I didn’t believe they were missing. I believe that she…was going to punish Chris. 

Notice Watts’ mother says this in the present tense.

I believe that she…was going to punish Chris. 

So the full psychological equation here, which isn’t elucidated very well right here by Cindy or the reporter, is that Cindy Watts knew over a period of time that her son was leaving Shan’ann, and so within that context, her taking off with the kids made sense to her. Because Shan’ann was a spiteful person, or she was often capable of being spiteful. Spiteful is an ugly, cutting word, so let’s consider it’s permutations:

maliciousmeannastycruelunkindunfriendlysnidehurtfulwoundingbarbed, bittervenomousvindictivevengefulvitriolicviciousspleneticmalignmalignant, hateful etc.

So one of those, is what Chris Watts was getting at.

But what was it?

Maybe she was being just mean or unkind. Or was she being cruel, or malevolent, or vicious? Of course, whichever one you think Chris Watts is accusing Shan’ann of, is the word we must accuse him for this murders. Was he just unkind or hurtful, or was this the barbed, butter wounding that would eclipse all barbed and bitter wounding that had gone before?

We must look at the Sermon on the Porch through his psychology, and when we do, we can see why it must have felt good to him to stand in front of his house, and to speak for Shan’ann for once, instead of her always speaking for him, always drowning him out. It must have felt good to suggest things about her, knowing the truth was his preserve, and his only, and that through the media, he [thought] he had the power to craft any narrative about her. Whatever he said became reality, almost like an enchantment. What a turn-around after all the months of MLM madness, and him a pawn in all those meaningless spiels. This was him getting his comeuppance. And not without a little of his spite peppering proceedings, carefully hidden behind a friendly manner and an armor of folded arms.



At this point we’re not interested in finding out whether Shan’ann did or didn’t kill the children, what we’re after is the psychological portrait Watts was sketching of her.

What was it?

It was of a vindictive, reactive, spiteful person. He makes a move against her, he tells her he’s leaving her, and then BAM she reacts. And to Cindy this makes absolute sense. Chris Watts had to have known it would make sense to his mother. It had to be important that the scenario felt right.In Watts’ affidavit and in his Sermon on the Porch his original version was that he told Shan’ann he wanted to separate and she immediately went into reprisal-mode – punishing him by killing the children.

This scenario also felt right to the Thayers.

In their interview with 9News they also though Shan’ann had taken the girls in a huff after some minor or major disagreement. They thought this because that’s what Chris Watts told them, but it also made sense. It sounded to them like something Shan’ann might do.

NICK: I mean [Amanda chokes up on his shoulder] we really thought [wipes his nose with his forearm]…Monday night when we kind of heard about all this going on [before the Sermon on the Porch] we kinda thought ‘we’ll see her tomorrow. We’re gonna be with the girls tomorrow.’ [Shakes head]. I guess…I haven’t even processed the idea…that our friendship with Chris is no longer.  

Again, Nick Thayer isn’t very specific about it here, but what he’s saying is he was also led to believe – directly, personally – by Chris Watts, that Shan’ann had just taken off with the kids. A few days later they realized they’d been duped, betrayed, but they were duped because the lie fell on fertile soil. The scenario Watts was sketching made sense because they knew Shan’ann.

If we watch his Sermon on the Porch again, his demenour is based on a scenario where him and Shan’ann had argued, he cares about her and the kids, but he’s no longer in a committed relationship, and she knows that, and that’s why she’s left. Interestingly, he makes an “anonymous friend” the reason why she’s missing, a mirror on his own anonymous friend, and a mirror on his own knowledge about how and why this friend [potentially] is the “reason” they’ve gone missing.

In the first minute of that interview, when the reporter asks what happened – a wonderfully open-ended question – Watts sketches it as Shan’ann comes home [no big deal], he goes to work [no big deal] and then he gets a call from one her friends [is it a big deal?] and he returns from work, and he’s the last to know what’s going on. Where’s Shan’ann? Where are the kids? He has no idea. Maybe she left. Maybe someone came and took them [according to an arrangement she made, and a subtle up-yours to him through that, leaving him in the lurch] . And if she doesn’t get back to him that’s fine [because stuff is going on between them], but if she’s not getting back to her people [he’s not her people], well that’s a concern.

All of that within the first minute. It’s a clever ruse except the part that he’s revealing is that it’s only important to worry about Shan’ann because everyone else is.

