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Why is Kessinger’s first Google Search for “Shanann Watts” becoming a Shifting Goalpost? [UPDATED]

It’s a simple question and yet so much rides on the right answer. The Discovery Documents provide a timeline of the interactions between 33-year-old Chris Watts and his 30-year-old mistress Nichol Kessinger.

Kessinger’s story in the press is that she only initiated the affair in May or June 2018.

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Now the very first entry into that timeline – a Google Search by Nichol Kessinger for “Shanann Watts” on September 1, 2017 – is being called “a typo”.

Really? The first item on the timeline is a typo? What part is the typo? 2017? 1? Or September? If her phone was seized and analyzed in August, how could she have made a search in September 2018? And if the entire entry is wrong [which is not a typo but a full blown data-entry error], then WHEN DID KESSINGER SEARCH WATTS’ WIFE’S NAME FOR THE FIRST TIME?

You’d think this question [if it is a minor data entry error] would be simple enough to clear up, and CrimeOnline have made the effort:

The records supervisor at the Frederick Police Department told CrimeOnline on Thursday that the entry in the discovery report showing that Nichol Kessinger performed a Google search for Shanann Watts on September 1, 2017 is a typo.

CrimeOnline reached records supervisor Amanda Purcell on Thursday after repeated inquiries made to multiple Colorado law enforcement agencies to confirm the accuracy of an entry in the Phone Data Review included in the discovery documents connected to the Chris Watts murder case, released by the Weld County District Attorney’s office late last month.

Asked if the entry in the Phone Data Review showing that Kessinger performed an internet search for “Shanann Watts” on her cell phone on September 1, 2017, was typographically correct, Purcell said it was a typo in the report.

Purcell was not able to provide additional clarification about another section of the phone data review that indicates Kessinger searched for Chris and/or Shanann Watts prior to beginning her relationship with Chris Watts in the spring of 2018, and referred our inquiry to the Weld County District Attorney’s office. The above entry, however, appears to be the only questionable date in the chronological Phone Data Review. CrimeOnline has reached out to the Greeley Police Department for clarification or confirmation of the information listed in the entry, and has not yet received a response.

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We already know, however, that Kessinger purposefully deleted messages between herself and Watts from her phone. We also know that at 17:00 on August 14th, Kessinger Googled “can cops trace text messages” and “How long do phone companies keep text messages”as well as “Difference between text message content and text message detail”.

We also see the first artifact after the “typo Google search” coming in as late as July 7th, about two weeks into Shan’ann’s six week trip to North Carolina.  This is also the first recovered call from Kessinger to Watts, but probably wasn’t the first actual call made to him.

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So what is the truth and why is it so murky all of a sudden?

Just in:

‘This is not a witch hunt’: Chris Watts prosecutor cannot explain data from girlfriend’s phone showing Shanann Watts internet searches months before affair began

Greeley Police Detective Michael Prill authored the report that included a single entry of a September 1, 2017 search for Shanann Watts, and Frederick Police Detective David Baumhover authored the report, excerpted immediately above, that referenced multiple deleted searches for Chris and Shanann Watts.

Following a series of email exchanges and phone calls with the Weld County District Attorney’s office regarding the reports, CrimeOnline spoke by phone to Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke on Monday. Rourke said that the reports reflect what was shown in the forensic analysis of Nichol Kessinger’s phone.

“The dates to which you are referring — in 2017 where it appears she Googled or otherwise searched Shannan — was data that came off her phone,” Rourke said.

It’s not a typographical error in the report. [The detectives] are reporting what was contained in the data from her phone. I don’t know the answer to the question of why or how those dates ended up in her phone.”

Asked if the District Attorney’s office questioned or planned to question Kessinger about data suggesting she was aware of Chris and Shanann Watts for up to a year before the murders, Rourke said that Chris Watts’ guilty plea precluded any need to further probe the results of the forensic analysis of Kessinger’s phone.

We did not get to the point in our investigation of attempting to independently verify that or not because Chris Watts pled guilty,” Rourke said.

“When you ask me if I have verified that information, the answer to your question is no. Nichol Kessinger told us that she met and started the relationship with the defendant in 2018. So where that anomaly in the data comes from, I can’t answer it for you. I don’t know the answer to it.”

Rourke said that prosecutors are confident in the results of the murder investigation, which is closed. “I have absolutely no reason to investigate Nichol Kessinger at this point in time,” he said.”This is not a witch hunt.”

“My job is to investigate and prosecute who was responsible for the deaths of Shannon, Bella, Celeste, and Nico. We have done that. I have no information nor any belief that any other criminal defendant is out there who is responsible for their death in any way, shape, or form.”

