This is the moment Watts hands over his phone to the FBI

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18 minutes before Nick Thayer’s text – sent from the parking lot of the Frederick Police Department – Watts handed over his phone to the FBI. Watch that moment here.

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This means Thayer’s text came through when Watts no longer had his handset with him. It was the best advice he ever got, from anyone. Approximately an hour after giving up his phone, and half an hour after Thayer’s text, Watts had already consented to give a polygraph.

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“Do I walk out into a field to look for someone?” Chris Watts quoted in Nicholas Thayer FBI Interview [18th Tranche]

During their interview with the media in mid-August after Chris Watts’ arrest, the Thayers’ mentioned giving interviews to the FBI. Since Amanda Thayer seemed to be more forthcoming than her husband – or simply knew more – I was eager to study her interview with the FBI. However it’s not available. It’s not part of the 1960 page Discovery Document file.

Also worth noting, according to the Thayers Chris Watts started exercising regularly in the fall of 2017. Nichol Kessinger’s first Google search of Shan’ann Watts was on 1 September, 2017.

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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.

Spite.

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.

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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.

Cindy Watts Extended Interview Transcript [PART 1]

00:00 – 03:14 of 21:56

CINDY:  I wake up every-every morning just crying, you know [voice breaks] thinking this is not gonna be…[paddles with her hand]…what’s gonna happen every single day…[with emotion] it’s just so hard to get through it. Mm…[voice breaks, sniffles] I just don’t know how to get through it. [Sighs].

REPORTER: Tell me about his childhood. Did he play sports, was he in scouts, what kinds of things…did…

CINDY: Yeah.

REPORTER:…did he do?

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"He was a perfect teenager…" #ChrisWatts

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CINDY: Yes, he played sports…he played sports from the time he was five years old, up until he was seventeen. And he was in basketball, he was in baseball, he was in football. And uh…loved NASCAR. He and his dad went to the NASCAR races all the time. Uhm…loved sports. Loved sports. And he had…he was a good kid. Uh…had…two best friends. And…that’s who he grew up with and still are friends with them today. And uh…there’s nothing…nothing that would have…predicted any of this [shakes head rapidly] could have ever happened.

REPORTER: Yeah. 

CINDY: Nothing. Nothing in his childhood…at all. I would’ve never thought in a million years something like this could happen…to him…[licks lips] at all.

REPORTER: Yeah. You didn’t see things like him get into fights or…

CINDY: No. No fighting. He was…quiet…and he…got along with people. And he didn’t start anything. And he…was the perfect teenager to tell you the truth [laughs]. He did not even rebel. [Sniffs] He wanted to go to NASCAR-Tech. We…made that possible for him.

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REPORTER: What did he do after he finished school.

CINDY: He worked at the dealership as a service technician…and…was making good money, and…loved it. He…bought a uh…toolbox…and he started buying his tools…and uh…um…[shrugs] enjoyed it. He was [shakes head] doing well. 

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REPORTER: When and where did he meet Shan’ann?

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CINDY: They met and [looks down with sadness]…he liked her, she liked him but I don’t think [sneering] it was love at first sight [jolts head] or anything, [sighs] they took a little while and I guess got to know each other…and you know, dated. Um…it was always a little…a little strange…that [asymmetric curl of lip] she always said a lot of things about Chris in front of me [nods with conviction] that…I didn’t like.

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CINDY: Like this isn’t the kind of person I would date. Uh, he doesn’t know how to…do this…or he doesn’t know to do that [leans in one way, leans in the other to give sympathy and emphasis]. Um…he looks like a skater-boy. Look at his hair. Look at how much stuff he puts on his hair. It’s just…it was just on and on and on and I just got a bad feeling.

It’s worth breaking in here to note that Cindy’s experience with Shan’ann parallels that of Amanda Thayer. Shan’ann also told Amanda that she doubted her husband was having an affair because “he had no game”. And Amanda laughed when she repeated this during an interview. When she did, her husband Nick sitting beside her sighs uncomfortably at this compromising and undermining disclosure.

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If Shan’ann was undermining of him to his mother and their best friends [and on Facebook], it suggests she was probably very undermining [rightly or wrongly] to him directly.

When Cindy quotes Shan’ann saying this isn’t the kind of person I would date I don’t think it was as much a comment on Chris Watts’ personality, temperament or looks, but his social status. Shan’ann’s first husband, Leonard T. King, was an attorney. That’s quite a status slide – from legal professional to mechanic, and in that sense then, in the social status sense, Shan’ann seemed to think she was better than he was, or that he wasn’t good enough for her.

Maybe she was right. But maybe if she didn’t think that things may have turned out differently. Maybe.

When this class divide forms the backdrop to a relationship, it can be fatally undermining, like someone putting you in a cage. And we know even before Watts met Shan’ann, all his school and college buddies described him as a very diligent, hard-working type. It appears that he brought this same work ethic into the marriage, and into his child-raising, and it was his efforts that paid the bills. But one has a sense – somehow – that no matter what he did it was never going to be good enough. It wasn’t going to get them out of their colossal debt situation, but more significantly, how it felt to him was nothing he did was ever going to be good enough in her spiel. And that I think was the source of his rage, against her, then against the pregnancy, and then while babysitting all weekend, against his entire family.

Source: 9News.com, November 15, 2018

Chris Watts told the Thayers on Monday – the morning of the murders – of “financial trouble”

At 11:06 in the clip below, the reporter asks about financial problems. Did Shan’ann or Chris Watts ever talk to them about their finances? The reporter mentions the Wattses filing for bankruptcy protection in 2015. Did they knowing anything about that?