WATTS [Tongue flick, lowers head]: Uh, she came home from the airport, 2am, and I left around 5:15 [glances up] , she was still here [a lie, she was dead]…and…like…about 12:10…and that afternoon a friend Nickole showed up at the door [nods to the front door] , like I had texted Shan’ann a few times that day, called her, say, you know, but she never got back [slight asymmetric curling of the lip] to me. But she never got back to any of her people as well. And that’s what…really concerned a lot of people. Like, if she doesn’t, like if she doesn’t get back to me [shrugs] that’s fine, she gets busy during the day, but she diodn’t get back with her people which was very concerning. And Nickole called me when she was at the door [opens folded arm and motions to the door] and that’s when I came home. [Dogs barking in background]. And then walked in the house and [looks sidelong into the house] nothing [a slight smile and curl of the lip here too. He’s pleased with his handiwork]. Just vanished. Nothing was here. I mean she wasn’t-wasn’t here. The kids weren’t here. No-nobody was here.

In this version, Chris Watts is leading his audience into a scenario where he goes to work, is summoned home and his wife and kids are gone. Just vanished. He called her, she never got back to him or anyone else. He’s shifting the buck to her. He wants his mother and the Thayers and those close to him to think not what has he done, but what has Shan’ann gone and done?

When I first came to this case, I wondered why there is this extraordinary degree of sadism involved. There’s not just the killing of a woman, but a pregnant woman. Not just the killing of one daughter, but two. Not just the killing of these four flesh-and-blood beings but the unholy dumping of their bodies in oil and dust. There’s sadism – and shame – there too. The psychological mirror for sadism is humiliation. In some way, Chris Watts felt intensely humiliated over a long period of time. The narrative that so many are opposed to [understandably at this stage], that there was a spiteful aspect to Shan’ann’s personality, awakens the possibility that this was the root of his sadism.

It doesn’t make it right or reasonably, but it may go towards explaining why, not so?

And there’s an added reason why so little of the Sermon of the Porch made little sense, and stretched Chris Watts’ credibility to breaking point. There was one word he didn’t mention during the interview. This is a question for those who haven’t read any of the TWO FACE books. What word should have been the first word to use during the interview, and it’s a word he simply never mentions once. I’ll deal with that in a separate post, but you can start pondering on this so long.

Cindy Watts Extended Interview Transcript [PART 1]

00:00 – 03:14 of 21:56

CINDY:  I wake up every-every morning just crying, you know [voice breaks] thinking this is not gonna be…[paddles with her hand]…what’s gonna happen every single day…[with emotion] it’s just so hard to get through it. Mm…[voice breaks, sniffles] I just don’t know how to get through it. [Sighs].

REPORTER: Tell me about his childhood. Did he play sports, was he in scouts, what kinds of things…did…

CINDY: Yeah.

REPORTER:…did he do?

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CINDY: Yes, he played sports…he played sports from the time he was five years old, up until he was seventeen. And he was in basketball, he was in baseball, he was in football. And uh…loved NASCAR. He and his dad went to the NASCAR races all the time. Uhm…loved sports. Loved sports. And he had…he was a good kid. Uh…had…two best friends. And…that’s who he grew up with and still are friends with them today. And uh…there’s nothing…nothing that would have…predicted any of this [shakes head rapidly] could have ever happened.


CINDY: Nothing. Nothing in his childhood…at all. I would’ve never thought in a million years something like this could happen…to him…[licks lips] at all.

REPORTER: Yeah. You didn’t see things like him get into fights or…

CINDY: No. No fighting. He was…quiet…and he…got along with people. And he didn’t start anything. And he…was the perfect teenager to tell you the truth [laughs]. He did not even rebel. [Sniffs] He wanted to go to NASCAT-Tech. We…made that possible for him.

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REPORTER: What did he do after he finished school.

CINDY: He worked at the dealership as a service technician…and…was making good money, and…loved it. He…bought a uh…toolbox…and he started buying his tools…and uh…um…[shrugs] enjoyed it. He was [shakes head] doing well. 

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REPORTER: When and where did he meet Shan’ann?

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CINDY: They met and [looks down with sadness]…he liked her, she liked him but I don’t think [sneering’ it was love at first sight [jolts head] or anything, [sighs] they took a little while and I guess got to know each other…and you know, dated. Um…it was always a little…a little strange…that [asymmetric curl of lip] she always said a lot of things about Chris in front of me [nods with conviction] that…I didn’t like.

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CINDY: Like this isn’t the kind of person I would date. Uh, he doesn’t know how to…do this…or he doesn’t know to do that [leans in one way, leans in the other to give sympathy and emphasis]. Um…he looks like a skater-boy. Look at his hair. Look at how much stuff he puts on his hair. It’s just…it was just on and on and on and I just got a bad feeling.

