HLN’s Coverage of the Chris Watts Case – Mid-August to Mid-October 2019

During the first two months following the Watts Family Murders in 2018, perhaps the best and most consistent mainstream coverage came from HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield. On October 16th, seemingly out of nowhere, Banfield was taken off the air and purged from HLN entirely.

The reason given was “political.”

“The current cable news landscape is dominated by politics. Our live news shows have not benefited from this trend given our story mix. In today’s news environment, every network has to focus on its strengths. To ensure HLN’s growth, we will shift some of our resources from live to longform programming and produce our live shows in as streamlined a manner as possible.” – CNN EVP/HLN executive vice president Ken Jautz, via an internal memo

Even if HLN’s coverage was competing for the same market, this move came as a blow to TCRS, CrimeRocket.com and the enormous audience following the Watts case. HLN and TCRS were actively researching and reporting on the developments in the Watts case, and at one point even discussed collaborating.

Below is a compilation of Ashleigh Banfield’s excellent coverage of the Watts case.

Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield – Podcast

HLN Jettisons Ashleigh Banfield, Michaela Pereira, Carol Costello In Latest Better Idea – Deadline, October 16, 2018


The Moment Kessinger Finds out about the Pregnancy: Do you believe Lifetime Movie’s Dramatization?

52.25 into the Lifetime movie we see a dramatization of Kessinger finding out Shan’ann was pregnant. After cutting to a close-up of Kessinger’s eyes peering at a computer screen we hear a voiceover from a reporter saying:

“Shan’ann is fifteen weeks pregnant. I know this may be a tough question, but did you guys get into an argument before she left or anything…?”

Watts answers:

“It wasn’t like an argument or anything. It was like an emotioonal conversation…”

The actual moment a similar question was asked was at the very end of the Sermon on the Porch, basically 15 minutes into it.

Listen a clip of that moment here.

In the dramatization Kessinger is shocked. Scene cuts to her calling Watts that night and him saying the child isn’t his.

A few obvious problems with this scene:

1. Kessinger was likely at work when the news footage first aired, whereas the zoomed-in scene suggests she’s at home. Although the TCRS position was initially that Kessinger had to have known about the pregnancy all along, this position changed in late 2018 to one where she found out about the pregnancy on Monday afternoon or Monday night [when Watts told her the baby was not his], or very early on Tuesday morning after additional internet searches. Fullscreen capture 20200201 190516

2. More likely Kessinger found out online about the pregnancy, rather than from television footage or from Watts. It’s unlikely the clip where a baby is mentioned actually even made it into the news reporting. It’s an open question whether Kessinger ultimately found out the truth about the pregnancy via Facebook or on the news. One good reason to believe she didn’t find out via Facebook is because Kessinger herself wasn’t on Facebook. The first report of Shan’ann missing – and that she was pregnant – was this one on Facebook.

Fullscreen capture 20200201 191141

The first online news report was from KDVR[Fox Denver] published late Tuesday morning:

Fullscreen capture 20200201 191705

This timeline corresponds to Kessinger’s marathon internet search starting at Tuesday noon for news.Fullscreen capture 20200201 185607

3. In a recent documentary, Agent Tammy Lee said law enforcement watched the Sermon on the Porch at approximately 17:00 on Tuesday afternoon. It’s unlikely Kessinger – who was at the center of things – would have found out was going on when everyone else did, including law enforcement.

4. Kessinger was already actively Googling for news about Shan’ann starting at midnight  on Monday and – as mentioned – around noon on Tuesday. It’s likely during these searches she would have discovered news of the “pregnant mother” missing as early as Monday afternoon or as late as Tuesday at around noon.

Fullscreen capture 20200201 185554

Clearly by 17:00 on Tuesday the penny began to drop for Kessinger that Shan’ann and the kids were in real trouble, and if they were, she was because she suspected – rightly – that Watts was involved, and why he was involved.

