No, no, no Nickole – a “best friend” should know better!

This post from last Saturday [November 3rd, 2018] has since been removed from Nickoke Atkinson’s Facebook timeline. Less than four months after the Watts family murder, Shan’ann’s “best friend” seems to be back into the swing of all things Le-Vel.

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Scroll down the comments and Shan’ann’s mother doesn’t seem like the grieving mother or grandmother, does she? Has Sandi Onorati Rzucek inherited Shan’ann’s MLM setup, is that why she’s so gung-ho about it?

Just how desperate are these Thrivers?

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48 thoughts on “No, no, no Nickole – a “best friend” should know better!

  1. This is unbelievable – but also believable. The show must go on! But it’s also laughable. She has the painted nails like Sha’nann’s, but not the dazzling panache. I wonder if she recruited Sha’nann? My recruiter was sweet, sincere, religious, and passive. Sales is an art.

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  2. Question: If events were reversed and one of Shan’an’s MLM promoters had been murdered, how would she have behaved? I would imagine she would have been hawking “killer deal(s)” as well. At its core, capitalism is remorseless and claims many victims—living and dead.

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  3. What’s funny to me how transparent all this is. The daily videos and photos with the product, exactly how Thrive tells everyone to do this.

    I remember seeing a list from Thrive on what they want their promoters to do on social media every week. Live videos, photos, etc.

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  4. Was the wording Nickole used intentional i.e….Remember – I was there for Shan’ann! Let’s show her how loved she was – Come THRIVE with me! Its what Shan’ann would’ve wanted! Fly high Shan’ann – we’re THRIVIN’ with you!! Of course the wording was intentional!!

    TOTALLY. DISGUSTING. SICK.

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  5. Nothing screams MLMer like a tacky set of acrylics, they think it will make the product look better, or maybe their lifestyle seem perkier? If Shan’ann’s own mother is this delusional and crazy to want to ‘Thrive’ after ALL THIS has come upon her daughter and two grandbabies..You have to wonder how far would the apple fall from the tree? Sometimes you can’t help how similar you are to your parents.

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  6. funny Amanda G. “nothing screams MLMer like a tacky set of acrylics”

    But Nickole UA had better mind her P’s and Q’s, she will be a witness if this goes to trial. I think a little decorum is needed between now and then.

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  7. The only thing I don’t like about even talking about THRIVE or MLM’S is that it sometimes feels we’re blaming Shan’ann for her and her children’s murders. Now, let me be perfectly clear, I am NOT accusing anyone here of doing that. Perhaps I’m more sensitive to it because I saw it a lot on the Facebook group that I’ve since left due to being disgusted by it. There were even “Chris groupies” passing out the address to write love letters to him, real nut jobs if you ask me. Back to THRIVE….I truly don’t get all the effort put into this MLM. Stats show these people aren’t rolling in dough selling these powders, protein bars and vitamins in a patch. While Shan’ann made the $80,000 mark, that number in no way represents the money she actually made, it simply represents the amount of sales she made. Maybe Nickole and Shan’ann’s family feel like they’re somehow honoring her by being faithful warriors to Thrive? Either way, I find the whole thing very unsettling.

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  8. You are right on Diana. I’m guessing $80K was the amount her group, and she herself, generated in sales – or purchased product. The lie of the MLM’s is that they talk up selling the product but it’s only so that you can replace your product and buy more. The “sales” are the company sending you the product you pay for. It’s their sales. I also read but it was posted a few years ago, that LeVel requires a monthly amount of purchased product of $100-$300 deducted from your account to them. And I suspect those figures are low now. If you want to add more I’m sure they are more than willing to increase the amount.

