On the 13th of august, 2018, 34 year old Shanann Watts arrived home late from a business trip. She was dropped off at her house in Colorado by a friend and co-worker who watched her safely close the door behind her before driving off. Shanann used to work at a children’s hospital as a phone operator, but had recently secured a much more glamorous position at a health and wellness company called “Le-Vel”. She sold and distributed freeze dried health food for the company, and although she mostly worked from home, she would occasionally go on business trips both domestically and internationally. Shanann often advertised the products on her social media but the majority of her Instagram feed revolved around her seemingly perfect family.
Pictures of her husband, 34 year old Christopher Watts, were captioned with loving and thankful words: “Happy Husband Appreciation Day! I couldn’t imagine a better man for us. You spoil us with love an attention! You put up with 3 impatient, demanding women in the house. You Work so hard everyday to provide for us. I love you so much and so grateful you hung around when I tried pushing you away in the beginning!” she wrote under one of the pictures.
Other Images included the couple smiling and laughing with their two daughters, Bella, 4 and Celest, 3.
Despite suffering from lupus, Shanann managed to get pregnant for a third time, and a sonogram of third addition to the Watts clan was posted proudly for all to see and share in the happiness- “I love them already!” Chris said in a screen-shotted text message exchange with his wife. They already knew the gender of their third child, a boy, who they planned to call Nico. Tuesday would be the gender reveal party, an event that friends and family were excited to attend.
Christopher worked as an operator for Anadarko Petroleum and although Shanann’s new job saw her traveling more than she used to, the family looked as happy as ever.
Looking at their social media it would seem the couple were living the perfect family life, but behind closed doors, the pair were having big financial problems. Court documents revealed that despite a healthy combined income, the couple were crippled by lingering student loans, credit card debt and unpaid medical bills. Their financial issues were so bad that they filed for bankruptcy in 2014. Not only were they weighed down by money problems, but Shanann was convinced that her husband had been cheating on her and confided in a close friend that she had worries that he may have been unfaithful.
That night, after Shanann returned to the family home complaining of a delayed flight from Scottsdale, the couple began to argue. It was already late, and Chris had to leave for work around 5am, but the pair continued having what Christopher described as an “emotional conversation” until it was time for him to leave.
Later that day a friend of the family contacted Christopher and expressed concern that Shanann had failed to answer any of their calls and messages. Chris hadn’t been in contact with his wife that day either and said she hadn’t answered any of his calls or messages. He wasn’t worried, though, she had come home late the night before and they had spent all night talking into the early hours, so he assumed she was just sleeping.
Later, when he returned home, Shanann and the kids were gone. They were soon reported missing by a family friend.
It’s difficult to imagine the level of devastation and heartbreak one must feel having their entire family so suddenly ripped away.
Christopher expressed his concern and anxiety in interviews with the local news: “I just want them home” he desperately told reporters “it’s like a nightmare”.
As police searched for clues to the disappearance of Shannan and the kids in and around the family home, Christopher took refuge in a friend’s house.
Although it seemed as though Shanann had walked out with the children following an argument with her husband, not one friend or family member had been in contact with her since. Suspiciously, Shanann had neglected to take important everyday items with her, including her cellphone, wallet and medicine.
Her final Instagram post was one of joy and happiness: “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!” she wrote.
Mr. Watts continued to interview with local news reporters appealing to the public or information pertaining to the whereabouts of his pregnant wife and two young daughters. “Last night was traumatic. I can’t stay in this house again with nobody here”.
Shortly after Shanann and the kids were reported missing a body was found. Police were sure it was the 34 year old mother and later tests proved it indeed was.
Shanann Watts’ body was found stuffed into a filled oil tank on property belonging to the Anadarko oil company. The bodies of three year old Bella and four year old Celest were discovered nearby. It is thought the tanks of gas were used in an attempt to disguise the odor of decay.
An autopsy was performed but the cause of death has not yet been released (as I write this).
Online articles report that Shanann and the girls were murdered in the family home and that the children may have been strangled.
Christopher Watts was arrested on Wednesday the 15th of august as the main suspect in the case. He allegedly confessed to police that he was responsible for the slaying of his family.
At this moment in time, the motive behind the crime is unclear. Some reports suggest financial problems or perhaps the relationship issues Mr. and Mrs. Watts were dealing with.
At the time that Christopher Watts was giving interviews to local TV stations he was fully aware of what he had done and knew that his wife and children had not mysteriously disappeared. When he spoke of not being able to tolerate staying in the family home alone we now know that in reality he couldn’t stand the memories of what he had done that night on August 13th.
Please check back for future updates.
UPDATE: In an affidavit released today (Monday 21st of August 2018) Christopher Watts claims that he murdered his wife Shanann “in a rage” after he witnessed her strangling their daughters on the baby monitor. He claims the crime happened after he and his wife had an emotional conversation about separating as he was having an affair with someone he worked with.
Regardless of his accusations Mr. Watts has been charged with 5 counts of murder, tampering with evidence/a body and the unlawful termination of pregnancy.
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