Nick Thayer furrows his brow, purses his lips, pulls a face and shakes his head slightly in response.

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But the reporter pushes back on the same point.

REPORTER: Did you guys ever talk about financial stuff?

NICK: I mean, I was never a part of anything. Um-

AMANDA [Interrupting]: Shan’ann and I…Shan’ann and I had discussed it but [shakes head] it was so long ago…that…it was like, you know she would…like bring it up that, you know, ‘We had to file bankruptceeee’, and all of that other stuff, but it was…it kinda ended there.

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How likely is it, if Amanda and Shan’ann were business partners, that Amanda wouldn’t bring up Shana’nn’s seriously compromised finances with her husband?

I mean, I was never a part of anything. Um-

In another, harder to come by interview, the story shifts slightly.

AMANDA: We had no idea they were financialleee….until we spoke with Chris on Monday. Um…

NICK [Nods while looking at the ground]: He mentioned putting the house up for sale. [Wipes his nose]. 

REPORTER [Narrating]: And then…last week [the week prior to the murders], Amanda says Shan’ann confided suspicions of infidelity.

AMANDA: She…said that…it came to her mind…that possibly…he…could be cheating…but at the same time,  she was like [laughs], ‘He has no game.’

Interestingly, the Thayers noticed on Tuesday afternoon that Chris Watts wasn’t doing the easy things to find out where Shan’ann was.

NICK: He didn’t seem all that eager to…look into it.

REPORTER: They called detectives that night to report it [Chris Watts’ suspicious behavior].  

Who are Chris Watts’ friends Nick and Amanda?

It’s hard to believe – while Chris Watts was giving his Sermon on the Porch on Tuesday morning, Nick and Amanda Thayer were also there, listening to what he was saying to reporters. But were they really listening, given what transpired afterwards?

We know they were there because of photos placing them there, as well as from Chris Watts himself. During his now infamous interview, when asked by reporters where he would be staying that night, Watts answered “probably my friends Nick and Amanda.” And that night, that’s what he did.

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The Thayers are in a sense the alter ego to the Watts family. They’re a similar age, both similarly working class, they also have a young daughter, and also live in the same neighborhood in a similarly looking house.

 

Bella and the Thayer’s five-year-old daughter were friends,  and were going to do a sleepover on the day of the gender reveal party [August 18, a Saturday]. The two families had also spent Fourth of July and Thanksgiving barbecuing together.

More specifically, Chris Watts and Nick Thayer were jogging partners, and Shan’ann and Amanda were work colleagues.

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Looking at the Thayer’s social media, it feels a lot like Shan’ann’s social media: conveying a colorful almost fairy-tale sense of Thriving. Interestingly, although the Thayer’s social media isn’t Thrive-themed like Shan’ann’s, it’s not trying to sell patches, it nevertheless feels like it’s selling something.

Nick Thayer works as a professional photographer, specializing in seniors. Through the Thayers, one can see how another dynamic emerges beyond the core dynamic between Chris and Shan’ann Watts, and between them and the children. Everyone on social media has their own networks, and some friends feature very prominently in their influence over other friends.

Shan’ann would have often seen Thayer’s photographs, typically of youthful couples in love, vibrant and colorful scenes [Thrivin’] and she would have tried to model some of her own promotion with a similar upbeat vibe.

Shan’ann has done the same with her guru Chris Collins, even down to photographing the dashboard of her new Lexus and commenting on the heat, to name but a few.

It was Nick who took the promotional photo of Shan’ann in front of her new Lexus and the family photos that featured in Strive magazine in April 2018.

Nick Thayer also shot some tasteful dusk scenes of the whole family, which has featured in the media – almost iconically – as the default depiction of the family fairy tale.

Since photography and videography [in the sense of going Live] featured so prominently in Shan’ann’s spiels, one can see how the Watts family and the Thayer family had more than a little in common. In a way the Watts family were photography clients [besides friends], and Amanda was possibly working directly or indirectly for Shan’ann in Thrive.

But for Amanda the Thrive thing was a sideline. Amanda is employed in proper job as an education director. Shan’ann on the other hand was all-in.

What was surprising about the Thayers – especially when juxtaposed with Chris Watts deadpan Sermon on the Porch about something far worse – was how emotionally they defended their decision to “harbor” Chris Watts on Tuesday night on social media, and then how emotionally they apologized for doing so afterwards [following Watts’ arrest].

Nick seemed to be in tears about a decision he said he’d regret for the rest of his life. His contrition seemed disproportionate though. They’d been misled; it was enough to simply communicate that. But instead of a short statement to set the record straight, the Thayer couple gave a half hour interview, and then another follow-up interview, and then yet another.

Amanda Thayer Chris Watts

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The Park bench Interview is useful as far as providing additional insight into the true dynamic between the Watts parents. Just like Nickole Atkinson, Amanda Thayer was aware [and so apparently was Nick] of the possibility of Chris Watts’ infidelity. Shan’ann had apparently communicated this in confidence to her friend.

In the Park bench Interview Amanda Thayer and Nick seemed to minimize the significance of the affair, even though we now know Chris Watts was “actively engaged” in one. It’s also from Amanda Thayer that we gained perhaps our greatest insight into how Shan’ann saw her husband. Even when Amanda repeated the words, she chuckled, perhaps mirroring the same contempt Shan’ann felt when she told her: “He has no game.”

It remains to be seen whether the Thayers are the friends or witnesses mentioned in the prosecution’s motions who might be tainted by the autopsy evidence, or if it’s someone else.

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