Ronnie and Cindy Watts believe Chris Watts didn’t kill Bella and Celeste, say Shan’ann “changed” him, was abusive and isolated him from his family

A trial means the whole truth comes out, is put under the light. It’s not just the story of the defendant, it also allows the victim’s story to be told. More than anything, it gives the community an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, potentially valuable and meaningful lessons.

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Now, with the sentencing less than a week away, we’re starting to learn that there’s more to the Watts story than we’ve been told. Who Shan’ann really was is the focus now, based on these admissions by Chris Watts’ parents. But are they telling the truth about Shan’ann, or they doing whatever they can to save their 33-year-old son from a desperate fate – life in prison without parole.

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According to KDVr.com his parents believe he killed Shan’ann, but not his daughters:

“He did kill her, but the kids, no. It’s very difficult, very difficult. I can’t imagine my son doing that. He couldn’t have done that,” Watts said. Cindy Watts spoke from her home in North Carolina. She says her family is not being allowed to speak to Christopher and she thinks he was coerced by prosecutors into pleading guilty.

“I want to stop it before it’s too late. I want to talk to him. I want to be able to talk to him. I love my son no matter what and I want to fight for him, and I don’t want him to go down for something he didn’t do,” Watts said.

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In their interview with ABC13, yet another side of the story has emerged:

Chris’ parents said their son changed once he met Shanann. “He was in sports from when he was 5 until 17 years old,” said Cindy. “There’s not one person you can talk to that will say anything about this kid. He was normal, he didn’t have a temper, he was just easy-going like his Dad. He’s not a monster.”

Chris’ parents said their son’s relationship with Shan’ann was abusive and they felt she isolated Chris from his family in the time they were together.

“It boils down to: I just want the truth of what really happened,” said Ronnie Watts, Chris’ father. “If he did it all, I can live with it. If he didn’t, I want him to fight for it.”

It seems incomprehensible that his parents wouldn’t go down to the jail to talk to their son ahead of the sentencing hearing on November 19. There’s still time to have a change of heart, and they have. But will he?

38 thoughts on “Ronnie and Cindy Watts believe Chris Watts didn’t kill Bella and Celeste, say Shan’ann “changed” him, was abusive and isolated him from his family

  1. Pingback: Christopher Watts: What else do we know? [UPDATED] | True Crime Rocket Science / #tcrs

  2. Chris has a sister, her name is Jamie. The night of, or the night after the plea deal Jamie’s best friend of many years was on a podcast that I listened to. I cannot recall her name but she said that the day of the -plea, before court that Jamie, his mom, and dad Ronny all had 30 minutes each with Chris before he went into court. 30 minutes each. She wouldn’t say much about their conversations(out of respect for the Watts family) so I find it hard to believe that speaking about the plea never came up to any of them. I just don’t think Chris will ever completely tell the truth about what really happened. The autopsy reports will tell a lot.

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  3. Didn’t Chris Watts, in the very beginning, admit to killing the kids? Only after speaking with his dad did he turn around and say Shanann did it?

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  4. Cindy Watts thinks the confession was coerced but how could it be if the defense went to the prosecution (2 x’s) wanting to make a deal. The 1st one was turned down, the 2nd accepted. Just want to understand is all

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  5. It also beggars belief if Sha’nann killed the kids that he would not call the police. Lets say he flew into a rage and killed Sha’nann as he says, to retaliate for killing the kids. Then his next thought is I’ll stuff them into oil tanks and dig a shallow grave. Then I’ll pretend they must have vanished, no wait they are visiting a friend.

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  6. I feel sympathy for his parents. After all, he is still their son no matter what vile thing he did. I wonder if he just doesn’t want all his secrets coming out . He knows he is going to prison for quite some time either way. Why have his dirty closeted secrets spread across television for all the late night talking heads to analyze night after night. I wonder if he’d rather everyone believe he killed his family than have all the secrets he had hidden away broadcast? I wonder if these secrets aren’t the real trigger. Did Shanann know something in her final days?

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  7. Her whole family knew Chris wanted Out.
    Maybe Her Family needs to Rewatch her Dominance, her Controlling ways. She was No 1.
    You never see Chris not once out with the Boys, no sports, no male bonding…they say gay affair not true.
    She made him her Slave, and the kids bothered her.
    At first he admitted to killing her…not the kids.
    He needs to Appeal this Deal.
    Something not right here.

