True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Shan’ann: Sneaky with Seltzer?

True crime aspires towards omniscience, but it never quite achieves it. Thanks to you readers out there, true crime analysis never really stops, it never really sleeps. There’s always someone, somewhere chewing on some area of the bone, isn’t there? Like this one sent in today via WhatsApp from the lovely Amanda Gildenhar [follow her on twitter here].

Notice anything strange in this picture [from More Watts Family Photos posted yesterday]:


Look closer…


Right in front of Bella is a can of opened lime flavored Spiked Seltzer.


Amanda reckons Seltzer is the kind of drink that’s easy to get away with, with no smell. It’s the “sneak a drink drink” as she puts it. 6% alcohol.

Amanda thinks it’s weird the can is set right in front of Bella. In the foreground are other drinks too. It looks like Shan’ann may have had some sort of get together, judging from the board in the background. Unless this was an average day and Shan’ann was taking a few swigs to help her cope in addition to [or instead of] Thrive’s mood maintenance.

Let’s face it, alcohol does the trick when you’re on edge, and all those highly caffeinated patches aren’t going to settled frayed nerves.


This raises the question: Are there any other images of Seltzer or alcoholic beverages elsewhere in Shan’ann’s social media? Also, was Shan’ann putting alcohol in any of those Le-Vel branded shakes she was drinking?

More generally, MLM is associated with addiction. Not just any addiction, the sort that can cost people everything. If the Watts case isn’t a potential case study of this, what is? Think about the scenario we see here in technicolor; a wife so addicted to MLM [and not just Le-Vel], her whole family gets gobbled up into it too. Were they always willing participants? What if it wasn’t? What if it became like living with an unemployed junkie who keeps stealing from you and cashing in your stuff to keep the ball rolling?


There is reason to believe there may be a relationship between MLM and addiction, including alcoholism:

MLMers will slowly become dependent on their team, and their life will become more and more absorbed by all things involving the business. You will see the MLMer’s personality change as they become more involved with the group, and their day-to-day responsibilities will start to go unattended.

MLMers will start to get less and less positives out of the experience, because uplines will not continue to love bomb unconditionally without results. Upline may ridicule the downline, and the pleasure of the love bombing will fade as the downline continues to struggle.

I have heard of MLMers pursuing the dream to the point of foreclosure on their homes, job loss, and divorce. MLMs have been responsible for taking away retirements, and have made people lose friends and family. MLMs have the exact same downsides as any drug (legal or illegal), but MLMs may be worse because people can be harder to escape.22089836_10154901841296935_2015981467120201648_n


  1. Pauline

    I get it. It’s an unbelievably stressful organization to be a part of. You start out very excited, you begin to build, then you feel as though you are on a treadmill. Gain one lose one gain two lose three. It’s a lose lose proposition. If she was numbing herself now and again I get it. Or being sneaky about it. But after pregnancy a third time, no. But I do wonder if she was starting to realize it wasn’t paying off, and that is why her video output slowed significantly. You have to keep recruiting more. You cannot rely on your early recruits to keep ordering, because they are getting disillusioned too.

  2. Diana

    I’d never even heard the term “MLM” until the Watts case! I had heard of some of the companies such as Amway, Herbal life and Lu-laroe (sp?), But I’ve never bought any products nor had I given any thought to the marketing/sales aspect. What an eye opener it’s been! I could 100% see Chris developing resentment towards Shan’ann for not pulling her share of income in. I also question the latest pregnancy, but I did read that another child was actually Chris’s idea and HE is the one that talked Shan’ann into having another baby and I do believe that. Unfortunately I think Chris had a moment of clarity though AFTER she was already pregnant! I don’t get why either one thought a new baby would be a good idea. After all the reading of Shan’ann’s social media and watching countless videos, I absolutely believe MLM’S could’ve been an addiction for Shan’ann. I know that the start up cost for Lu- Laroe is $5000! $5000! She was involved in selling Lu-Laroe, plus many other MLM’S! Younique was another MLM she was in. She must’ve spent a fortune to make nothing in return! I could see Chris doing a slow burn for sure. As for her videos decreasing in August? Since her mom and an employee at the beauty salon in North Carolina said Shan’ann told them her and Chris were separating, I’m wondering if she had intentions of roaring back onto social media with a new “spiel” along the lines of…….I’m a SINGLE mom who wouldn’t be able to “thrive” if not for THRIVE! I’m pregnant and have to do everything for my girls since I’m divorcing, thank goodness I THRIVE! You can too! Now, I don’t believe the MLM’S were the sole cause of their problems or the murders, but I’m sure it greatly contributed.

  3. nan

    The MLM aspect to this case is fascinating. I am not aware of the spotlight being shown so brightly on this river dance before. I bet the MLM powers are hating it.

    I’m in Phoenix, and the Jodi Arias show didn’t go this deep on Prepaid Legal, nationally or locally. Was it suppressed I wonder. Or not a factor.

    So Shan’ann wants a stay at home job to be home with her kids-yet was she truly present.

    Not getting a feel of a balanced, peaceful Home life. Maybe the chaos acted as a catalyst and cover for Chris’s double life.

  4. JC

    “Betting on Zero” is a documentary on Netflix about the Herbalife pyramid, and the financial devastation and pain it caused in its wake. I doubt that watching it would shake sense into the Thrive community, but one can only hope that some folks in their circle see it.

  5. Chip

    I’m noticing something here that is off topic but that first photo doesn’t appear to be at their house. What made me realize it is the fridge is a sort of cheaper style of stainless steel. That kitchen doesn’t look like their kitchen either. The fridge got me to thinking though. Look at the last photo. This is in their house. The fridge is a standard black one. Not the high end stainless steel one with the multiple drawers and doors as seen in the police videos. Again with the spending and the need to impress. The house is only 5 years old and already the appliances have been upgraded to stainless steel. That is another one of those must haves if you’re gonna be facebooking in the kitchen all the time.

    • Erin

      Good catch, Chip! The Watts’ kitchen is a lime green with a tiled backsplash as well. It wouldn’t take many upgrades on a normal house to spike to $350k. They very well might’ve been able to afford the home had the upgrades not been pushed.

      The more I read and learn about the S, the more I can see C’s motive. John Douglas, the fbi guy, says to learn everything you can about the victim in order to for a profile of the killer. *I am not looking to make excuses for the inexcusable, just wanting to understand it better.

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