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Unanswered Questions: The Complete List of Information Missing from the Chris Watts Case

The Discovery Documents are an impressive mountain of information. As haystacks go, it’s a colossal cauldron of information. But where are the needles? Below is a comprehensive list of needles missing from the giant haystack that is the Watts case file.

  1. Shan’ann Watts financial records, with proof of income. [It may be that Le-Vel holds some sort of contractual obligation that keeps these records confidential, but would that obligation continue after death?]
  2. Chris Watts’ bank statements. [We have no idea what the exact financial circumstances were of the Watts family].
  3. The computer browser histories of Shan’ann and Chris Watts.
  4. The Ring doorbell footage of Shan’ann Watts arriving at the front door of 2825 Saratoga Trail at 01:48 on August 13th.
  5. Chris Watts’ Facebook posts [even via residual artifacts, posts shared or seen by friends].300x0w
  6. The contents of Chris Watts’ Secret Calculator App.
  7. Crime scene photos of the inside of Chris Watts truck.
  8. Crime scene photos of the inside of the Lexus.
  9. Clarity on the owner [the leasing company] of the Lexus.
  10. Details of the plea deal, including Watts’ “confession” after his bogus confession in exchange for the plea deal [AKA why is there no genuine investigation into the motive in this case?]
  11. Confirmation of Shan’ann’s medical conditions via official medical certificates.
  12. A proper analysis of the crime scene in terms of the Vivint security system, and its potential flaws.
  13. Clear footage of the basement area, including Watts’ bed.
  14. An inventory of the medicines etc. stockpiled in the basement.
  15. What was inside the black refrigerator, and were there any other refrigerators or freezers in the basement?Fullscreen capture 20181022 190319
  16. Where did Deeter usually sleep/eat?
  17. Clear confirmation [such as via a graphic representation] of those areas in the Watts’ home where dogs alerted to cadaver odor and/or signs of a struggle.
  18. Audio of the 911 call made by Nickole Atkinson [this was made available to the makers of Devil in Disguise and will probably be released in time].
  19. Nickole Kessinger’s social media footprint.
  20. Nickole Kessinger’s work computer browser history.
  21. Complete criminal records for Shan’ann and Chris Watts beyond Colorado, including traffic violations [and including extended family].
  22. Record of Facebook messages from Shan’ann Watts’ Facebook page.
  23. Record of Facebook messages from Chris Watts’ Facebook page [via his Facebook friends].
  24. No reference in the Discovery Documents to “hundreds of hair fragments” in the hatch of Watts’ truck, as reported in the media.
  25. No explanation for when the “orange t-shirt” image was taken, or where.4221396001_5974669446001_5974665781001-vs
  26. Analysis of the smears and stains on the pillow cases and sheet thrown in the trash.


  1. No specific crime scene, for either Shan’ann or the children, has been identified. It appears not even to have been acknowledged, and the District Attorney didn’t allude to any location during the sentencing hearing.
  2. The autopsy results, originally sealed, appear to be not entirely accurate. How were the bodies of the two children forced through eight inch holes without breaking bones or significantly damaging their bodies?
  3. Photos of Nichol Kessinger and Chris Watts, as well as recovered messages, are blurry in the Discovery Documents. Where are the rest?4ht6
  4. The analysis of the iWatch data appears to be missing or incomplete.
  5. The analysis of the iPhone kinetic data is incomplete.
  6. No attempt has been made to establish time of death for any of the three victims.
  7. Was the truck loaded from the hatch of Lexus, or is this simply a misleading distortion in the Discovery Documents.
  8. When did Kessinger begin her relationship with Watts?
  9. Why did Watts take the plea deal?
  10. Why did Cindy Watts accuse prosecutors of coercion in the week prior to the sentencing hearing, but then went along with it on the day.
  11. Chris Watts’ sexual history and sexual orientation.
  12. Shan’ann Watts first husband Leonard King, and the reason for their divorce.

Anything else?


  1. Sylvester

    I’d like to add an analysis of the smears and stains on the pillow cases and sheet thrown in the trash. As well as any other evidence collected from the kitchen trash can – and where the children’s blankets disappeared to and if a search was done for them other than employing a second drone.

    There was also a t shirt, belt, his new work boots, and underwear belonging to Chris found in the cargo area of the Lexus. I’d like to see a photograph of those items.

