true crime

Why Chris Watts didn't get involved in the funeral of his wife and two daughters.


As hundreds of people gathered to mourn the lives of Shan’ann Watts, her unborn son and her daughters Bella and Celeste, one person was obviously missing.

Shan’ann’s husband Chris Watts did not attend the North Carolina funeral. Instead, he stands accused of their murders.

PEOPLE reported that a source who had spoken to Watts in jail said he was aware of the funeral proceedings, but had no input. He knew better than to make suggestions, they claimed.

Statements were read from Shan’ann’s parents during the service.

“I have so much to say, but I will make it short,” her father Frank Rzucek said in a statement. “Daddy loves you. You are a wonderful daughter and a great mother. You are nothing but pure love, always caring for everyone. You will always be Daddy’s little girl. Until we meet again, I love you with all my heart, see you later. Love you, Dad. Butterfly kisses.”

Shan’ann’s brother said his sister was a wonderful mother to her daughters.

“She taught them to be brave and independent, just like Shan’ann. She was very successful and independent, before any man came along — and that’s just the way she wanted it,” he said.

He went on to say he always worried about his sister and nieces living so far away in Colorado because he couldn’t “protect them”.

Watts was arrested on August 15, just hours before police announced they’d discovered the bodies of 34-year-old Shan’ann, four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste on a property owned by the Colorado man’s former employer, Anadarko Petroleum. The girls had been submerged in crude oil vats, while their mother, who was 15 weeks pregnant, had been buried in a shallow grave nearby.

Chris and Shan'ann. Image: Facebook.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by PEOPLE, police uncovered that Watts, 33, had been having an affair with a coworker prior to the alleged crime.

Watts claims that roughly two hours after Shan'ann returned from her work trip on August 13, he "informed her he wanted to go through with a separation and they were both upset and crying."

He reportedly claimed he went downstairs for a short period of time, and when he returned to his bedroom he saw on the baby monitor that his wife, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was "actively strangling" their youngest daughter. Their eldest was already "sprawled" and "blue", he alleged.

Watts claimed he then "went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shan'ann to death", before loading "all three bodies onto the back seat of his work truck" and transporting them to the oil site where they remained for four days.

Authorities have dismissed his account and Watts has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He has not yet entered a plea.