    But I also agree with you Diana that Sha’nann’s activities in Thrive are not to blame for the murders. Chris Watts is. Nor did she “drive him to it”, in my opinion. He enjoyed the perks associated with it, he was leading a double life, he was smiling and pretending and should pay. This was posted August 16, and many of you have probably seen it. Forensic Psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel commented after watching Chris talking to the reporters, that he appears to have “thought through this alot.” He has a stock answer for their questions. Here if you want to see. I liked his analysis:

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    • Sha’nann’s activities in Thrive are not to blame for the murders. Chris Watts is. Nor did she “drive him to it”, in my opinion. >That’s just a very schizophrenic, simplistic, black and white view. So he was living in a vacuum and had a mood swing, killed his whole family at the drop of a hat, and it didn’t really have to do with anything. I’m just wondering what you’ve learned in 3 months about this case? I also think your background in MLM makes you constantly rationalize and minimize the MLM aspect. It’s really disappointing to see this from someone who is constantly on this site, reading everything, commenting all the time. In one ear out the other.

      he appears to have “thought through this alot.”> So he thought through the murders a lot [that part is true], but it had nothing to do with anything driving him to do it. So…uh…why was he thinking about it a lot? If you want to buy a car and you think about it a lot…is something driving you to buy the car? Kindergarten stuff.

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      • I don’t deny the role MLM had in all of this. Many people have quit their mlm company and not been killed by their spouses. It’s devastating financially, but does it lead to murder? No. Divorce maybe, financial ruin maybe. But he had to have been having some significant changes going on in his own self to continually look as though he was enjoying everything she was putting on camera, the test drives, the trips, while all along he was what – deciding he couldn’t stand her? There’s also been a trend going on here to blame her, call her a liar, she wasn’t a good mother. We don’t know any of that. We do not know what went on in that family, really. He has changed one of his pleas to murder during domestic disturbance or dispute Which tells me there was an argument over divorce. It tells me he strangled her out of some conversation they had that morning and then had to strangle the girls. Was he going to have them wake up to an empty house while he ran his wife over to a shallow grave? He had to take them out too, total annihilation. This lacked planning. If he had so carefully planned this he would not have taken them to his work site where sooner rather than later they would be discovered. He also can’t hold on to his story. “Why was he thinking about it alot” (according to the forensic psychologist) because his answers were pat to the reporters. But that doesn’t mean he thought it though, his coverup was lousy, his timing was lousy, and he obviously didn’t think out the consequences because he so quickly confessed. I believe the reason for killing the girls is alot simpler than wanting to wipe the slate clean, but yes, in his mind he thought this is what he had to do to resolve his situation. That is what is locked inside him, I still want to know what that thinking is. What was he going to do with them in the house after he murdered their mother. Load mom into the back and take them on a fun trip to his work site? Or let them cry in a dark lonely house like Deeter. Yes, I think he thought about killing them, but when it came right down to it, it was sudden, some argument precipitated it BASED on him wanting to leave and something she said and the rest was a very chaotic attempt to cover it up. You are over simplifying what I said – living in a vacuum, had a mood swing, really? Do you take me for that dumb?

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      • MLM is devastating financially, but does it lead to murder? No. Divorce maybe, financial ruin maybe. — So what’s your theory on why this murder happened? Sorry, I seemed to have missed it.

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      • Pauline, please don’t take this the wrong way, but a lot of what you’ve said is the very reason I stopped reading all the overly emotional, hysterical posts on Facebook. It was so refreshing to come here and finally see some in-depth, intelligent discussion.

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    • Not quite. Sentencing hearing, which may last 2 hours, and DA will probably be interviewed in-depth once everything is settled. He did mention Watts confided in him about his motive.

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      • Yes, and the motive will be given he said, the day after sentencing (Nov. 19). I don’t know, but I now think my friend from Denver was right. It all happened (all three murders) after she returned home. Don’t you think so? Of course he STILL could have premeditated it, thought about it, worked it out in his mind. If I just knew the sequence………

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    • Pauline, I think Shan’ann s Involvement in the MLM likely contributed to the tragedy, mostly because of the devastating impact it was probably having on their finances. You’re right: stresses like finances don’t generally lead to a murder let alone a family’s annihilation, but in some cases the combination of stressors and pathologies such as Chris’s do erupt in this kind of terrible violence .

