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Officer Coonrod’s Bodycam appears to show Watts tucking something under his arm…

First, watch the clip from 17:55 – 18:18 in real time. Everything happens, from start to finish, in a little less than 30 seconds.

A few things that we pick up when we freeze it down into individual frames:

1. Watts parks his truck in peculiar position relative to the front door and where everyone is. He drives all the way past his driveway. Why? He seems to be hiding his truck either from Coonrod and Nickole Atkinson’s line-of-sight, or from the Trisnatich’s camera view [blocked by the tree]. Remember, Watts has since changed his clothes from earlier in the morning – from a black shirt with short sleeves to a long sleeve, grey shirt.

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In order for Coonrod to see Watts exit his vehicle, he has so move from right beside the front door, right out onto the cement slab of driveway, and even then, the rear of Atkinson’s car is still almost in the way.

2. The first thing Watts does isn’t rush up to the house and speak to the cop. Instead he scurries round to fidget inside the back seat of his truck [where we now know all three bodies were transported].

At -27:24 Watts sneaks a quick look back, sees Coonrod, then turns even further [-27:23] and sees Nickole and Nicolas.

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Nickole and Nicolas are blocked off by her car, but because Coonrod has stepped forward and to the left, he has line-of-sight to Watts.

Next Watts appears to hold up the garage remote to his audience as if to say: “This is what I was looking for, and I got it.” But why would the garage remote be behind the front passenger seat?

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It could also be that in this moment Watts activates the garage door to open. Nickole shepherds her daughter out of harm way as the door begins to open [the line of square windows turn slightly as they curl inwards and reflect the light].

Watts seems to open the garage door from afar to allow him an “escape route” on his approach, so that he doesn’t have to stand for more than a few seconds and be confronted. And so by the time approaches Coonrod the door is virtually half open, and Watts is able to seamlessly shake, move away and duck under it.

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3. Watts tucks something under his arm. It looks like it could be Shan’ann’s phone.

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Or does he press the remote at this point, to have the door opening – as a distraction – while he’s approaching them.Fullscreen capture 20181217 000606

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4. Watts quickly, perfunctorily shakes Coonrod’s hand and without so much as a word, dashes off again. From the angle Watts approaches him, the bodycam can’t see the side of Watts’ body clutching the object under his arm. Watts keeps his left arm folded and tucked in the whole time, as he enters the garage, then almost absently steps back and opens the car door. [ He looks at the floor or the door compartment for some reason].

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In his left hand he appears to have his own cell phone, his keys and the remote for the garage.Fullscreen capture 20181216 221817Fullscreen capture 20181216 221823Fullscreen capture 20181216 221828

5. Officer Coonrod and Nickole Atkinson first assume Watts is going to be in the garage checking the car, and so they’ll be able to speak to him in a few moments, but then he does the same thing he did on his approach. He’s moving one way, so the next thing he’s gone inside the house, once again, without a word.

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Sneaky. All his movements seem calculated to deceive.

It’s possible – and even likely – Watts’ first stop after entering the house alone was to hightail it upstairs and stuff Shan’ann’s phone under cushions on the couch in the loft lounge. This probably explains why Shan’ann’s phone was off. Taking it out the house meant it had to be off otherwise it would ping and track her/his movements. Perhaps he meant to dispose of the phone somewhere, or leave a message impersonating Shan’ann on his way back from work, implying she was alive and somewhere else, when she wasn’t.

If he had her iWatch in his jeans pocket, a valuable item he might want to pawn if he could, he could have stuffed that in there too, at the same time.

The reasoning behind bringing the phone back into the home if he’d taken it out, may have had something to do with them knowing her car was there. If her car was there and her phone wasn’t that would cause suspicion, and Watts was here to alay suspicion. She’s not here but it’s no big deal. In terms of the car, Watts may have forgotten about the little windows allowing Atkinson to see into the garage, and thanks to Nicolas, someone did. In his wildest dreams he probably couldn’t have imagined Nickole [via Nicolas] jumping on the hood of her car to see inside, but that’s what happened, and that’s what made Nickole CERTAIN something was wrong.

