This is 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, according to him, she was just being 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 barbed, bitter wounding from him the barbed, bitter 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 for him to stand in front of his house, and for him to be afforded the chance to speak for Shan’ann for once.

Instead of her always speaking for him, always drowning him out, now he could do what she did to him, he could be her voice. 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 he had the power to craft any narrative about her.

Whatever he said became her reality, almost like an enchantment. What a turn-around after all the months of MLM madness, all that time of being being pushed, moved and prodded like a pawn through all those meaningless spiels. Well how about this spiel! This was him getting his comeuppance. And not without a little of his own spite peppering proceedings, but 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. She reacts mercilessly, like a scorned tyrant, on her own children. 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 of going missing to punish him, his original 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, didn’t it?

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. Maybe she was upset about something and she left so score a point.

Well, she would do that. She did do that, didn’t she?

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 demeanor is based on a scenario where him and Shan’ann had had a simple argument, he cares about her and the kids is how he’s presenting himself, 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 [what’s the deal?]. 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.

35 thoughts on “This is why Chris Watts thought he could get away with the annihilation of his family

  1. One word that is missing seems to be “love”—i don’t recall him saying anything about loving his wife or the kids.

    It definitely makes sense to position Shan’ann as the one who caused the situation. She was the go-getter, the one who took action and seemed to have all the answers. Chris was emasculated to all who knew him—Shannan’s comments on Facebook seemed to passively aggressively say he was pathetic, had no balls or brain—we can only imagine what was said off of social media. So yes, he was used to the doubt that he could be a mastermind of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I was thinking of the word “vindictive” and that Shannan had taken the girls and gone away to get back at him. Love is a better word to identify as missing. It certainly was missing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think everyone knew they were going to Seperate, except Shanann. Her mother told co-workers, that they were going to Seperate.
    Too bad when she at her Dad’s, she didn’t leave girls there and fly home alone?
    That would have been interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This would explain why he came across as so ridiculous in TV interview. He was speaking to us as if we knew his wife was liable to do such a thing. (It does not mean that Shannan was though. We have no idea if she was vindictive or not. Her MIL’s word while her son is awaiting sentencing does not count.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, another great entry to your blog! One can only wonder what will be revealed in the next day or so. I have a hard time accepting the theory that a pregnant woman would kill her children. I feel for all both families. I think Mrs. Watts is in denial, which is totally understandable. Chris Watts lied in every ” porch sermon” interview. He fucked up. Period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Over the next couple of days all eyes and ears are going to be on Colorado. Who knows, considering the state of Cindy Watts mind and her ignorance of the criminal justice system she may well end up behind bars too!, for contempt of court.


  5. This case can appear so simple if you choose that approach . I see anything BUT simplicity. There is so much turmoil and emotion going on under the surface. It would be so easy to say ” he killed them and disposed of them in an awful way- theres no excuse. ” and there isnt. There is no excuse to think that it is anyone’s rite besides God’s to end an existence on this earth. But if you get a good look at the end result of this, and can take a step back to see why did it happen , if you can just open your eyes and use a bit of empathy, is it rite that it reached that point? Is it rite to run someone down to the ground and make them feel like the most worthless piece of shit on the bottom side of the shoe of humanity? Was that really necessary for her to do that? Everyone keeps saying ” why didnt he just get a divorce” ? well you know what ? Hang on a minute. Why the hell didnt SHE just get a divorce if she thought she was married to someone that wasnt smart, rich , or charming enough for her? Wouldnt that have been the most UN – slimeball thing to do instead of resorting to the behavior in which she imposed upon her husband that she chose to marry on a daily basis????? He should not have taken anyone’s life . For any reason. But that doesnt erase her wrongdoings. Not by far.


