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Murder of Bella and Celeste: Updated Timeline

Saturday, August 11th: Jeremy Lindstrom’s daughter McKenna babysat the Watts children. It’s unclear where Chris Watts was during that time, during the day, but we know he liked a tweet about a “big time win” for the Rockies.

Was there also a concert after the football game in Denver that Watts [and someone perhaps] attended? Irrespective, Chris Watts may have watched the game at a friend’s house or a bar and celebrated afterwards.

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Note, both tweets below have since been removed, which means the timestamps can’t be verified.

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13:59: Shan’ann posts a message against a background of hearts saying she’s ready to get home to Chris and her girls.

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14:25: About 26 minutes later, Watts and the girls are photographed at Jeremy Lindstrom’s house. They’re celebrating his son’s five birthday.

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17:20: Shan’ann posts a message about the baby moving twice over the weekend. Were Bella and Celeste still alive when this message was posted from Arizona?

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PGA winds up during the late afternoon: Chris Watts also liked a post about Tiger Woods performance on Sunday. It’s unclear when exactly Woods played what, but what it certain he was playing until late on Sunday afternoon.

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17:22: A photo of Shan’ann is posted indicating that her flight has been delayed. Shan’ann and her friends settle down to eat dinner at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill.

Were the Watts girls still alive at this stage? Did they live long enough to eat dinner, or was birthday cake the last thing left in their stomachs? Shan’ann’s last meal was also likely whatever she at at the Thirsty Lion Pub, and anything she ate on the flight to Denver.

19:22: Chris Watts is observed barbecuing on his outside balcony. The Watts children, as far as we know, were not.

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It’s unclear when exactly the PGA finished that Sunday, but it’s likely Watts watched at least some of it, perhaps in-between barbecuing.

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23:09: Sha’ann’s final post repeated what she’s said earlier in the day:

Ready to be home with Chris and the girls.


The fact that Shan’ann expresses the same sentiment twice suggests she felt uneasy, awkward or even guilty about being away all weekend, and the flight delay had compounded her absence. We also know from Nickole Atkinson that Shan’ann hadn’t been feeling well during the trip, though it’s unclear whether this was related to the pregnancy, to her being ill-at-ease, to lupus symptoms, or to some combination of these.

Within six hours of posting “Ready to be home” Shan’ann was dead.

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  1. Karen

    I recall, at some point Nikole stated that Shanann told her “I’m going to be needing your support now more than ever” I’m thinking it was on the ride home but I could be wrong.

  2. Diana

    Imo I think the kids were already dead by the time Shan’ann arrived home that night/morning. Shan’ann’s flight delay likely messed up Chris’s original timeline since he left for work later than normal the Monday morning of the murders. There’s many things about this case that I’m really curious about, one of them being why Chris deleted his social media accounts a week prior to the murders.

  3. Kaye

    Those messages from Shan’ann are so heartbreaking. Moms have an intuition when something is not right with their kids. I’m sure she felt very anxious about getting back.

    If her flight hadn’t been delayed, Chris would have had lots more time to dispose of the bodies, plus move and abandon Shan’ann’s car somewhere. His story about her leaving with the kids after an argument late Sunday night would have been a lot more plausible. And Shananns car leaving late at night could show on the cameras but probably not to the point where you would have seen who was driving it.

    But still even with all that he must not have considered the cadaver dogs or realized how well they do their job. If they are killed in the house it doesn’t matter how much he staged things. Or maybe he thought a dog couldn’t pick up a scent so quickly.

    • nickvdl

      How would the flight not being delayed give him more time to dispose of the bodies?

      • Karen

        Wouldn’t it have given him 2 to 3 more hours to get things in order?

  4. Nick


  5. Karen

    at home

  6. Nick

    So how many hours, according to you, did he need?

    • Karen

      KAYE, was the op but I kind of jumped in there. I think 1 hour more would have been sufficient. Take care of the sheet he threw in the trash, not have to rush to do the burial (although that’s where he could have been on Saturday when the babysitter had the girls but because it was a shallow grave it makes me think he was in a rush) Do whatever he was going to do with the phone. I think he would have gone through the phone for whatever reason, and possibly do something with the car. We really don’t know if he was ever going to do anything with the car. Leave at the 4 am hour that he normally leaves at. Everything caught up with him so quickly

  7. Nick

    Sorry I don’t understand your argument. If he needed the 2-3 hours taken from the flight delay…what for…but you say he only needed 1 hour at home. Is your argument that he needed more time or that he didn’t? If he needed more time, where, how much and to do what?

