true crime

Days before Chris Watts murdered his wife, she sent chilling texts to a friend.

In August of this year, Shanann Watts’ marriage was crumbling. The Colorado woman’s husband, Chris – a normally loving affectionate man – had become cold and distant. He’d stopped touching her, kissing her, would barely speak unless spoken to.

“He has changed,” the 34-year-old mother of two texted a friend, according to KDVR. “I don’t know who he is.”

Then on August 9, Chris finally spoke up. He no longer wanted their unborn child, he no longer wanted their marriage.

“He said we are not compatible anymore!” Shanann wrote. “He refused to hug me after he said he will try to ‘work’ it out! Said he thought another baby would fix his feelings. Said, he refused couples counselling.

“My eyes burn from crying so much.”

Then later: “I grabbed his hand during ultrasound. He didn’t grab back.”

Within days of those messages, Shanann was dead.

Earlier this month, Chris Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to murdering his wife and their two daughters at their home in the suburb of Frederick in the early hours of August 13.

The petroleum company worker had strangled Shanann and smothered their little girls, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. He then disposed of their bodies at a nearby oil field – Shanann was found buried in a shallow grave while the children were discovered submerged in vats of crude oil.

In the days before the tragic discovery, Watts appeared on television, pleading for help finding his ‘missing’ family: “I don’t know what to do right now,” the 33-year-old told local news station . “In my heart, I believe that [Shanann] is somewhere and I hope that she is safe.”


But by August 15, authorities caught up with his lies. Watts had been having an affair with a co-worker, which had begun around the time his wife had fallen pregnant. This relationship and his desire for a “fresh start”, prosecutors argued, was his motive for murder.

Secret photos of Chris Watts his girlfriend were found on her phone. Image: Frederick Police Department.

In a recent interview with The Denver Post, Chris's co-worker girlfriend Nichol Kessinger claimed Chris had told her he was separated when they began dating.

It wasn't until she saw coverage of his missing family, that she learned the truth. She confronted him. His answers, she said, were emotionless and he kept trying to change the subject - something felt "off". And so Kessinger approached police.

Her involvement in the case proved integral to Chris' arrest.

According to ABC 7, he'd spoken to Nichol on FaceTime in the hours after his crime. Citing court documents, the outlet reported that he was laying on a bed during the call, but Nichol noticed the mattress was bare. Chris reportedly told her, "he was cleaning his home and trying to keep busy to keep his mind off of things."

In the days that followed, a drone captured a bed sheet at the Andarko Petroleum field. One that matched another sheet and pillowcase that had been found in a rubbish bin at the Watts’ family home.

Chris ultimately confessed during a police interview, and on November 19 was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole.

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