    The picture of Nichole K. above – Watts looks up a Victoria’s Secret store – is it possible he bought her the lingerie she is wearing in the picture above and is that a price tag on the seat of the panties? He might want to take a picture of her wearing the sexy lingerie he bought her. I think it was taken in the doorway of the bathroom of her apartment. Several months ago I looked up her apartment complex and one of the pictures associated with one bedroom one bath units looks like hers – with dark cabinets and matching dark counter – not all, but one does. I think their trysts would have been in her apartment since he wouldn’t be able to afford a hotel room and wouldn’t want to get caught using a joint credit card.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing his medical records as well – although we never will. One thing stands out though – Sha’nann told her mother he had a bump or wart on his penis removed. Sandra said it was cancer. I don’t think so. I consulted with a doctor friend of mine who said a man doesn’t get cancer on their private part. That it was likely a genital herpes wart. If so was he having anal sex with someone prior to meeting Sha’nann? People’s sexual proclivities and preferences don’t just spring up suddenly – they are lurking in the undercurrent of one’s psyche at all times.

    • nickvdl

      Good suggestions Sylvester. I’ll add that to the list, thanks.

    • Debi Robbins

      Yes u can get penile cancer. Google it. I’m a nurse and I’ve known afew men who had to have amputations for it.

      • Shannon

        They say it’s uncommon, men uncircumcised, over 60, weakened immune system. About 2100 men a year in the US.

    • Savannah Booth

      The neighbor’s video surveillance, both neighbors. From the months of July and August. Date nk started work at Chris’s company. Any other guys nk hooking up with. Flirting with anyone else at work? Who is Jim?!?

    • Patty Coppola

      that’s a bathing suit with a flower patch on the back – not a price tag!!!!!!!

  2. Kim C.

    It appears as if NK is wearing a bathing suit in that pic. It appears to me as if the 2 piece bikini has gold leaves or some type of embellishment on the back hip which could look like a tag but then in the mirror reflection, one can observe the same embellishment appears to be on the front of the bikini bottoms as well as the bikini top. To the right of the photo, in the mirror’s reflection you can see what appears to be a man taking the photo with a larger type camera. This could be CW or it could be an older pic that she just shared with him….I dunno 🙂

  3. Kim C.

    I still find this report to be interesting since it was early on in the investigation…

    • CBH

      Has it ever been ascertained that CW definitely had sex with this man or orther men?

    • platinumtruth

      CW is a textbook Pathological “Covert Somatic Narcissist.” Statistically, Covert Somatic’s are nominally closet bisexuals. They have deep rooted mommy issues. WHAT CAUSES COVERT NARCISSISM? Victims of shaming during early childhood. A narcissistic parent. An overbearing mother who overly compensates, a apologetic mother who spoils without boundaries, over pampering, doting and smothering. Not allowing for healthy privacy boundaries as they are growing up. Being overvalued making them feel entitled. They aren’t born this way… they become

  4. LW

    Really good list. For all the “transparency” with this case, there is so much that has been omitted.

  5. JC

    I only have partial answers for a couple of these, #15 and #25. The black refrigerator was opened briefly by one of the LE officers and it was caught on their cam footage. It looked like it had beer in it, on the door shelf anyway. I believe the white one next to it is a full size freezer with frozen food items. That was recorded on other cam footage on their initial walk through I believe.

    As for #25, I’m not 100% certain so am hesitant to say anything – but I think this could be the Conoco station located on I 25 and hwy 52 – the woman working looks familiar. Someone that lives in the area would be a more reliable source. It’s the closest gas station to Wyndham Hill, maybe a mile away. That just didn’t make sense to me so I looked through the document dump and found where someone had dropped off the flash drive with the surveillance video. It was dropped off with the front desk at the police station but they didn’t record the name of the individual or which Conoco station, just that the person said it had been requested from them. So the location of this video doesn’t seem to be recorded anywhere that I can find. That’s another reason I assumed it was the station near his home. However, there must be several Conoco stations on his route to his work site that day. I guess it’s plausible this was a station closer to his work site since it was cited as date stamped Monday, the 13th, around 8 am, but he couldn’t be at that location near his home at that particular time of day. So, that’s the long version of I don’t know…and why I think this may be video of him recorded on another day, even though reliable news sources reported it as fact.

    Which reminds me, did they release the GPS movements of his truck earlier in the morning on the 13th? That would be helpful in determining his movements and where he stopped on his way to and from work.

    • Sherri

      I thought the guy in the orange shirt came forward…. ? Not CW

      • nickvdl

        Please, if you’re going to speculate that the guy in the orange shirt isn’t Chris Watts, provide a source. Otherwise just say, “In my opinion, I don’t think it’s him.” And that’s great, you’re welcome to believe whatever you want to believe about just about anything. But then in your opinion, why is this CCTV footage in the Discovery Documents/Weld County footage? Is it there because it’s not relevant, or because they think it is. My money is on their “opinion”.