      I grew up in a family with an out-of-control spender like Shan’ann—my mother (she was also an alcoholic)—and I can tell you it has terrible impacts on relationships and the entire family. Compulsive spending is an addictive behavior (look at Shan’ann’s closets, and I believe the Thrive endeavor with all of its pretty package product purchases was an outlet for this compulsive behavior too). Like any addictive behavior such as alcoholism (there are hints Shan’ann may have been wrestling with this issue as well), compulsive spending does involve covering up, lying. It also involves bullying, because addicts are desperate to maintain control to enable their compulsive behaviors. Overall, these addictive behaviors undermine trust between family members, as well as their overall sense of security. It is a frightening dynamic that usually erupts in violence but seldom murder. In my family’s case, the violence manifested in loud arguments, fists in faces, threats of “I’m going to f’n kill you,” slammed doors, threats of divorce, child abuse,as well as chairs and dishes hurled across the room. Although I’m obviously still here, I often believed my very life was threatened due to these violent episodes.

      Watching yesterday’s interview with the DA brought home to me the magnitude of the Watts tragedy, as he very eloquently but sparely articulated its impact on Shan’ann’s family. While I’m selfishly sorry it’s not going to trial, I am glad for Shan’ann’s and the Watts’ families that they will be spared extended trauma. I only hope that over time more is learned about what led to this terrible tragedy—a sobering opportunity for all of us.

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      • Pauline seems to be saying her friend in Denver is right, and also Chris Watts is right. His version was he got home, they argued, she strangled the kids [now he admits he did], and then he killed Shan’ann. Oh wait, he killed her, and THEN them? When? Just before he went to work at 5am? If it’s premeditated, why would he wait till 5am? So it wasn’t premeditated. So…he murdered his family because he got upset over an argument. But the next day he was fine.

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      • Cheryl I personally think this trial could have done a huge amount of good exposing the damage MLM wreaks on society. One family destroyed, and now none of those lessons will be learned or explored in court. That means a golden opportunity to save thousands of other relationships, marriages and lives has gone-a-begging.

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      • Chris wasn’t going to sit by and see his little girls grow up and turn into a “hot mess” too. I mean no disrespect but anyone following the case closely will understand what I mean by this.

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      • Thank you, Nick. Agreed—absolutely. And beyond the MLMS, help for addicts of all socio-economic classes (and their families!!!), however those issues may manifest: shopaholics, alcoholics, OCD—my mother exhibited all of these behaviors. I grew up in the 60s and early 70s, when these issues were neither discussed nor even labeled. However, we are in 2018, when these issues have been recognized, categorized and discussed but still seem to be verboten as per consideration by so many when trying to figure out what led to this family’s tragedy. I’m getting on my obnoxious soapbox here , but It is the silence, the turning away, the willful refusal to deal with the complexity of these tragedies that will enable others to occur. I just watched the video of the attorney (Reisch?), who provides perspectives on these cases. His perspective? Done deal: Chris Watts has confessed, file the case in a drawer somewhere, and move on. Well, Bull F’N SH-T!!!, which is why I so appreciate what you do!!!! I cannot thank you enough for your trenchant insights and hard work.

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      • Lol, yeah I saw that. Case closed – even before sentencing.

        This could easily be a 6-8 book series, and if so, I’m almost halfway there. But I must say, I’ll be glad when the 3rd one is out. 3 books in a row on any crime tends to make one stale. In a weird way, the shenanigans in this case have really stirred up simmering curiosities about the shenanigans down the road in Boulder. I think there’s still room for fresh perspective and insight into one of the oldest and coldest cases in American true crime.

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  9. Thank you I just caught it. Interesting – Rourke said he couldn’t promise the family there wouldn’t be delays in a death penalty case “in part thanks to our Governor” and I looked up the Nathan Dunlap case. Also that the family wanted a resolution that didn’t include death for Chris. I too, like Rourke, feel “sick.” And I think we may have got some things wrong, maybe not, but no where else did anyone make a real effort to untangle this case the way you did Nick and I appreciate very much what you did. Actually I’m very moved by you. I know it can’t be easy, immersing yourself in crime, researching, and writing about it. But I’m grateful that you do.

