Two Big Clues Suggesting the Little Girls Were Murdered First

Sometimes what we don’t know isn’t Rocket Science. It’s obvious. Sometimes it’s so obvious we miss it. There are two big contextual clues [besides the premeditated psychology of this crime] that strongly suggest Watts murdered his children before his wife returned home that night.

The second clue involves a throwaway remark from Nichol Kessinger, the last person Watts spoke to before killing his wife [a much under-appreciated, under-estimated and under-reported fact].

Kessinger told CBI Agent Koback that she heard a television blaring loudly in the background during her 111 minute call with him on Sunday night. Since there was no television in the basement, the television was likely the loft lounge or in the main bedroom [although he could also have been the television in the downstairs lounge].

fullscreen capture 20190110 144105

This was very odd behavior for Watts, particularly because his children were such light sleepers. Even pulling the car out from the garage in the morning was liable to wake them up.

This suggests prior to the 21:00 call with Kessinger, the children were already dead which is also – perhaps – what allowed him to make such a long call without any threat of interruption or distraction from their waking up and needing him for any reason.

There is another even stronger indicator that the children were murdered on the 12th, and it shifts the timeline even earlier. Do you know what it is?


166 thoughts on “Two Big Clues Suggesting the Little Girls Were Murdered First

  1. When kids put thru opening, they would have been dead. They would plop downward into the oil and perhaps come back up. The oil would be somewhat thick and they might just sink to the bottom.
    No way alive, screaming, kicking, hysterical.
    No time for that.


  2. I also agree with the killings of Bella and CeCe on Aug 12th(evening),still unsure of the how, but not of putting their bodies in the bathtub. Reason for this is,and I am just assuming, I read in the discovery that at Cevi-319 that aside from finding the fitted sheet they also discovered 2 large lawn black trash bags that they said were new and they collected as evidence and stored in the evidence room. I have not read anything else about them as to whether they did any forensics on them or what happened to them unless I missed it. Plus I think the cadaver dogs would have alerted to the tub, unless he cleaned it in what little time he after he killed Shanann because Shanann’s flight was delayed. I believe he had a different story he was going tell police but it fell apart when Shanann’s flight was delayed and he then had to starting thinking of something else on the run and playing it by ear. Once again I believe he killed his daughters on the evening of Aug 12th, put their bodies in the trash bags to contain any DNA, if any,and put them in the garage, then was alerted of Shanann’s delay. Then when she arrived and after waving goodbye to Nickol and closing the door attacked her from behind since her hands would have been full(one hand pulling the suitcase, pocketbook on shoulder, and more than likely her cell phone in the other or quite possibly since I read about there being no lights on in the house hid behind the wall in between the living room and kitchen somehow and attacked her from behind after she set her pocketbook on the kitchen counter. I do not believe he killed her upstairs for the simple reason he would have had to carry her back down the stairs, since he would not want to drag her down and risk leaving behind some sort of DNA. After straightening up what he could do quickly, hiding phone, Apple watch, possibly the IPad which according to the discovery was found in a backpack under the desk in the office, putting pocketbook on counter if he killed her in the living room and putting wedding ring on dresser,etc. He was probably going to do a more through job later not expecting Nickole or anyone showing up while he was at work. Then loaded the trash bags with the girls in each floorboard in the rear of the crew cab and then loaded Shanann in the sheet on the seat because I do not think he could load all three full bodies in that small of an area without being seen from the outside of the truck by a passerby. Of course I could be wrong about all of this. I have tried watching all the videos that are out there, but just when I think I have another pops up from someone, I read through the discovery(2000 pages I believe). I have yet found out anything about their missing blankies, the clothes and boots he was wearing at Cervi 319 the morning he was disposing of the bodies which were described by co-workers that seen him that morning. Also in the discovery, a police officer was sent to I believe the address was 6507 Black Rock or Black Mesa Rd. later on in Aug to inspect some dumpsters that a witness in the area saw Chris Watts and his truck at. A general contractor their told the officer that the dumpsters were emptied every Thursday and on Tuesday if they were full and called ahead. The officer stated he looked through all the dumpsters and found nothing. I believe Chris dumped blankies, clothes, boots and other evidence in these dumpsters. There is so much info on this case and also missing info not told by law enforcement. I am now trying to find out how NK(his mistress) played a role in this, if any. I guess unless Chris confesses out of extreme guilt or leaves behind a letter before committing suicide in prison we may never know the exact timeline of how everything went. Apologies for the long reply I am a retired Marine and obviously have too much time on my hands. I also have become addicted to this case…lol


