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The individual seen by the Smith family is regarded as the prime suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
Read about my investigation into the Smith sighting and simulation of the abduction, during my visit to Praia da Luz Portugal on the night of May 3rd, 2019 in DEEPER INTO DARKNESS.
In September 2015, a few months after working on the book RESTORATION on the Oscar Pistorius case, I was still working as a freelance magazine journalist. I recorded some footage during an assignment to Namibia which produced two magazine articles [see links below].
Recently, while looking for video footage on a discarded hard drive from Portugal last year, I came across some video from the sortie into Namibia. It gives you a little insight into my backstory and what I was doing before I got into true crime writing fulltime.
The Lori Vallow case is so complicated, flow charts are emerging all over the place. Some show her five marriages, others show the victims and relationships between them. I’ll show you some of those charts in a minute.
To be clear, part of what makes this case so confounding is the relatively unclear nature surrounding the status of multiple victims. There may “only” be two victims, or as many as five victims, or six, or, if Lori’s sister’s death in 1998 turns out to be suspicious too, seven.
The missing children add another element of uncertainty to the prosecution. If they are dead, where are their bodies?
In the Gannon Stauch case we saw how much effort went into finding one 11-year-old boy, and at one point it seemed the authorities were almost beaten. In this case there are two children, 7-year-old Joshua and 17-year-old Tylee. It was really their unexplained disappearance that got Lori onto the radar of the authorities.
In the Stauch case we saw the stepmother relationship possibly playing a role in filicide. In this case there’s a stepmother scenario with 7-year-old stepson Joshua, but Tylee is Lori’s daughter by blood. It’s possible death of her own daughter, who was a companion with her mother through 17 years of different husbands and family sets ups, that’s going to be a crucial key to finding out where Lori’s head was at.
In the Watts case we saw how the unwanted pregnancy probably led to the deaths of the unwanted mother, and the children became collatoral damage. We may see something similar here, where Joshua became the “debris” of a family setup she wanted extinguished, and then Tylee was seen in the same way.
At this point I want to compare the Vallow case to the Watts case. Many of us have regarded Watts as the absolute scum of the Earth. It was also hard to imagine a case more wicked or heartless than this one, and the sentencing judge, and some of the agents and cops involved, said the same thinking. If the number of victims in this case are roughly accurate [plus-minus six], then we have roughly twice the body count as in the Watts case. Possibly multiple children, multiples spouses and multiple accessories.
To take the intertextual allegory even further, imagine if…
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The last known photo of Gannon Stauch has now been leaked online in color.
It’s clearly the source image for the grainy black and white image from page 8 of the affidavit.
There are to additional images, one taken from the side and closer to the floor, that we haven’t seen in color yet.
Some have observed that there appears to be a concave bruise or swelling on Gannon’s cheek. Also that the pillows have been “propped up” against the wall. There’s a simple reason why this isn’t a staged image, or a post mortem image: Letecia still hadn’t acquired the carpet cleaner, and there were two other people in the house. Besides that, she was doing online searches late at night indicative that she was preoccupied with a) the damage to the carpet and b) Gannon not going to school.
Given what we know, intuitively it feels like the poor child doesn’t look well. In this sense this image reminds me of the last footage of Shan’ann Watts. But it’s because we know what’s about to happen that we project onto and into the scene. We must be careful not to do that, to see what is there, not what isn’t.
For me the hand laid over his side speaks to me of the boy’s fragility in the same way Captain Miller’s hand speaks to us in Saving Private Ryan. What did that hand try to do hours later when the boy was viciously attacked?
Where is the Nintendo? Where is his phone?
Could Gannon have been attacked or hurt by any of the objects in his bedroom, particularly right beside his bed, and his head?
If the murder occurred in the bedroom, wasn’t Gannon’s murderer afraid of being seen through the window?
Are there curtains or blinds, and were they drawn at the time the image was taken, or when the police first visited the room?
It certainly doesn’t appear to be the case that Gannon slept with curtains closed going by this image.