      • JC

        Oh, sorry, I didn’t intend for my point to be directly about the gas station footage. I wasn’t aware until now that there was an ongoing “it’s him/it’s not him” debate. It’s only related in that the Weld County DA arbitrarily chose to include it in the discovery document, and chose to exclude or limit discovery evidence related to Anadarko. More specifically the GPS on the Anadarko truck, driven by their Anadarko employee, to their Anadarko well site to repair their “small leak” of Anadarko crude oil into the ground. They might not want to draw attention to the fact that 2 of their employees made the executive decision that their oil leak was small enough to wait until Monday morning. Seriously, no one in the press really mentioned this at all. It’s like the DA was influenced by big oil to distract, deflect, do anything, by golly, to lead the media attention away from their front door. And then, they did.

        I could be the only person that thinks these things but I was wondering if CW fixed the leak at all…and I know it sounds absurd that I would consider these unrelated, insignificant details in the midst of such a horrendous crime, but I do. I kinda want to know what CW and his work buddy considered a “small” leak – a quart, a galllon, a tub full? The Anadarko corporation dodged quite a few bullets throughout this investigation. This is just my own gut feeling, but it’s possible the Weld County DA was intentionally selective in releasing discovery documents. It affected the medical releases, too, in that the health problems/diagnosis’ of Shan’ann and the girls seem incomplete. And, somehow, it all comes back to Anadarko. Even the collision of the Watt’s housing development and the fracking operations nearby.

      • Frances

        You’re right, Sherri. Proven not to be Chris.

      • Frances

        You’re right, Sherri, it was proven that this is not Chris. 👍

    • Steve Taylor

      The discovery did have a pic of the nite dropped off w the footage (re: the cctv footage requested) but I can’t find it now. Also in the mix was a transcribed interview w SW’s first husband who said she grew distant, threw herself into her work, and started going out all the time. Basically, she fell out of the relationship. Also, around the file area of Kessinger web searches was a supplemental note saying pictures of her taken by him, were mostly taken in the Watts home. There’s so much info and duplicate info, that if everything isn’t examined (including stuff that looks like a duplicate), stuff could be easily missed. I’m still not finished reading it on Denver Post site, which is why it is still fresh in my memory.

      • Anna Plummer

        About the pictures that were taken of her, by him, were mostly in the Watts home – is that stated in the main discovery document or another document or PDF file that the discovery document links to? I downloaded the Dis. Document, but I did not know, at the time it was available, that it linked to many other documents. I would like to find that statement saying that most of the photos he took of her were in his house, to verify, and I’ve done several searches but can’t find it, so any additional info on this is appreciated. Thank You!

  6. Sylvester

    Wyndham Hill Real Estate development company is huge. They have greatly expanded in Frederick since the housing market recovered and a townhouse development is planned – already in development. They mentioned that more millennials flooding the market as well as a lower cost of living in Frederick (versus Boulder) plus employment opportunities ( probably Anadarko and companies that contract with them) allows Wyndham the opportunity to keep right on building – in fact they mentioned they were behind in schedule after 2008 and trying to keep up with demand. But imagine if it will hurt property values as Anadarko expands at the same time – flooding the fields behind the houses with oil rigs and safety hazards, not to mention clumping up views of the mountains. The very company that is employing thousands might directly impact Wyndham Hill real estate in some less than positive ways. Godzilla versus Goliath.

    • Cheryl Filar

      Sylvester, the Wyndham Hill developer does appear to be multiplying its McMansion communities throughout Colorado. I had a friend over for Christmas and was telling her about this case. At the same time she was sharing concerns about her brother, who lives in the exact same Wyndham model as the Watts, only this house and it’s cookie-cutter community (with pool and pocket park) is located in Fort Collins—about 40 miles from Frederick. Her concern for her brother stems from his recent marriage (second marriage) to a very pretty woman (like Shan’ann) whom she believes is manipulative, exploitative and narcissistic (her Facebook page radiates “incredible me”). Like Chris, her brother is quiet and she believes vulnerable to someone like this woman, especially since he’s on the rebound from a marriage that ended one year ago. On the new bride’s Facebook page there are pictures of the house (exact same house) and then posts from friends congratulating her on snagging a man with money and a big house, which, according to them, she deserves. Although there are differences here, the overall focus on beauty, moving up in the world, and unapologetic materialism and narcissism echoed elements in the Watts case that led to their destruction. Overall, the similarities are eerie, but I’m sure these overblown communities attract people who purchase more house than they need to project a successful image—like the Watts.

