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It’s Time to Get to Grips with Chris Watts’ Tells when he Lies

Many of us, perhaps most, intuitively knew something was rotten in the state of Denmark when we first saw Watts’ seven-minute Sermon on the Porch. We didn’t know why, it wasn’t necessarily anything specific, yet there was a suspicion [if not certainty] that things just weren’t adding up.

By studying and analyzing the Sermon again and again, we became more familiar with Watts, with the content and context, and as we became experts in this piece of dialogue it was more and more difficult for microexpressions to remain hidden. The more we looked and listened, the more sure we were that he was hiding something. It turned out he was trying to conceal a triple murder.


His main ploy was to act normal, but what counted against him was:

  1. He acted too normal
  2. His version of normal didn’t meet our expectations of “appropriate” emotion. He didn’t appear concerned or overwhelmed as most people would have been had they been in a genuine missing person’s scenario

We can see that by his acting normal, he was trying to communicate that there was nothing to worry about, and that everything was probably okay. But this was an early miscalculation from him, and an early sign Watts’ ability to recognize when his chips were down was very poor.

Once the bodycam footage emerged, we quickly recognized telltale patterns in his deceits – lip licking, swaying, folding his arms.

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Some of us also picked up a few others – stuttering, Watts curling his lower lip under his upper lip [a sign of stress or nervousness], looking at the sky for inspiration, throwing out his hands, shaking his head at the wrong time, appearing to smile at the wrong time, and blinking at the wrong moment. But many of these were assumptions, and subjective assumptions at that.

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Now, with the benefit of the Discovery Documents, we’re able to test them.


We can use what’s in the Discovery Documents to cross-reference what we know as absolute certainties of fact against the bullshit parts of his Sermon. So let’s do a bullshit check with only one piece of information, and watch for the microexpressions that leaks out.

We’ll apply our visual polygraph test to the moment when Watts explains Bella’s  kindergarten attendance. The fact is the four-year-old was supposed to return to Primrose school that morning [August 13] if she hadn’t died.

Now, there are numerous texts in support of this fact [scroll to the bottom of this post to review them]. Prior to the weekend, on August 9, Shan’ann pertinently asked her husband to drive with her and Bella to be with them to share Bella’s first day of the new school year at Primrose.

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At 2:42 in the clip below, during his Sermon on the Porch, Watts lies not by his denial that Bella was going to school, but the opposite. He volunteers that Bella was going to go to school, but then realizes this disclosure could be bad for him, so he tailors the end of that message by changing the timing of her return [and that’s the lie].

WATTS: Bella [long blink] was gonna start kindergarten…[pauses as he realizes he’s just said this in the past tense]…[stutters] n-next Monday…and they-they’re just getting ready to start.

So his basic tells are:

  1. Extended blinking while talking.

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2. Looking into the sky for inspiration + stutteringFullscreen capture 20181219 034739

3. A lip curl at the end of the lie, as if signing it off and getting on to the next oneFullscreen capture 20181219 034726

In terms of the semantics, can you see how this statement makes no sense?

Bella  was gonna start kindergarten…n-next Monday…and they-they’re just getting ready to start…

But why would they be getting ready on Tuesday if they were going to school next Monday? If Bella and Ceecee were [are, actually] going to start kindergarten the following week, then as he was standing there, that was still true [within his spiel]. And that would mean present tense:

Bella’s starting kindergarten soon…[Bella is…]

So Bella was going to start kindergarten was a big booboo, and the stuttering, blinking, looking at the sky, and pausing, were all telltale clues that he was dissembling and trying to clean up his verbal diarrhea.

We now know Watts knew they were dead, and so he knew he’d already pulled them out of kindergarten, and he was probably nervous as hell the staff at Primrose were watching this. What about other parents, like Jeremy Lindstrom, and Shan’ann’s mother, who knew their kids had gone back to school that day [and Sandi knew the same].

It’s clear from this one lie that the kids going back to that expensive school weighed heavily on him, otherwise there would be no need for nervousness around this subject, and no need to lie about it.

So just as it’s valid to ask “Why didn’t he just get divorced”, in terms of the murders of those poor little girls, it’s just as valid to ask, “Why didn’t he just take them out of kindergarten?”

Perhaps the answer to the one question relates and interrelates to the answer of the other.

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  1. Sylvester

    All of that swaying from side to side. When two officers are firing questions at him when they’ve come to the house on the 13th it’s like he’s in a boxing ring – look out, right hook coming at you – bob, weave. And he acts like he’s reciting the answers to the questions he’s anticipated they’ll ask. Too quickly. Why was he sleeping in the basement – cuz of the separation – how long was the emotional conversation – 30 to 45 minutes (might have been better to say I don’t know) then where did he go to work – at location over in Hudson and gestures for emphasis – but he’s not going to get more specific than that but adds some tidbits about fixing a problem there just like he added that he had taken the girls to a birthday party on Sunday when no one asked him that. I’m sure it was a tactic the way there was one officer standing in front and another one hitting him from behind.

  2. BAMS

    Offering up way too much information, babbling and gesticulating due to unmanageable nerves and guilt. I’m starting to think this is honestly one of the most disturbed and unintelligent people I’ve ever witnessed in action. Or maybe it’s simply his inability to connect and communicate with ease that makes him come across so inarticulate and unintelligable. Apparently (according to his “friends”) he had a natural tendency to sway and come across all awkward anyway so no wonder it was off the charts in a crime situation. If Dumb & Dumber could be a crime movie, this would be it.

  3. Karen #2

    I don’t know if there is a different area on this site talking debt, if so, sorry for doing it here. How does this couple file for bankruptcy yet still get to keep that house? How do they get a bank to finance a $3000 a month mortgage? They (she) appear to have not learned anything from their financial mistakes. He received the mailing regarding the home owner association claim while she was in NC. Divorce isn’t cheap, he had no money. His mistress told him she had been asked out by 2 different men … Nichol didn’t kill them but she is the reason they are dead.

    • Marie

      Karen, I believe that they were allowed to keep the house in the bankruptcy. I am very thankful that I have never dealt with such. Nick does have a topic that deals with much of it

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