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  8. I’d like to know Why her first husband Divorce Her? Why did she sell her house and leave all furniture…….Super fast….to move her.
    Too many Questions….not enough answers.

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  9. Last night I rewatched the 30-minute video where Shan’ann claims she worked hard and “built” the house in North Carolina. She bought an existing house; she didn’t build it—embellishing the “truth” here. Later in the video, when she’s talking about her health “challenge” (which she interestingly fails to identify as lupus) and how she was misunderstood by friends because she looked perfect on the outside, she slips and says, and they didn’t realize “ I felt perfect on the inside,” then quickly corrects and says (I paraphrase), “I mean bad on the inside.” This makes me wonder if Shan’ann concocted or embellished an illness as an excuse to quit her job in North Carolina due to issues there or due to wanting to shift financial responsibility to Chris, as she did by quitting jobs in Colorado (this time to stay at home with the kids). Bottom line: I suspect Shan’ann “manipulated reality” to craft her self-truth no matter how damaging it might be to others, including Chris and the children. Again, there’s a lot more to this case…

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    • I think she did manipulate reality but I don’t think that includes making up anything about lupus. She was following about a dozen lupus-related accounts on twitter.

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      • Understood. However, in several of the videos, she doesn’t seem to have an aversion to the sun, which I thought was off-limits to lupus sufferers. Could she have been on the lupus sites to gather information about it to support the artifice of her having the disease? Did she imagine she was sick with lupus when she was not? Do we know she had been diagnosed with lupus versus another more ephemeral illness? Claiming to have a chronic disease would be another attention-getting opportunity, as well as a reason not to work. I don’t know—just throwing it some thoughts out there. At this point, I have such low regard for the woman, I have to watch out that I don’t try to make the “facts” fit a preconceived and/or desired narrative. As you say, it ends up clouding the truth and in doing so negates the goal of true crime: finding the truth.

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      • This is good but do we know if she had actually been diagnosed? Does the friend know? Does Chris know? Shan’ann put up a lot of smoke screens, so I’m questioning her having lupus. She didn’t seem to have problems going out in the sun or getting pregnant, as per a lupus diagnosis. The third child seemed to be conceived very timely in terms of trying to salvage a deteriorating relationship. Could Chris’s figuring out she was full of it in terms of her chronic disease assertion have informed part of his rage toward her? Could this be subtext for Chris’s saying, “When you want it, it happens”?

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  10. It’s very difficult to get a lupus diagnosis. She probably went through a lot of testing to find out. Not much is known of the disease, but it can have debilitating effects on a person. I have a friend that suffered from it. She had to quit school because she suffered joint pain, and had kidney problems from the antibodies (autoantibodies) attacking her renal system. Not everyone gets a butterfly rash or pain from the Sun.

    I don’t think there is anything that justifies murdering your spouse. I am sure he has his reasons, but doesn’t want to share.

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      • It is documented, but we don’t have access to those records. We do know she quit her jobs to be a stay at home mom, and the household medical debt was high. If you think the lupus is a conspiracy, well then I guess when she referred to being diagnosed in 2010, during her “dark episode”, that wasn’t fact.

        https://people.com/crime/shanann-watts-pregnant-lupus-excited/

        Amanda Thayer has spoken to the media about it, and I think if it wasn’t true, the Rzuceks would have corrected the media reports. In her obituary her family also make indirect reference to it:

        “Oh how Shan’ann was so excited to be able to have another child because of her battle” with lupus, wrote her family. “She was determined to stay healthy and with her love for her Celeste, every moment with her was a blessing.”

        People magazine removed the quotations around “lupus” not because it’s not mentioned in the obituary but because they misspelled it with a capital “L”.

        http://sandhillssentinel.com/obituary-for-shanann-cathryn-watts-and-children/

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  11. I believe I read where she originally thought she had fibromyalgia. I remember in the 1990’s it was a “popular” diagnosis for sort of vague symptoms of musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, mood swings and sleeplessness. It became a popular diagnosis because treatment included vicodin and hydrocodone. Which of course lead to opioid dependency. The pain is real. If Tammy is right, above, then it may have taken some time for her to have been diagnosed with lupus, and what was thought to be fibromyalgia may have been lupus.