      • Sylvester

        I think, Cheryl, that these are the kind of homes being built specifically for the young Millenials on the rise now. They show no particular architectural style other than big – the granite counter islands, stainless steel appliances, multiple family rooms, dining area, living room, sunroom, big room, too many bathrooms. One home squeezed next to another, one across the street and behind so that your only view is of another house. The cost of these homes far exceeds what it would have cost to hire an architect of renown in 1960 and build a work of art in that era – smaller, but making excellent use of square footage provided. People become programmed by marketers, television and by builders who have teams of real estate agents to hawk the American Dream as they see it – KBuilt Homes and Wyndham monstrosities. The American Dream in the 1950’s was to have your own house, or a piece of land to farm – then there were the forward thinkers who had $30K to hire an architect and put something really out there that actually said something (Eames, Saarinen, Lautner, Emmons, Koenig). If you have the land now though, and the money to commission an architect I think there are some pretty fantastic architects in the last few decades or now, that can come up with something energy efficient, modern, clean pure lines without constant construction going on all around you, and the ever-present danger that another oil drill is just over your property line.

  7. KC

    I believe the dogs name is Dieter not Deeter.

    Also, I recall reading that Nichol stated she had no social media presence.

    • nickvdl

      Thanks KC, will need to update that. Any idea how to spell the victim’s name and the unborn child, as I’m also unclear on that.

      • Shannon


    • sheis

      KC, by the time I got to googling NK, she had scrubbed herself from the internet almost completely. But I do believe she had some social media presence. I had seen Chris’s Instagram archived (can’t find it now!) and she didn’t seem to be on IG as one of his followers or following. There is no proof of any of what I’ve said, so feel free to believe or not. Wish I’d taken screenshots!

  8. barney

    More detailed information regarding the Anadarko gift cards that WATTS was using to pay for things when he was out with Nichol Kessinger. Was he in fact using gift cards or was he using a pre-paid credit card?

    If he was in fact using gift cards how did he obtain them? How many did he have and what was the value of each of them? How did WATTS earn these gift cards?

    If he was using a pre-paid credit card: How long did he have the card? What is the purchase history of the card? What was the source of funds that he was using to re-fill the card?

    There are several instances in the discovery document Phone Data Review section of WATTS visiting “” Is this activity related to the gift card(s)pre-paid card(s)?

  9. Maura

    Like @Barney I would like to know more about the gift cards CW was using and dollars spent.

    The site he used, My, manages a few types of cards, and he had a login that police could pull data from. Some cards were accepted everywhere and others only at select merchants. He had to login to check the balance first because if he went over the card’s balance it would be declined. He earned some cards as part of a program at work initially. Did he then start funding them himself to hide money he was using to date NK?

    Secondly, I’d like to see a list of Chris’s actions and texts that point to these being premeditated murders including, for example, when he was texting Shannan that he would fix things meaning something different than she thought.

    • nickvdl

      All of that falls – in my mind – under the financial info.

  10. Ralph Cifaretto

    Hi Nick, excellent list you have compiled here.

    In regards to both #4 and number #12, from the discovery documents it seems like an analysis of the Vivint system WAS completed, but either never released or redacted from the report.

    I say that as the police in the document specifically note multiple times the footage of the doorbell camera capturing Shan’ann arriving home (the doorbell camera is integrated into the Vivint home system), and even more specifically the Cellebrite report mentions the motion senor activation time on the ground floor on the morning of the murder.

    There is no way they would have those two pieces of information without actually going into the system and looking at it. Yet it is entirely absent from the report unless as an offhanded mention in relation to something else. I cant think of why this info would be held back?

    • Sylvester

      Ralph, Nathan’s home surveillance camera should have captured Nickole A. dropping off Sha’nann at 1:48 a.m. 8/13 – why have we not been able to see it as well. Granted it would only be a side view, but why isn’t the public privy to it. (I am dubbing you our IT expert!).

      • Pam Foldesi

        Nickole A. dropping off Sha’nann at 1:48 a.m. 8/13 –
        It is shown on neighbor Nate’s footage, after Chris left Nate’s house.
        Nate flips through other segments that are stored, and plays that for Officer Coonrod.

    • Sheis

      Just wanted to say that I’m not sure why these things were not part of the discovery, but SUPPOSEDLY the tape of Tristanich’s surveillance video was edited before release to the public.

      As for the Ring doorbell video of Shanann arriving home, it’s possible that Chris deleted it. Or, as some theorize, it’s been held back because it shows Shanann drunk. Not saying I believe that, but it’s been tossed around.

      Why wouldn’t that be included?

      • nickvdl

        Exactly. Why not?

  11. Shannon

    I’d like to see all released. Especially medical for all of other videos. On his private area, that would be herpes, not cancer.
    This whole list needs to be made public with copies going to Chris Watts. His parents also.
    Local papers, news channels.

    • A

      Maybe bc they plan on using it in the future?

      • Shannon

        Heaven knows.
        No word or report if Chris speaking to any Council. Hopefully he is. They are keen on showing his love letters from prison. Not called for at all. Unprofessional.
        Now all over YouTube, this ask… Golightly….
        Disgusting and Distrubing Videos of the Watts and Rzucek families.
        People want her banned.

