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Why is there a U-Turn in Chris Watts’ Version of the Murder?

Why does he go downstairs “for a moment”, and then return? We’ve looked at this particular area before in: Think You Know the Chris Watts Case? In Which ROOM Does HE Say The Murders Took Place?

The U-turn is a recurring theme in the schema surrounding the Watts family murders. On the night/morning of the crime, Shan’ann was returning home from a trip to Arizona. She went, she returned. Chris Watts backs his truck into the driveway [a kind of U-turn in itself], before he heads out.Fullscreen capture 20181109 121052

When Nickole Utoft Atkinson called the cops, Chris Watts had to return from the work site, but Nickole herself was also returning to the house after dropping Shan’ann off only hours later.

The whole Thrive business is based around the idea of making a u-turn in your life, or put otherwise, turning [or re-turning] your life around.

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In his affidavit he says he spoke to Shan’ann not once, but twice.  He talks to her, goes downstairs then returns [up the stairs] to talk to her again. But it’s important to note this is the version he gives during his “partial” confession.

His first version is that he woke up at 05:00, had a conversation about marital separation. He wanted to initiate it. It was a civil conversation and they weren’t arguing.

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But Officer Coonrod isn’t convinced by Watts story. In the affidavit, Officer Coonrod calls for assistance, and Detective Baumhover responds. Baumhover begins by conducting a thorough search of the house. It’s during this search that he finds Shan’ann’s cell phone, not out in the open, but hidden between two cushions on a sofa in the loft area. The fact that it was hidden indicates he wasn’t supposed to find it right then, but he did.

So the cops look at Shan’ann’s phone, still on the scene, and something on the phone [or not on the phone] convinces them that Chris Watts’ story – the timing of it – isn’t right. And so they return to the question about when he was awake. Let’s face it, WhatsApp and other social media log online activity. So it may have been possible for the police to quickly establish that Shan’ann’s phone either showed activity after 02:00 or even shortly before 05:00.

In any event, after finding her phone, Chris Watts is asked to return to his story [still on the scene], and this time he moves his timeline back by an hour. From waking up at 05:00 to informing her 04:00 [which implies that’s when he woke up]..

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On November 1, I published a post on the slip-of-the-tongue that we all missed. This was the slip where he repeats the word “barely” three times:

REPORTER: And then, the day she was back, I mean…?

He starts answering with a stutter.

WATTS [Shaking his head, a slight flash of teeth as he smiles]: I lef-I left wor-for work [glances left] early that morning like 05:15, 05:30 so like [holds out his hand]…she [shrugs]… barely let me in [glances up], she barely got… barely gotten [blinks] into bed pretty much.

No wonder he was so nervous on Tuesday morning, the cops had returned, this time with dogs, and he already had to get his story straight with the media, based on fine-tuning it with the cops the day before.

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Hudson is also referred to twice in the affidavit, that he “drove off to a work site near Hudson” and that he went to “a job site near Hudson to check it.”

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Hudson isn’t really giving the cops anything to work with. It’s 20 miles from CERVI 319, whereas Roggen is less than 3.

Fullscreen capture 20181109 132117Fullscreen capture 20181109 132129

The checking of the job site sounds like he had to go there because of an anomaly. He’s checking. So the dumping of the bodies could both be explained 1) by the anomaly he went to check on, and b) the dumping of the bodies causing the anomaly. One body in each tank would suggest [and could possibly be explained] by some coincidental change in product coming out of the ground.

As the operator tasked with maintaining the remote site, he could – essentially – come up with any story he wished. Maybe the thief hatch had come loose, maybe the product had gotten super-heated over the weekend, baking in the summer sun and causing a gas discharge.

And then, of course, there is the plea deal, which is a U-turn on the confession. All of it reinforces the U-turn that Chris Watts was trying to effect in his life. He was trying to get out the marriage. He’d changed jobs after a lifetime of being a mechanic [just like his dad], he’d turned around his weight, and he’d already found someone else. Niko, though, was threatening to ruin the U-turn, the return to the man Chris Watts wanted to be. So Niko figured he’d U-turn Niko, which meant U-turning Shan’ann, and his daughters had no place in the aftermath, so they had to be U-turned as well.

A U-turn is by definition a course correction, so that one is going back to where you originally started from. That’s what he wanted. Ironically, the plea deal did just that. Chris Watts swapped the jail he was in [for the rest of his life] at #2825 Saratoga Trail, for prison, for the rest of his natural life.



  1. Karen

    I understand that Chris Watts gave permission for the detectives to do a walkthrough, but when they found the phone between the cushions it brings me to the question, did they have permission to move anything? IE: open drawers, look between cushion, etc… Could Watts have claimed illegal search & seizure? Does this question mean anything or is it neither here nor there?   