The Frederick Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for clarification of their earlier statements about the Phone Data Review.

So much for the District Attorney wanting to know why…



    • nickvdl

      Why is it so hard for them to admit that Kessinger knew about Watts much earlier than she said she did?

      • Marie

        Money talks and bullshit walks ?

      • kcann83

        But, did she? Did KW even know about CW back in 2017? When did she start with the company? From what I’ve read, her father wasn’t the owner/boss as a lot of people were saying in group discussions.

  1. nickvdl

    If Kessinger knew about Watts in September 2017, why wouldn’t her [and his] colleagues know what was brewing for months too…?

    • Marie

      Nick, I can’t remember where I read it, but, at the beginning of this case I saw text messages between their coworkers discussing NK and CW

      • Marie

        May have been Instagram

      • Maura

        Marie, Back in August before NK’s name was widely known, there were coworkers on Twitter who said they saw them at work and that it was obvious they had something going on. Now it’s hard to find those tweets with NK all over Google.

        Nichol and Anadarko both have incentives to minimize the timeline of the affair. The firm doesn’t want bad PR; NK doesn’t want to be labeled a marriage wrecker, or as a key reason CW wiped out his family.

  2. kcann83

    I keep asking this question and have never seen a response, anywhere. Where are the text messages between Watts and Kessinger????

  3. sheis

    Very odd. She lied to investigators and deleted evidence. If casual observers and lay people can see that there’s something wrong here, why can’t investigators see it? They must. But they closed the case.

    Unless they are letting NK believe she’s in the clear, and they’re actually investigating her.

    If they leave everything as is, the DA played into Chris Watts’s hands. They let a murderer beat them at their own game.

  4. kcann83

    I would believe if SW’s family wants to investigate NK further, then we may hear more, otherwise as MR states, the case is closed. I think if prosecutors found anything that could possibly link NK to the murders, they would’ve found it by now. The only thing NK is guilty of is being a home-wrecker.

    Just because you have an affair, it’s no excuse to kill your family. And if CW had it in him to murder his family, having an affair or not with NK wasn’t going to stop him from harming his family in one way or another. His marriage was already suffering and he clearly has some mental issues. The affair was just one piece of this puzzle, not the entire board.

    • Marie

      She was the missing piece

  5. nan

    The NK piece of the puzzle dodged a bullet. Good thing this happened in Colorado and not North Carolina.

    As of 2016, Alienation of Affection was recognized in six United States jurisdictions: Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah.

    Any idea if SW’s estate could go after NK had this happened in North Carolina?

    So many questions. Invisible answers. Minimize conversation.
    Feels like Stephen Paddock revisited. Case solved. Nothing to talk about.
    What’s next, NK appearance with her dad on Ellen and then whisked to Mexico.

    Websleuths closed the CW thread. “The case is over. There is nothing new to discuss.”

    Yep, just an affair. Poor NK. Affair with the wrong married guy.
    Anyone would delete evidence, stall an investigation of a horrific murder, and hire a publicist due to embarrassment.
    Sounds plausible until you watch her interrogation videos.

    Guess we need to wait a few years for a show about this case to appear on Netflix.

  6. LW

    IMO Websleuths closing the whole discussion was completely over the top and uncalled for. I actually became a member on there after a long time of lurking, JUST to comment on this case. NK should be charged with making false statements, tampering with evidence, and impeding an investigation. They should have charged her and sent a message to skanks everywhere that your dirty little secret is no longer your dirty little secret the second somebody gets KILLED over it. And yes, I believe he killed them all to start fresh with that fugly, Manson-family-looking disgrace of a person. I think having the kids to himself that weekend after a long hiatus sealed the deal that he no longer wanted any part of that life.

    • nickvdl

      I remember seeing a tweet by Websleuths on the day the day the plea deal was announced, and them saying how surprising and unexpected it was. The plea deal really wasn’t a surprise if you were maintaining a constant vigil over this case. I also heard the owner of Websleuths on a podcast talking about Chris Watts psychology and just in my personal opinion, none of it rang true. I think she was saying that by killing his wife, Watts was effectively killing his mother. So where do the children fit into that psychoanalysis?

      Agree with you LW, the final weekend with her away, and his last bite at the cherry with Kessinger convinced him he HAD to keep the thing going, and Shan’ann and the kids were a threat to his Paradise Found.

      • LW

        That doesn’t ring true to me either and that kind of surprises me about Websleuths. I don’t understand their aversion to people continuing this discussion. Yes, he pled guilty. Yes, he has been sentenced. It has been wrapped up in the eyes of the law, but all around the world, people are still struggling with this story, trying to understand it, and looking for outlets for discussion. It takes time to wrap your head around some of these details, so the fact that Websleuths cut off discussion so quickly is ridiculous to me.

