This case is extremely recent and has dominated the news and the internet since it was first revealed in August. It was a fast paced and by the end of November had been solved and the person responsible sentenced.
However, I want to write about it due to it catching my attention and proving that all isn’t as it can seem on social media and the news.
Christopher and Shannan Watts met 8 years ago and after two years of dating, got married. They lived in Colorado with their two young daughters, 4 year old Bella and 3 year old Celeste.
Christopher had a steady job at an oil and gas company whist Shannan had recently been working for a company called Le-vel, acting as a rep and sales person. The company was a pyramid schemed business where Shannan had proved extremely successful often enjoying trips to different states promoting the business. She was happy doing this and had made a large group of friends through working and promoting the company.
Bella and Celeste were happy, healthy, bright and beautiful little girls. They were doted on by both their mother and father and could often be seeing on videos on Shannan’s social media having fun with the family and enjoying their carefree lives.
At the time that events unfolded, Shannan was also expecting a baby boy, who the couple planned to call Nico. She was 15 weeks pregnant and couldn’t wait to become a mother again. Bella and CeCe were also thrilled to be becoming big sisters.
It appeared the young family had it all and Shannan would regularly share family updates online, always appearing happy and in love.
On August the 10th 2018, Shanan was leaving for a three day trip to Phoenix with another Le-vel representative. They often travelled to promote the brand and Chris was always on board to help with the children whilst Shannan was away.
Three days later in the early hours of August the 13th Shannan arrived home after getting a lift with her friend. According to Chris she got in at around 1.40am.
Later the same day she had an appointment at the Dr’s office for a scan of the baby. It had been discovered that he’d got an irregular heartbeat so Shannan attended regular scans to monitor his development. When 10.00am came and went with no sign of Shannan, her friend and colleague Nicole tried to call and text Shannan to make sure she was ok. It was extremely out of character for her to fail to turn up to an appointment for her baby and even stranger that her phone appeared to be turned off and she hadn’t been active on her social media. This rang alarm bells because Shannan was a prolific user of Facebook and Instagram due to her job, she would promote the business and the products she was selling via her personal profiles.
Worried, Nicole decided to drive to the family home in order to check up on Shannan and the children. Upon arriving, she rang their interactive doorbell and got no response. She could see that Shannan’s car and the children’s carseats were at the home so she again, rang the doorbell and shouted for Shannan. The doorbell had alerted Chris, who was at work and answered the door via his phone. He assured Nicole that Shannan was fine and that she had taken the girls on a playdate. He was relaxed and calm despite Nicole being clearly worried. Not feeling happy with the response, Nicole proceeded to call the police and report Shannan, Bella and Celeste missing. A police officer attended the scene and also rang the bell and looked around for any signs of life. He noticed that on the garage door there was a keypad, and that if a code was input correctly, it would open the door and enable access to search the house. The officer called Chris who informed him the keypad was broken but that he was leaving work and would be with the officer and Nicole in 5 minutes time.
When Chris arrived home, he opened up the house and allowed the officer to gain entry and search. They discovered that along with the car and carseats, Shannan’s bag, purse, mobile phone and the children’s medication and belongings were all present. The officer asked Chris when he had last seen his wife, to which is responded around 5am that morning. According to Chris, Shannan had got home from her trip in the early hours and gone to bed. He’d woken at 5am for work and engaged in what he described as an “emotional discussion” with Shannan regarding their marriage and how he wasn’t happy anymore. He expressed his desire for a divorce. With this revelation the officer started to feel uneasy and suspicious of Mr Watts and called for the back up of a detective to the home. Chris informed the detective that he had spoken with Shannan at 4.00am and that it was emotionally charged and centred around their marriage. Originally Chris had said that the discussion took place at 5am before he left for work.
The following day, August the 14th. Chris Watts appeared on the news, talking about the disappearance of his family. He expressed his worry and confusion as to the whereabouts of his family and how much he wanted and hoped for them to come home. He appeared calm and relaxed during his appearance and many people who viewed it commented on, and were suspicious of his body language and calm demeanour. You can watch the appeal here. (9 news).
As he stated in during his TV appearance, Chris went and stayed with some close family friends who, after some hours noticed that Chris’ behaviour was out of character and they informed the police.
On the 15th of August, the day after he appeared on television talking about his missing family, Chris Watts was arrested under the suspicion that he had some involvement in the disappearance of his family.
The case was moving quickly, and only three days after they were reported missing, on the 16th of August, Shannan, Bella and Celeste Watts bodies were recovered on some land belonging to the previous (he was fired the day he was arrested) workplace of Christopher Watts. He confessed to disposing of all three bodies, burying Shannan in a shallow grave and leaving his two children submerged in two large vats of oil. He told police that he had only murdered his wife, after he had discovered her smothering their two children.
After evidence was collected and postmortem’s were carried out on all three victims, it transpired that they had all been killed by Chris. Injuries on the children were not consistent with Chris’ story and subsequently he was charged with all three murders along with unlawful termination of a pregnancy. He would face the death penalty if found guilty.
In a turn of events, at the beginning of November, Chris Watts changed his plea to that of a guilty one. This was in order to avoid the death penalty which remarkably was pushed by Shannan’s parents who stated that death shouldn’t be the choice of another individual and should be left up to God. They were imperative in Chris’ avoidance of being put to death despite the depraved acts he had carried out on their daughter and grandchildren.
Whilst the investigation continued, it transpired that the Watts marriage was of late, a less than happy one. After investigations into personal e-mail accounts and mobile phone records it was revealed that Chris Watt’s had been involved in an extra marital affair with a colleague and wanted to leave his family. Shannan was aware of some tension and she had discussed with her friend her suspicions and the fact she no longer felt desirable by Chris. She was worried about her pregnancy and his lack of interest and was also considering a separation. It soon became clear that the “emotional discussion” Chris had referred more than likely resulted in the deaths. Many people believe that Chris wanted to start a new life without his family and decided that killing them would be the best option.
On November the 19th, 2018, Chris Watts was sentenced to life in prison without ever having the chance to appeal for parole. He will die behind bars.
Shannan’s family are now left with a huge void in their lives. Not only have they lost a daughter, they have lost two beautiful granddaughters and their unborn grandson. All because of a selfish individuals reckless actions.
If you’re interested in viewing the footage of Christopher Watts’ sentencing, including victim impact statements from Shanans family, you can do so here - please bare in mind that this will contain some upsetting dialogue so only view this at your own discretion.
May Shannan, Bella, CeCe and Nico rest in peace. Forever and always.