    • Pasha

      In regards to the bump removed from his penis, it could be some sort of skin tag or just a “growth” that doesn’t mean anything, but usually a person will have it removed just in case it is cancerous and also because it is bothersome and gets irritated.

      In my experience as a nurse I have seen this on a patient. It was just a random bump and turned out to be non-cancerous and no STD’s were present.

      • Sheis

        Pasha I assumed it was HPV. And of course, it was exaggerated into a near fatality which Shanann saved him from. I think just about everything health-related was blown out of proportion and exaggerated for maximum sympathy and aggrandizement.

    • kimj1111

      It could be a mole, HPv (genital wart), a growth, whatever. Too hard to call with so little information. From the Cindy Watts excerpts, Shan’ann sent a picture of it to his parents, and his mother is still recovering…

  12. Sylvester

    Well here’s one unanswered question I had – finally found it. Here’s the script:
    Baumhover: that’s the stuff she had last night?
    Chris: yep, yeah
    B: what’s this this is?
    C: uh it’s just some Anadarko stuff
    B: that’s your stuff?
    C: yeah it’s the stuff I was going to give to people that don’t fit me anymore
    B: oh, these are your jeans?
    C: yeah they’re like 38’s they’re way to big now

    Baumhover has found the blue tote under the stairs next to the suitcase, he picks it up and it’s Chris’s jeans. It’s something of his – just as you said Nick. Right next to her suitcase. And he hasn’t had a chance to move it yet because it’s still there. But why would he be taking some old jeans to Anadarko to give away? And at first he says “it’s just some Anadarko stuff.” Here’s the link, right at 4:33

  13. Sylvester

    try again – it’s called “Police release Chris Watts bodycam footage

    • nickvdl

      Thanks Sylvester. It would be interesting to know whether the jeans he’s wearing in the video here correspond – or don’t – to those worn in the neighbor’s surveillance video.

      So now we have the handbag moving to the kitchen, the phone to the couch, the suitcase under the stairs to the bedroom, jeans [from somewhere] to the foot of the stairs, sheets to trash and other bed linen replaced, and possibly a sleep mask moving between the basement and main bedrooms.

      • Sylvester

        A spot found on the baseboard by the fake plant in vase on the landing may have morphed into “Nicholas finds a spot that might have been blood on a plant. ” Nickole pointed out a spot on the landing baseboard that the officer said he had already noted and it wasn’t blood, but felt like something waxy. So again, information gets changed around. I tried to figure out why he would have a little tote of his jeans nestled under the stairwell with her suitcase and it could have been there before she arrived home. Mostly I have always had a hunch that she didn’t neatly put her suitcase under the stairwell herself, he did. If you are coming home to a darkened home, remove your shoes, do you wheel your suitcase under the stairwell nice and neatly to be taken upstairs at some later time? No, you carry it on upstairs – or start to. I think the fact that Chris answers “uh it’s just some Anadarko stuff” is that what you would call your jeans? Some Anadarko stuff? He may have realized it’s out of place, and was nervous that Baumhover would see it. I will give this a rest though because I’ve done my duty, I found out what the blue bag was and was in it. I will say that multiple clothing changes take place in this case.

        • nickvdl

          It’s a powerful line of inquiry Sylvester, and you’re right, it is odd, and an oddly worded response to the detective’s question.

          This is naturally nothing more than speculation on my part, but the jeans may have been placed on the floor purposefully to plausibly explain Watts’ scent being there, and also to potentially place jean fibers in that area of the room. In other words, if that area below the stairs was where Shan’ann was murdered, then by putting her suitcase and his jeans/tote there, he was purposefully contaminating/covering up that area, just as the Ramseys contaminated their living room and kitchen by inviting a bunch of friends into their crime scene. Remember, JonBenet’s body was ultimately transferred to the lounge carpet and then covered in another blanket, critically contaminating the surface of her skin and clothing.

          The point of this contamination isn’t so much to conceal as to “run interference”. We don’t know what Watts was wearing when the murders took place, but we do know for a fact that he was wearing jeans when he transferred the bodies to the truck.

  14. Diana

    Would like to point out that when the kids missing blankets are mentioned that they are being referred to and thought of wrong. What’s missing is actually the girl’s “blankies”. Not full size blankets! Bella and CeCe both used what Shan’ann and Chris referred to as blankies. They are smaller than a newborns receiving blanket and both girls used them to suck their thumbs as they’re obviously way too small to even cover up with. I’ve seen both the girls using them in several videos. I know many people on other sites don’t understand why the investigators couldn’t find these big blankets, they don’t realize they’re just tiny pieces of material. I did hear Chris refer to them as “their blankies”, but one of the cops then called them blankets and that was that, but it’s wrong.

