Updated Photo of Shan’ann Watts’ Grave

There is something heartbreaking and mournful about a grave and a graveyard. It has an inevitable, unbreakable, unreachable, suffocating, claustrophobic permanence about it, doesn’t it?

The the area that was green and bursting with summer when they were buried is brown, grey and forlorn today.

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The area in front of the gravestone has a Merry Christmas appeal to it, given the red and silver bows interspersed with the green.

It should be noted on the tombstone that Shan’ann’s name is spelled Shan’ann [the same convention followed by this blog and the narratives surrounding it]. Almost six months after her tragic death, even her staunchest defenders, as well as numerous media pundits still can’t get the spelling of her name right.

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With that being said, while Shan’ann’s name on the grave is correct, the spelling of her unborn son’s name is incorrect. Incorrect because in Shan’ann’s own text messages she repeatedly used “Niko”.

Shan’ann used this spelling as recently as the last completed day of her life [August 12, 2018] in a message meant for her husband [sent to Addy Molony at 21:13]:

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Shan’ann confirmed the same spelling on August 9th at 21:12 in a message to Nickole Atkinson and Cassie Rosenberg.

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When it takes this long to get the kindergarten stuff right in a high-profile true crime case, it’s no wonder it’s so difficult for a society to ever get to grips with far deepr darker and more complicated questions – like why.

More: Shan’ann Watts: Photos of the Funeral

Shan’ann’s Last Love Letter to Chris Watts

At 13:37 on August 9th, Shan’ann sent a photo of her final love letter to her husband. The letter is undated, and the pages following the first page are missing. The original letter, so far as we know, has never been found.

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The text of the first page of Shan’ann’s last letter reads:

My Dearest Chris. [Heart] [Dearest was original writing “deerest” and the second “e” later overwritten with an “a”.]

I don’t know where to begin….I am so lost for words [at a loss for words]. I can’t even explain how hard this pain is. The last 5 weeks have been the hardest. I missed everything about you. I missed your morning breath, your touch, your lips/kisses, I missed holding you! I missed smelling you in the sheets, I missed talking to you in person. I missed watching you laugh and play with the kids. That I love so much about you. I missed seeing you naked and on top of me making love to me. OMG I missed having you around when I felt alone and upset. I just flat out missed the hell out of you. we haven’t been away from each other that long since 2012.

The second paragraph has a clear change in tone compared to the first.

I really don’t know how “we fell out of compatibility” or if that is someone elses words. the only thing that change this month was everything going down with you family.  IO can’t change what happened, but I can ‘ try to wor k thing s out with you with them. But there has to be a mutual respect for everyone. I definitely deserve an apology because of Celeste. I can suck up her going against everything I said to our kid. But our daughters life…

Shan’ann left the letter on the counter for Watts on August 10th, and asked him to write a letter back to her.

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Further reading: Chris Watts Love Letters to Nichol Kessinger: “I love how your booty smells and tastes”

Shan’ann Watts Also Has A Pinterest Page – and what that reveals

Various sources confirm an unusual trait about Shan’ann – she had Obsessive Compulsive Discorder [OCD].

When Nickole Atkinson gave an interview to ABC, she was adamant that she knew something was wrong with Shan’ann because it wasn’t like Shan’ann to go somewhere without her car, or phone, or to leave the kids’ beds unmade [let alone her own].

Atkinson told ABC:

“The girls’ beds weren’t made [looks at the ceiling, then to her left]; Shan’ann was very OCD. Everything in her house had a place. Everything was labelled. If something was out of the ordinary, it was very out of the ordinary, for her…”

Shan’ann’s OCD is a big deal. It was a big deal to Nickole, and yet the term OCD appears only six times in the Discovery Documents, a relative rarity given how instrumental this was to Shan’ann’s personality, and identity.

OCD was largely who she was. It made her somewhat controlling, somewhat overbearing, somewhat regimented in how she ran her household, and in terms of scheduling her life and those around her – Shan’ann ran a very tight ship. But how much somewhat are we talking about here, really?

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The combination of OCD and MLM is also central to the operative psychology of the Watts case. In September 2018 I dealt with this aspect in a post titled:

What impact did THRIVE have on Shan’ann’s marriage?

Of course it’s one thing to say someone is OCD [or a narcissist], it’s another thing to know what that means – to experience it. Nickole did, and we get a little sense of what she means by looking into Shan’ann’s pantry, and her home. But is it enough?

At the bottom of this post, Shan’ann’s Pinterest profile provides insight into the scale and scope of her OCD.  You can see the size of it at a single glance.

