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Was Niko Buried With Shan’ann Watts?

Three coffins, not four. Three hearses, not four. Three graves, not four. And the unborn child’s name was Niko, not Nico.

PINEHURST, NC – SEPTEMBER 1: Frank Rzucek puts his hand on the casket of his daughter Shan’ann Watts, 34, before it is loaded into a hurse outside Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church on September 1, 2018 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Family and friends gathered for the funeral mass of Shan’ann her daughters Bella, 4, Celeste, 3, and unborn son Nico. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

PINEHURST, NC – SEPTEMBER 1: The bodies of Shanann Watts, 34, her daughters Bella, 4, Celeste, 3, and unborn son Nico are taken from the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church to head to their final resting place on September 1, 2018 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

PINEHURST, NC – SEPTEMBER 1: Friends and family gather as the bodies of Shanann Watts, 34, her daughters Bella, 4, Celeste, 3, and unborn son Nico are taken from the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church to their final resting place on September 1, 2018 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

PINEHURST, NC – SEPTEMBER 1: Friends and family make their way from the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church after the funeral mass for Shan’ann Watts, 34, her daughters Bella, 4, Celeste, 3, and unborn son Nico on September 1, 2018 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

At the end of the funeral service at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinehurst, North Carolina on September 1st, 2018, a video recording [see below] shows three coffins exiting the church.

The autopsy results aren’t available, but the funeral and grave site suggest that Niko’s remains were either removed, destroyed or buried with his mother.


Was Niko Buried With Shan’ann Watts?

It’s difficult to speculate what the norm would be in a criminal case, especially where an autopsy would need to be performed on both the mother and fetus. But generally speaking, if an early term pregnant woman dies: is the baby removed and buried separately?

The answer probably depends on a case by case basis. What is the the wish of the family?

In some cases, such as this one reported by The Sun, a young mother who died of cervical cancer had her baby sewn back into her post mortem and buried with her [as this was apparently her wish]:

…five-and-a-half months into her pregnancy [Scarlett De-Lacey, 18] suddenly collapsed and was rushed to hospital after suffering deep-vein thrombosis which caused a blood clot in her leg. Doctors were unable to save Scarlett or her unborn baby Rocco, and after delivering him by caesarean, sewed him back inside his mum for burial. Gayle, from Newport, Wales, explained: “Rocco was too young, legally, to require a separate burial and I was asked if I’d like him put back inside Scarlett.”

“I knew that was what she would have wanted, so they’d be together forever. Her baby was back where he belonged.”





It’s possible that 15-week-old Niko was also too young to “qualify” for a separate burial, as Colorado law currently only recognizes the rights of a fully-fledged person at a particular point post-conception. What is that point? Live birth.

According to Westword:

To be considered a person…a baby has to be born alive. As proof, t[lawyers] cited a 2008 case in which doctors performed a C-section on a woman who was five months pregnant when she was in a car accident that caused her placenta to detach from the uterine wall. A Colorado appeals court ruled that she could sue the driver who caused the crash because the premature baby lived briefly — even if it was only for an hour and six minutes.


Count 6 of the arrest affidavit states “the woman died as a result of the unlawful termination of the pregnancy”. Does this mean the fetus was removed from Shan’ann’s body, prior to the first burial at CERVI 319?

One reason for the murderer to do this would be contingent on rational premeditation: to break the link between the remains of a pregnant victim and and Shan’ann – assuming Chris Watts succeeded in getting away with her murder. Let’s face it, he thought he would as all would-be-murderers do.

In other words, by sequestrating the fetus from Shan’ann’s corpse, if Shan’ann’s remains were ever found, the absence of the fetus could “prove” it wasn’t her. In such a scenario her DNA would need to be destroyed too, perhaps through chemical means.

In the Scott Peterson case, the mother and child’s remains washed up a mile from one another. At the time, three months after Laci’s disappearance, there was uncertainty whether either cadaver was related to the Peterson case. It required specialized DNA tests to confirm the corpse as Laci and the smaller body as Conner’s.

Without access to the autopsy evidence, we can’t know for sure whether this grotesque processing of the corpse/s occurred or not. Given the efforts to dispose of the three bodies, all three in separate “graves” at a remote site under the cover of darkness, there appears to be some reason to suspect the defendant may have made the effort to remove the fetus before burial and disposal.

On the other hand, the affidavit makes no mention of blood evidence inside the Watts home when the first safety inspection was made. A removal of a living fetus, if it happened, would have been very bloody and difficult to clean up, especially if it occurred over a short span of time – only two to three hours in this case.