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  10. Pauline – Thank you for enlightening me even more on Thrive. No way would I allow an MLM access for deductions to my bank accounts. In fact, I live out in the boonies and the newspaper is only home delivered twice a week. Only way to get it was to allow an $8.00 a month deduction from my checking acct. I didn’t want to do it, but I did. It wasn’t the $8 bucks, it was access that I don’t like. Bet Thrive had many tricks to take more money than Shan’ann probably gave them permission to take from her bank account! She was reaching for ” pie in the sky” with that company! Poor thing, sad. I’m glad for the family that this plea agreement is likely a done deal. Even though it should be innocent until proven guilty, I got sick of arguing with people who told me that I would have to eat crow when the trial starts and it’s proven that Shan’ann killed her kids! HA! I’ll have to let THEM know that I have a few plates of crow they can cram down their throats! And by the way, I agree with you about Nick. I’m hooked on his writing now thanks to the Watts case! I agree its probably not easy for him, I doubt he sleeps much! His site is the FIRST place I check every day to see if he posted anything new! I’m now a forever fan. I’ll definitely be reading his books on Casey Anthony, JonBenet, the McCann case, Scott Peterson……. Good thing I’m retired lol !!

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  11. That’s great Diana! One of the counts was changed. Just tried to find it again and can’t for now. I don’t think his parents were in attendance. I feel so badly for her family.

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  12. Nick, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on why Chris might have accepted the plea deal? A lot of people are already saying he’s only doing it to escape the death penalty but in my opinion that would be cowardly of him to explain it away like that. Are we ever likely to hear the truth of what happened? It’s so scary to me that a guy like that can do away with his whole family when he came across just like the guy next door. Can we really trust anyone?

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  13. 100% yes it had an impact on my marriage. 100% yes it had an impact on our finances. I started as a newlywed, and I finished it a year before divorce. And he was just as disappointed that I quit. And for someone so bright who knew that he was carrying the weight, he did everything he could to help me succeed. Long, long after I quit I still held on to the concept that maybe I didn’t work as hard as I could have, even though I was doing it 24/7. Then remarkably, his second wife got into it. I wanted to quit a year after I started, wanted to concentrate on my pregnancy, but I was persuaded that if I stopped altogether I would lose all I had built.

    I’m grateful I was not required to make videos. There was no such thing as facebook, instagram, smart phones or really the internet, not until 1986 and by then I was finished, and so were we. My ex never pretended, he supported. Of course it contributed to dissolution of marriage, there were differences in our personalities too that we could not mesh and compromise on because I say, we were both predisposed to not. But that’s getting too psychological for here. I’m glad I wasn’t murdered over it, or my children.

    What do you think Chris’s pathologies were Cheryl? I so admire your thoughts and insights. Except maybe politically 🙂 Yesterday’s press conference had an impact on my thinking as well. I think Chris was trying to spare himself the dealth penalty. And I only hope he doesn’t change his mind. He knew he was F—-d.

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    • So if it had an impact on your marriage and finances from beginning to end, why wouldn’t it have an impact on someone who was living and breathing it daily, and was into several other MLMs. This isn’t a question for you to answer to me, or to post a response on this site, it’s one to try to think about on your own.

      Over time I find your comments very invalidating, because it makes me wonder if any of the research I do makes any difference. You don’t appear to get it, and I don’t think that’s going to change. MLM is the same way. People will defend it to the death and then say they’re not defending it.

      The thing is I can’t afford to spend this much time having the same arguments over and over with the same people. That’s why it makes sense to disable comments going forward.

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  14. As I said I’m interested in the sequence. That he had malice aforethought, there is no doubt in my mind. And those words are also equated with the word premeditation. He knew when he put his hands around their necks and squeezed it would kill them. I’m hesitant to say that he planned in advance. If so he did a pretty shitty job of planning. Thought about it, yes. Thought about killing Sha’nann, probably. Thought about killing the girls too? There is just something about that that I don’t think so. Now if he tells us, ever, that he killed these girls soon after the birthday party then I’ll eat my computer mouse.