But, as I’m often at pains to emphasize in my books, when it comes to personality traits and dynamics, we can’t be told what they are – we have to be shown them, we have to experience them – like the Matrix – for the truth to really resonate.

Before showing you though, the OCD aspect deserves a little tell, too.

Shan’ann’s OCD was likely rooted in anxiety primarily about her health problems. Shan’ann had other anxieties too, but her health issues were fairly significant. The OCD was thus a response – arguably an over-response – to control her environment. That environment included her spouse. Now here’s the rub. OCD can also be rooted in narcissism, and aggravated by narcissism.

The table below from psychcentral.com provides some cursory coverage of the difference between OCD + NPD [NPD = Narcissistic Personality Disorder] and vanilla OCD.

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Notice the aspect at the bottom of the table:

No concern or empathy for how their OCD behavior negatively impacts others

When there is vanilla OCD on the other hand:

Constantly feels bad for how their OCD behavior impacts others

Thus far Shan’ann’s narcissism, especially as it relates to her OCD, has been completely missing from the media narrative, or any narrative surrounding this case. The accusations that Chris Watts’s narcissism stands alone, and is central to the murders rings hollow because we haven’t contextualized it: his narcissism compared to whose? Yours? Society’s? What about Shan’ann’s?

If we refer to Shan’ann’s social media, there are countless instances where she describes her husband as someone who does whatever she tells him to do. Shan’ann has no concern for how this makes him feel; it’s simply the way things work in their marriage, and he gets it, because he gets her. That’s great, except we can tell – intuitively – that over time being a pawn on someone’s OCD board game – even within a loving marriage – has to get old at some stage.

Narcissism is a popular catch-term in true crime now, dropped by all the big hitters – Nancy Grace, Dr. Phil, HLN and so on. And the more it is used, the more it gets reused.

Most of the folks using the ‘N’ word don’t really understand how narcissism works, and even less how it relates to true crime. They have a vague sense that’s it’s a particularly ugly form of conceit, and selfishness. And so I guess Chris Watts was a particularly conceited and selfish husband and father to do what he did. Well, except before he committed the crimes no one – especially not Shan’ann- would accuse Watts of being either conceited or selfish, in fact quite the opposite.

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No one, naturally, wants to talk about Shan’ann’s narcissism. That would be distasteful, wouldn’t it? Victim blaming. But here at CrimeRocket we’re not trying to win a popularity contest, or trying to use the same catch-terms as the talk show hosts.

We’re here to find out what the fuck happened, and who these people really are, at least, that’s why I’m here. Now when I say this, I say it with the greatest of respect; if you’d rather talk about only certain aspects of a case, and feel uncomfortable talking about other aspects which you feel should be off limits, please fuck off and go be schizophrenic in your selective reality on your own time, somewhere else.

For the rest, let’s answer the question: is OCD related to narcissism, and if so, how so?

According to healthyplace.com:

The narcissist’s very pursuit of Narcissistic Supply is compulsive…[and] in many respects, narcissism can be defined as an all-pervasive obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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So we see OCD and Narcissism are related, and that Narcissist Personality Disorder [NPD] actually exacerbates OCD. OCD and NPD aren’t the same thing however [a video at the bottom of this page explains how they differ]. But going back to additional reinforcing aspects from psychcentral.com’s table, we see there are some pretty ugly traits associated with OCD and NPD, especially exploitation, entitlement and arrogance.

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How much of this is “evil” in the conventional sense of the word? In some ways, none of it is evil. It’s simply the habitual psychology of control, or the efforts at control, and how that is exerted is by putting the world [and people] into box, with nice neat labels on. The world is also reduced to timetables and schedules, along with everyone in them. So the OCD-Narcisisst may not be aware of the terror they unleash on the world in their efforts to control every conceivable aspect, they’re simply doing their thing trying to organize their shit.

On the other hand, is it okay for one person to exert a fucking tyranny over another? In that sense, it’s not evil, but it suggests there is a flagrant lack of self-awareness. In other words, do I realize that what I do habitually can cause pain to others, or do I simply not care?

Shan’ann’s nut meltdown is a good example demonstrating how difficult it may be to know where to draw the line between tyranny, OCD and common sense.

Which is it?

Shan’ann’s Pinterest profile below shows the extent of her OCD. Not all OCDs are created equal, just as there is a spectrum to narcissism and NPD. But clearly, sometimes OCD is on a vastly different scale to what could be considered “normal”.