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  12. By the way, I’m not on a “team”. I admit after Watts plead guilty to all nine counts, and I heard Rourke at the press conference, I felt an overwhelming sadness for the victims. And anger toward Watts. It’s ironic because when I read Nick’s book Slaughter I could actually put myself in Adam Lanza’s shoes, I felt a tremendous amount of empathy for him even though what he did was heinous. I’m sure if I had had a child in the school I would feel differently. But i could see clearly how his mother smothered him and his father abandoned him and locked him in to a very strange and weird family dynamic which I hope people will read about in the book so I won’t say any more. I do admit that I lose my objectivity regularly, and I struggle to get it back because it’s always important that we try to understand. Maybe with more understanding we can actually predict – and prevent.

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  13. I thought the interview was very weird.
    If you don’t know about the case, you would think right away that he was the victim.
    And no mention of their granddaughters?
    And just bashing SW…
    I’m just saying, maybe there’s a lot of fucked up family dynamics we are witnessing through that interview I cannot quite gasp

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  14. As a nurse, I just wanted to throw this out here. There are actually two types of lupus, one kind is REALLY bad, the other kind – not so bad. The worse kind is referred to as systemic. Systemic lupus can and usually does affect the organs and life long steroids are just one part of the treatment. The second kind of lupus is a milder form that doesn’t systemically affect the organs. For those of you who believe Shan’ann played up her illnesses, perhaps she had the milder form? This would explain her seemingly appearing healthy. Will add that Shan’ann also claimed to have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can be very debilitating, I should know – I was diagnosed over 10 years ago and was forced to retire in my 50’s due to fibromyalgia. I have my good days and bad days, maybe Shan’ann’s fibromyalgia affected her the same way – good days and some really bad days.

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    • Diana if you had to guess, how would you diagnose the severity of Shan’ann’s lupus? I think the fact that she wanted to work from home is symptomatic of something, don’t you?

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  15. it’s possible Chris did change and isolate himself from his family, but it could be the case that he did that on his own initiative. If he was realizing that he was bisexual or having other urges he was ashamed of and he kept all of that secret, it would have affected his family relationships in all likelihood. If that’s the case, blaming it all on Shan’ann is sad and a convenient way for them to project their frustrations.

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  16. Nick I really have to wonder which type of lupus Shan’ann had and if it was debilitating for her. Here’s why. I’m assuming you don’t live in the U.S., but that’s not to say you’re not knowledgeable in how things are here, so just in case, I’ll explain where I’m at with Shan’ann’s illnesses. If Shan’ann was unable to work why didn’t she collect Social Security Disability/SSD? SSD is like insurance program with workers paying premiums from each paycheck. With Shan’ann’s work history she likely would’ve qualified for SSD. It would’ve paid more than what she made selling Thrive! Now, there is a different program for those who don’t have enough work credits and that’s called SSI. SSI is paid for by taxpayers and it pays a lot less than SSD. SSD is not a welfare, freebie type program for the needy like SSI is either. Chris’s income would’ve had no bearing what-so-ever on Shan’ann getting SSD. With the Watts financial situation, I would expect Shan’ann to go get a real job or get SSD if she couldn’t work due to medical issues. So judging from her videos, social media postings, no SSD and what her lifestyle was with all the vacations, I’d say Shan’ann had the non-systemic, less serious type of lupus or that whatever medical issues she may have had were under control.

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    • That’s interesting, but how do you know she wasn’t collecting the insurance? It does raise an interesting point though, which is – if she was capable of doing business trips and holidays, wasn’t she capable of working a real job? My understanding of lupus is it’s a horrible disease, comes and goes, and one of the biggest problems is people who don’t have it struggle to understand those who do have it.

      Another aspect is Shan’ann looked pretty good towards the end of her life. She’d lost a fair amount of weight, and appeared healthy. I’m not sure if that means she was healthy though, or less symptomatic. I mean, the Thrive thing was/is all about bullshitting how great every aspect of your life was/is.

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    • I just came across a post where Shan’ann said she was diagnosed with lupus and fibro and was “at her worst” in 2010. She describes that period feeling like her world was “crumbling” around her. I think the fact that she was led to believe she couldn’t conceive or would struggle also suggests it wasn’t a mild form of the disease. What do you think?

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