Footage shows Chris Watts staring daggers at Shanann's friend during police search
Throughout history, there have been people who have committed atrocities so abhorrent that their names will forever be indelibly marked into the minds of those who know their crimes. Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and Jack the Ripper, are just a few of the names that are tainted with true terror, disgust and intrigue. In August, another name joined the exclusive list: Chris Watts.
On August 15, Watts was arrested for the murders of his wife, Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant with their son Nico, and their two daughters, four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste.
Watts' arrest came just one day after he appeared on national television, outside the family home in Fredrick, Colorado, pleading for the safe return of his family.
To those who didn't know any better, Watt's emotionless plea appeared genuine. Of course, it was inconceivable to suspect him capable of harming the family he claimed to care about so deeply. However, whilst Watts delivered his monosyllabic request for his family's return, the police were learning the shocking truth.
They learned that late on August 12, Shanann had returned from a business trip in Scottsdale, Arizona. The young mom had been dropped at her home by her friend and colleague, Nichole Atkinson, at approximately 1:40 am on August 13. That was the last time that Shanann was seen alive.
The following day Shanann missed an important pregnancy appointment with her gynecologist, which was scheduled for 10 am. A few hours later, she failed to attend a business meeting. Concerned by this unusual behavior and the fact that Shanann wasn't responding to her calls and text messages, Nichole decided to pay a visit to the Watts' family home at around 12:10 pm.
Upon arriving at the house, Nichole's alarm grew after her knocks at the door went unanswered. Uncomfortable by the situation, she immediately phoned Chris Watts as well as the Frederick Police Department, the latter of which arrived around 1:40 pm to conduct a welfare check.
This visit was caught on camera, in footage that has now been released to the public. In the haunting clip, Chris Watts can be seen visibly agitated as he gives the police permission to search the house.
It would later transpire that the police welfare check was conducted shortly after Watts returned from dumping the bodies of his wife and two daughters at the oil refinery where he had worked prior to his arrest.
Watch the disturbing footage for yourself, and see if you can spot his guilt...
After searching the Watts' home, the police would find Shanann's purse, phone, and keys. Meanwhile, Watts insisted that Shanann had taken the children to visit a friend of hers, and that he'd even seen the girls asleep in their beds on the baby monitor when he left the house that morning.
However, Shanann's car and the children's car seats were also found at the house, making it clear that they'd never left the home.
Further proof that Shanann and the children hadn't left the house that morning came when surveillance footage from the Watts' neighbor's house caught Chris Watts reversing his truck to the garage doors and loading it up before driving away. His neighbors deemed this activity to be peculiar and for the cops, it was the smoking gun that they needed to help convict Watts of his crimes.
Watch the moment Chris Watts knew the game was up...
A police bodycam captures Watts as he nervously watches the neighbor's surveillance footage on August 13. From his demeanor, it's clear to see that he is visibly uncomfortable. Flicking through his phone as his neighbor talks to the police, Watts paces on the spot. As the neighbor continues to discuss the footage with the cops, Watts throws his hands to his head with a dark look that clearly hints towards his guilt. It was at this moment that Chris Watts knew he'd been caught.
Despite this damning evidence, Watts continued to lie to the cops and the FBI, who joined the investigation on August 14. He even lied to the public after he gave an interview to a local television station, on August 14, where he claimed to have "no idea where [his family] went."
"I don't feel like this is even real right now. It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from," he said. He claimed that he'd text Shanann that morning and had not received a reply, which he thought strange.
"When I got home yesterday, it was like a ghost town," he told television crews. "I was trying to get home as fast as I can, I was blowing through stop lights, I was blowing through everything just trying to get home as fast as I can because none of this made sense."
At around midday, he claimed to have checked their doorbell camera to see if it could help explain why Shanann wasn't answering his calls, which is when he saw that Nichole had visited the property. During her visit, nobody had answered the door. Having seen this, Watts claimed to have sped home to check on his family.
However, as it would later transpire, the real reason why he raced home that day was much more sinister. He wanted to cover his tracks.