What’s in a Name?


At the grave site and in the funeral flyer, Niko’s name is spelled “Nico”. This has led some to speculate that Shan’ann named “Nico” after her “best friend” Nickole Utoft Atkinson.

It’s a nice story. Going through the media narrative it’s clear that the Watts themselves intended to call their son Niko. Niko with a K, not a C. This has led to speculation – not unfounded in my view – that the name-choice and the specificity of the spelling was a nod to another Nichol with a surname beginning with the letter K.

Niko with a K is unusual. I should know,  I’ve seen my birth name – Nicolas – misspelled over the years, but never as Nikolas, and almost never shortened as Nik or Niko.

There’s something else too. Celeste, the second-born daughter, took their mother’s second name. Niko was the first child to take Christopher Lee Watts’ middle name as his own.  Niko Lee may or may not have been a symbolic message to his mistress-in-waiting. Maybe if the third child was unplanned, as a gesture of good faith or his future commitment, or even as a kind of apology, naming his son in some way after his mistress may have sent a symbolic message to her.

If so, it wasn’t enough.

Significantly there appears to be purposeful changing of the spelling at the funeral and the grave of the unborn child’s name, as if to undo this intention. Either that or it was a simple mistake, a misspelling.*

Fullscreen capture 20181011 090022

*Shortly after the murders in mid-August, an effort was launched to initiate “Niko’s Law”. The ongoing petition is in aid of changing Colorado law so that it recognizes unborn children as people. As of this writing, the petition  has over 96 680 signatures.

TWO FACE is the definitive narrative on the Watts case available exclusively on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.


  1. Pauline

    Nico was probably buried inside Sha’nann’s womb, one coffin. Sharon Tate’s baby was 8 months along, and removed from her body by the ME and placed by her side in one sealed coffin. His name appears under her name on their gravestone. Chris Watts would have had a pretty tough time removing their fetus himself, and no time to do so. Sharon Tate bled out, that was her cause of death, from multiple stab wounds, baby Paul Polanski was unharmed, but suffocated inside the womb up to 20 minutes after Sharon died.

    • nickvdl


      He didn’t necessarily have to remove anything if what he intended was a chemical processing of the body. He worked in an industry based on chemicals, like Scott Peterson did.

      I guess the question is – what could he have done in 3 hours?

  2. KJ

    After autopsy, her remains were received at the funeral home. Niko would have been removed from her body during autopsy and most likely put in a biohazard bag in her abdomen.
    The funeral home would honor the wishes of her family, (which by the looks of things the family was also honoring him as well) and done as they asked, which in this case was probably to wrap him gently in a blanket and placed in her arms or wherever the wished. If that’s the case, he may have been topically embalmed (I don’t know if they had open caskets) and not arterialy.
    In many situations the fetus is placed back into the body cavity with the viscera. For larger fetus’ , they will absolutely do their best to restore a pregnant belly.
    Just know, the funeral director treated the situation with the utmost dignity and compassion.

    • Shannon

      The baby was expelled from her body. It was on the ground covered in dirt. 15 weeks is quite small, size of a Orange. Probably put in a bag, back in body.

    • itsbmbhere

      According to the discovery files baby Niko was sent out for evidence and testing. I don’t recall any discussion about his remains beyond that.

  3. Shannon

    At 15 weeks of pregnancy.
    The Fetus is the size of an Apple or Orange.

  4. Carolyn Twiss

    The Watts family: pschopathic mother, evil, hateful father, scheming, jealous sister, and their golden boy, finally where he belongs; have fed each other’s psychosis far too many years. They, as a thoroughly deranged unit, has been wronged! Don’ t ya know!? Sneering, relentless, ugliness, the likes of which seem hard to duplicate in society. God help us all!

  5. Shannon

    Wow. Hateful comment. Do you have back up to that.

  6. Kirby

    So bizzare that baby “nico lee” and cris’s mistress shared almost the same name too….

    • Ralph Oscar

      Considering that Shan’Ann’s real name was “Shannon” and she switched the emphasis to the other syllable, if she’d applied the same manipulation to the name “Nicole” she could have gotten “Nico Lee”. But NK’s spelling was “Nichol” – WAY too many “Nicoles” and even a “Nicolas” in this group!

  7. LN

    Are you convinced she was 100% pregnant? If so, why didn’t she go to ER when she started “cramping” and “bleeding” while in North Carolina? As in the Stauch case, a fake ultrasound is the same protocol as a fake lie detector test.

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