    • Karen

      Both More time at home and at Cervi 319. At home to: do something with the sheet he left in the trash, do whatever with her phone, leave at his normal 4 am hour…At Cervi 319 to do a better job at digging her grave. Since it was a shallow grave it makes me think he was rushed

  8. Kaye

    I don’t have a proposed breakdown to the minute but my thought was he needed more time for (1) bringing the bodies away from the house, most likely needing to “break” them down and get them in the tanks; and (2) getting rid of Shananns car since any story about her leaving him with the kids cannot be true if her car is still in the garage. Maybe he would have brought the bodies in her car to the worksite and then ditched the car somewhere. But then he would have needed time to get back home and be ready to leave as normal at 4 am for work. Once his timeline ran closer to 3 am he had no option at that point but to take the bodies in his truck so he could pretend he was going to work. Leaving Shannans car in the garage was what prompted Nickole to call the police. If she hadn’t seen the car in the garage she wouldn’t have panicked.

  9. Karen

    I guess what I meant was 2 to 3 hours would have been helpful but only 1 was truly needed

  10. Pauline

    I believe the 4 a.m. time referred to is the time Sha’nann indicated Chris usually was up, and getting ready for work. If he had left any earlier than normal Monday morning Nathan’s camera would have captured that as well, and Chris knew who had surveillance cameras and where they were as he indicated in his porch interview. If the girls were already dead before Sha’nann arrived home, and he was waiting somewhere in the dark to complete his task, he didn’t need alot of time. For all we know the girls may have already been loaded into the truck and ready to go. He was a bit messy with the bedding, but keep in mind he was counting on tying up loose ends when he returned from work that day – most likely similar to Scott Peterson who came home Christmas eve, threw his clothes into the wash, drank a glass of milk, had a piece of cold pizza and called his mother in law (or Ron).

    Sorry off-topic here but Stan Lee died today, and that means something to someone I care about a great deal. And so I’ve decided to buy “Bats versus Supes” for him as a Christmas gift.

  11. Diana

    I see several references to Chris possibly not having had enough time to ditch Shan’ann’s car due to her flight delay. I think he was rushed and unable to complete staging everything at the house, but I don’t think he had intentions of doing anything with her car, too risky imo if done in daylight. If he had ditched the car under the cover of night, that would’ve also been risky due to being seen walking back home, even getting a ride after dumping the car would’ve been a risk. I think it was likely that he would’ve said he found a door unlocked or a broken window which could’ve made the police think someone gained entry to take Shan’ann and the kids. I notice there appears to be windows to the basement at the back of the house which would not have been captured on the neighbors CCTV. Chris knew it too. Too bad for him that Nickole called the police and the police checked to see if the house was secure before Chris made it back home that Monday afternoon! As for the sheets found in the trash – I saw on another site where a retired cop speculated that the two pillow covers found in the trash may have been used by Chris to take the girls bodies out of their bedrooms and down to the basement, then the pillow covers were dumped into the kitchen trash where they were found before he proceeded back up the steps to deal with Shan’ann’s body. Since the sheet found at Shan’ann’s gravesite was a fitted sheet, it begs the question – Did he strangle her while she slept in her bed then use the bottom fitted sheet to wrap her up and drag her down the house steps and basement steps, then load her in the truck? That scenario would change my theory that he was waiting to pounce on her the minute she walked in the door. I do believe that Chris was going on nothing but pure adrenalin that Monday and that’s why his “sermon on the porch” was so “off”! Plus he was guilty! I also believe he had intentions of coming home after work and disposing of Shan’ann’s purse, phone and anything else , but then again, if he got rid of her things, how would that explain someone forcing Shan’ann and the kids to leave against their will? I’ve never known a victim to say to the perpetrator…Sure I’ll go with you, but let me get my phone and medications first! Yeah, Nickole sure threw a monkey wrench in Chris’s plans by calling the police so quickly!

    • Karen

      Finding out what Shanann was wearing will clear up some things

  12. Pauline

    I thought that too Diana, when this case first broke – that the bed sheet found at the burial site,plus the bedding on the floor, suggests she made it upstairs and into bed. But his third narrative – that it was an emotional conversation that took place at 5, then at 4, doesn’t imply that she made it into bed either. Although if not, what was she doing between 2 and 4 a.m. I think it more likely that the two little girls were either sedated first and placed on his bed, or at the least they were killed on his bed. That to me might explain why the bedding was thrown onto the floor, the sheet taken off the bed and the other sheet and pillow cases pitched into the trash.

  13. Diana

    Pauline, unfortunately I think we’re going to have to fill in the blanks ourselves because I doubt we’ll get the truth out of him. I guess if I had to pick a scenario, I’d go with the kids were long dead before Shan’ann’s plane even landed in Colorado. I think they were dead when he was seen grilling on Sunday. Bet they found cake in their stomachs. Because the girls were already dead, I think Chris snuck up on Shan’ann and strangled her, he had the element of surprise in his favor. I think the red marks on Chris’s neck were from Shan’ann fighting for her life. God I wish they could’ve just went their separate ways! Can’t believe it’s been there months already. Time marches on! Can’t wait to see if the autopsies yield any answers.

  14. Pauline

    And if they were dead before he was seen grilling then it all has a “cold blooded” feel to it, doesn’t it? Not an “emotional argument” feel. He says something interesting though – that after he killed Sha’nann he knew his life was over. But not after he killed the girls? Is he still spinning the truth?

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