    • nickvdl

      Diana, give it a rest.

  15. Shannon

    Anadarko Petroleum.
    Reviews on
    USA today ranks this company #24 highest paying company in US.
    Nov 14.2018.
    When times were good, gift cards were given out. But not no more.
    Reviews day management not the great, not good company.

  16. Shannon

    Shoot, management not that great. Pay good, benefits good.

  17. Karen

    I’d like to know who called the school the morning of the 13th to say that “the girls are fine” and “excuse me for caring.”

    • nickvdl

      Karen I’ll do a blog post on it, as it’s something many have raised. It’s also not something I want to address in the narratives, simply because it can be quickly and easily addressed here, and it’s nowhere near as significant as many are making it out to be.

  18. ianmc1968

    Really love your work here as well as your books Nick. I think its interesting that people are unable to accept that Shannan may have done things that could have lead to the breakdown of her marriage. What Chris did was diabolical and he had many other options other than what he did. Which is why its so important to look for a motive. I also queried the orange t shirt in the convenience store vid. This is a very incomplete investigation. Once they got the plea deal it all stopped.

  19. Captain Cassidy

    Longtime reader, first time commenter 🙂 These books have been fascinating (I’ve read some of your others too–interesting and I love all the links).

    I wonder if the black fridge contained bodybuilding supplements? My dad became a super-mega fitness nut toward the end of his time with my mom, and he had a fridge in the garage full of nothing but his stupid supplements, shake mixes, and energy drinks and other assorted snake oil. That stuff can take up a lot of room. That fridge was a real sticking point for Mom – like a big boxy symbol of my dad’s inability to handle money or make wise spending decisions.

    BTW, I noticed you mentioned once or twice that NK thought Chris was part Native American. Him being from around Myrtle Beach pinged my radar hard. I have some estranged distant family from there. They are the worst–sanctimonious busybodies and just the nastiest, most passive-aggressive human beings I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. Their whole lives revolve around the thrill of exerting power over anybody they can. If the Watts in-laws and parents are from there, it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of Watts’ mother’s weird behavior and Shan’ann’s strong reaction came from trying to gain dominance over each other. It could well be part of why the couple acted toward each other like they did, too–Shan’ann gloating about her control over Chris, Chris chafing under it. That Southern honor culture thing for men is real and can get lethal fast. They rarely learn to deal constructively with what they view as insults to their masculine egos. They just go from 0 to volcano-eruption.

    But those estranged family members of mine also had a family story about being part Native American. Later on, while I was getting into genealogy, I learned that white Southern families often evolve these stories to explain darker-than-usual skin or unusual hair types/colors. It’s a smokescreen to disguise the fact that there might be a black person somewhere in the family line. Having a “Cherokee princess” in one’s history was fine–even exotic and laudable. But having a black person in there was the end of the world. I think that my relatives fully believed this story; I just don’t think it’s true anymore. When NK mentioned that about Chris somewhere in the docs, it twigged me. I’ve heard a lot of Southerners over the years brag about their NA ancestry. NK sure wouldn’t have known about it if Chris hadn’t told her.

    – Thanks for all this writing you do. I enjoy it quite a lot.

    • nickvdl

      Great feedback Captain Cassidy, and food for thought. Some super insights from the Myrtle Beach neck of the woods. Culture can often have strange and powerful influences that you simply can’t fathom unless you’ve been in the area, on the ground.

      Do you know if you Google “Chris Watts Cherokee” nothing comes up. Ditto if you do a filtered search through the Discovery Documents. Strange huh?

      • Captain Cassidy

        Thanks Nick!

        “Do you know if you Google “Chris Watts Cherokee” nothing comes up. Ditto if you do a filtered search through the Discovery Documents. Strange huh?”

        Yeah, I wish I could remember exactly how it was worded. It was in a bunch of NK’s email or text messages to a co-worker, when she was describing the sex with Chris. She mentioned him being so tanned because he was part NA. I don’t think he described it as being from a Cherokee princess; that’s just a common wording of the claim. (Or to say “I’m 1/16 (or 1/32) Cherokee!” or the like, ugh.)

        Honor culture rang through my mind as I read your writeups of Chris. He fits the bill almost perfectly. Men like that are authoritarian–either leader or follower, referring here to Altemeyer’s excellent work on the topic. Chris sounds like the very model of an authoritarian follower. Honor culture men have very touchy personalities, but they bottle up annoyance and get angrier about real or imagined offenses than men raised outside that culture. The worst offense of all is disrespect–hands down–especially from people they view as inferior, like women and children. (By “disrespect” they can mean either/both “lack of deference” and “lack of civility.”) When that anger finally explodes out of them, it blows up BIG and it is so disproportional and out-of-scope that the person on the receiving end can be just mystified about what happened.