It’s worth breaking in here to note that Cindy’s experience with Shan’ann parallels that of Amanda Thayer. Shan’ann also told Amanda that she doubted her husband was having an affair because “he had no game”. And Amanda laughed when she repeated this during an interview. When she did, her husband Nick sitting beside her sighs uncomfortably at this compromising and undermining disclosure.

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If Shan’ann was undermining of him to his mother and their best friends [and on Facebook], it suggests she was probably very undermining [rightly or wrongly] to him directly.

When Cindy quotes Shan’ann saying this isn’t the kind of person I would date I don’t think it was as much a comment on Chris Watts’ personality, temperament or looks, but his social status. Shan’ann’s first husband, Leonard T. King, was an attorney. That’s quite a status slide – from legal professional to mechanic, and in that sense then, in the social status sense, Shan’ann seemed to think she was better than he was, or that he wasn’t good enough for her.

Maybe she was right. But maybe if she didn’t think that things may have turned out differently. Maybe.

When this class divide forms the backdrop to a relationship, it can be fatally undermining, like someone putting you in a cage. And we know even before Watts met Shan’ann, all his school and college buddies described him as a very diligent, hard-working type. It appears that he brought this same work ethic into the marriage, and into his child-raising, and it was his efforts that paid the bills. But one has a sense – somehow – that no matter what he did it was never going to be good enough. It wasn’t going to get them out of their colossal debt situation, but more significantly, how it felt to him was nothing he did was ever going to be good enough in her spiel. And that I think was the source of his rage, against her, then against the pregnancy, and then while babysitting all weekend, against his entire family.

Source:, November 15, 2018

“The oil had absolutely saturated these two little girl’s bodies…”

At around ten minutes into “Sesh 16” Jay & Kay discuss information from an anonymous source close to the investigation. The remains of Bella and Celeste were so saturated with oil, according to the source, they had to be flown separately to North Carolina for burial because they were considered combustible. This suggests the remains were significantly chemically degraded by the time investigators retrieved them. Whoever the source is, it sounds like they’ve had access to the autopsy reports.

To get an idea just how toxic petrochemicals can be to human tissue, consider this comment posted on social media. Someone who works in the industry was saying simply walking around a gas site gave them nosebleeds.

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Also that the temperature in those tanks is extremely high, which would accelerate the breakdown of human tissues, boiling the remains, dissolving them to nothing within days.

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At about 12:20 in “Sesh 16” Jay & Kay discuss “the condition of Shan’ann’s body” according to their source. Shan’ann’s body was in “really, really, really bad shape. Lots of bruising. Lots of contusions. Lots of defensive wounds. The defensive wounds are indicative of a brutal struggle. And it is…uh…was readily apparent that she was strangled with bare hands…she struggled very hard for her life.”

Jay & Kay then go to some length speculating on why the murder wasn’t a stealthy “ninja attack”. I’m not sure one can draw inferences like that. Once Chris Watts started strangling her, the fight was on. But let’s move on.

What the extensive tissue trauma suggests, if the source is accurate, is the rage – the hatred in fact – that was brought to bear by Chris Watts on Shan’ann when she was murdered. He was determined to snuff out her life. A strangling is a silent crime, but asphyxiation as a manner of death is the slowest and most agonizing death of all. It’s a death that’s usually slower than being stabbed, and much slower than being shot. One literally has the breath, the life, the fight, slowly, steadily, squeezed out of one’s body.

Murder Rap Sesh have done some amazing work, but not all the commentary is entirely accurate. Jay & Kay mention that the couple never fought, for example, but there’s at least one eye witness account where they did as recently as the summer of 2018.

On the whole, however, the point Jay & Kay raise is valid, Chris Watts seemed like a mild-mannered, calm, quiet, reserved guy. So what drove him to break the mold of his own identity? It’s a question worth asking, but it’s also one worth pausing on and making an effort to answer.

What drove him to break the mold of his own identity?

What drove him to break the mold of his own identity – and to commit triple murder?

I think people have it the wrong way round. They keep looking to Chris Watts for signs of abuse, for domestic violence, for bad behavior and violence. They don’t want to entertain a mechanism for this crime; it simply erupted out of thin air as evil does. Why does there have to be a reason?

Nobody likes to entertain the idea that Shan’ann was the pushy, controlling, coercing personality in the house, and Chris Watts – for eight years – did as he was told.

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And the rage simmered. And the rage eventually boiled over.