        CW was really a perfect storm of issues. The main catalyst, though, was the affair, no matter how badly law enforcement, NK, and everyone else tries to minimize it. CW was OBSESSED – some of those love notes even have the same date on them! Think about it. Prior to 2018, CW was a pudgy, socially awkward loser with no track record with women. Suddenly, he loses weight, gets a little female attention, and loses his mind. He despised Shan’ann by the time she got home that night. He wanted his new life and he was DONE.

    • chipnanna

      I agree.

  7. nickvdl

    I think Websleuths are avoiding it because it’s a potentially poisonous and toxic discussion, in the sense that there is a polarity that seems to manifest naturally. One side see Shan’ann as virtuous, good and innocent, and the other are looking deeper and trying to find symptoms and reasons. The one side says the other side is victim blaming, and the other side says don’t be stupid, no one is perfect and it wasn’t a fairy tale. But like those who are for and against Trump, those polar opposites will never reconcile because each side identifies with their position.

    The truth is somewhere in between. It’s so obvious it’s ridiculous that Shan’ann didn’t deserve to die. In the history of true crime, I can’t remember a single case where the mainstream or anyone in the media said unambiguously, you know what, Meredith Kercher/Nicole Brown/Laci Peterson/Caylee Anthony/JonBenet Ramsey/Reeva Steenkamp/Rebecca Zahau deserved to die. So to make that accusation now is to weaponize an argument for no other reason than to blow it up.

    It’s also abundantly clear that no matter how locked-in Chris Watts felt, what he did was extreme, grotesque and macabre, and if it disturbs us it should. What’s more disturbing to me is the lack of understanding about why this happened, and also the lack of effort to try to think about it. No, no, he’s a psychopathic narcissistic monster who snapped – that seems to be the default social media answer to why.

    But it’s not an answer. You might as well say this crime happened “just because” or because Watts is “Evil”. Well so are all the other murders and murderers out there. The real question here is what is the nature of evil? That is a question about the nature and science of man, and in today’s shallow, social media age, our perceptual skills are poorer than ever. It should be a warning sign that no one saw any red flags in this fairy tale until it was too late. If it could happen to them, and we can’t explain it, then it can happen to us. What does that say about our powers of perception – as detectives, and as people?

    • chipnanna

      So true! Our society needs to talk & learn more about psychology, esp.with giving real life examples of the true life way people with personality disorders actand react. But I’ve seen a lot of people on forums who accuse others of making unprofessional disgnoses when they gry to discuss psychology, because they are not officially licensed – which is wrong, because there are many people out there these days who have a good understanding of the effects of personality disorders on family due to the fact that they have lived with it for years and are affected by it personally. And also, there are many people out there who have an understanding due to life experience, yet they have not heard of or learned about the clinical terms of personality disorders or how to deal with it, so we need to learn more, discuss more, similar to how we share info about physical illnesses. Mental illness these days is epidemic and needs to be taught in schools just as much or more than basic health.

  8. nan

    “What’s more disturbing to me is the lack of understanding about why this happened, and also the lack of effort to try to think about it.” Agree a million percent!

    Excellent posts LW and Nick. So much to review, process and discuss.

    Confusingly, Websleuths actively tried to discourage any discussion of NK. How could one watch the chilling interrogation video of CW and SA Coder and not want to discuss it.
    A week after the second document release and they close the discussion.
    Strange . . . and very disappointing.

    I forgot to include in my previous post a huge thank you for both your analysis and this forum.

  9. nan

    Random thoughts in my head.

    CW appeared emotionally stunted (emphasis to media, law enforcement and interrogators to “Trust Me” and “I promise”) and deep in an adolescent state of lust ( basic google searches, primitive written terms of endearment). And he wanted to stay there

    CW reacted strongly to NK when she was trying to slow their roll. His panicked response “Are you saying we’re done”. CW response to an interrogator “don’t bring NK into this, she’s gone through enough already”. I think one of the motivating factors for the plea deal was to protect both he AND NK from becoming totally unmasked

    And what are we to think about the early, multiple admissions of sexual contact with CW. Did they out themselves for their 15 min of fame or were they real. If real, there is also sexual struggle component to CW.

    I don’t think CW was in love with NK, may be even his father. I think his father was the only life raft he felt he had in his life. Granted, we did see what appears to be tears with his father, but I will defer to a professional to determine if people like CW can love. NK=Lust.

