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TCRS Assessment: Shan’ann’s post mortem alcohol level appears abnormally high

The word alcohol features 55 times in the Discovery Documents. That’s more than five times more than the word Le-Vel, the company Shan’ann worked for, and because she was returning from a  Le-Vel conference, Le-Vel actually forms part of the crime narrative.

The word pregnant appears 78 times across the 1960 pages.

From this perspective we can see that alcohol forms a fairly significant part of the crime narrative.


So what is the significance of alcohol exactly? Well, we’re not sure. The District Attorney has mentioned it as the key reason the autopsy reports were suppressed, and also, that the alcohol found in Shan’ann’s remains was “normal”, simply as a result of ordinary decomposition.

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Very, very consistent? I wasn’t sure about that so I checked with a friend who works in forensic science, including forensic medicine. Before I share what he told me, let’s review some of what we know about alcohol references in Shan’ann’s social media, as well as the Discovery Documents.

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The above message was sent close to August 4th, around 14 weeks into Shan’ann’s pregnancy, and just a week before her death.

On November 5th I posted on this site about Shan’ann’s possible alcohol use in Sneaky with Seltzer?

On January 14, 2017 Shan’ann refers to Chris having Activate [a Thrive product] with his “drink”, with dinner. It’s at 2:33 in the clip below.

At 8:52 and again at 19:23 in the clip below [dated November 27, 2016 ] Shan’ann tells her Facebook flock that her husband – who’s doing the laundry – “needs to get me my wine…”


Are there any other photos of Shan’ann drinking alcohol? The image below could be white wine. It’s unclear what impact alcohol would have on her lupus other than a sedative effect – taking the edge off and perhaps soothing the discomfort – and possible interactions with her medication.


From the Discovery Documents there’s a mixed bag from her friends, with some saying she drank a few times a week, to others saying she never drank. Make of these testimonies what you will.

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According to Addy, Shan’ann didn’t drink any alcohol whatsoever during the trips to San Diego or Arizona. Since Addy was a Thrive promoter and effectively a business partner of Shan’ann’s, I’m not sure whether we can place too much value in her statement.

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Thus far it seems unanimous. All the Thrivers thus far are saying Shan’ann never touched a drop of alcohol, and would never do so when pregnant. And she didn’t drink at all while they were in Arizona.

Nickole Atkinson however, has a slightly different story to the other Thrivers.

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The detective doesn’t mention whether Shan’ann had a drink on the three hour flight back to Denver. It’s not clear who sat beside who, and if Shan’ann did have a drink, whether anyone would have noticed.

shanann watts drinking wine

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Now, according to the autopsy reports there was an elevated amount of alcohol in Shan’ann’s mildly decomposed body.

According to my source, and I’ll try to get him on the record with a written statement identifying himself and his assessment, post mortem toxicology is seldom reliable because of post mortem redistribution. What that means is certain substances like alcohol diffuse through various organs and tissues as the body begins to break down, and this muddies the overall chemical picture, if that makes sense.

In his assessment, which is also the TCRS assessment:

“I doubt whether you can get to that level [0.128 g/100 mL]. Maybe a 0.02 from zero. You only have so much bacteria [in the gut] that can cause fermentation, so it would be very limited.”

To get an idea how much alcohol is involved, Shan’ann’s post mortem alcohol levels were roughly three times the legal blood alcohol limit for driving. This suggests she may consumed 4-6 glasses of wine in the hours prior to her murder.

Further analysis pending.

Spirit cooler i.e. Hooch / Brutal Fruit = 1.2 -> 1.9 U =0.02g ->0.035g
Cocktail = +/- 2 -> 2.5 (or occasionally even more) Units =0.04g->0.05g
Quart of Beer = 3.3 -> 4 Units =0.08g blood = 0.4mg breath
Double spirit = 2 Unit = 0.04g
Shooters – e.g. Apple sours = 1/2(half) Unit =0.01g
90 mls of 12% white wine (most white wines) = 1 Unit = 0.02g
75 mls of 14% red wine = 1 Unit = 0.02g

Legal Limits: Blood alcohol concentration = < 0.05g per 100ml.

Breath alcohol concentration = < 0.24mg per 1000ml


  1. Eleni

    I have this Hollywood-worthy scene in my head of her having some down-time with Chris when she got home from the trip where he spiked her drink with alcohol – or some pill. A few drinks + exhaustion from all that travel would explain why she did not fight back and how he has no defensive wounds. He may not have ninja-ambushed her on the first floor.

