Reader’s Question: “Did Shan’ann really have Lupus?”

QUESTION: I have a question that has been addressed before on your blog, but only briefly, and (not that I can ascertain) not very clearly: It is widely reported that Shan’ann had Lupus. You subscribe to this belief, also, it appears. However, in the autopsy report, the coroner states….NO OTHER EVIDENCE OF DISEASE was found. Is it possible Shan’ann did not have Lupus? I don’t know that she actually did? Wouldn’t SOMETHING of the effects of Lupus be present in an autopsy report? I am 40 and have survived 2 cancers. I am healthy now, but I promise you, if I was murdered, systemic signs of problems just from cancer treatments (osteoporosis, damaged salivary glands from chemo, bad thyroid hormone levels, hormones out of whack, scars, etc) would be reported. Could you re-visit this, or is it your absolute opinion that Shan’ann did, indeed, truly have Lupus? I would love your to read more insight on this issue from you. Thanks!


TCRS: Thanks for your question. You raise an excellent point on the Lupus issue. There does seem to be a possibility that Shan’ann was a hypochondriac, but on the other hand, Lupus probably causes folks to react with a lot of anxiety due to its very nature, and may not appear to show symptoms even when there may be inflammation etc. It seems unlikely Shan’ann didn’t have Lupus if so many people close to her “knew” she did – not only her immediate family [the Rzuceks] but also her husband.

Shan’ann seemed to me to have a lot of issues, and didn’t want to work away from home. The Lupus seemed to be a big part of that, unless it was a con. It also seems significant to me that she had a childless marriage with her first husband.

I’m no expert, but I suspect her Lupus was completely in remission in 2018. When you ask about “something of the effects of Lupus be present” in the autopsy, I would think so, but I’m not sure if Lupus leaves the sort of trail cancer might. I guess it depends on the Lupus. Shan’ann seemed to have a fairly mild case. It doesn’t appear that the autopsy did a very thorough check. I’m not sure whether the restrictions on health related information had a bearing on this aspect, or the Thrive aspect, or both.

The autopsy also made no references to elevated levels of any Thrive-related chemicals. This also seems odd, but since she was pregnant, perhaps she wasn’t using the patches. All of this would doubtless have come out in a trial. So what we’re left with is conjecture, unfortunately. In May I think, Shan’ann was sort of talking about being cured of Lupus [thanks to Thrive] which may nor may not be part of the answer.

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37 thoughts on “Reader’s Question: “Did Shan’ann really have Lupus?”

  1. Some people I know, sadly, have started selling that Thrive crap. In my curiosity, I did a bunch of research. I was very surprised at how many of these Thrive cult people claim to have been cured of Lupus or “autoimmune” diseases from this con. It made me immediatly think of Shannan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lupus is the type of illness that’s easy to pretend to have. There are no real tests for it and it’s known mainly by its symptoms. My own belief is that she used the idea of having Lupus to rationalize her limitations and bad choices.


      • It’s tempting to believe that, but we know how sickly her children were, more sickly than average, and if you check her Twitter page she was following a heck of a lot of Lupus-related groups. I agree that she was rationalizing but I think it’s a stretch to say it was all pretended.


        • Correct me if I’m wrong, but Shan’Ann had worked as a nurse *and* all her kids’ Epipens were out of date. This suggests that Shan’Ann was in a position to obtain the supplies required to imply that her children were seriously ill when in fact they weren’t.

          I was at the dr. last week, and I commented to the nurse that my Epipen is expired. It was first recalled, but I didn’t get around to taking it in for the recall, then it expired. I told her I wasn’t sure I could get a replacement now that the original had expired, even though it had been *recalled* before it expired. She told me that she volunteered at a nurse at her daughter’s school, and that I’d be shocked at the number of notes in children’s files, that the Epipens supplied by the families are to be administered even though they’re expired, because the families can’t afford to replace them.

          In *my* case, when I first got my Epipen by prescription some years ago, the price was over $700. My insurance dropped the price to $140, and the *pharmacy* gave me a coupon that took $100 off the price, so I “just” had to pay $40. Imagine that financial hurdle for a family that’s living paycheck to paycheck…

          So, in my mind, that detail is up in the air, especially given how financially strapped the Watts family was. Even if the children had valid prescriptions for Epipens, there’s no guarantee that the family could have considered the out-of-pocket costs manageable. Different health coverage plans have different payment levels – they might have been facing well over $140 in cost to obtain current Epipens. They may well have opted to stick with their out-of-date Epipens even in a situation where their daughters’ lives were at stake. Because money.