Fullscreen capture 20200201 185617

Fullscreen capture 20200201 185617-001

The moment dramatized of the adulterers discussing the pregnancy likely didn’t happen on Ceecee’s bed, nor the bed in the basement, but the bed in the main bedroom. We know that by Tuesday Watts had put new sheets and pillow covers on the bed in the main bedroom, and also laid on that bed.

The conversation with Kessinger on the matress probably took place late on Monday night, and lasted 51 minutes, but there was also a second call at 02:07 early on Tuesday morning.Fullscreen capture 20200201 192916

Six of the Darker Aspects the Lifetime Movie Got Right  – Patreon

Chris Watts: How bad journalism fucks up the true crime time machine

Over at CrimeRocket II I’ve been doing a day-by-day recap of this case [follow #1yearagotodayCW or on Twitter at #yearagotodayCW]. The time machine is a useful, and powerful methodology to analyze these cases, in particular the hard-to-see family dynamics.

Journalism is great when it’s providing reports at the time, especially in the hours and first few days after a crime. But then the media gets afflicted with its typical ADD and it becomes lazier and less effective over the long term. Over the even longer term, this laziness can lead to a lack of accuracy, and eventually can start to distort or impinge on the facts as they happened. Here’s a case in point.

Chris Watts Update: Neighbor Says They Seemed Like A ‘Normal, Everyday” Family – International Business Times

Going by the headline alone, this looks like a topical update, doesn’t it? Some new news on the Chris Watts case, right? The article is dated July 31st, 2019. In fact the article is recycled from an interview conducted more than six months earlier. CrimeRocket blogged about it at the time.

Dr Oz Interview with Chris Watts’ Neighbor Nate Trinastich: 5 Key Insights

Oxygen also covered it in mid-January 2019:

The Neighbor Who Suspected Chris Watts From The Beginning – Oxygen

And the source is here, which refers to the “original” airing in mid-January 2019:

What Drove Chris Watts to Kill His Family? – Dr. Oz

So what, you might say. An article was resuscitated and recycled six months later, what’s the big deal?

Just this:

In the interview, Trinastich explains that the Watts family seemed like a “normal, everyday” family.

“Shanann was always really friendly. She came over, welcomed us to the neighborhood. The girls were always running around laughing, having a great time,” Trinastich said on the show. Watts, on the other hand, had a different demeanor than Shanann, Trinastich explained. He said, Watts was “real quiet” and sometimes was somewhat “standoffish.”

“There were times where he just didn’t want to wave or didn’t want to say anything, but usually he was nice.” Trinastich told Dr. Oz that Watts and Shanann “didn’t fight any more than any other couple,” but because his home was close to theirs, he could often overhear their arguments.

“They had a couple confrontations that I happened to see, but it was never him being a big, huge monster,” he said. On the day that Shanann and her daughters were murdered, Trinastich can be heard telling police on bodycam footage, according to KCNC-TV, a CBS affiliate in Denver, that he “heard them full out screaming at each other at the top of their lungs.” Trinastich tells the police that Watts “gets crazy.” The couple reportedly was fighting over Watts’ wanting a divorce so he could be with his mistress.

Going by this article, apparently the neighbor thought it was normal for Watts to be standoffish. But it wasn’t normal. He was introverted, yes, but he only became standoffish towards his wife in the first week of August, a week before the murders, while he was in North Carolina [when the neighbor wasn’t present].

It’s also a misappropriation of the facts to say the couple “was reportedly” arguing because he wanted a divorce to be with his mistress. Shan’ann never knew about Kessinger. That was why she murdered – to prevent her from knowing.

In terms of the neighbor’s appropriation of the term, what’s more likely is that by January Trinastich had read some of the discovery, and perhaps heard some of the media reports himself, and so adopted this term standoffish.

fullscreen-capture-20190116-173532

The term first enters the media narrative around August 21st, 2018 when Michelle Greer – who saw the couple in Myrtle Beach – thought Watts appeared standoffish.

