Chris Watts wanted a divorce from his wife as he started seeing a co-worker but instead ended up killing her and his two daughters and unborn child.
Trigger warning: Violence, murder
When we think of a father, we think of someone who is supposed to keep us safe and protected. From a husband, we hope for love, care, and respect, and more. But, there are some men who are deserving of neither roles because of the hatred and evil they hold in their hearts.
In 2018, the Watts family murders shocked the nation because what we thought was a case of a missing pregnant woman and her two daughters turned into a quadruple murder case. Chris Watts, a former employee of Anadarko Petroleum, and a dad to two daughters with another child on the way had been having an affair with coworker Nichol Kessinger. However, instead of seeking a separation from his wife, he preferred to end the lives of his family, according to GoodHousekeeping.
The heartbreaking story of the deaths of Shanann Watts, 34, and her daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, is chilling to the bone. There have been numerous retellings of the events and another one is on the way on Netflix. It will talk about what Chris did to his family just to end his marriage.
Initially, when it was reported that Shanann and her daughters were missing, the oil company executive played dumb. He said he didn't know where his family was and appealed to the community for information about them.
The Colorado-based couple had reportedly fought when Chris told his wife he wants to separate because he was in love with someone else. On August 13, 2018, Shanann's friend Nickole Atkinson had dropped her at her Frederick, Colorado, home after a business trip. A few hours later, Nicole called her friend, and when she didn't pick she got worried. Shanann also missed her appointment with the gynecologist. She was 15 weeks pregnant at the time. Nicole called Chris and the cops, who searched his home to find Shanann's whereabouts. Her car and personal belongings were found at home.
Chris had told news publications that while he had an emotional conversation with Shanann, he just wants them back, according to CNN. However, Chris failed a polygraph test and that changed things.
He changed his tune and told the police that he killed his wife in a fit of rage after he saw Shanann kill their 3-year-old daughter on the baby monitor. The 34-year-old woman's body was found in a shallow grave, and the bodies of their daughters, Bella and Celeste, were found inside commercial oil tanks at the company where Chris Watts had worked.
After telling the police that he only killed his wife and not his daughters, he changed his statement again and owned up to killing his family. He pleaded guilty to nine counts against him, which included five counts of first-degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. He was sentenced to five life sentences (three consecutive and two concurrent) for the murders.
"Every time I think about it, I’m like, ‘Did I know I was going to do that before I got on top of her?’” Watts said. “Every time I think about that morning, I think I didn’t want to do this, but I did it. It just felt like — I don’t want to say it felt like I had to — it just felt like there was something already made up in my mind and I had no control over it," Chris told investigators, according to Craigdailypress.
He said that his wife didn't fight back. "I don’t even want to know what she saw when she looked back at me," Chris said. “She wasn’t fighting," he added.
Shanann's family agreed to remove the option of the death penalty for him and instead he is serving more than 84 years in prison for his crimes. He revealed what happened on August 13, 2018, later.
He fought with Shanann that morning over separating and then strangled her. When he was taking her body downstairs his daughters woke up and asked him what was happening. So, he put his daughters and Shanann's body in his truck and drove to the oil site. Once there, he killed his daughters one by one before burying Shanann and keeping the children's bodies in oil tanks, as per GoodHousekeeping.
He is presently serving his life sentence at a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin since December 2018. He was transferred there because of "security concerns". Shanann is survived by her parents and brother. She used to run a YouTube channel talking about her blissful married life and one of the things she said then is a haunting reminder of the intransigence of life. "We’re not promised tomorrow," Shanann is heard saying, as per New York Post. "We’re not promised anything," she says.
American Murder: The Family Next Door premiers on Netflix on September 30.