    Do the investigators know exactly where she died? That would explain why they did not include photos in the discovery material. They may not be sure.

    • nickvdl

      They wouldn’t not include photos of the scene if they weren’t sure where she died.

      I wish you’d stop speculating on this site about Shan’ann and and Chis Watts talking, arguing, sleeping or drinking together after she arrived back. That’s not the theory of this site, or any of the books, but you keep gravitating back to it.

      • Eleni

        I did?

      • Recovering Baptist

        I think what she said made sense–NOW I get it; why there was no sign of struggle in the autopsy report, and why Shanann’s BAC was so high. Could be they had some drinks together, and perhaps her glass WAS spiked with a drug as well. It’s possible she passed out before he strangled her. I appreciate her comments, because it’s more clear how Watts probably committed the crime.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “I have this Hollywood-worthy scene in my head of her having some down-time with Chris when she got home from the trip where he spiked her drink with alcohol – or some pill. A few drinks…”

      Thing is, Shan’Ann was almost 4 months pregnant and not feeling well. The evidence shows that she was determined to have a healthy pregnancy. A great many women won’t even drink a single glass of wine while pregnant, just to be on the safe side, and with Shan’Ann’s health complications, I don’t think she would have been willing to risk it, what with how much was riding (Thrive-wise) on her having the healthiest pregnancy and baby possible so that she could brag it up online. Shan’Ann was always focused on how she could use everything to market herself, her image, her family, *everything*, in order to sell more of that Thrive garbage.

  2. Sylvester

    I’m sticking with a stealth killing – a blindside, as proposed here. We don’t even know if she removed her leggings or if he did. Sometimes the victim is redressed or wiped down. If she did make it upstairs and changed her clothes for bed she may have remembered he was sleeping in the basement. Finding him not in the master bedroom may have prompted her to go back downstairs and he struck then. I just don’t see any way she went to sleep and he pounced then. No defensive wounds. An argument precipitating the murder would indicate the opposite of how her body presented at autopsy. With all of the stress building up to this night would she even have been able to sleep? He could have been waiting for her behind one of those pillars as suggested here, watching, making sure she got far enough inside so that Nickole’s headlights wouldn’t shine on his location and no motion detected near the front door sensor several feet in. I do think he thought of the house as his lair and as she entered it she would not be walking out alive. Also I’m glad you are investigating the alcohol element. My research indicated that the body doesn’t usually make that high a level of alcohol. It’s off the charts. I”m keeping an open mind here and acknowledge that there are details missing in all of those docs that leave more questions than answers.

  3. Cheryl

    If she had a good bit to drink plus having her credit card declined at 2:30 a.m. when she was trying to purchase online beauty products could have led to the emotional discussion that Chris referenced. A volatile combination for sure. It seems the DA glossed over the alcohol issue in his brief presentation. I got the impression the prosecution felt they had to make Shan’ann look good to make Chris look thoroughly bad, undeniably guilty, especially given the DA did not present an exstenvive indictment of Chris Watts—more emotion than detail.

  4. Nick

    So Cheryl…do you imagine she came home (maybe a little inebriated)…argued with her husband about him having an affair and halfway through took a timeout and bought some beauty products?

    • Cheryl

      No. I think she came home and bought some beauty products, had her credit card declined, and was likely infuriated, especially given her suspicions about Chris’s $60 dinner charge. Putting myself in her circumstances, I would be angry and distraught, if not panicked per my major breadwinner having declared he wants out, I’m pregnant with a third child and have no immediate means of supporting myself. Add to that having had a few drinks, then you potentially have what Chris euphemistically refered to as an “emotional discussion.” A very volatile marriage encounter—and not the one she envisioned in those self-help books she was providing to Chris.

      • nickvdl

        At 02:30? Is that something you normally do?

    • Ralph Oscar

      I believe the LeVel car allowance was $800 per month for the leased vehicle and a friend of mine confirmed that’s a reasonable lease amount for that type of vehicle. However, LeVel would only pay that car allowance if Shan’Ann kept her sales above a certain level. I can’t remember where I read all this either – the $800/month car allowance was here, and I’m drawing on something a friend told me, about how with another MLM scam, Limu, salespersons who sold above a certain amount would receive a leased BMW for the month, but they could only keep it if they could maintain sales at or above a certain level, and I’m sure LeVel operated on that same model. That part is my guess.