          AND if this were the case, then NutGate takes on a different hue as well. IF the Epipen situation is already problematical, then protecting the children from the risk factors (tree nuts, in this case) becomes an even more urgent priority. Better to avoid the problem than to have to pay to fix the problem, right?

          *AND* if that was the case (remember, *if* here), then Shan’Ann, through *prior* discussions with Chris about the financial out-of-reach-ness of current Epipens, could have reasonably expected his support in stringently avoiding all environments where the triggers (in this case, tree nuts) might appear. BUT that presumes that such a discussion took place. I doubt it would, because it would require acknowledging just how *strapped* they were, financially – how tenuous their financial SURVIVAL was. Such an acknowledgment would have begged a certain kind of discussion that Shan’Ann was especially poorly equipped to have – to acknowledge that what SHE was doing wasn’t working. It wasn’t CHRIS’s fault – he had his job, he had his company truck, he was working hours upon sweaty hours at the oil fields. Chris couldn’t be doing more – he was already working a killer workload.

          The problem would have pointed to Shan’Ann as the source of their problems, and she would NEVER have accepted that.

          So such a discussion never happened.


        • Munchausen by proxy. Not only were her children *sickly*, they were VERY difficult! The only way she could get through a day with them was by virtue of the benefits of her Thrive habit!

          She prided herself on being a “stay at home mom” – in fact, she’d quit her job “to stay at home with her children” – yet she’d insisted on her children be enrolled at one of the most expensive “preschools” (read: daycare) in town. What was she *doing* all day?? Besides treating herself and her friends to snacks and drinks and mani/pedis, that is. When the children got home, it was only about 2 hours before they were put to bed. It wasn’t even *dark* then! On the weekends, Shan’Ann reported that the girls took 2-hr-or-longer naps. It appeared that Shan’Ann would go to *any* lengths to avoid spending time with her children!

          So this begs the question: Was she *drugging* her children to get them to sleep more/longer? Was THAT part of the children’s “chronic illnesses”?

          Is that why Shan’Ann was so adamant about the house being *silent* after the children were put to bed? Because she was afraid (for good reasons, experience) that, if the children awoke, they’d *STAY* awake and then she wouldn’t be able to do what she wanted/get the good night’s sleep she was counting on? Shan’Ann wouldn’t allow the garage door to be opened after the girls were put to bed because she was afraid the sound would awaken them – THAT was Shan’Ann’s greatest worry, that her girls would be AWAKE!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Note that all of this feeds into an effective Thrive come-on: “Chronic fatigue? I’ve got your cure! Not enough energy to get through the day? Call ME! Want to be able to do everything you have to do as a parent of small children? *I* am the person you need to talk to! Feeling like you’re at the end of your rope with dealing with difficult children? I hear you; I’ve been there. And here’s what’s worked for me!”

            Liked by 1 person

            • I have a couple Facebook friends hawking this “Thrive” nonsense, and that’s exactly what they emphasize in their spiels! One of the posts I saw, from my friend J., read almost uncannily like a Shan’ann post.


          • I think the issue of the girls going to the expensive ‘school’ while Shan’ann was home all day is one of the more perplexing parts of their financial mismanagement. So many things could have been eliminated very easily, beginning with that. All part of the image I guess. And I’ve also wondered if there was Munchausen by Proxy, all those posted photos of the girls with their little oxygen masks, and poor little CeCe, in particular, looking very sickly at times. No privacy for any of them. Re the lupus, I’m not really familiar with the symptoms, but since this case began I’ve read in a few places that extremely thin hair in children can be a byproduct of a mother who has lupus. Shan’ann didn’t seem to have the problem, but both girls, as cute as they were, definitely did. Could well be that it wasn’t connected at all, but since it was both of them, it seems more likely, to me anyway.


            • I don’t think the girls were particularly sickly, except she made them out to be. So they had asthma and required the occassional mask? And CeCe had an allergy? Allergies are pretty common in children, lots of kids are allergic to various things. I think she made the baby’s nut allergy out to be far far worse than it was. There is no evidence it was bad enough to cause anaphlactic shock, though that’s what she liked to push. I also remember the friend of Shannan and Chris saying that Shannan seemed to be dramatic and while watching TV, would claim to have every health problem mentioned.