  6. After being dominated and suppressed for so many years, like an iceberg above the surface there were signs that showed like retreating into himself in silence, but beneath the surface the real monster was growing. He had a new found appreciation of, and boost to self through the affair, and all that time being a bachelor to feel free and unencumbered. She was financially stable like Shan’ann was, and believed he was such a hero doing all the right things for his girls through the perceived separation/divorce. Then being stuck with the girls whilst Shan’ann went off on a trip again he reached his limit, realising that that was his lot and life and soon to be three to look after. I think after the flight being delayed he told Shan’ann he was leaving but probably not in the best way, and given she liked to run the show she bit back so to speak, threatening maybe he wouldn’t see the girls. She would have wanted any separating on her terms esp. around how it impacted on Thrive and how she was seen by others. He stood firm and said no I’m going, I’ve met someone. She really freaks out and perhaps says something super spiteful like the baby’s not yours, anything to get back it him and he finally flips and has to silence her. I don’t know if the girls woke and saw something or if he panicked thinking how was he going to get rid of her with two girls in tow but perhaps then he took their lives. Freaking out he takes them to the only place he can think of and in a mad panic makes all sorts of crazy choices. Blames her in his mind that she caused the girls death, she forced him to do it and therefore makes connection in his mind it was her fault, she did it. Doesn’t want to go down for something he perceives to be her fault so he makes crazed judgement to put them in oil tanks. Post trauma stress kicks in and doesn’t have time to piece it all together in coherent way hence mistakes in times given, what happened etc. Frantically trying to come up with something but also wanting it all desperately to go away so deliriously makes the call to pretend knows nothing about it. I am really hoping he didn’t coldly calculate to take those precious girls lives away at the get go. Part of me wants to find out more at the sentencing, and part of me doesn’t.


  7. So you’ve accepted his version of events as set out in the affidavit. The first version was missing. Second that she murdered the children. Third that he killed everyone after an argument with her. There is a mild version, then progressively less mild, less mild etc. But you’re still following a version of his version when he lied about everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My opinion is CW planned the murders. SW told friends he acted cold to her and his kids in the last month. He was not loving toward the kids for weeks she said. Mentally he removed himself from them all. Probably researched methods to kill them. Was the doll with the twister mat overtop its face his idea of a joke that SW wouldn’t get, but foreshadowing his murder plans?

    We know Chris lied and cheated for months before he wiped out his family. He lied to the girlfriend too as he was not almost divorced or going to get an apartment for him and the kids. His plan was SW and the kids would disappear without a trace at his work disposal site. Dumped like trash so he could begin a new life without any baggage from his old one.

    Chris is a skilled liar and better actor in real life than on the videos. Until he made his choice and took away SW and the children’s choices.

    No way SW hurt her kids. She loved them despite some of her poor career choices which she could have changed in time. She caught glimpses of the real Chris toward the end. Had she known what he was capable of, she would not have trusted him with the kids or returned to the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Missed. He didn’t say that he missed Shannan and his daughters. And he didn’t but felt relief they were gone. So if he didn’t love his wife how did he feel about his kids? Were they just a liability to him? Very sad.

    If Chris didn’t like how Shannan treated him, her MLM job, their financial situation there were steps he should have taken much sooner to leave the marriage especially before he helped create Nico.

    I have cousins who had a third child after having marital problems and they still ended in bitter divorces. One husband became a deadbeat dad, abused drugs, moved in with his parents, only worked cash jobs so my cousin couldn’t get child support for their 3 kids. My cousin didn’t have a college degree, worked as an admin assistant and became a single mom who needed family help. Not easy.

    Ironically, had Chris simply left them to start his new life, Shannan would have had to start over with her family’s help. Then she would have eventually quit the MLM jobs and pursued better opportunities like sales or customer support. She could have sold a product or service instead of her family’s lifestyle as the MLM tell followers to do. Only if she hit rock bottom would she have a need to examine what went wrong.


  10. PLEASE … for someone pleading for the return of his family he never said PLEASE come back, PLEASE bring them back, PLEASE don’t hurt them, PLEASE be safe.