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The above profile comprises the following categories:

  1. Meal prep
  2. House Stuff [92 pins]
  3. Photography [54 pins]
  4. Exercise [54 pins]
  5. Party Ideas [16 pins]
  6. Tattoo ideas for Me [14 pins]
  7. Organize it [11 pins]
  8. Beauty
  9. Drink Anyone?
  10. Desserts [304 pins]
  11. Dinner is served! [273 pins]
  12. Breakfast
  13. Salads [47 pins]
  14. Appetizers and sides [71 pins]
  15. Sandwiches and burgers
  16. Food party ideas
  17. Snack ideas
  18. Soups and stews
  19. Dressings
  20. Pasta salads
  21. Gluten free desserts
  22. Workout
  23. Breads and Biscuits
  24. Marinades and dressings
  25. Bella [46 pins]
  26. Bahaha
  27. Good to know
  28. Lunch ideas
  29. Holiday baking ideas
  30. Valentines
  31. Love*
  32. Crafts
  33. Newborn pic ideas [12 pins]
  34. Smoothies
  35. German dishes [19 pins]
  36. Polish food [9 pins]
  37. Chicken dishes
  38. Ground Turkey Dishes
  39. Basement ideas [8 pins]
  40. Crockpot kinda Day
  41. Pork Dishes
  42. Bella’s 1st Birthday [70 pins]
  43. Kids activities [4 pins]
  44. Seafood dishes
  45. Kids playroom [23 pins]
  46. Mothers/Fathers Day [3 pins]
  47. Fathers Day [8 pins]
  48. Baby boy room ideas [46 pins]
  49. Man cave [2 pins]
  50. Pregnancy
  51. Halloween
  52. Thanksgiving
  53. Freezing food
  54. Italian food
  55. Thirty-One [82 pins]
  56. Outdoor patio
  57. Origami owl
  58. Dips [13 pins]
  59. Christmas
  60. Halloween Costumes
  61. Crafts with Kiddos
  62. Sensory Play [75 pins]
  63. Activities for 0-18 mo
  64. Gross motor skills play
  65. New Years party
  66. Super Bowl Party [20 pins]
  67. Girl room ideas [42 pins]
  68. Baby number 2
  69. Baby play
  70. Mexican food
  71. Motor skills play
  72. Girls Bathroom [12 pins]
  73. Easter
  74. Fine motor skills play
  75. Baby shower Girl [12 pins]
  76. Greek food
  77. Crafts to make with girls
  78. Healthy snack for kids
  79. Back exercises
  80. Keepsake ideas for kids
  81. Kids snacks
  82. Poppop to build
  83. Fondue
  84. 4th of July
  85. Bella’s 2nd Birthday
  86. Guest Room
  87. Dream closet GIRLS!
  88. Bathroom organizing
  89. Beef dishes
  90. Kids Keepsakes
  91. Reading nook
  92. 2 year old play
  93. Kids Science
  94. FMF
  95. Nails [59 pins]
  96. Fall
  97. Football
  98. Punta Cana
  99. Thrive Experience [0 pins]
  100. Instant Pot [25 pins]
  101. Organization Remodel Expert
  102. Wedding [220 pins]

*In the Love category, Shan’ann highlights various ways couples can express their love to one another, including 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage, a Couple’s Appreciation Journal and 58 Creative Ways to Cheer Up a Love One. The category also includes The best days of our lives – plates with all the significant dates in a marriage. For Mother’s Day, that’s exactly what Chris Watts gave her.

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Many have criticized Chris Watts for Googling when and how to say I love you. Such criticism is fine, as long as you compare it to the other side of the equation: Shan’ann and yourself.

Further reading: OCD and the Death of the Christian

Ronnie and Cindy Watts believe Chris Watts didn’t kill Bella and Celeste, say Shan’ann “changed” him, was abusive and isolated him from his family

Chris Watts: “Most Likely to Spend Daddy’s Money” and other T-Shirts

At 1:38 in the video clip below, Shan’ann reads aloud the writing on Bellas’s shirt:

“Does it say, ‘Most likely to spend daddy’s money’?”she asks Bella.

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Much of the Watts Family album is peppered with branding, aphorisms, quotes etc. There are a lot of words painted on walls, t-shirts, plastered over Facebook and attached to patches. There are dream boards and Thrive branded promotion messages. During virtually every promotion Shan’ann loads onto Facebook, she’s wearing the product, showing the product, sometimes eating the product or feeding it – on camera – to family, friends or other promoters.