Fullscreen capture 20190804 194818

Then the Daily Beast [citing the Greer account], repeated it ten days later in an excellent article dated August 31st.

Fullscreen capture 20190804 195338

There’s also Nickole Atkinson who, though she never uses the term standoffish, refers to the general theme of Watts not acting in a loving manner towards Shan’ann. The way ABC frames it [1:30 in this video], Shan’ann either told her this [which she did, and we know when she did] or Atkinson observed it firsthand [which she likely didn’t]. It’s unfortunate ABC aren’t more clear on the circumstances surrounding Nickole getting this insight.

Fullscreen capture 20190804 204523

But there’s also another fairly obscure reference to standoffish. Guess where it comes from?

Fullscreen capture 20190804 200734

The standoffish reference in WRAL.com’s account is from Aberdeen, North Carolina, and comes from inside Hair Jazz, the hairdresser where Shan’ann’s mother worked. Ironically it’s Sandi’s co-workers who’re telling the media that Watts appeared standoffish, not Sandi herself.

Fullscreen capture 20190804 200318.jpg

The date of this article from WRAL.com is August 16th, just three days after the murder and a few hours after Watts’ arrest. It precedes all the media references mentioned above by at least 5 days.  It’s even possible Michele Greer, who lives in North Carolina, read or saw the local content and adopted the term herself. Other media rebroadcast this term, some swapping the word standoffish for aloof.

Fullscreen capture 20190804 201345

In criminal psychology semantics matter, and there is a world of difference between standoffish [which is distancing] and aloof [which can mean arrogant, which Watts was not, certainly not in an obvious way].

Taken together, what does this all mean? It means the standoffishness took root in North Carolina. This also suggests the premeditation began to germinate there. By quoting, misquoting or appropriating these words, the media collaborate in muddying the timeline, and making it harder to see when things happened. Eventually the narrative becomes so polluted by this mixing process, it requires a True Crime Rocket Scientist to unravel it.

August 1, 2018: Chris Watts’ First Day in North Carolina #1yearagotodayCW

Going by the Phone Data Review, nothing much happens on August 1st. After entire pages filled with mischievous activity preceding his reunion with his family, on the day he’s with his family there’s almost nothing. Watts takes some photos of his kids at The Pavilion Park in Myrtle Beach in the evening and then its on to the next day.

Fullscreen capture 20190726 102549-001

0_Final-family-vacation-Tourist-who-captured-eerie-picture-of-murdered-pregnant-mom-with-her-two-da

Okay then, moving right along to #30, August 2nd-

Whoah whoah whoah.  Not so fast.

giphy.gif

Think of the context here. Watts has been on an epic high, had the time of his life with his mistress for several weeks, but now he’s back in the thick of things, not only with his wife and children, but his in laws. Is there a seamless transition for him from the bachelor life back to this one? And of course now the roles are reversed. While he was with Kessinger, he was trying to keep his wife in the dark and sort of juggle his obligations to them with what he wanted to do with his mistress.

Now that he’s with his family, does he try to keep his mistress in the dark about anything, or does he persist in keeping his family in the dark. Does he try to be in two places at once – dutifully hanging out with the family in the sense of sort of just showing up, meanwhile staying in regular contact with Kessinger who must be feeling in need of reassurance.

It turns out to be a bit of both. He is keeping his mistress in the dark about something. Him and Shan’ann aren’t separated…well, not until August 1st. And the night of July 31st leading into August 1st is really the first time Shan’ann realizes something is seriously wrong. It’s only on the first night with her man that Shan’ann is alerted for the first time that he might not be [with her, that is].

At the same time Watts is also keeping Shan’ann in the dark. He won’t say why he’s feelings have changed. And he’ll take the whole week to figure out 1) how much they’ve changed 2) what that means and 3) how he intends to fix the situation.

