Who Is Chris Watts?
Chris Watts is a Colorado man who murdered his pregnant wife, Shan'ann Watts, and their two young daughters, four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste, on August 13, 2018. That November, Watts pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on multiple counts and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Marriage and Employment
Watts married 34-year-old Shan'ann Cathryn Rzucek (born on January 10, 1984) in 2012.
Married for six years, the Watts had two young daughters, Bella Marie (b. 2013) and Celeste Cathryn (b. 2015), and a son on the way, whom they planned on naming Niko Lee. The couple had moved to Frederick, Colorado, where Watts was employed at Anadarko Petroleum and Shan'ann worked as a marketing representative.
The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
Watts Family Murder
Returning from a business trip in the early morning hours of August 13, 2018, Shan'ann and Chris got into an argument in their Frederick, Colorado home when he confessed he was having an affair and wanted a divorce. According to Chris' confession to authorities, Shan'ann — who was 15 weeks pregnant with their son — proceeded to threaten Chris, saying he'd never see their daughters again, which prompted him to strangle her to death.
Four-year-old Bella reportedly walked onto the scene after Shan'ann was killed and asked her father, "What are you doing with Mommy?"
According to Chris' lawyer, Chris had told Bella that her mother was feeling ill and they had to take her to the hospital. He then loaded Shan'ann's body and his two daughters in the car and drove them to his work site, Anadarko Petroleum.
Once there, he smothered Celeste to death with her favorite blanket and pushed her body into an oil tank. When he returned for Bella, who watched him kill her younger sister, she pleaded with her father: "Please Daddy, don’t do to me what you just did to CeCe.”
Chris proceeded to murder Bella and push her body into another oil tank. He buried Shan'ann in a grave on the property site.
Confession, Charges and Sentencing
When Shan'ann missed multiple appointments the following day, her friend Nickole Atkinson, who had dropped her off from her business trip on August 13, contacted Chris and the local police department.
Although he initially denied knowing where his wife was and claimed they were having marital problems, Chris confessed to the murders on August 15, after failing a polygraph test. The bodies of Shan'ann, their unborn child and their two daughters were recovered the next day.
On August 21, Chris was charged with first-degree murder on five counts (one additional count was added to each child under the age of 12), along with one count of illegal termination of a pregnancy and three counts of criminally disposing of deceased bodies.
After pleading guilty to the murders on November 6, 2018, Chris was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole on November 19. Shan'ann's family did not pursue the death penalty.
Chris is currently serving five life sentences (three consecutively, two concurrently) and was transferred in December 2018 to Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin.
During an interview in February 2019, Chris told investigators he was remorseful for the murders and had found God.
In November 2018, Chris' mistress, 30-year-old Nichol Kessinger, spoke publicly about their brief affair.
According to Kessinger, the two had only recently met and became physical that July. She alleged that Chris told her he was in the middle of a divorce and that he was finalizing financial details with his wife.
Once news hit that Shan'ann and their two daughters were missing, Kessinger began asking Chris questions. Feeling that he was lying to her, she contacted the local police department and fully cooperated with authorities.
“It got to a point that he was telling me so many lies that I eventually told him that I did not want to speak to him again until his family was found,” she told The Denver Post.
Kessinger added: “I just wanted to help. With a pregnant woman and two children missing, I was going to do anything that I could.”
Funeral for Shan'ann and Daughters
On September 1, 2018, Shan'ann's family — her mother, father and brother — held funeral services for Shan'ann and her daughters at a Catholic church in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Hundreds of people came to pay their respects, and thousands more watched a Facebook live stream of the 90-minute service, in which Chris was never mentioned.
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