By branding something, one is saying “this is what this is”. By branding someone, or oneself, one saying “this is what I am”, or “this is who I cam” [because of a particular product I’m using, and trying to sell]. But this is the biggest mismatch of all, in terms of the Watts family. How they were branded, and what things really were like, couldn’t have been more different.

Below is a sample of the incredible array of branded products and t-shirts Shan’ann used to brand herself and her family with.

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“TWO POLLYANNAS is about victim blaming”

It’s time for some mythbusting around the increasingly popular myth that the TWO FACE series, and TWO POLLYANNAS in particular, is all about running Shan’ann Watts down. The writing is biased; Chris Watts is hero worshipped and Shan’ann deserved what was coming because of the way she treated him.

It’s not true.

It’s not even close to the premise of TWO POLLYANNAS. In fact the title doesn’t refer to Chris Watts or Shan’ann whatsoever. TWO POLLYANNAS is about the two poor little girls at the center of the tragedy, who have been overlooked in almost all coverage.

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Even so, the TWO POLLYANNAS title doesn’t refer to them either. It’s a much deeper narrative than that.

It shouldn’t even be necessary to say this, but I’ll say it anyway.

In true crime without exception no one deserves to die! The very reason we’re here trying to figure out what happened is because of a criminal act that has shocked us to the core, and we want to know why.

Even when we begin to find answers to why, that doesn’t mean we’ve found out that they deserved to die. Why is about motive. It’s why the murderer committed murder! 

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If anyone didn’t deserve to die in this story it was Bella and Ceecee. Who were they? Didn’t their little lives matter?  What were their personalities like? Who were their friends? What impact did they have on their parents as a unit, and on each parent individually? So that’s the perspective TWO POLLYANNAS takes.

What did the Watts household feel like from the inside, how did it operate, and what was it like to experience it? Well, we get that from the perspectives of Bella and Ceecee. TWO POLLYANNAS attempts to show what it was like being them behind closed doors and between Live posts to Facebook.

In every true crime case I’ve made an attempt not just to understand the merits of the crime and the case, but what was going on with the victim, the perpetrator and the true dynamic that existed between murderer and victim. Who were these people really, in life?

So, over the course of several narratives in a series, the issues of all the characters will need to be addressed, and addressed equally. So trying to fathom family dynamics isn’t about blaming anyone, it’s about fathoming family dynamics.

Family dynamics are difficult to get to, and they’re especially so when families won’t come forward and be 100% clear about what was going on. Also, some families will reveal more about their relatives, others will reveal less. It’s up to us then to look at what’s being withheld.

In the the Watts case in particular, the family dynamics isn’t speculation because we’re in the unique position to have a trove of Facebook videos in the public domain showing all four family members repeatedly interacting with one another. It doesn’t take long for behavioral and personality patterns to emerge. Access to them is one thing, but what do they mean?

What if it means that beneath the veneer of a fairy tale on Facebook, the Watts family weren’t quite as happy or functional as they appeared? This sounds like heresy, and some people are aghast to hear it. What? Cracks in the marriage? How dare you! But we do dare, because of the way the family was annihilated. Looking at the fairy tale isn’t the full story for why this crime happened. Looking into the cracks may reveal why it fell apart.

But some people just don’t like that. They want the fairy tale, and part of it is that Chris Watts had to be all evil, and his wife and children all good. Sadly, real life just isn’t like this because – guess what – no one is perfect.

One of the worst reviewed series I’ve written thus far is on the Steven Avery case. People absolutely hated the FOOL’S PARADISE books because it didn’t agree with the popular and mainstream premise in Making A Murderer that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were both framed, and as such innocent victims. There is an inverted fairy tale about murderers as innocents. In that story, people want to believe Avery and Dassey are innocent so that their own perceived victimhood is real.

If the innocence story is a fiction, however, then their victim story is a fiction too.

Unfortunately for those bleeding hearts who are desperate about proving Avery’s and Dassey’s innocence, they weren’t framed, and whatever you may think of Making A Murderer’s Sympathy Narrative [also known as True Crime Apologia in the mold of Paradise Lost], however strongly you may feel for Avery, the question around his guilt or innocence is by no means a mystery.

The law, evidence, and let’s be clear – common sense – produces a very different result to Avery’s and Dassey’s guilt than the payoff from the emotional story. That’s why the outcome of the case feels different to the conventional, popular wisdom. But true crime is more than about feelings, it’s about real people, real destruction of lives, real emotions and real reality. That’s the true in true crime.