The investigation didn't last long, with Watts being arrested the following day for the murders of his family. He initially tried to claim that Shanann had strangled their two daughters in a fit of revenge after he told her he was having an affair and wanted to end their marriage. After learning of what she'd done, Watts claims he then killed her out of anger before transporting all three bodies to the oil site.
Listen to what he claims happened...
The bodies of Shanann, Celeste and Bella were discovered on the oil site on August 16. The two girls were found submerged in oil tanks whilst Shannan was found buried in a shallow grave nearby.
Watts later confessed to murdering his daughters as part of a plea deal to escape the death penalty.
On November 19, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for first-degree murder, unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.
His motive remains unclear. However, since his arrest, several former sexual partners of Watts' have come forward to discuss their relationship with the murderer.
His alleged mistress, Nicole Kessinger, who began dating the married father in July came forward to tell her story in The Denver Post. She states that when she met him, he had claimed to be in the middle of a divorce from Shanann. It wasn't until his arrest that she learned he'd been lying to her for their entire two-month relationship, and that he was actually still married with a baby on the way.
Prior to Watts' arrest, Kessinger assisted the authorities by providing intimate details about their relationship, including what Watts had told her about the disappearance of his family.
Kessinger claims that she met Watts at work after he walked into her office to introduce himself in June. After this, they continued to have casual conversations. It was at this point that Kessinger realized that Watts didn't wear a wedding ring.
They began a physical relationship in July, meeting four to five times a week. Watts told Kessinger that he had two children and that his divorce was in the final stages, a lie that she "believed" at the time. Feeding into the lie, Watts even asked her to help him find an apartment for himself and the girls to move into after the divorce.
"He made me believe that he was doing all of the things that a rational man and good father would do," she said.
On August 13, Watts text Kessinger as usual, raising no suspicion that anything was amiss. It wasn't until 3:45pm that day that he alerted her that his family was "gone". Sticking to the story he'd told the cops, he told her that Shanann had taken the girls on a play date and not returned. Kessinger claims she was deeply concerned by this news, but Watts seemed extremely calm.
Then, as the media began to pick up the story, Kessigner learned the truth about Watts. "When I read the news, I found out he was still married and his wife was 15 weeks pregnant," she told The Denver Post.
"I thought, "If he was able to lie to me and hide something that big, what else was he lying about?' " she said. She continued to question him, but Watts continually tried to change the subject. "It seemed off," she said. Starting to suspect that Watts wasn't entirely innocent, Kessigner asked him if he was involved in the disappearance, but Watts stated that he would never harm his family.
"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 explains. The next day, she went to the Weld County Sherriff's Office to tell them everything she knew, including the fact that she had been Watts' mistress.
"I just wanted to help," she said. "With a pregnant woman and two children missing, I was going to do anything that I could."
Later that day, Watts was arrested and charged with the murders of Shanann, Celeste and Bella, as well as the unlawful termination of Nico. Kessinger claims she wasn't surprised and that she knew Watts was guilty almost immediately. "He’s a liar," she said. "He lied about everything."
To add further scandal to the story, male escort Trent Bolte came forward to claim he'd had sexual relations with Watts. He states that Watts reached out to him on the private messaging app MessageMe and commented on how much he liked Bolte's lips.
When Bolte asked Watts why he was messaging him, considering that his profile stated he was straight, Watts responded by typing: "lol, I don't really know if I am straight or not."
Bolte claims that Watts came to his flat during their first sexual encounter, but after they engaged in intercourse Watts allegedly became distant. "He pretty much panicked and then didn't say much and left," he said.
Bolte then claims he met Celeste and Bella during their 10-month relationship, which he claims ended last spring after several cozy trips away to Watts' cabin in Wyoming. Bolte claims that Watts even paid for him to get lip injections.
Bolte's claims initially came to light after he detailed his relationship with Watts on Facebook. Many dismissed his story, purporting him to be nothing more than a fame-hungry opportunist. However, the 28-year-old escort has since released screenshots of texts sent to him by Watts and on August 29, he sat down for an interview with the FBI.
Since then Watts has been handed three consecutive life sentences for murdering his family. He is currently serving this sentence in a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin, after he was moved to an out-of-state facility following "security concerns."