  3. I think you are right about the murder of the girls, the trash bags etc. However, I believe that Shannan was murdered upstairs as she was getting ready for bed. Not out of her bra yet, but perhaps in the ensuite taking her clothes off. Her suitcase was already upstairs and open, her rings were off on the nightstand. I think she had to have been upstairs and they had an ’emotional discussion’ regarding NK, and he had planned on killing her with emotional pain = NK, then physical death as he watched her.. He was an angry man. He wanted out but needed her to suffer emotionally as well as take her life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • During the video of Watts loading his truck, a shadow of what is believed to be one of the girls walking to the truck and Chris picking her up, to go in the truck. So, it’s very possible that only one of the girls was killed in the home. Bella was the only one that struggled, possibly he killed her in a slightly different manner than CECE. Bella was the older sibling, and most likely would be the one that would comprehend that something was very wrong, and “get in his way.” “She may have been murdered before Shanann even came home.” Also possible, that her little body was placed in one of the plastic bags that was found, and stored in the empty refrigerator downstairs, to prevent the discovery of her body by Shanann. The K9 dog intensely hit on that refrigerator , and continued to focus on it, so it was apparent that this, or something like this, could be a strong possibility! Did anyone ever hear if the police did any forensic testing inside the fridge, if so, what were the results, if any? But if she was inside a plastic bag, there may not have been ant trace evidence. Just writing about these possible actions of Watts is difficult, and very sickening!!!! HOW could anyone take the life away from anyone, especially their own children?


  4. Another indicator? NO WHAT IS IT??? Is it that her plane was delayed, and he wanted to be ready for her to get home at what would have been 11pm?


  5. I have no clue anymore. When I first read about this crime, I assumed the “emotional conversation” was Chris-speak for killing her and then going and killing Bella and Cece in immediate succession. I never pictured a sneak out from behind the wall thing, I always thought he was probably nice to her as to not alarm her and strangled her (on her , it seems?) I have never thought she would have had to check on them before sleeping-I think she was worried about him cheating on her not killing her and her children and taking them out in trash bags. I always pictured some version of him killing them all within like 20 minutes-emotional convo” in which he does all the talking (for once?) Even when he talked about his kids he described them as aggressive -“throwing chicken nuts at me,” “screaming in the car.”

    Then I read insightful comments by people like yourselves and it does seem that he had that Sunday night all to himself-bbq, 2 hour conversation (what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on that virtual wall..) Even though he’s also the most boring person ever, has no personality or humor and is only interesting b/c of this crime.

    Reading his texts from the gravesite really put it into perspective for me. He doesn’t give one single shit. “But he would never do that-at all!”

    Also I just can’t stop over analyzing. You (hi Nick) have that post with the sheet from trash pics and the screen grabs and I was so frustrated. In the first shot he makes an “im clawing my eyes out” motion. Then in the bullshit story he repeated that police made up, he “did to her what she did to them,” clearly making a push-down suffocation motion. Sometimes with him he projects so often you can just insert other people’s names and figure out what he doesn’t even know he’s telling us. He says things like “I haven’t filled her
    nebulizer it’s down to 0.” It said the router made it appear to be a different time zone if that matters and I think he premeditated this much longer than most appear to but the items in the truck were literally two dirty shovels, gas can, giant hose. Everyone says he was gonna move her body and that makes no sense to me-why wouldn’t he just originally take her to her final place? Also, I somehow find it important that the girls’ bathroom door was locked but I don’t know why.


    • Good point about the bathroom door. It would be useful to know from Cristina and Shan’ann’s parents, and perhaps the Atkinsons, whether this was common practice. It also seems odd that Watts would be so specific in referring to “Vaseline on walls”.