In the Jodi Arias books, most readers wanted a black and white narrative where Travis Alexander was portrayed as the innocent victim whereas Jodi Arias was sketched as monstrous, and as a hideous murderess.

It should be obvious by now that to say Jodi Arias [or any convicted criminal] is guilty and a disgusting liar and a horrible human being isn’t only stating the obvious, it’s self-evident. How much time do we spend name-calling criminals before we get to the business of dealing with their cases and uncovering the full extent of their lies?

If name-calling and dancing on their graves is all we want to do, then do it, get it over with but don’t confuse that with research or reading or analysis. If you want to feel good about how bad someone is, if you love to hate, spend your time getting your kicks on social media. Every time someone says “monster”, “narcissist” or “psychopath”, like or retweet it, and that’s all the true crime effort you need to “understand” a case.

On the other hand, if you’re more serious about figuring out motive and method, the why and how of these crimes, then climb aboard the Rocket Science rocket and let’s see what we can find out. That’s different. That’s an intellectual journey.

Why would one work on a narrative fixating on the obvious [guilty! psychopath! evil monster!] unless to gloat about someone’s badness and rage about the victim’s goodness. Rocket Science is more sophisticated than that, alas. It tries to do the simple but supremely difficult thing of figuring out the more difficult stuff; why crimes happen, and who the people are that are involved. That’s all.

It’s because of the above that these three reviews below of TWO POLLYANNAS ring false. It’s not enough to shoot down the analysis [because it’s not sufficiently pro Shan’ann, or anti Watts], the writing itself must be seen as a cynical and dishonest effort to make money.

In the first review the indignant reviewer can’t even spell the name of the victim correctly.

I’ve read a lot of Nick’s books and I usually really enjoy them, especially all his books about the JBR case. This book left me with an uncomfortable feeling. I got the distinct sense that he is blaming Shannon for her own murder – as if she was so controlling and impossible to live with that she had it coming. How can he presume to know this so well if indeed it was true – and how does that justify what Chris Watts did? Simply a shocking road to take in my opinion, but in the end I guess it’s all about making money and selling books. Glad I read it for free.

The reason I resent schizophrenic reviews like this, is that they’re from regular readers who ought to know better. They ought to know by now that every aspect of the case is examined – the good, the bad the ugly.  That they wish to conveniently pick and choose their truth based on their own bias is especially out of place in true crime.

A lot of time was spent talking about how Shanann was racking up debt while Chris was working hard at his job. It repeatedly mentions her OCD, illness, and time spent on social media in a negative way. This was not just done from facts, even if the author would like you to think it was. The author seemed to be blaming her for a lot of the pressures on Chris…

This review is better, but it ignores the fact that effectively Chris Watts was for all intents and purposes the sole breadwinner in the household. If you buy into the MLM farce that Shan’ann was truly Thrivin’ and bringing in an income, I can see how you might find difficulty – and discomfort – with that assessment.

All the credit cards in the Watts household were maxed out, not because they were making enough money, but because they weren’t. The bankruptcy filing is adamant that there was only one source of income in the Watts household [in 2015], and the little money Shan’ann was bringing in was about to be diminished by her second pregnancy. In 2018 the credit cards were still maxed out, and now she was about to have a third child.

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The health expenses in the Watts household were all on the one side. Chris Watts had seemingly no medical issues or expenses, hell, he even exercised at home in a homemade gym.

What surprised me in researching TWO POLLYANNAS wasn’t just Shan’ann’s medical circumstances, but the children’s too. Both children were quite sickly. This assessment, which was researched prior to the release of the Discovery Documents, has since been confirmed by them.

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Fact is, one of Shan’ann’s surgeries [to her neck] cost over $100 000. Who was going to foot the bill for that? Putting aside for a moment everything else, the mortgage, the crippling credit card debt, the school fees at Primrose – if your partner had medical expenses of $100 000, and it was your job to pay for it, how would you feel about it?

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The actual state of the Watts family finances, even after the release of all the information, still remains a mystery.

And then there’s this.

Not only has the author nothing nice to say about a murdered woman and her children, what he says is simply not true. This isn’t true crime writing: it’s true fiction masquerading as true crime.

True crime isn’t about having good things to say about anyone. It’s about analyzing evidence and seeing what that has to say.  If you disagree, and you may, well that’s another story, but are you disagreeing from a position of  strength from an informed position, or weakness, based on little more than an emotional position?

The coverage on CrimeRocket is an extension of what goes into the written narratives. How much of the coverage on this site [out of 10] would you say is fictional, speculative, biased or not true?

Buy the TWO Face series at this link.

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