It’s hard to believe – while Chris Watts was giving his Sermon on the Porch on Tuesday morning, Nick and Amanda Thayer were also there, listening to what he was saying to reporters. But were they really listening, given what transpired afterwards?
We know they were there because of photos placing them there, as well as from Chris Watts himself. During his now infamous interview, when asked by reporters where he would be staying that night, Watts answered “probably my friends Nick and Amanda.” And that night, that’s what he did.
The Thayers are in a sense the alter ego to the Watts family. They’re a similar age, both similarly working class, they also have a young daughter, and also live in the same neighborhood in a similarly looking house.
Bella and the Thayer’s five-year-old daughter were friends, and were going to do a sleepover on the day of the gender reveal party [August 18, a Saturday]. The two families had also spent Fourth of July and Thanksgiving barbecuing together.
More specifically, Chris Watts and Nick Thayer were jogging partners, and Shan’ann and Amanda were work colleagues.
Looking at the Thayer’s social media, it feels a lot like Shan’ann’s social media: conveying a colorful almost fairy-tale sense of Thriving. Interestingly, although the Thayer’s social media isn’t Thrive-themed like Shan’ann’s, it’s not trying to sell patches, it nevertheless feels like it’s selling something.
Nick Thayer works as a professional photographer, specializing in seniors. Through the Thayers, one can see how another dynamic emerges beyond the core dynamic between Chris and Shan’ann Watts, and between them and the children. Everyone on social media has their own networks, and some friends feature very prominently in their influence over other friends.
Shan’ann would have often seen Thayer’s photographs, typically of youthful couples in love, vibrant and colorful scenes [Thrivin’] and she would have tried to model some of her own promotion with a similar upbeat vibe.
Shan’ann has done the same with her guru Chris Collins, even down to photographing the dashboard of her new Lexus and commenting on the heat, to name but a few.
It was Nick who took the promotional photo of Shan’ann in front of her new Lexus and the family photos that featured in Strive magazine in April 2018.
Nick Thayer also shot some tasteful dusk scenes of the whole family, which has featured in the media – almost iconically – as the default depiction of the family fairy tale.
Since photography and videography [in the sense of going Live] featured so prominently in Shan’ann’s spiels, one can see how the Watts family and the Thayer family had more than a little in common. In a way the Watts family were photography clients [besides friends], and Amanda was possibly working directly or indirectly for Shan’ann in Thrive.
But for Amanda the Thrive thing was a sideline. Amanda is employed in proper job as an education director. Shan’ann on the other hand was all-in.
What was surprising about the Thayers – especially when juxtaposed with Chris Watts deadpan Sermon on the Porch about something far worse – was how emotionally they defended their decision to “harbor” Chris Watts on Tuesday night on social media, and then how emotionally they apologized for doing so afterwards [following Watts’ arrest].
Nick seemed to be in tears about a decision he said he’d regret for the rest of his life. His contrition seemed disproportionate though. They’d been misled; it was enough to simply communicate that. But instead of a short statement to set the record straight, the Thayer couple gave a half hour interview, and then another follow-up interview, and then yet another.
The Park bench Interview is useful as far as providing additional insight into the true dynamic between the Watts parents. Just like Nickole Atkinson, Amanda Thayer was aware [and so apparently was Nick] of the possibility of Chris Watts’ infidelity. Shan’ann had apparently communicated this in confidence to her friend.
In the Park bench Interview Amanda Thayer and Nick seemed to minimize the significance of the affair, even though we now know Chris Watts was “actively engaged” in one. It’s also from Amanda Thayer that we gained perhaps our greatest insight into how Shan’ann saw her husband. Even when Amanda repeated the words, she chuckled, perhaps mirroring the same contempt Shan’ann felt when she told her: “He has no game.”
It remains to be seen whether the Thayers are the friends or witnesses mentioned in the prosecution’s motions who might be tainted by the autopsy evidence, or if it’s someone else.