      • Like many people, this horrific crime has consumed me. In the early photos of them, they appear genuinely happy and in love. Something happened, clearly, that changed the dynamics between them. I’m thinking he killed his daughters after he killed his wife. He had no way of knowing the flight would be delayed that night and we don’t know if it was her custom to look in on them and give them each a kiss. They would have been cold, etc…and she would have discovered then that they were dead. Honestly, I don’t even think he planned on killing her that night. He was just looking to leave. Do you think he really had a plan, so many loose ends, her keys, her phone, her car in the garage, he knew she had a doctors appointment-he was supposed to go with her. I do believe he had thought about killing her but it was a spontaneous action that night as a result of what transpired between them. And then he killed the daughters. What he did to them and with their bodies, how could that be anything other than the actions of a completely deranged man? And that’s another aspect that was not very well thought out either. The GPS, the signals, the shallow grave, the sheets. Come on, where is there a plan in any of that? The man lost it, the same way Andrea Yates lost it. Honestly, I don’t think this will ever be resolved in way that makes sense to us. Unless he talks, there will always be more questions than answers. I appreciate the opportunity to express my opinion.


  6. How about rigor mortis, it starts at around 4–6 hours after death and ends 48–60 hours after death. Would make it difficult to handle the bodies and putting them in the back of his truck. Let alone dumping Cece and Bella in the oil tanks. I think he did it right before he left, not giving him any time to clean up or get rid of Shananns personal stuff. He wanted to get them out of the house as soon as he did it.


    • And yet the crime scene at Saratoga Trail is one of the most cleaned up crime scenes in high-profile crime history. I challenge you to name one crime scene discovered as quickly as this one was with less forensic evidence.


      • Hello nickvdl,
        Definition of forensic evidence: Evidence usable in a court, specially the one obtained by scientific methods such as ballistics, blood test, and DNA test. They did find all three bodies and the bed sheet. So I’m a little confused by your comment alluding to the lack of forensic evidence. The scene is also part of a regulated area that has requirements for contamination – the bodies would be considered contamination which might explain why it was cleaned up so quickly.


  7. Thanks for your definition of forensic evidence @nylady. After writing about a dozen true crime series and sitting in on numerous trials, somehow I’ve never heard or understood that term. Weird huh?

    I thought I was clear in saying virtually no forensic evidence was found at the crime scene at 2825 Saratoga Trail. Did you miss that part?


    • I have a distant memory, though, of a suspicious spot on the carpet in Peterson’s house and lots of bleach. It was apparently after a crime show became popular on TV (can’t remember which one now – was it Forensic Files?) that police started seeing a lot of bleach turning up at crime scenes – people learned a LOT from watching that show!


  8. I can;t remember where I read this, but there was a mention of bags on each of Shanann’s hands. I have asked about this on a few other blogs and have never gotten a response.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think when Shannan asked to see pics of them sleeping and he only sent pics from earlier that day was a good indication something had already been done to those babies. I most definitely believe he planned this, although not very well, but still planned it due to his call to his co-worker and insisting he’d go out to Cervi first thing in the morning….plus his communication to make sure others were not on their way as he was trying to get rid of the bodies.


  10. I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if I’m repeating points brought up earlier. I haven’t yet seen enough evidence to exclude the possibility that the children were murdered at the house, but I find two problems with the suggestion that they were murdered before Shanaan arrived at 1:48AM.

    1.) After returning home from her business trip she would have immediately wanted to see her daughters, and most likely to kiss and caress them as well. It’s not believable that had they been already dead, when seeing and touching them she wouldn’t have detected the fact that they were lifeless.
    2.) If she became aware that the children were dead soon after arriving back home, then Chris most likely would have deemed it necessary to kill her immediately. Did he put a gag on his wife and torture her for hours? Is there any evidence of something like that happening? If not, then how would one explain the fact that it was almost 3 1/2 hours after Shanaan arrived before Chris began loading the truck? Why would he wait until it was almost light to remove the bodies?


  11. “Why would he wait until it was almost light to remove the bodies?”

    Never mind. After some reflection on the matter I’ve realized that Watts’ plan evidently involved efforts, however feeble, to make the start of his day on Monday look as normal as possible to potential observers and surveillance cameras, particularly the camera of neighbor Nate focused upon his driveway. Without considering contrary evidence that I’m unaware of, he might have murdered Bella and Celeste before Shanann returned home, perhaps even hours earlier, and murdered his wife almost immediately upon her arrival.


  12. The shirt that Shanann was wearing at CERVI 319 when found on 16 August was not the same one that she wore upon her arrival home at 1:48AM on 13 August. How likely is it that she would have changed clothes before going to see her daughters? If the children were already dead when Shanaan arrived home, then did CW change her shirt after killing her?


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