People don’t like that dynamic because it sounds like Shan’ann is to blame, or is being blamed. So they prefer the idea of Chris Watts and Shan’ann as one-dimensional cardboard cutouts, where he is an evil monster, and she is an innocent victim. People like this cartoon because it’s comfortable. But the reality is, no one is all good or all bad, not you, not me, not murderers, and not their victims.

The bottom-line isn’t that Shan’ann deserved to die, or that Chris Watts was justified in killing her. That’s not what’s being argued, certainly not here. What is being argued is that there was a real dynamic going on, just as all marriages and relationships involved idiosyncratic dynamics, so did this one.

Eventually, that dynamic got so rough and raw and chafing it was like a tangible thing. It was becoming unbearable. And that dynamic, that conveyor, is what drove someone who seemed nice on the outside, and who started off nice on the inside – to commit a holocaust against his own flesh and blood.

Chris Watts is a slimeball, according to these sources…

“That piece of shit may he rot in hell…” – Frankie Rzucek

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“He’s a liar.” – Nichol Kessinger

“He has no game.” – Shan’ann Watts and Amanda Thayer


“I knew [Chris Watts] had something to do with it the day I was at his house. She texted me and said she was going to need a friend now more than ever when she got back. He wasn’t being the loving Chris that he normally was. He wasn’t touching or hugging or doing stuff like that. And he wasn’t being as attentive to the girls as he normally is….something had changed.” – Nickole Atkinson

“I think all of us involved never truly believed he would give us an accurate statement.”District Attorney Michael Rourke on November 6th, 2018

“He is a monster.” – Unidentified female quoted by CNN

Chris Watts’ mistress claims their relationship was “never serious” – ANALYSIS

Nichol Kessinger sketches a portrait of Chris Watts as a lying, duplicitous slimebag, who duped her into thinking he was divorced. She had no idea, she maintains, that Watts’ wife of eight years was a few weeks pregnant when they started sleeping together.

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But why would the finality of Watts’ divorce or the status of his kids be so important if their relationship wasn’t serious? And why did Chris Watts disable his Facebook a week before the murders if it wasn’t important to hide the truth from a serious relationship-in-the-making? And why would Watts ask her to help him [them?] find an apartment that “would be good for him” [them?]. And did she start prospecting for a new place for Watts to stay?

Remember this prospecting for a new place to stay also formed the backdrop to the murder and protracted disappearance of Casey Anthony’s daughter Caylee.

No matter how you cut it, if Watts was trading out of his family to start a new chapter with Kessinger, it’s difficult to imagine it wasn’t serious. Chris Watts believed their dalliance was serious enough to murder his pregnant wife and both daughters. Did he do something as serious and significant as commit triple murder because the mistress in the wings wasn’t serious?

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In the Casey Anthony case, Tony Lazzaro was a serious flame in her life at the time Caylee went missing. Ditto Scott Peterson. In fact Peterson was so fixated with him [and vice versa] he maintained serious contact with her for weeks after Laci’s disappearance. Wasn’t that relationship really serious too?

On the other hand, Nichol Kessinger may have had a point. She may have put the brakes on, letting Watts know they could take things to the next level once Shan’ann and the kids were taken care of. Not murdered of course, but no longer in the picture. If that’s the case, then Watts started calculating how best to go about that. Separation? Maybe. Divorce? Alimony? Custody? How about making them disappear literally

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Kessinger wanting to take it slow and wanting Watts to take care of his daughters within the schema of a divorce suggests a deeper level of commitment to the relationship and his children than the impression of a “brief affair” with a dude she “barely knew”.

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It’s also worth noting that Watts worked at Anadarko from January 2015. The way Kessinger sketches it, each morning Watts gathered in an office break room and Kessinger walked through the operators – including Watts – to place her lunch in the refrigerator. Every day. But she never spoke to Watts until one day in the middle of June when he approached her.

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Really? But wasn’t he supposed to be shy, cautious and not having any game?

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29th Review for TWO FACE 1 – these books aren’t for everyone, they’re for the more discerning reader

It’s not often that writing style is complimented in reviews. There’s usually a focus on the quality of the research or the shock-value of the revelations. I do try hard to find a balance between writing in accessible language, and maintaining a sophisticated, compelling and entertaining narrative. Not everyone gets it, but those who do – I’m happy to see – are riveted by it.

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This is a great review because it explains why there are three books, and why they should be read “sequentially”. How Rocket Science differs from all the other true crime out there is touched on here too. It’s true crime as an “intellectual journey”.

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Thanks Terri. Keep the reviews [good and bad] coming.

The TWO FACE [K9] series is available at this link.

TWO FACE book series

More: “Why are your books only available on Kindle – and how do I get one?”

Coming soon…