              • So do you think the children were killed because they weren’t particularly sickly or because they were? If you say they were killed not because they were sickly [because they weren’t sick], then what is your explanation? Obviously saying Chris Watts is a monster isn’t a sensible answer. It also seems as if you’re suggesting Nut Gate was completely irrelevant. That’s fine, but then what is your explanation? Again, if you dismiss an argument, and you replace it with “he’s a psychopath/monster” it’s not an explanation.


                • I am suggesting neither. The children’s alleged sickliness or lack thereof was not a factor, in my opinion. Do YOU think it was? I’m not suggesting nut gate is irrelevant at all. It is relevant in regards to Shannans overly dramatic health claims and overly dramatic reactions. I don’t know why he killed them. I think possibly he was love drunk over the other woman, was a very non-confrontational person who could not deal with problems, was somewhat lacking in intelligence or easily led, and, in a desperate bid to rid himself of the anchors that were keeping him away from his mistress, made the decision. I think he also was caught that night when she looked up the credit card and menu information, which further exacerbated his desperation and led to his fantasy that he could make it all go away.


                  • “The children’s “alleged” sickliness or lack thereof was not a factor…”

                    It was a factor, and it was very much a factor.

                    EPPLE [Watts’ boss] said he knew CHRIS’s daughters had been very sick over the last couple of years and CHRIS talked about the stress it put on he and his wife. – Discovery Documents, page 560
                    I asked MEYER who would normally call the school if the girls were sick or something similar and she replied that SHANANN normally would. – Discovery Documents, page 664
                    MCKENNA recalled that both BELLA and CELESTE suffer from asthma and have been in and out of the hospital. – Discovery Documents, page 535
                    If CHRIS was gone from work, ROBERT and others would know that his kids were having a health issue, but that was really all ROBERT knew of CHRIS’ family. – Discovery Documents, page 689
                    Both of his girls had inhalers for child asthma, CECE took Singulair for her allergies, and BELLA and CECE took medication for acid reflux. – Discovery Documents, page 595
                    CASSIE insisted that SHANANN would have never let her phone and would have never left the kids’ medication in the cupboard, if she left the house. – Discovery Documents, page 628
                    He knew there was ero chance that SHANANN would have left the house like it was and without her phone and medication for the kids. – Discovery Documents, page 704
                    I observed medication in Zip-Lock bags on the desk in the office. The medication was inhalers and what I recognized to be packages of medicine for nebulizers. There was also a prescription bottle of Celeste for Omeprazole DR 10 MG in the bag. – Discovery Documents, page 56
                    COLON said CHRIS WATTS was worried that one of the missing children did not have necessary medication.- Discovery Documents, page 450
                    ADDY asked about CECE’s medication and CHRIS replied that all the meds were still there. ADDY epressed concern. CHRIS told ADDY that CECE takes it every day, once a day. They have containers full of it downstairs. – Discovery Documents, page 511

                    And I think, despite your dismissive attitude to the poor health of the children, medicine/pills/painkillers or sedatives were likely used as the murder weapon to kill the children in the home.


                    • I always find it fascinating how people argue in these comments. I just spent the whole prior comment providing references to the relevance of health of the children. There were bucketloads and containers packed with medications in the basement. But it has absolutely zero impact on your radar.

                      Now it becomes about laughing at the contention.

                      Where did I say they were killed with asthma inhalers?

                      >>>medicine/pills/painkillers or sedatives were likely used as the murder weapon to kill the children in the home.


                  • “The children’s medicines were used to kill them? Or Shannan’s painkillers and sedatives? Can’t imagine killing children with asthma inhalers.”

                    I realize there is a ton of information on this site and your comment tells me you’re simply uninformed. Shan’Ann claimed she didn’t have to take her lupus medications any more because Thrive, and she had a LOT of prescription pain medication still lying around. Chris in fact googled “80mg oxycodon” [sic], meaning oxycodone – that’s a powerful pain medication and a powerful dosage (might have been 80mcg – can’t remember).

                    If you are a nonconfrontational person (as Chris was), then intoxicants are the way to accomplish this goal of murder. No one wants to have to wrestle with their victim – it’s messy and potentially leaves far more evidence behind to be cleaned up (not to mention possible incriminating scratch/bite marks on the murderer). The girls were already accustomed to taking multiple medications a day – better to have a nice final day (birthday party!) then come home, some cold pizza for dinner, and then relax in front of the TV, take their meds, and go to sleep forever. Also, no icky emotional confrontation – he’d never have to see terror in his children’s eyes. Plus, Chris had the medications right there.