        I might also note that I’ve met no end of Southern (and evangelical, and generally misogynistic) men who express great terror, anger, and dread about divorce and child-support costs. Their self-pity is just astonishing to behold. They believe that they’re decent, hardworking men and the court systems are just tilted totally against them. (I wonder if Chris had ever taken a gander at the Colorado Child Support Calculator?)

        What’s really dismaying about all this — and what spelled the end of my first marriage, to a Southern man — is that romantic relationships get seen as competitive by people raised in cultures like that. Who can get more leisure time, even if it’s totally at the other’s expense? Who can get the most out of the other? Who can command the other the most? Who can WIN? If offended, they retaliate. If hurt, they lash out. Conflicts become frustrated, furious screaming matches. Nothing ever gets resolved, just set out to simmer for next time. It’s exhausting.

        Chris Watts just takes a lot of really unpleasant traits that I saw every single day while living in the Deep South, and he cranks them up to 11.

        • nickvdl

          What you say about Southern honor culture is fascinating.

          Kessinger’s reference to him being “half Cherokee” is at this link:

          Incidentally, Stephanie Kessinger – who looks like she may be her sister – appears to have studied Native American culture too.

          • Captain Cassidy

            That’s the one! “He’s half Cherokee so he’s all brown too.” Yeah, cuz his parents sure look totally Cherokee, right? I wonder what NK’s sister would say about that claim? Dude’s parents would both have to be 1/2, or he’d have to have 4 out of his 8 grandparents be full, wouldn’t he? His parents sure don’t look even remotely NA, like they look as whitebread as my estranged family, but who knows. (Math is not my strong suit right now–it being NYE.)

            My estranged family members in Myrtle Beach also claimed Cherokee blood somewhere in there. I grew up hearing from them that I was 1/4 Cherokee, which I thought (as a child) explained well my golden year-round skin at the time. Haha, no, hardly. I think it’s just the area. At least they named a nation that did actually live vaguely around there.

    • Karen

      I enjoy your writing as well. I haven’t picked up a puzzle book since I discovered Nick van Der Leek

    • Cheryl Filar

      Interesting background information about Southern culture in this and your successive post. Thank you.

  20. Sylvester

    Chris likes to add little embellishments to his answers too – like telling Mr. Baumhover his jeans are 38’s and they’re way too big now. Then look at Baumhover’s body language – he pulls at his shirt collar and makes a face. An investigator’s intuition that something smells in what Chris said. No doubt about it that Chris thought of many things leading up to the murders and after. He’s way craftier than people have given him credit for being.

  21. Sylvester

    Actually reminds me of Patsy Ramsey’s little flourishes and embellishments recounting the morning she found the note – thinking to herself that JonBenet’s little red jumpsuit would need to go to the dry cleaners. Crap like that.

  22. Cerulean Swaine

    In addition, why didn’t the CBI or FBI interview Cindy Watts or Sandy Rzucek? Why were only the dads interviewed? Finally, Sandy and Frank Sr. lived with Shanann and Chris for a year. Why, exactly?

  23. Cerulean Swaine

    I posted something before that … looks like it didn’t go through …. 🙂

  24. Cerulean Swaine

    Something that’s befuddled me since the beginning is why CW did not have a psych eval. Isn’t that part of standard procedure? I would think such an analysis would be crucial particularly because CW had no criminal record or—according to the numerous interviews with coworkers, friends, and family—any history of violent behavior.

    Another question: Why didn’t we ever hear anything about the DNA evidence? Swabs were taken from Bella, Cece, Shanann, and even Nico. DNA profiling is considered one of the most imperative aspects of a crime investigation. How exactly did it manage to get shoved under the rug in this one?

    In regard to #11 on the first list, Scott Reisch reported in one of his podcasts that the defense was in possession of medically related information it was unable to waive attorney/client privilege for as a result of HIPAA laws. (See “What Do The Chris Watts’ Attorneys Have? Why Do They Want The Judge To Know What It Is?”) HIPAA protection does indeed apply to decedents, which is likely why Shanann’s medical info has not been released. HIPAA may also be standing in the way of the identification of the “basement meds” as well as additional autopsy details becoming public knowledge.

    I am so with you on #10/first list. The plea deal, the haste to convict CW, his transfer to Wisconsin—it all seems off to me. To be honest, I have always wondered whether something political was going on behind the scenes merely because the three victims’ makeshift graves were on Cervi family property.