    #yiv7014965063 a:hover {color:red;} #yiv7014965063 a { text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;} #yiv7014965063 a.yiv7014965063primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7014965063 a.yiv7014965063primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;} #yiv7014965063 a.yiv7014965063primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7014965063 a.yiv7014965063primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E !important;color:#fff !important;} #yiv7014965063 | nickvdl posted: “Why does he go downstairs “for a moment”, and then return? We’ve looked at this particular area before in: Think You Know the Chris Watts Case? In Which ROOM Does HE Say The Murders Took Place? The U-turn is a recurring theme in the schema surrounding th” | |

    • nickvdl


      If he was more sophisticated and more confident, he could have taken things a lot further, just as Casey Anthony and OJ did. He could have accused the cops of illegally searching, their word against his. Whatever they found would then be – theoretically – inadmissible.

      I suspect the cops looked at her phone on the scene, and in the affidavit, claimed they took it with his permission to look through later.

      It’s still possible he may change his mind in terms of the plea deal. I can’t imagine it’s sitting very well with him or his family. And I think there’s a part of him that’s want to be heard, the same part that urged him to step forward on the porch.

  2. Karen

    oh wow, I didn’t know he could change his mind.

  3. Shannon

    Once you let any and I mean Any…COP into your Home. You are Fucked. They have your Permission to walk around….with a Warrant.
    Never let a Cop Come in your Home….ever.
    Hopefully with the Clause in his deal…he has the right to seek Post trial reduction of his Sentence.
    He had cause . I believe ….he should have gone to trial.

    • Karen

      Shannon, what does that mean, “with the clause in his deal?”

      • Shannon

        He had the Right to Seek a Post Trial Reduction of his *sentence*.
        I did some was Vague. But I think it means he Appy for a trial. Under certain circumstances.. I’m still researching.
        I think maybe deal…a Raillroad, led by Fear by that Rourke…. he like the death penalty, but they even killed the in that state, sitting 23 yrs.
        I would have liked trial. He could have plead many ways.

      • Shannon

        Oh sorry Karen
        Meaning he had 7 weeks, 49 days to Appeal his Sentence, after Nov 19.2018
        It was in the Plea Deal.

    • Patti Williamson


  4. Shannon

    I agree with the Comments of others.
    Excellent site.

  5. Diana

    Karen – Yes Chris could’ve told the police to leave at any time! I’ve seen people in his exact situation refuse to answer any questions. They just lawyer up. Do JonBenet Ramsey’s parents ring a bell? This is how guilty people literally get away with murder many, many times. The police asked Chris if they could take Shan’ann’s phone with them and he said yes, but he didn’t have to let them. Guess he didn’t want to look guilty. Thank goodness he didn’t get away with quadruple murder! I’m glad he was so accommodating to police. May he rot in jail, then after that he can rot in hell!!

  6. Karen

    Diana, I didn’t follow the Ramsey case. I’ll be reading it for sure when I’m finished with the Watts case

  7. Pauline

    I don’t have facebook, but would like to play. And answer your question who are the two pollyanna’s and why do I think so. If I win, I’d like the gift sent to Diana. First let me say I thought the one pollyanna was Chris, the other Sha’nann, both pretending that all was well in the marriage, the home, and promoting product. But since the title of the series is “Two Face” I say the two pollyanna’s are Chris Watts. One Pollyanna was his appearing to like his marriage, his children, his family life, the pretense of enjoying being on camera for the Thrive videos, family man, husband. The other Pollyanna was his conflict over his sexuality, however he appeared to his girlfriend and male lovers, looking to get out of his marriage and create a life with the girlfriend, and keep his job, essentially the introverted Chris who wanted to be taken with all of his flaws. Each “pollyanna” was a part of the “faces” of Chris Watts.

    • nickvdl

      The answer is incorrect.

  8. Shannon

    Perhaps after Killing her, he Freaked went downstairs to Stand there and Think…I can see him Standing in the Kitchen…..thinking OMFG….What just happened.
    Panic….then after a few minutes went back up to Check Shanann……After a few more Minutes…now what….what do I do.
    We all know what he did…he moved them.

  9. Shannon

    I look like a Frazzled Spider in my Picture, LOL…I just noticed it.
    Too funny.

  10. Diana

    Pauline what a nice gesture, thank you! Maybe you read what I posted on TCRS Facebook? My daughter recently moved next door to me and she is slowly orientating me to the “wired” world. I’ll catch up with the rest of the world someday! Most days I follow my self-imposed rule that I NEVER go into the cyber world until the sun goes down, I don’t want my online world to take over my REAL life, but this case has slowly been encroaching on that rule, I need to get back on schedule here! In any event, I did get Nicks latest book last night. Again, thank you for the thoughtful gesture.

  11. Audree

    Niko was definitely the trigger for the killings while I do believe Nichole Kessinger was the catalyst. I think Chris Watts was going to fight it and may have walked due to technical errors and with a skilled criminal attorney a lot of what he said could have been suppressed. But once he realized Kessinger wasn’t on his side I think he realized his fantasy life was over.

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