                    So GIVEN all that – which has been established and is available on this site – it is most likely that Chris overdosed the children with Shan’Ann’s leftover oxycodone and possibly taped plastic bags around their heads just to make sure (that’s my idea). Note that this scenario does not feature asthma medications at all.

                    In addition, they were drowning in medical bills. Apparently, Chris and Shan’Ann had used fertility treatments with both girls – they were still paying these off. The girls had had surgeries and hospitalizations – I don’t know what country you live in, but here in the US, medical bills are the #1 reason for bankruptcy. They were a constant source of stress within that marriage – the stresses of having to change schedules to accommodate a sickly child, the sudden requirements of an unexpected illness event, and the ongoing financial repercussions. And now another child was on the way – why would anyone expect that child to be *more* healthy than his sisters?

                    Liked by 1 person

          • Those kids certainly did seem to spend an inordinate amount of time being expected to sleep. Long naps, very early bedtimes, etc.

            My youngest was one of those “easy” kids who went to bed willingly and without any kind of fuss whatsoever, and he was also a napper, but, as he began to grow up, we adjusted. He went from two naps to one, and by the time he was about Celeste’s age, he had given up napping regularly, and only occasionally would need one in the afternoon. We also adjusted his bedtime later as he got older, and by age three, he was definitely not being put to bed while it was still light outside! I mean, I get that every kid is different, with varying sleep requirements, but what I see with the Watts family was the parents using sleep as a break for themselves, not adjusting it for the benefit of what was best for their children. I could be wrong, and maybe these kids were just avid sleepers, but, it just seems excessive to me.

            I do believe Shan’ann had Lupus.


      • There are definitive tests to confirm a lupus diagnosis. A positive anti-nuclear antibody test and elevated rheumatoid factor (both are blood tests) coupled with symptoms are pretty reliable. That being said, auto immune diseases such as Lupus are never cured, only managed. Presumably if she DID have lupus her rheumatologist would inform her of this. Not to speak ill of the dead, but for her to propagate the idea that a supplemental patch would cure someone of a potentially life threatening disease ( and it is) is horrifying in itself. So she either had lupus and intentional mislead vulnerable people to score a sale or she didn’t and was fabricating an illness. Either scenario speaks to some personality issue gone off the rails.


        • Well there’s also a third possibility, that she had lupus but that it was in some kind of remission in 2018. It’s possible that by losing weight some of the symptoms dissipated.


  2. I live in Canada and Thrive has just arrived, at least in my province, and my Facebook feed is suddenly full of all these Thrivers. Not surprisingly, they all have LOST WEIGHT! HAVE ENERGY DEALING WITH MY THREE YEAR OLD! The entire Thrive propoganda is unrolling on my feed every day, sadly.
    I know a couple of these thrivers personally. They have NOT lost weight. But more importantly, they are single mothers working low income jobs, recovering from addiction so very vulnerable.. I find it incredibly sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing. Please take a few screengrabs of the worst stuff and share it with us. I’ve said it before, we are a world that is accustomed to lying to ourselves and each other. When that becomes a lifestyle, true crime invariably follows – including murder. But this is how it starts.


  3. No she DID NOT suffer from lupus imo. Nor did she have the half dozen other medical
    issues she claimed. She was an attention seeker plain and simple. Everything was about
    her, she thrived on the pity and people doting over her. And yes an autopsy would absolutely
    show signs of lupus in someone that supposedly had for 10 plus years.


    • I’ve enjoyed reading this blog for quite some time, but never felt compelled to leave a comment until today. I have lupus, and while I can’t speak to Shannan’s health, I’ve become pretty well versed in SLE having been diagnosed over 20 years ago. A lupus diagnosis is subjective to a degree, as a number of criteria must be met before a physician even begins to suspect one has it before administering an antinuclear antibody test. It takes an average of 3 years to get that diagnosis, and it’s pretty grueling. It very often does come with additional autoimmune diagnoses, and honestly some of us just learn to hit the high points or risk sounding like looney hypochondriacs. I have experienced periods of remission, and I look perfectly healthy. Because the worst of my organ involvement has been in organs and tissue that could be transplanted or removed I doubt I would have much to alert a medical examiner- save some scar tissue. I have been treated with chemo, so the scar from my port might raise an eyebrow. But I’m literally covered in surgical scars. I’ve been unable to carry a pregnancy to term, but that used to be a treatment for lupus… the body ceases to attack itself when it’s trying to sustain new life. It would be the perfect solution if one didn’t crash and burn after delivery.
      Every case of lupus is completely different. I wasn’t supposed to live to be 30. And I really didn’t expect to. Some people have much milder cases, and may never have a hospitalization or surgery. Having a chronic disease is generally pretty shitty in any case, and requires lifestyle changes, and at minimum decent support and ever changing adjustments of what’s possible- lest you crash and burn trying to do too much.
      I don’t think Shannan was a saint, nor do I automatically revere anyone just for being deceased. I did feel like the conversation was skewing toward unfair without grounds on this particular topic.