This strategy is exactly what we’d expect from an introvert, and because of this Shan’ann at first isn’t quite sure what it means. She’s used to being in control and controlling the situation, so she sort of figures he’ll come round, and after a few pokes, jabs and barbs, she’ll get him back to jumping when she says jump, and back to dancing to her tune.

This situation starts the moment Watts arrives in Aberdeen the previous night, July 31st. You’ll notice Shan’ann texts him, asking him at 21:49 for a wake-up call at 05:00. Watts responds, “Yup, I got it. Love you.” Shan’ann texts back, “Love you, too.”

Watts probably got very little sleep the night before [at Kessinger], unless he was able to sleep on the plane. At any rate, why are Watts and his wife texting each other about wake up calls and loving each other? Why not simply say it to each other? Isn’t it obvious? Because on his first night in North Carolina they’re sleeping apart. In fact, Shan’ann is sleeping on the couch presumably in the family lounge.

If Watts was very tired, he may have used this as an excuse to go to bed early, either simply because he was tired, or to forestall a deep discussion in the bedroom and in bed, or both. It’s also possible that Shan’ann was upset by Watts’ cool response to her at the airport, and so, to demonstrate her pique, she would sleep on the couch and also make sure her family [the Rzuceks] were aware of what was happening. In other words, the real world version of coercion, but instead of using Facebook as a platform, she was using the family lounge.

If the texts don’t seem adequate proof that something was afoot that first night, then how about Shan’ann’s brother’s statement to CBI agents Matt Sailor and Traci Schwartzbauer on August 21st [Discovery Documents, page 685].

Fullscreen capture 20190801 130309

Frankie Rzucek was also in the home, and noticed Shan’ann sleeping on the couch. Think about it. She’s pregnant, she’s in her own families’ home, and she’s sleeping on the couch. Does this seem like Shan’ann having a fit and electing to sleep there, or Watts demanding to sleep alone?

Now, we might want to dial back the melodrama and say it was a one-off. Because Frankie also says this:

Fullscreen capture 20190801 130838

But the next night the Watts family headed to Myrtle Beach for the week, so Frankie wouldn’t know what the sleeping arrangements were after that. It’s easy to find out what they were, because Shan’ann talks to her friends about crying herself to sleep all week. We’ll get to that in due course. At this point we only want to be clear about the state of mind Watts is in when he arrives in North Carolina, and how quickly the battle lines are drawn.

Although we can’t rely on everything Watts says, on this point he lets slip that the moment he arrived in North Carolina, everything was different.

Fullscreen capture 20190801 131607

Now, another aspect Frankie raises is that the moment Watts arrived in North Carolina, Shan’ann became sick. 

Fullscreen capture 20190801 131905

It may be that the stress and strain of what was happening made her feel sick, or it may be that she was acting up to curry sympathy. In this context it’s even more bizarre that Shan’ann ended up sleeping on the couch.

We also need to pay urgent attention to Frankie knowing Watts was “acting standoffish” on Day 1, but “they” [presumably Frankie and his parents] did not think much about it. 

Let’s hover over this aspect for a minute. Shan’ann is sick and out of sorts, Watts arrives in town after not seeing his family for 5 weeks. His wife is 13 weeks pregnant. Their son/brother in law is sleeping under the same roof but they didn’t think much about him being standoffish to their daughter/son?

If we take this statement at face value, it suggests that the Rzuceks took Shan’ann with a pinch of salt, not only her tantrums, but her health scares. In this respect, one can say they found themselves in the same boat as Watts, and allegorically at least, let Shan’ann act out on the couch while they slept in their beds.

On this issue, let’s look at an interview with the Ruzuceks where they were asked specifically if they noticed Shan’ann wasn’t happy:

At 1:17 in the clip below, the ABC reporter mentions Shan’ann appearing to have the perfect life, and that she was happy. Both Sandi and Frank are adamant here that Shan’ann was “absolutely” happy, although Sandi seems more certain of herself than Shan’ann’s father.