    • Mustang Sally

      I can remember reading somewhere that LeVel paid their promoters $800 a month for an approved car lease (it had to be a luxury vehicle from their list) if they reached a certain level of sales or the promoter would receive $300/month if they reached the same level but did not lease a vehicle. I’ve wondered if Chris received the $300 bonus through LeVel as I can recall reading that he reached that bonus level as well. (I’m guessing she reached it for him as it has been widely suggested she did most of his Thrive marketing/sales.) That bonus doubled at the next plateau.

    • Mustang Sally

      The lease was taken out on their own; if they did not make the required sales quota to receive the bonus, they had to pay the lease fee themselves. Apparently, she always made her quota. He might not have made his and may not have always received his $300 bonus…this last part is pure speculation on my part.

  5. Cheryl

    I used to come home from late-night Council meetings, many times well after midnight, and was ramped up, not ready to go to sleep. It generally took me one to two hours to wind down prior to going to bed—and I mean physically getting into bed. Given Shan’ann’s trauma per revelations about Chris’s wanting to leave the marriage, I don’t think Shan’ann’s being up at 2:30, 40 minutes after arriving home, is out of the question—at least, again, based on my own experience. I can’t imagine being in her circumstances. When my ex indicated he was checked out on me, it was emotionally traumatic, but I wasn’t pregnant, our only daughter was entering college, our finances weren’t upside down, and I had a very good job. In her circumstances, I would have difficulty getting to sleep period. I think she referenced not sleeping well when she was back in North Carolina—11 sleepless nights. Anyway, I’m rambling. Just my perspective.

  6. Nick

    I’ll keep this short. Shan’ann’s flight had been delayed by 3 hours. 3 hours. Then she was on the flight for about three hours. Then she was a passenger in Nickole’s car for about half an hour. That’s six-and-a-half hours to do whatever she needed to online. But you reckon when she got home her last act on Earth was to order make-up products? She was pregnant, not feeling well and distressed and it was way past her bedtime with two toddlers to look after.
    You’re doing classic forcing evidence to fit the crime.

    • Cheryl

      Yes, because for Shan’ann, I believe shopping was a means of empowerment and by way of that taking control (very important as per her psychology), and calming down. In the process of doing this, can you imagine having your card declined, being disempowered while trying to secure some shred of control, especially while trying to purchase something that will enhance her image? I don’t imagine this was her last act on earth either. I think an argument ensued after that. My theory.

      • nickvdl

        Did they argue quietly? An argument that led to a triple murder couldn’t have been an ordinary conversation now, could it? But did they argue quietly so as not to wake the children or the neighbors? No need to answer, it’s your theory, so you can think about it, I’m not going to debate it any further though.

  7. Sylvester

    Just a thought – might he have used her phone to stage a late-night purchase, to a credit card that he knew was already maxed out (the point was not to actually make a purchase) to give the appearance that she was alive at 2:30 a.m.? His stories were developing as he went along.

    • nickvdl

      It happened in the Amanda Knox case – an attempt at an online banking transaction after Meredith Kercher’s murder.

      Rent was due as it was the end of the month.

      It also happened in the Jason Rohde case, where the husband claimed his wife committed suicide. The phantom messages sent from the iCloud of his wife’s handset were meant to suggest she was still alive. Difficult to prove, but then murder is a sneaky business.

      • Carol

        That’s the part that baffled me, what pregnant woman comes home after a flight at 2:30 in the morning with her marriage blowing apart and thinks of getting hair care products ordered, not like it’s medicine you desperately need, it could easily wait till morning. Just doesn’t smell right to me

  8. Carrie

    Yes S he did drink ….

  9. Carrie

    It may be normal to her. Kids sleeping chris in bed …needs her dye. She’s sitting on the couch in the loft.. Card denied confronts chris. He says let’s talk about it in morning gives her a hug a kiss something she’s been wanting. He now has his chance to be the battery.

  10. Cindie Lowlight

    We saw her come in. She wasn’t drunk. Lol I’ve been with lots of them. They can barely stagger down 6th Street at that level 3 x the limit. But who gives a flip if it’s true or not. The freak she married cold bloodedly killed her. I hope she was that drunk. Maybe it attenuated some of the horror of seeing your husband on your chest choking you.

    • nickvdl

      If you have time try to check the date when this post was uploaded,

      • April

        March 26th 2019?

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