    • nickvdl

      I think it’s comforting to think of Chris Watts as emotional stunted, a social misfit, someone incapable of genuine love for another human being. Call him a psychopath, narcissist, evil monster. It’s soothing to say that because that separates who he is from who we are. And maybe there is some truth in it, in terms of his introversion. Except no one had a problem with him until the murders. His in laws loved him, his wife loved him, his mistress loved him, his teachers and his classmates loved him, his co-workers liked him, his father loved him, his mother immediately forgave him, his children loved him. It’s far more terrifying and troubling to consider the possibility that he was capable of doing what he did AND he was a relatively normal likable, loving person – like you.

      • chipnanna

        I believe the reason why there’s so many comments about how nobody noticed anything wrong with him previously is due to:
        1. A majority of people do not understand how people with personality disorders act, as it’s hard for the normal everyday person to understand how someone who always tries to make others happy can be a narcissist, or have NPD or BPD – It’s all about understanding WHY they strive so hard to do things for others – narcisists do it for their own gain, for selfish reasons, not for the other person – that’s what makes their actions so sinister, like a disguise. Think about a husband who seems like the nicest guy ever, maybe he’s a doctor or a cop, then everyone finds out he has been physically & emotionally abusing his sife & child for many years, and his friends & colleagues are stunned – it’s similar to that except even more disguised.

        2. A lot of those who said how shocked they were about CW, probably had some inclinations that there was something off, but, especially those who do not have knowledge about mental illness via a degree or being a victim or sufferer themselves, they know it’s not socially acceptable to guess or accuse if they don’t know how to explain it, and they know they might be ridiculed by others, saying, “How do you know, you’re not a doctor”.Plus, when people were interviewed about CW, there had not been a trial or many hard facts about the case, so they were very careful about talking about supposed little things they noticed – psychology is currently very subjective these days, we are in the Dark Ages when it comes to understanding the human brain. I would love to know what some of those people would think about CW if they educated themselves, even just a little bit, about personality disorders.

      • chipnanna

        I understand what you are saying, and agree that that could be the situation, but there’s so much more in this craziness – I guess that’s why we are all so interested in getting facts to be able to understand this, and to help prevent this, to learn from it. It’s amazing how certain facts just aren’t enough – I’ve always said that one doesn’t truly know another person unless they are with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    • chipnanna

      I agree. I would bet that CW did not have many girlfriends throughout his life due to his poor social skills and due to his weight. (Even Shanann said something about him “not having game”). Then when he became more fit, his family was away & he felt free, his child-like mind, the extra energy from the nutritional supplements, mixed with having a narcissitic, younger & free, bully type of girlfriend (NK) who was into kinky sex, just poured gas on the fire and was an explosive recipe ,he went wild – but this is only one of the many pieces of the puzzle.

      Also, I believe that NK knew much more than she told authorities, and definitely knew a lot about Shanann – that she was pregnant – after hearing her attitude & tone of voice when police questioned her, I could tell immediately that she is the type of person who wanted to know everything about her lover’s wife & family. During one interview, NK asked what the name of the supplements were that Shanann advertised (Thrive), like she didn’t know, then slipped up and said how she & CW talked about it, and we all know that she seen those patches on his body many times, plus, she most likely read every post than Shanann ever made.

  10. katie

    Why if Nk deleted her texts, are they just gone? Also did they ask why she deleted them? Do you think there would be a good reason for that? To me, she’s automatically suspicious just be deleting everything and downplaying everything. Also she googled “marrying Mistress” so she acknowledges she’s the mistress – to me it’s not believable that she didn’t know anything about Shannah being pregnant.

  11. G

    They did not recover her phone until Sept 4th so she still had her phone Sept. 1st. It’s on page 1836 of Discovery.

  12. trackacriminal

    From the 2000 documents from Weld County it appears NK searched Shan’nann Watts on the 7th of January, 2018 and Chris Watts on the 3rd of August, 2017.

  13. Mark

    Hello, I have a question.

    Namely : did NK researched ‘Shannan Watts’ only once in Google, or multiple times ?


  14. Bek

    There are two reports by two different LE. One report with the September 2017 search for Shanann and the other report is a data table that includes numerous web searches NK did. Both reports give a reference number of 2290. The second report gives a date of 1/7/18 for Shanann and a reference number of 706 for Chris with the date of 8/3/17.
    If you look at the table identified as item 43 which is simply NKs web searches the date in the second report have to be correct as they are given chronological timeline reference numbers according to the dates. Does that make sense?

  15. Matthew Stahlls

    As I understand it, the search in question was taken from NK’s work phone. When NK was hired at Anadarko Petroleum, Colorado, they provided her with a cell phone / SIM card. Although the phone was factory reset, the SIM card retained days from the previous user. That person would be the one that Google Chris / Shannon Watts prior to NK working there.

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