Her handbag, more than likely was inside the home but out of sight, either in the basement, or packed in one of the many cupboards in the house. Once the phone was discovered, he probably figured the handbag needed to be found as well. Between all the maxed out credit cards there was perhaps a card or two with someone money, and thus, his name written all over them. But then he had to give those up too.

Special shout out to Kelly Treybig on the True Crime Rocket Science Facebook group for highlighting this manoeuvre! Nice going Kelly.



  1. BAMS13

    I see something tucked under his arm but it looks bigger than a phone to me? It looks more like a wallet… Also, wouldn’t it be easier to slip the phone in his back pocket where it can’t be seen?

    • nickvdl

      It could be a phone inside a clutch.

      • BAMS13

        Possibly. I wish we had a better view of it, I’d love to know what it is.

  2. Sylvester

    Yes but I think what we have here is a guy behaving like he has ants in his pants. He’s doing alot of jogging, running, hiding, putting away, returning objects, arranging, and deflecting. He’s had some time on the ride home to go over what his story’s gonna be now that he has unanticipated guests at his door. What on earth is he grabbing that he has to jog around the front of the truck and reach in behind the passenger seat. Something he’s decided must be planted somewhere else is my guess. If it was the garage door opener wouldn’t that be under his truck visor in front? It’s some object he doesn’t want anyone to notice he has or had. It could be her watch too. In any event it’s his movements that call everything into question. Maybe it’s her wedding ring he took off before burial and put it in the back seat on the floor.One of his co-workers said he was constantly going back and forth to his truck. Say what you will about him he almost seems adept at the sleight of hand.

    • Fredgon

      I agree with all your points. Just his parking the truck (farther away than needed) and then exiting and going to the officer but not stopping is all very strange and begs the question, what the heck is he doing!? Virtually everything he did and said in all these body cam videos screams guilty.

    • BAMS13

      Does anyone know what was found in her car? Whatever he had tucked under his arm is perhaps the reason why he opened the door to the Lexus after entering the garage? Or maybe it was all just deflection like you say. Trying to look busy to side track them all. He probably couldn’t think straight at that point is my guess.

      • Karen

        I remember weeks ago asking why he opened the car door and what was he doing. I can’t remember which page I wrote though.

  3. Kim

    Truly an act of God that Nicole’s son found the cell phone right after he hid it. Your observations are brilliant.
    If you listen to the discussions with Nicole’s son and the officer before the husband/killer showed up, the son said “Chris has been ‘45 minutes away’ for the last two hours. He’s not coming”. That young man knew right away Chris was responsible. The interviews with one of the coworkers, I can’t recall which maybe Luke his boss, said he left at 11-11:15 to head home. It took him over 2 hours where he probably got rid of evidence like all his stupid shirts. Does anyone know if the trucks gps trail was listed in the discovery for those 2 hours?

    • Kim

      You know this is why releasing discovery for people to review really will law enforcement.

    • Kim

      And what happened to the girls’ blankets they never left home without??

  4. Sylvester

    Good point Kim. On transcript 482 “Watts said he left some of the girls clothing and some toys wrapped in the sheet. The drone was again deployed but no items were located.”


    • nickvdl

      The toys and blankets was an idea fed by LE to Watts. That was my impression. He was going along with some of what they were saying, trying to come up with a version that sounded appropriate.

      • Sylvester

        All right, makes sense. Since nothing was found.

        In regard to Watts tucking something under his arm – after he shakes Coonrod’s hand and then rushes under the garage door – he pauses at the Lexis door and looks in. Could he also – in addition to providing a distraction -be looking for a place to get rid of whatever he removed from the back seat of his truck? What’s he fidgeting with as he bends over and peers into the opened car door. A thought – might he have removed HER garage door opener and taken it with him to work, then put it back?