What was the purpose of taking these images? Was it to “prove” Gannon was okay hours before he was about to not be okay, and be disappeared for over a month from this day onwards?
Finally, did Gannon know Letecia was taking this image as he lay there?
In the Lifetime movie posters for CHRIS WATTS CONFESSIONS OF A KILLER, the signature image is this one [below] of Watts driving in his truck, early in the morning, under cover of dark to the well site.
In this depiction his windscreen his wet [I’m not sure it was], and it’s still dark outside [it wasn’t, sunrise on August 13 was at 06:11]. By the time Watts reached the well site the sun had likely been up for 20 minutes].
Other marketing materials of the Lifetime movie are even more ridiculous, like this one featuring Watts holding a gun.
In the movie itself we see something beyond this impression of only Watts sitting in his truck, driving to the well site. We see the children depicted on the rear seat, but nothing much happens. There’s virtually no dialogue, and the scene lasts a few seconds…
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Chris Wattts is a narcissist. He was a selfish man who thought only of himself.
Chris Watts is a sociopath. He showed no remorse, and no emotion.
This seems to be the expert consensus by mainstream pundits. Dr. Phil said it. Lena Derhally said it. Catherine Townsend, expert Private Investigator, said it. That must mean that’s precisely who Watts is – a sociopathic narcissist.
True Crime Rocket Science disagrees with this assessment as crude and simplistic. What it shows is a facile disregard for the details. That’s not a defense of Watts, by the way. Saying he’s not a narcissist or a sociopath isn’t rushing to his defense. Watts and only Watts committed stone cold premeditated triple murder, and also destroyed the life of his unborn child. But almost two years later, when so many have spent so much time regurgitating the Watts case, recycling the same tired aphorisms, it’s perhaps also time to think a little more scientifically about the case, including about the psychology. And criminal psychology isn’t the same as psychology. Criminal psychology and psychology aren’t interchangeable.
On the surface, if you don’t know this case very well, the narcissistic sociopath or “covert narcissist” seems like an elegant sounding fit. It’s a great label, innit? It is a really elegant fit if you know very little about Watts, and even less about Shan’ann Watts.
If Watts was so selfish, why didn’t he go to trial like 99.9% of other high-profile criminals, and do what he does best – lie and pretend and play at being Mr. Nice Guy? If narcissists are identifiable by the key trait of lying, why did Watts admit – ultimately – to all the charges against him? Why did he admit the truth ultimately, telling investigators where the bodies were, and eventually confessing to their murders too? Isn’t he supposed to be a habitual liar? I mean, look at OJ, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony – all of whom were partying up a storm right until the moment they were arrested. All of them went to trial and pled not guilty. Is Chris Watts exactly like them? Are they exactly like Chris Watts? Then why didn’t he go to court, roll the dice and put on a smug, conceited defense?
If Watts is a prototypical narcissist, why was this murder trial wrapped up in super quick time? And before you knew it, Watts was in prison, and had turned to God for redemption, seeking forgiveness. Why would he turn to God if he didn’t feel bad about anything he’d done? Whether you believe that’s genuine or not, that’s completely different from someone never pleading guilty, and never asking for forgiveness, and never pretend-turning to God.
If Watts had no emotion, why did he need to become standoffish before committing murder. And if he had no feelings, why did he commit the crime while he was in love?
The experts will tell you Watts is a selfish, self-centered, self-involved man who thought only of himself. Those who knew Watts, inside the family, and as friends, knew him as a considerate dad who did his family’s laundry, gave away his paycheck, babysat, even did his children’s hair. His wife, at the time of her murder, wanted to stay married to him, wanted to have his child and so did his mistress. His mother in law and father in law liked him up until the moment he committed murder.
Errr. which “personality type” are we talking about her?
It feels good to separate Watts from ourselves. He’s bad, has zero emotion and is a monster with a particular personality trait and disorder. We’re fine of course, and nothing like him. When we’re on our phones, and on social media, we are still very sensitive to the world around us, and not a narcissistic bone in our bodies. Well, except…