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  15. Sorry, I kept going while you were typing. I”ll sit and ponder all of this more. I have another point of view, I don’t mean to invalidate anything you have put forward. And I thank you for your valuable insights and books.

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    • You keep cycling back [in every crime and every debate we ever have] to the most simplistic explanation. It’s some or other version of “just snapped”. You do it because it’s the easy way to explain a case without thinking about it. You take a little fragment and you sit on it and feel like you know what happened. All you’re doing is transferring yourself into the crime, and you do it every time.

      The harder job is to allow the identities of these people to speak for themselves. Part of how you do that is you ask yourself, honestly if you can, say, on a question like MLM. Were there maybe any moments when I was involved in MLM that weren’t really very nice? Not, how great MLM was and what a good person you are today.

      This case involved triple murder. They were real people and they really are dead and gone. It’s not hypothetical, it’s reality. So obviously the bad stuff mattered. Are you able to acknowledge the bad stuff? Murders happen because people become overwhelmed by bad stuff. As I’ve said a million times, even in a situation where some emotion was triggered, there is a lifetime of malaise, dysfunction and deceit lying behind it which amounts to living a lie. Murder lies at the end of that process. So when you make the argument that there was a spontaneous mood swing related to nothing, and irrelevant to the people invovled, you disconnect the crime from virtually everything.

      That’s what criminals try to do to minimize their crimes. So why are you helping that psychology along? Why won’t you, why don’t you and why can’t you connect actions to actual people and actual circumstances and reality?

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  16. “So when you make the argument that there was a spontaneous mood swing related to nothing…” did I do that? It’s ALL related. Her involvement in MLM’s, his cheating, his metamorphosis into a handsome buffed up guy, as well as things we don’t know about – his childhood, his view of himself before he married her, how he was raised, his new opportunities in a new state, job, home ownership and a slew of arguments that most probably went on when the cameras weren’t rolling. It isn’t simplistic, it’s complicated. To say that her involvement in thrive gave him his motive – that’s as simplistic and silly as what you are accusing me of doing – defending MLM’s. Of course there were bad bad times. Carrying my sales suitcases into crummy areas of town with poor illumination and 8 months pregnant were some of the worst. Giving birth a second time a week after I “made it” and then realizing that now it really starts and I have to amp it up. No time to enjoy my infant, no time to nurse because if I’m doing a presentation and I start lactating what do I do. THAT was stinkin’ thinkin’ as they were so fond of telling us when we wanted to quit. But…..did the ruination of family finances and divorce cause my husband to kill me and the children? Thankfully, not. And I want to know what really did – not negate the part MLM paid in it, but not single it out either as being the only thing that impacted his life. He had something else going on. You said he was afraid. That’s worth exploring. But my time is up here and I thank you for the time.

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    • Jesus, now it’s all related. No, not everything is related to everything. People do have the filter of a thing called identity.

      “To say that her involvement in thrive gave him his motive – that’s as simplistic and silly as what you are accusing me of doing – defending MLM’s.” Wow. I don’t believe I’ve ever said the MLM is the motive. I’ve said it’s part of the motive. You’re the one who has maintained it didn’t drive him to do anything. You connect many, many fragments to come to an integrated whole.

      But I suppose it’s pointless trying to convince a MLMer of anything, especially related to this case. You’re an MLM to begin with because you have disconnected, magical thinking, not because you don’t. The temptation is thus constant to jump into magical thinking at every available opportunity.

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  17. And you , it seems, are an ass . Over and over again you go out of your way to try and belittle readers that are supportive. Shouldnt that be what you want ? It must be . You are always so quick to wave your own flag. Me me me! I posted the pics first then someone else copied them ! Take that HLN ! Readmy great reviews! Sad thing is , you do great investigation and reporting . But with your piss poor self righteous attitude,you will turn most readers off before they care to find out. Thats gotta suck.