It beggars belief in true crime when someone ends up dead, that the family and friends stick to a narrative that everything was perfect, it was all a wonderful fairy tale until the moment it was a nightmare. This spiel repeats itself so often in true crime it’s virtually a cliche. But the explanation is simple. The murderer is a monster who just snapped. No further context necessary. No underlying dynamics are relevant. Except they are.

On August 1st, the morning after Shan’ann’s headaches and vomiting and sleeping alone on the couch seems to have passed. She’s excited about August and Thriving again!

I’m so excited about August! Girls and I Fly home August 7th! I fly to Scottsdale Aug 10-12 for an amazing weekend with my Le-Vel family! Gender Reveal for Baby Watts #3! Our team is having lots of success, growth both personally and business, several new friends starting their Thrive Experience and lots of new Promoters who decided to change their life! Lots of excitement, Lots to be Thankful for!

You know what I love about waking up everyday…It’s a brand new day to have a fresh start, to be better than I was yesterday, To help someone feel better and happier, to make someone smile and laugh!

I am just truly blessed and love waking up thankful and happy!

If you are not happy, it’s up to you to change that!

Everyone have an amazing day and absolutely fantastic month!

On August 1st, what’s missing from this anecdote? There’s zero mention of a significant change in her life – her husband is back at her side after 5 weeks apart.

Besides that, Shan’ann seems to be in a position to counsel and provide guidance to others less fortunate than herself.

I am just truly blessed and love waking up thankful and happy! 

Now imagine if you’re Sandi, Frank and Frankie, and you know the Shan’ann on the couch, you’ve seen her, and then you see that. One reason you wouldn’t want to be too truthful about the real situation is because the above is a sales pitch. It’s how Shan’ann makes money, by trying to convince the world how happy and well they are [and subsequent to her murder, the Rzuceks inherited her sales business].

It doesn’t take a genius, an expert, an FBI agent or even a rocket scientist to gauge the level of harmony or happiness from these pictures and video.

bf794bfe-b7a0-46d3-9966-5a3753f0ae9b-VPC_WATTS_FAM_UPDATE_DESK_THUMBFullscreen capture 20190801 122125

At 0:55 in the clip below Shan’ann is documenting on Facebook how happy she and the family are. It’s the first time the kids are at the beach and Bella is mostly terrified [and unwilling to hold her father’s hand]. Shan’ann never mentions Watts, and Watts never talks to her. Frank seems to tippy-toe in and out of the periphery. It’s a stilted scene, but with Shan’ann in control, her friends assume all is well. They assume Watts’ silence is just the same old introvert they’ve seen in other videos. But it’s not the same Chris.

Fullscreen capture 20190801 135723

While he stands dumbly with Shan’ann’s camera mercilessly trained on him, Watts must be wondering whether Kessinger will see this. And if Shan’ann is suspicious of an affair, she will want her [whoever it is] to see it.

The question is, did she, and if she did, what did she think?

 

Chris Watts: One Year Ago Today

Tomorrow will be exactly fourteen days prior to the triple family murder that shook the sleepy town of Frederick, Colorado last year, and rocked America.  I’ve been tracking the timeline of the case in real-time since July 4th this year, and we’re now up to 26 separate timeline posts. You can view them chronologically at this link or use these:

#1 – #6

#7 – #16

#17 – #26

If you have any comments or observations, please make use of the #1yearagotodayCW hashtag on Twitter.

Fullscreen capture 20190729 105731

 

Shan’ann Watts was deliberately hiding the fact that her marriage was in trouble

According to Watts’ confessions, he told Shan’ann on the morning of the murders that he wanted a divorce separation. This was supposed to trigger the annihilation that followed. But this wasn’t the trigger, it couldn’t be, because Shan’ann already knew about the divorce, and had known for a long time.

Before drilling further into this question, we need to be clear about the difference between divorce and separation. The word divorce comes up 35 times in the Discovery Documents and just once in the CBI Report. Separation comes up 38 times in the discovery, and 8 times [“separate or separating”] in the CBI Report.

