Late one night in August 2018, a 34 year old pregnant woman named Shanann Watts arrived home late from a business trip. She and her husband, Christopher Watts, got into an argument while their two daughters, Bella, 4 and Celeste, 3, were sleeping upstairs.
The following day no one could get into contact with Shanann and she was quickly reported missing. Her daughters were also missing and she had neglected to take any important items with her such as her purse, cellphone and medication. Chris Watts appeared on local interviews expressing how devastated he was and pleaded for his family to come home.
The bodies of Shanann Watts and her two daughters were found stuffed into oil filled barrels on property belonging to a company that Chris Watts worked for.
He was charged with the murder of his wife and children, and according to an affidavit released on August 21st, admitted to killing them “in a rage” after he said he witnessed his wife suffocating his kids. He was charged with multiple counts of murder, tampering with a body and the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
If you want to refresh yourself on the details of the case before reading the update, head over to the original post (HERE<<)
Shanann loved her family and browsing through her social media profiles, anyone would be convinced that they were the perfect family unit. The four of them were constantly smiling in pictures and Shanann often wrote out long captions about how much she loved her husband and kids and how happy they were to have a new baby on the way. When she realized her marriage was crumbling before her, she tried everything she could to save it. She tried hard to communicate with her husband, asking what they would change and improve on. Searches of her phone revealed that she had been chatting with a close friend about their relationship troubles and had drafted out what she wanted to say to Christopher over text. She planned to ask him what he wanted to do. She planned to explain that she knew he needed space, as did she, but wanted to ask what they could do to mend their marriage. She wanted to try .She wanted to tell him that she wasn’t in a good place mentally and that she didn’t want the stress to harm the baby.
It’s understandable, the couple were burdened with financial problems like late mortgage payments, maxed out credit cards and unpaid debt. Things had become so bad that they had to file for bankruptcy a couple of years earlier.
Shanann booked a trip to Aspen which the couple were due to take just a few days after she went missing. She had organized for a babysitter to take care of the children while the two were away on the romantic weekend, but Chris Watts had no intention of working things out. While Shanann tried to bring them closer together, Chris was making plans to distance himself as far away from his wife and their problems as he could get. In fact, he was already having an affair with a co-worker and had been chatting casually with her about how he was planning to move out of the family home into an apartment of his own. He denied having an affair and told Shanann that he just wanted to break up. The truth was that he had been cheating for a long while.
The day that Shanann went missing he sent her a text asking where she was. By this point he had already murdered her with his bare hands and was attempting to cover up his deed by acting innocent and worried.
A search of his phone revealed that not long after the murder and disposal he Googled the lyrics to the song “Battery” by Metallica from their 1986 album “Master of puppets”:
“Crushing all deceivers,
Never ending potency
Hungry violence seeker,
Feeding off the weaker
Breeding on insanity
Smashing through the boundaries
Lunacy has found me
Cannot stop the battery
Pounding out aggression
Turns into obsession
Cannot kill the battery
Cannot kill the family
Battery is found in me
Many believe that the song itself does not pertain to the act of "battery" or assualt, rather it refers to the underground clubs that the band used to play at on Battery street in San Francisco in the early days of their career.
Investigation filled in the blanks regarding what happened in the hours leading up to the murder of 34 year old Shanann Watts along with her daughters and her unborn child.
On August 12th while Shanann was out of town on a business trip, Chris took the kids to a birthday party. The party was for the younger brother of a girl who babysat the Watts kids, and she told investigators that they left around 3:30PM. For some reason Mr. Watts lied and told them that he left later. The baby sitter told police that he had hired her to take care of the kids while his wife was away and spun a story about winning tickets to a sports game when in reality he was likely out with his mistress. He came home late that night. He avoided an honest conversation with his wife for weeks in favor of pursuing his secret affair but Shanann wasn’t easily fooled, deep down she knew.
After the party Watts and his daughters returned home and enjoyed a final meal of pizza before being showered and tucked into bed for the last time just before 8PM. The children were excited for the return of their mother and couldn’t get to sleep in anticipation of her coming home, but eventually they settled down and drifted off.
That same evening Mr. Watts had been chatting with a co-worker via text message, where he revealed that the next morning that he planned to drive to one of the many oil plants owned by the oil company that they worked for. The location he was referring to turned out to be the place he had decided to dump the bodies of his family once he had murdered them. Watts had clearly premeditated the crime and although it was confirmed that he did make it to work for his shift, he apparently kept going back and forth to his vehicle for reasons co-workers didn’t understand at the time. Nobody had any idea what Chris had done only hours before showing up to work. Nobody had any idea that When Shanann eventually did return home late that night (due to a delayed flight) that the couple got into an “emotional argument” that ended with Christopher Watts strangling the pregnant woman to death with his bare hands. No one knew that he had then walked upstairs to his daughter’s rooms and killed them in their beds.
Once he had murdered his entire family and disposed of them, he set the wheels in motion for what he believed would be his new life, his fresh start. He simply returned to work as normal, made several phone calls to his girlfriend, contacted a real estate agent to put the family home up for sale, cancelled his children’s enrolment at a local school and played the victim in interviews for local news stations.
Watts repeatedly denied murdering his entire family until police told him that he had failed the polygraph test he had taken. It was only then that he admitted to strangling his wife and dumping his 3 year old and 4 year old daughter’s bodies in the oil tanks. He had to push the children through with such force that it left scrapes and scratches on their bodies and ripped out stands of their hair. He refused to admit to killing his own girls and insisted that he had only killed his wife in retaliation to her killing their children. Investigation revealed that the murders were premeditated and that Watts did not kill his wife in a rage as he said. They argued that he was trying to use his dead wife as a scapegoat for the murders of his children because she was not there to defend herself and there was no evidence to back up his claims.
When asked about her relationship with Chris Watts, his girlfriend, Nichol Kessinger, told interviewers that she believed the couples financial problems was one of the main stresses in the relationship and most likely the reason that Mr. Watts wanted a divorce. She said that she believed the couple were already split and that Chris was making plans to move out. When she saw him on TV and realized Shanann was pregnant with a third child she was shocked. She ceased contact with him and vowed not to communicate again until his family came home. They never would come home.
Watts received three life sentences for his crimes.
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