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    • Actually with Pauline, we have entered into personal correspondence, literally dozens and dozens of emails. I eventually had to ask her to stop because it wasn’t going anywhere. Just endless questions but without being able to take the answers anywhere. Since then she’s taken up her correspondence here.

      I invested a lot into this particular reader. The fact that she’s read several books made me think we were making progress. So yeah, it does suck to see that the thinking hasn’t gotten more sophisticated.

      I appreciate your criticism. It’s valid in one sense, and that is because the media don’t validate my work I have to rely on my readers to do that. Many of them elect to contact me directly or personally. My readers, even my biggest fans actually very seldom go to the trouble to validate my efforts. It’s a lot of work writing reviews, which leaves me to validate my own work. That does suck a lot. I would much rather only be writing, and only be researching.

      This site, as I’ve mentioned before, is an experiment. It’s giving away work for free and diligent research on a daily basis for several weeks now. I’m not sure if it’s been worth it, do you? With the amount of time and effort that’s gone into about 130 individual blog posts I would probably have been better off writing 2 more books and been paid for the work.

      I was hoping to develop relationships and rapport with readers, but many simply refuse to move from the most elementary thinking process on true crime. And that’s frustrating and really does suck. The result of all this suckage…why persist with it?

      It’s a lot easier to write books and and not address ideas, opinions and comments one-on-one, which – do you think they’re appreciated… or… seen as privileged interactions, or is it just casual conversation on the level of social media?

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      • Nick,
        I liken this site to a classroom, where students have an opportunity to engage with and learn from the professor. Outside the classroom the professor undertakes research and writes books, which he shares in the classroom. He engages students in thoughtful discussion regarding his work. Reciprocally, students share their insights, creating an ongoing feedback loop. As in a college classroom setting, it is a unique opportunity that should be respected by being well prepared for discussion, in this case writing well considered posts. I would hate for you to disable this process but understand your frustration with it. Perhaps if you defined the terms of participation, it would make this site more manageable, I.e., you’re not going to respond to all comments (which you don’t anyway), only those that are germane to the discussion and that offer opinions or ideas that can be supported and that advance the discussion. In other words, make it clear this site’s discussions are more formal than Facebook post-it land. Maybe you don’t want this process to be so restrictive, but it seems you’re frustrated with casual comments. Whatever you decide to do, I appreciate your time spent here. Thanks.

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  18. Look at her family and her choice of friends and the way they all behave on social media. Also look at her choice of work: lots of different MLM schemes which attract very similar people. Now look at the behaviour of all those involved post murders: the public commentary and the Go Fund Me pages and so on. This will tell you a lot more about Shan’Ann than you think.

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  19. Nick doesn’t owe anyone here anything. If you aren’t up for healthy debate and take his feedback too personally then this isn’t the place for you. I might be wrong but he’s trying to get everyone to really “think” and even try to understand ourselves a little better. None of us are perfect, we are all complicated and flawed human beings whether we accept that or not. That’s why crime happens.

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  20. Regardless of whether i agree on your approach of communication with readers, I must say your writing, the effort and thought process that you put forth , is on point. You do have the ability to make a reader want to return to see what you will have to say next. That is priceless in your line of work, i would say.

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  21. The topic here has ventured into MLM land often. It is my personal opinion that someone involved with these companies are heading to disaster. I take it that they are instructed to “dont turn back now! Then all of the effort will be for nothing .” I feel if a person sees the light and escapes from these companies , they will possibly regain control of their lives that these companies have taken the reigns on. It doesnt seem that many make it to the top of these pyramids. You cant help but wonder, with all that has to be lost in the fight to get to the top , wouldnt it basically become a pyrrhic victory? And on that note, i truly hope that you , Nick , dont turn back now in your battle to the top. Unlike the battle with MLM pyramid schemes, it really would be a total loss , waste of talent, and disservice to the public in general if you dont keep going. Im rambling i suppose….

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    • I went for a run with a group this evening. Every time there’s a dude who piggybacks onto the run group, and tries to sell Herbalife from a temporary table where we start and stretch when we finish.

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