Fullscreen capture 20190607 161957

It’s clear from a thorough analysis of all the discovery and both “confessions” that Watts was trying to separate from his wife in the weeks and months before the murders, going back as far as a year [close to when Kessinger allegedly made that first Google search for “Shanann Watts”. And this seems to be the word he prefers to use.

However, at the same time he was telling Kessinger a slightly different story. To her he was in the midst of a divorce, and by the time of the murders the divorce was being finalized, and so was the sale of the house. In fact neither was true, divorce proceedings hadn’t even started as far as we know.

So we have two narratives:

  1. A milder separation narrative [to Shan’ann]
  2. A more assertive divorce narrative [to Kessinger].

Fullscreen capture 20190607 164019Fullscreen capture 20190607 163953Fullscreen capture 20190607 164008

And we know when Shan’ann returned from Phoenix that night she was still hoping to woo Watts back into the marriage, hence the planned trip to Aspen the following weekend, the love letter, the self-help book and the imminent gender reveal. Shan’ann thought – or hoped – the marriage was stuttering slightly. Meanwhile Kessinger thought the marriage was over.

Fullscreen capture 20190605 145437

Fullscreen-capture-20181228-091402

Hold Me Tight_colon_Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson

 

It’s no mystery, the Watts marriage was in trouble long before Shan’ann received that critical credit card alert on Saturday night, proving Watts wasn’t at the Rockies Games, and suggesting he wasn’t eating alone.

As early as August 8th, Shan’ann confided in Cassie Rosenberg and Nickole Atkinson that her husband wanted a divorce [she didn’t], but not right away.

Fullscreen capture 20190607 161231

Kessinger says something to same effect, that Watts wanted to sell his home, but not right away. There is this notion of delay, postpone, string things out…

But besides the reference above, from page 2106 of the Discovery Discovery documents, we also know that Shan’ann herself was openly discussing the prospect of divorce as early as March or April 2018, at least a month before she fell pregnant.

Fullscreen capture 20190607 162007

Watts told Ann Meadows, the realtor, on the morning the disappearance that him and Shan’ann hadn’t gotten on “for over a year”.

Fullscreen capture 20190607 164019

This is not necessarily true, but it could be true.

The fact that Shan’ann was talking to a divorce lawyer about custody in April, three-and-a-half months before the murders, suggests there was a protracted period of unhappiness, and acknowledgement from both sides that things were falling apart. 

The fact that the self-help book was put in the trash and the wedding ring left on the bedside table aren’t incidental. They were Watts’ way of communicating to Kessinger what he just couldn’t do with Shan’ann.

Fullscreen capture 20190607 162056

So why didn’t Watts just get a divorce, like the district attorney said? Well, it may be because Shan’ann didn’t want to, and thought she could sort of control Watts into not going through with it. This narrative isn’t very nice, and not very popular. It paints Watts less a coward than as someone who was bullied into towing a line, until things got desperate.

There is content out there that confirms not only did Shan’ann know a split was on the cards, but her own family did too. When Watts visited the Hair Jazz salon in Aberdeen  where Sandi Rzucek worked, it was clear to the hairdressers [Sandi’s co-workers] that Watts wasn’t happy, and Sandi actually told them then [in early August 2018] that the marriage wasn’t working, and that the couple were separating.

The final minute of the video posted at this link [an extended version of the clip above] is very insightful in this regard.

12274353_1105754532803055_967136049756946064_nfullscreen-capture-20181024-130835fullscreen-capture-20181021-003136fullscreen-capture-20181021-003141

We also know there was a lot of anger and bitterness, especially from Shan’ann’s side, over Nut Gate.

