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Officer Coonrod’s Bodycam appears to show Watts retrieving something…in the garage [UPDATE]

By doing this analysis of Coonrod’s bodycam video again, what are we looking for and why does it matter? We’re looking for Shan’ann’s phone. We suspect it wasn’t inside the house when Chris Watts first arrived arrived home on the 13th. But we could be wrong. It could have been inside the house.

In the analysis posted five days ago [Officer Coonrod’s Bodycam appears to show Watts tucking something under his arm…] we explored the possibility that Watts snuck something, possibly a phone, under his arm when he opened the passenger door of his truck. Watts had two phones, so it could be that the one under his arm was one of them.

In time we’ll do a more thorough analysis, looking for instances where Watts has his phone, and we’ll see what that looks like.

One of the commenters on this site, MattyB, has suggested Watts retrieved Shan’ann’s phone not in his truck, but in the passenger area of Shan’ann’s Lexus.

Let’s take a look.

It’s worth looking at the the whole manoeuvre in real time a few times to get a sense of how he’s moving relative to the camera behind him. MattyB has a point. Watts does appear to scootch down towards the floor mat of the Lexus passenger seat, and retrieve something there, something inside the Lexus.

It may be a case of visual bias – we may be seeing what we want to see, rather than what’s really there, but it does seem like Watts is retrieving a flat, pinkish object with his right hand. The same can’t be said for the object from the truck, tucked under his arm [it may be a phone, but it’s definitely not pink].

Fullscreen capture 20181221 052043

As soon as Watts gets what he came for, he turns away from the camera. He skedaddles through the garage’s rear interior door just as Nickole starts to advance on his position at the passenger door. Nickole then inadvertently blocks Officer Coonrod’s video view of the suspect.

What does this mean?

Again, this could be reading way too much into fuzzy video images, and we saw how some folks got carried away seeing a phantom Ronnie Watts or Nichol Kessinger accomplice in Trisnatich’s surveillance video. We don’t want to do that here.

So let’s just say tentatively, there could be two possibilities here.

1. Watts left Shan’ann’s phone in her car

Taking her phone with him presented an enormous risk. If he was seen with it, or caught with it, he would be in deep trouble, and if he turned it on, then a cross-reference for his phone and hers would implicate him directly.

It just wouldn’t be a good idea to take her phone with him, unless he could be in two places at once. If he had an accomplice, he or she could impersonate Shan’ann and leave a bogus message. But that didn’t happen.

It makes sense that Watts would leave the phone in her car, because that’s what Scott Peterson did as well. When Laci’s phone was found, it was plugged into her 1996 Land Rover SUV’s cigarette lighter, but had virtually no charge on it. Shana”n’s phone, when found, was also off.

The phone is a vital piece of evidence, because it locates both the victim, and in the case of a cover-up, provides insight into where the murderer doesn’t want an inquiring mind to go. If Watts did move the phone first to the car before he left, then from the car when he got back, why put it on the couch and not next to her bed, or suitcase?

The answer is, Watts probably preferred it if the phone wasn’t found, because it could incriminate him. But he couldn’t have the phone be completely irretrievable, as that would raise serious suspicions that Shan’ann wasn’t simply missing, but had come to harm. That scenario wouldn’t be good for him. But that’s precisely what Nickole Atkinson thought when the phone appeared but Shan’ann didn’t.

Putting the phone in the car delays discovery. Putting it on the couch under cushions also delays discovery, but confuses the location of the crime scene.

Unfortunately the phone wasn’t seized immediately as evidence and dusted for prints.  Chances are Watts wiped traces of himself from the phone both times when he placed it in the car, and under the cushions.

2. Watts is a cagey bastard

Let’s assume that Shan’ann’s phone was in the Lexus when Watts pulled up. Let’s also assume that foremost in Watts’ mind was a sense of, “Oh shit, I’ve got to get hold of that damn phone…”

I’m not sure why he’d think that, perhaps because the mismatch of the bed sheets on the floor and the phone in her car, would implicate him more directly. But looking at Watts arrival the first thing he does – making for the garage and the Lexus – it does seem Watts was intent on staging the phone, and we know Watts knew that her phone had some utility in exonerating him in terms of his call to her phone and the staged message [Scott Peterson did the same thing on the way from his fishing trip].

If Watts’ first thought when he got out of the truck was to retrieve her phone, then if did that, he achieved it virtually without being seen even though he was on camera. That’s stealth. If true, I think it also reinforces the notion of a stealth attack when Shan’ann arrived at 01:48. This is a guy who is acutely aware of his surroundings, and the digital eyes and ears of his world.

But as savvy as he was to all these signals, what he was attempting to do was insane. What he was trying to pull off reminds one, quite frankly, of the scene in Entrapment when the cat burglar [played by Catherine Zeta Jones] tries to outwit a spider web of cotton strands with bells on them [symbolizing a security systems of laser beams]. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. Watts thought he did until one bell after the other started going off, only he was the only one who couldn’t seem to hear them.


  1. Charles Edison

    I think perhaps it could very well be his dear wife’s wedding band. She never took it off according to her friend Nichole. Perhaps in transit through the garage , to load her lifeless body,he realized he forgot to remove it. After all we know he was looking to maybe pawn it . Which in itself shows premeditation . Under zero circumstances would his wife give him the ring back. Yet in his mind he knew she didn’t need it for long. I feel he planned to kill her but was unsure of opportunity until his friend mentioned work at Cervi. After all Shanann had wanted him to ask off for school on Monday, which he forgot to. And so happens he didn’t mention preparing the girl’s backpacks on Sunday as wifey asked.. as Chris thoughtfully reflected, school would charge $500 , for the week, if they attended on Monday. He may have given the girls a bath perhaps not . We know he feed them cold and day old pizza as a meal and a snack on Sunday yet chose to grill for himself.