  5. Diana

    The items the girls never left home with were “blankies” not blankets. The blankies were the girls security blankies – they used them while sucking their thumbs. They’re a lot smaller than a blanket also, easier to hide or dispose of unlike that fitted sheet from the master bedroom. I can think of two videos off the top of my head where the blankies can be seen – one shows Bella sucking her thumb with the blankie while telling Shan’ann she wanted a baby sister. The other one is where the girls are jumping off into Shan’ann’s lap from the ottoman whereing Steelers jerseys, CeCe throws one of the blankies off the ottoman. The blankies were a light pinkish color.

    • Kim

      Watts commented to the police who also documented these items were missing from the house upon investigation.

  6. Sylvester

    Looked again at the bench in the bedroom piled high with pillows and bric a brac while the bedding is still removed. Her shorts, t shirt and jacket or hoodie is draped on top of that clutter but no paper leis. But when the officer needing to do the dog sniff prep asks if there is anything in the laundry of hers that he hasn’t touched he pulls the hoodie out of the wash – I think that’s what he’s handling. Later, when he’s put fresh bedding on the bed he’s had a chance to launder everything – her shorts, t shirt and hoodie, which he lays out at the foot of the bed with the leis added. Is there any reason to think she was wearing that leis on the plane? And if she was where is it on the bench. So I think he made a little arrangement at the foot of his bed with the leis added as sort of a black humorous “bon voyage.”

    • BAMS13

      Seriously doubt she was wearing the lei on the plane considering the dark mood she was in and feeling unwell. Plus she was nervous about the weather, delayed flight etc. It would still be interesting to know why he arranged the clothing and lei the way he did. All I can think is that Shann’an was neat and meticulous and he wanted it to appear as though she had put that outfit on the bed with intentions of wearing it that day. Do we know for sure if they were the clothes she wore home on the plane or not? If they were, why would she wash them and place them on the bed? She’d put them away, right?

  7. Sylvester

    Happy Birthday to sweet Bella today if only she could have one. I’ve been having some sleepless nights over all of this, poor innocent little victims. I can’t imagine how devastated the grandparents are this holiday season. Just crushed. And I think we know who the Grinch was now. Two Face.

    • Sylvester

      Like BTK?

    • Marie

      Sylvester, it breaks my heart to see these precious little girls photos. So sweet and innocent. My cousin lost her daughter on the 18th of Dec, 1982. She was 6 yrs old. It was horrible, days before Christmas. It still hurts us to this day.

      • Sylvester

        @Marie, it hits us in waves doesn’t it. Two little toddlers gone. I’m sorry for your cousin. Frankie gave a shout out on his facebook to the men who pulled his nieces out of the tanks that they will always have those images in their minds.

  8. boycie

    Also Watts tells the officer that the remote for the garage is on the visor of his truck . So why would he need to get the remote out from the back seat. I agree that it is her phone and that he runs in trying to hide it to dispose of later . Same with her car. He never expected to be called back to the house this early. He was hoping to get back after work to tie up all the loose ends.

  9. MattyB

    I highly suspect Shanann’s phone is the object he pulled out from under the passenger seat. The object under his arm is too large and obvious dark and black in color.

    On the other hand, he opened the car door with an empty hand looked around before pulling out a light color, rectangular object, that was palm-able, but slightly bigger than his hand. The object also has a feature that corresponds to the iPhone camera if he was holding it with the screen facing palm with the top of the phone away from him.

    If you slow the down the body cam video to 0.25x speed and zoom there are a few instances where you can pause and can see the general shape, size, and lens like feature. He quickly hides the object on his right side and then shifts it in front of him as he turns back to the body cam.

    At the 18:30-18:31 mark of this version:

  10. nickvdl

    Looks like you’re onto something here MattyB.

    • MattyB

      Here is the same screen grab brightened with heavy contrast. Shows object a little more.

  11. me

    Chris didn’t drive straight home, he stopped at a house down the street for four minutes. If he had Shannan’s phone and planned on sneaking it into the house he would’ve put her phone down his pants while down the street for 4 minutes and snuck it in the house once he arrived.

    What I wonder is why did he open Shannan’s car door?

    What does he drop after he opens her car door?

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