Additional Information on Bella Watts’ Autopsy

Bill Finley, who runs the 411 YouTube channel, is one of the better, more informed commentators on the Chris Watts case. Finley apparently sent in a public records request shortly before sentencing in November 2018, and received the autopsy reports via FedEx which included several photos. It also appears the report he received had slightly more information than the one in the discovery file.

The relevant excerpt is provided below:

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At 15:47 in Finley’s YouTube spiel, he brings up an element that isn’t in the autopsy report as we see it in the Discovery Documents. It has to do with Bella’s so-called “defensive wounds”:

[Reading from the report] “There is exterior evidence of injuries [to Bella]. There is a 13×3 cm area of vertical lacerations on her buttocks…and she had several defensive wounds on her hands [back sides] and forearms [outer edges] and the backs of her heels…also discoloration [bruising] of upper left shoulder…as well as a cut on the head. The autopsy report speculates that the cut on the head and missing hair is when Watts tried to shove [Bella] into the tank.”

Finley reckons the opening of the thief hatch was 15 inches. But this seems to be an error on his part.

I did contact Finley directly [see below tweetgrab] in an effort to get more information on the autopsy reports. While I don’t wish to leak photos, I would like to see them so that I can describe them, or get a description directly from Finley. Finley, as far as I can tell, doesn’t describe the images beyond saying “they ain’t pretty”.

Perhaps some of you might have have better luck getting a response than I did.

5 Questions to Speculate Over – True Crime Guru Badge [#5]

Normally we’re less interested in opinions than in facts at TCRS.

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The Chris Watts case isn’t a normal case.

There is a place for speculation in true crime, but speculation needs to be informed and anchored in the patterns, personalities and dynamics of a particular case to be meaningful or worthwhile. Typically, speculation needs to be limited.

In a criminal trial, a prosecutor can rap the knuckles of his opposition counsel [or witnesses] by objecting to “speculation”, ditto defense counsel.  For the most part we try to run the same sort of tight ship in true crime. What can be proven? What does the evidence say? What do we know for a fact? Where does it take us?

As a true crime narrator, I try to weigh any speculation down with a host of references, facts and underlying data. Once anchored, we can set the ship adrift and see which way the tide draws it.

The Watts case is an enigma because despite having a tsunami of information, we really don’t seem to have anything concrete – about anything.

The five questions below are meant to check your knowledge, insight and understanding in this case. If you’re able to answer any of these questions instantly, chances are you’ve still not developed the capacity to really think critically and constructively about this case. Good true crime makes us better thinkers, and ultimately, better people.

Incidentally, there are no right or wrong answers to these 5 questions, just varying degrees of being better, or closer to reality [whatever that might be]. So, without further ado, put on your thinking caps and lets get started:

1. Do you think the Rzuceks saw the autopsies? Motivate your answer.

2. Do you think the Watts family saw the autopsies? Motivate your answer.

3. Are the emails between Kessinger and Watts in the Discovery Documents? If so, where?

4. Why did Watts take the plea deal, if what he was getting [life in prison with no parole] was no different than what he would have gotten anyway? Motivate your answer.

5. Were the resources used in this case commensurate to the crime committed? Motivate your answer.

The best responses will be acknowledged, and used in a guest post.

Thomas Mollett’s Forensic Report on Shan’ann Watts’ Post Mortem Blood Alcohol Level

Immediately following the release of the autopsy reports on November 19th, I contacted Thomas Mollett, a forensic investigator, fellow true crime author and friend, and asked him his opinion on Shan’anns Blood Alcohol Levels. They were found to be three times the legal limit for driving. How likely was it, I asked, that these apparently high levels were from “normal” decomposition?

SUPPLEMENTAL

Autopsy reports show Shanann Watts, daughters were asphyxiated – TimesCall

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Pathology is an extremely complex science, and many factors play into the biological processes that occur after death.

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The three basic pillars one uses to calculate whether the BAC is “normal” or not are related to:

  1. the time the body is exposed to the elements [here time of death is a factor, unknown in this case, but with a relatively short window either way]
  2. the ambient conditions of the body [temperature, humidity etc.]
  3. circumstantial evidence is also a vital tool to gauge alcohol content, including eye witnesses, Shan’ann’s drinking habits, and her appearance in the Ring camera footage when she arrived home [described but not released thus far]

During our first communication I miscommunicated to Mollett that Shan’ann’s corpse was recovered after only 48 hours, which I guessed wasn’t enough time to reflect the high alcohol levels found. This was an initial error on my part; it took closer to 70 hours for Shan’ann’s corpse to be discovered and exhumed.

Based on this initial miscommunication, Mollett also believed the BAC level was likely higher than a natural rate [which as I say, was also what I suspected].

I asked Mollett to investigate the BAC levels and I’m grateful to him for doing so in detail. Obviously part of his thorough investigation corrected the original 48 hour error.

Below is Mollet’s unabridged report on the BAC levels.

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