        • You posted about the hyoid bone recently. On the screenshot of the autopsy document, it said, “Dr. Burson advised he did not note any other trauma to Shanann’s body and FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE”. You’re usually very insightful, analytical and detail-oriented. Why are you so reluctant to suspect Shanann’s Lupus claim?


          • You’re usually very insightful, analytical and detail-oriented. Why are you so reluctant to suspect Shanann’s Lupus claim?>>>The title of the post refers to a reader’s question.


            • Yes, I’m aware of the title but I’d like to hear your honest take on this. You seem to believe SW had Lupus. Do you really? She had a certain probability-defying medical history and so did her children. I thought you would be skeptical. It doesn’t make you look any less compassionate. This is a crucial piece of puzzle and the key to understanding what kind of person CW is.

              If he knew about Shannann’s Munchausen & Munchausen by proxy but simply let her subject the children to various unnecessary medications, testings, procedures and even surgery, it clearly shows he wasn’t dedicated to his kids. Sure, he’s extremely confrontation-averse and he was scared of Shanann but this was his children we’re talking about here: his “life line” and “the light of his life” for whom he said he was ready to stand in front of the train or something. He let them suffer, i.e. he never cared. If this is the case, doesn’t it at least partially explain how he could’ve done what he did?


      • “Having a chronic disease is generally pretty shitty in any case”

        I just finished reading “The Horizontal Woman: The Story of a Body in Exile” – a freak injury left her so disabled she could not sit or stand for a few minutes at a time or walk much at all. The author is a poet, so it’s beautifully written. At one point, she speaks of “wolves” – the people in society who take it upon themselves to judge whether she deserves to be considered “disabled” or not. Who have no qualms about basically harassing her when they see her lying down in an unfamiliar place (bus station, restaurant, park) just because her behavior is atypical. I strongly recommend it – it’s a wonderful perspective on what the disabled experience, especially when their disability cannot be seen.


  4. Shannan had “factitious disorders”. Convenience for her to pretend something was wrong with her. Anyone can sign up to any group on the Internet and “pretend”.
    Lupus can affect people in different ways. We know it is a hard disease to detect. There was no mention of any inflammation or affected….on any of her organs…. kidneys…in her autopsy.
    As for the kids….they were quite sick…for some time and there immune systems were whacked. Stress in children also . I believe the whole house was Stressed out due to Shannan.


      • Also, very interesting that Chris’s work took up a fund me to help them get “special pillows” for the girls. Really what are ,”special pillows” and why didn’t they just buy them. I personally have never heard of these pillows. It wasn’t about raising money for pillows it was about “attention”.
        Nut freak out. Maybe Watts family, mother, sister called Shannan out of this….being a lie?
        Maybe that why Shannan lost it?
        No word of having a EpiPen there either.
        Friend from Hawaii there 2 months, no mention of girls being sick?
        Shannan created all her posts, videos, complaints to people to get sympathy from others. Friends de-friending her, because posts, videos every single day…..the same thing.
        That would get on anyone’s nerves.


  5. Hi Nick.
    It depends. I don’t know if any other grandchildren were sicky in either of the families. Until we actually see Doctors reports going back on all the girls health problems, we may never know. Yes they were always sick with something. But then again there are mother’s who will do this to their own kids.
    Constantly creating another sickness….why because something is wrong, mentally with the mother. I believe, having been a mom, Shannan should not have had children.
    Anytime you say something wrong to Doctor he will order tests to eliminate…causes.
    As for hospital visits…. That can also be a lie, anyone can say …my child is sick….again testing…It would be interesting to hear Cindy’s view on their sickness, since she probably didn’t believe they had nut allergies.
    As we have all seen, the videos with the girls, parenting plays a big part here. I don’t think her parents mention kids sick when they lived with them? Nor any mention of kids sick while Chris Shannan away on trips?
    I do give credit to parents who have children with physical, mental issues thou.
    But not ones who pretend something is wrong.


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