And yet we know while this was happening Shan’ann still wanted to do a gender reveal. We also know that in the weeks prior Shan’ann was setting her husband up in her Thrive spiels as a great father and perfect husband and “the best thing that has ever happened to her“. She was making it very difficult for him to go through with a divorce.

wattsmurders

fullscreen-capture-20181115-200342

She was making it very difficult to admit to an affair. And by recording him, for example, reacting to news of the third pregnancy and posting it on Facebook, it was becoming almost impossible to get out of it. But what made it so difficult to interrupt the happy family fairy tale? Was it weakness on his part or hers? Shan’ann’s job and income depended on selling the idea of Thriving. They were facing financial ruin and so, to admit they weren’t thriving meant a further lose of income. That’s what was so difficult to get out of.

shanann-watts-6

Shan’ann’s Three “I miss you’s” to Chris Watts

The words “I miss you” appear a total of four times in the 1960 pages of discovery. Three instances are from Shan’ann Watts. None are from Chris Watts.

The first instance is at 19:42 on July 10th, almost two weeks into Shan’ann’s trip away from home.

I miss you and I feel like you just want to work out and run.” [Discovery Documents, page 2085].

Watts’ response was that running helped him “clear his head”. It’s an interesting turn of phrase, as if he was saying indirectly to Shan’ann running helped him clear his thoughts and feelings about her. In a certain sense this was exactly what he was doing, though not in terms of jogging but “running to another woman” and allowing his thoughts and feelings to “run away”…

Even then Shan’ann didn’t buy his excuse, and told him so.

“I wish my husband wanted to talk to me.”

Early the next morning, at 05:02 Shan’ann called Watts and spoke to him for seven minutes. She called him again at 16:20 on the same day [July 11th] and they spoke for thirteen minutes. The next morning at 04:46 [in other before he went to work] Shan’ann made two unanswered calls to Watts. Half an hour later, presumably when he was ready to leave Watts called his wife back and they spoke for ten minutes [05:16-05:26]. Whatever they discussed, and whatever Watts said to her, unfortunately Shan’ann allowed the situation to slide. What could she really do or say from North Carolina, especially while he was at work [where Kessinger was]?

The second instance is on July 24th, approximately the 4th week of Shan’ann’s six week stint in North Carolina. At 18:02 she tells Watts:

“It’s not hard texting love you and miss you“.

In other words, she’s telling him – remind him – that he’s not missing her or not letting her know he’s missing her. Shan’ann’s actually onto something here, but unfortunately she’s tempted to believe he’s not saying these words because of Watts’ introversion, his “crushed-in” emotional world and his poor communication skills. We know in hindsight that this wasn’t the case as much as the fact that Watts wasn’t missing Shan’ann, in fact quite the opposite – he was enjoying his time away from her and [perhaps surprisingly for him] the kids too.

And so when Shan’ann told Watts on the 24th, hey, why aren’t you telling me you miss me, it’s not clear whether Watts told Shan’ann what she wanted to hear. Maybe he did and he removed these message. Maybe he didn’t tell her. Maybe he told her even though he didn’t want to. And maybe Shan’ann bringing it up as an issue [probably during their many phone calls] Watts started to realize:

I don’t miss you. I say I do but I don’t.I say one thing but feel very strongly another way. I say one thing and then I act another way with someone else…

And each deceit started to build up a cowardly but murderous resolve.

180814-shanann-watts-missing-mom-njs-0925_633bfa48de3fcc28639ce5645285ff8b.fit-760w-2-1

The third instance, at least in the chronology of the discovery timeline, is from Kessinger, leaving a voicemail with Watts on July 25th at 16:35:

“I miss your face.”

At the time Watts was on the phone to Shan’ann. Immediately after ending his call with Shan’ann, Watts called Kessinger. After his conversation Watts Googled “sand dunes weather”, showing where his heart and mind was at [camping in the Sand Dunes National Park which they did on July 28th and 29th].

The final “miss you” in the discovery [Page 2114], and the third and final time Shan’ann is recorded saying these words was on the morning of August 12th, the day before her murder, and in the view of TCRS, the same day both children were murdered.

Miss you guys! Give them kisses for me.”

Watts said he would.