    • Love/hate true crime in equal measure

      I agree that it may have been the wedding ring. I think it was always his plan to leave the wedding ring by the bed to make it look like she gave up on their marriage and left him. When he is leaving the house in the morning, he brakes the car before running back to the garage for a short time. I think in his haste he had forgotten to put the ring by the bed so he quickly ran into the garage and placed the ring in her car where he could grab it later, obviously not anticipating that “later” would actually be sooner and with Nicole and cops in tow.

  2. Millo

    After leaving his work, he had more than 2 hours to rethink what he had planned to do. It seems that he decided to hide the phone under cushions because that would give the impression that Shannan had lost it and then couldn’t find the phone when she decided to leave the house. Also, her phone case was green/blue, wasn’t it? It wasn’t pink when the phone was found. No time and no need to change the case, I guess.

  3. Kaye

    He might have been thinking to have the phone in the car. that way, when he was ready to move the car the phone would be on and tracking the same movement in the car, to make it seem like Shan’ann was the one driving.

    I can’t believe he didn’t think to create a fake post from her Facebook page stating something like “hey everybody I’m so completely wiped from my trip. I’m taking some time to rest and spend time with the girls. I’ll be back online once I feel better.” I’m thinking if Nickole saw that she would have stayed away for that day and only would have been possibly alarmed the following day. He could have given himself so much more time. Perhaps she regularly logged out of Facebook though and he couldn’t guess the password. that’s the only reason I can think of that he wouldn’t do that.

    • Maura

      Along those lines why didn’t he cancel her 10 am doctor appt.? It must have popped up on her calendar.

  4. Sylvester

    His left hand and arm are full of stuff, which doesn’t leave his possession when he opens the Lexus door. Start pause stop back up, it’s his right hand that’s busy at this point, but notice he goes into a squat. First he looks in the car window, then opens the door, then something is of interest down by the floorboard, then it looks like he’s tucked something into the car door pocket. This could all just be a diversion, or he was looking for a place to hide something. But when he was running around to this truck I don’t think he removed something as much as he pushed something out of the way. But to go into a squat after opening the Lexus door shows that he’s pretending to look for something or he’s putting something there. And he stays squatted for a few seconds. But he needs to open that Lexus car door and once he’s gotten what he put there he runs inside and deals with it.

    • lizgraskey

      Notice he leaves the car door open as well creating a barrier so no one follows him in. He is stealth like.

  5. A

    What’s in the water in Colorado? First Chris & Shan’ann Watts in August 2018. Just two months later, there’s another missing mother Kelsey Berreth , and her fiance Patrick Frazee, who has now been arrested for murder.–abc-news-topstories.html

  6. Karen #2

    My 2 cents. The object he grabbed from the truck when he pulled up was the garage door opener. Is it possible they hide a house key in the Lexus under the floor mat? He needed the house key to get in the house. Also, someone else said it somewhere, he needed the car as a diversion so he could have the house to himself … and he is alone for 63 seconds … hiding blankies, purse, phone and watch?

    • lizgraskey

      In the discovery, its noted he says they leave the inner garage door unlocked so she could easily enter when she was busy with the kids. Of course, due to him murdering his family hours prior and he deadbolted the front door, he might have locked it.

  7. caseykaufman6922

    Was her phone turned off when Nickoles son discovered it in the cushions? If so, was it able to be powered on immediately without first charging the battery?
    If so, how damning for Chris right off the bat. There would be no reason for her phone to be off unless purposefully (purposely?) turned off before having then been stuffed in the cushions.

    • nickvdl

      Yes Casey, turned off – and Watts then claimed not to know the pass code. Nickole Atkinson helpfully assisted, and the phone was unlocked.

  8. Marie

    I have noticed that the comments section on ask golightly and a couple of more videos from other you tubers have been disabled. On another note, has it been discussed on why Watts would take a photo of the temp of the fridge? I agree that he killed her as soon as she came home

  9. me

    Shan just got home the night before. She went into the house not the garage.

    Why would her phone be in the car?

    Why would he put her phone in the car after killing her?

    In a different video one cop tells the other cop that Chris told him that they always leave the car keys in the center console of the car. Chris has two devices in his hand and one tucked under his arm. Freeze frame the video at 18:16 and you can see the two devices in his hand. One looks like the garage door opener and the other a phone. He opens the car door to look inside and see if the keys are on the center console. Looks something for sure, probably his phone that is in his hand at 18:16, and picks it up.

    He didn’t use a key to open the man door in the garage to get in the house. You can see in another video that the garage man door into the house doesn’t have a push button code entry.

    He purposefully leaves the car door open for no reason then enters the house. It appears he is using the open car door to hide whatever it is he just picked up while he enters the house.

    The cops did a good job keeping their chest camera’s on him for the most part, but not here. It’s not clear what he dropped or picked up and we don’t clearly see him enter the house as the cop turned his body and chest cam to his left at that moment.

  10. spot

    I think what happened is Nichole, shanann’s friend, panicked and sent the cops over there before cw had a chance to secure things like her phone, purse, kids meds.. so when he got home he quickly threw the phone in the couch hoping it wouldn’t be found. he didn’t have time to clean up. Her friend got him literally caught in the act along with his helpful neighbor Nate.

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