  11. I live 20 miles from Waupun, the prison Chris Watts now calls home. I have become obsessed with this case. I have watched the videos, read the reports. I can’t find an answer to a question that keeps bugging me: Why didn’t Shanann fight back? If this was not planned, they fought, he started strangling her, she would have scratched, hit, broke her fingernails … no broken nails according to the autopsy report. He should have had scratches and bruises on him, but there were none. If he planned this, you would think he would have dumped her purse and phone into the oil tanks too. If he planned this did he drug her and the kids? Wouldn’t the drugs show up in an autopsy? If drugs were not used, what did he do to her to prevent her from fighting back? He may be strong but I don’t think he could have held her arms and strangled her at the same time. Her neck injuries should be worse if it was a rage-filled, violent strangulation, as he says it was. Her nails SHOULD be broken. He SHOULD have scratches, at the very least. How did he incapacitate her so she would not fight? Is it possible that autoerotic asphyxiation was part of their sex play at times? Did he lure her into having sex and intentionally kill her, and that’s why she did not fight back? What other explanation is there? WHY DIDN’T SHE FIGHT?

    Liked by 1 person

      • That little mark on his neck makes his explanation of a mosquito bite (and him scratching it) more plausible than a person fighting for their life. The prosecutor said the strangulation was not a rageful, vicious strangulation. Chris could have used a choke hold (while her hands are full with luggage, phone, purse to make her pass out quickly), then slowly strangle her without leaving much damage to her neck.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. She couldn’t. Just like Nick said. He was lying in wait near the front door. She puts everything in kitchen….he standing there waiting for the right moment. Like. Horror movie.
    He grabs her, they fall her arms can’t move. I would think in a Rage, the strength intensifies, caught off guard she was.
    It would be terrifying for her. Bless her.
    The timeframe changes, because she is now late getting home. I think he did things, hoping to have time later to fix what he couldn’t do the first time. But he wasn’t expecting her girlfriend moving that fast. This usually does not happen this fast. A crime being detected so quick. No time for the suspect…aka…Chris to do any fixing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Him? How does he go from doting, lovey-dovey, caring 2 months earlier to a MONSTER who drops Shan’ann head-first into a hole and the girls into oil tanks, not even a tank together but separated. I have never understood how the mind can compartmentalize so well that it can totally wall-off events. He could be indifferent to the fact his daughters are in those tanks while working with co-workers on those tanks. How was he able to stare at Bella and Celeste’s picture for 10 minutes without showing any emotion? Did he actually fall asleep? He is the true epitome of Jekyll and Hyde.

    And Nichol, the mistress, when she learned he was married she should have RUN!! I don’t care what he says after the word married … it’s hard not to put some of the blame on her for the outcome, not the act.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. @Karen I’m sorry, I don’t understand your reasoning. You start off saying [in all caps], why didn’t she fight back? Then you’re provided with a potential wound inflicted while defending herself, then you dismiss it by accepting his explanation.

    Anyone strangled to death will take at least 2 minutes to die. They’re not doing to die passively, and the murderer knows that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am trying to see this from all angles: She fights (no proof of that). She doesn’t fight. Why? She can’t fight because she’s unconscious (pressure on the jugular allows you to continue breathing but you’re unconscious in seconds). She doesn’t fight because she doesn’t realize he is planning to kill her (autoerotic asphyxiation). If he violently strangled her, her neck wounds would show violence.

      If Shan’ann placed an order for hair products after 2 a.m. then he didn’t attack her when she walked in the door. But maybe he placed the order to make his timeline of events fit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you Karen. I don’t think he attacked her when she walked in the door. I don’t think it happened downstairs either. I think it was in the bed. Which is why he used the sheet. I never thought about the autoerotic asphyxiation but it is possible. Maybe he did it while she was sleeping. She would’ve been exhausted from her trip. Maybe she went to sleep and just never woke up.


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