    The Cervi family is a dynasty of oil tycoons, very much like the Ewings on Dallas. In 2001, rodeo producer and cattle owner Mike Cervi Sr. was the second-largest landowner in Weld County. It was he who chose to install oil wells on his property. Cervi has a criminal past of his own: In 2005, he was found guilty of tampering with equipment to hide oil leaks that were, in effect, poisoning the groundwater supply. He served time in federal prison.

    Cervi must be rather displeased about this notorious crime being linked to his property, especially given his own illicit activity. Could he himself (a.k.a. old money and politics) possibly be a key to all these unanswered questions, specifically the real reason behind the plea deal and why the state purged itself of CW?

    • Shannon

      He should have had one after arrest. But I don’t think so. After sentenceing the first jail said he there 2 weeks, I don’t think he was, but he would be eveluated. Kinda fast how he moved so quick.
      He could use this if he does try to appeal the deal.

    • JC

      Thanks you, Ceralean, for your history lesson on the Cervi family and their influence in Weld County. I feel a little more validated, and less conspiratorial, in reading your insight. I’ve just had a strong feeling for some time now that the Weld County DA had someone whispering in his ear.

  25. MVM

    There are pictures of bills for essential oils from Young Living, and video of Shannan in front of racks of LuLaRoe ? Clothes. How many MLM s was Shannan involved in? How much money did she lose on them? When did Chris become aware? “No one can tell me what to do for a job.”

  26. Charles Edison

    Great list! I want to know about Chris medical as well. In discovery a mention of a deleted search about hydrocodone was done as well as delete search on Instagram I would like the complete significance and if hydrocodone was in toxicology of girls.

  27. Karen

    Did Watts have anything else in the hidden calculator?

  28. Duttdip

    Answer to question #8 is accurately provided in the YT video released today.

    • nickvdl

      I’m not sure that it does. She Googled Watts in 2017. So I’m not sure the time is as cut and dried as one might imagine. When there are coworkers getting involved, the romance is a process. It evolves. The emails do show a change in tone from around June 12.

      • Duttdip

        You are correct-it is a process with many abstract boundaries. Maybe she looked up Shanann Watts before. Maybe she even trolled her. Maybe she had been interested in Chris Watts.. All these could have some fuzzy boundaries and dates attached. But what the email thread shows is the establishment of a definitive mutually consensual relationship (that’s how I interpreted question #8).. I believe even between these emails, they talked and therefore each email is a step over the previous one.

        • nickvdl

          I know what you’re getting at, but disagree. The email at best is a statement of terms. It’s not clear when they acted on them. What is your definition on when a relationship begins? When it’s mutual, when one person feels something, when some milestone occurs [date, kiss, sex, saying “I love you” etc]?

      • Charles Edison

        Wondering if the change had anything to do with doubling up on the Thrive patches. Not being sarcastic, he was not sleeping much, hyper sexual (according to NK) and mowing with a kid on his back for goodness sakes. He seems manic. Is it psychosis or is it puppy love? On June 15, 2018 @ 4:27pm on Shanann’s Facebook she posted “Chris just said he is more talkative since he started #Burn! Talking to Random Strangers. #hesanintrovert”

        • Shannon

          Did you happen to see the video where talks about herself before Thrive. She was Completely different also. Not just him.

    • Maura

      I watched this video but based on the discovery docs don’t believe that their relationship was only June-August. Co-workers stated they had seen them standing very close together 5 months before the murders. NK deleted her texts for more reasons than being disgusted with CW. She googled about how long texts are recorded and can be traced.

      I would not be surprised to learn they were involved much longer. They had opportunities as coworkers to meet or have her visit him in the field. She got tired of sneaking around. Usually people aren’t shopping for wedding gowns after a 2 month affair. During June-August their relationship intensified as NK openly pursued CW during the 5 weeks SW was in NC with the kids.

      Since NK was into health and fitness she could have been CW’s motivation for getting in shape last January, 8 months before the murders.

      • nickvdl

        Flirting can last quite a while, especially in the office setting.

  29. Duttdip

    >>Flirting can last quite a while, especially in the office setting.

    I agree, That’s why I said that boundaries are fuzzy. But, if we apply that standard, a thousand coworkers around me are in “relationships”. We don’t know what we don’t know, but think the mail provides the first documented evidence of mutual consent.

    >>Usually people aren’t shopping for wedding gowns after a 2 month affair.

    True. But this case is riddled with bizarre contradictions:
    1. Dating to murder in 2 months
    2. An apparently loving dad taking the lives of his kids
    3. A woman with extreme OCD and organization skills so sloppy in finance (I haven’t met any with this combo)
    4. An otherwise savvy and analytical person cooking up the silliest of plots and then succumbing to an interrogation without deferring to a legal counsel..

    • Pam Foldesi

      I know that Shan’ann did not have actual OCD.
      Shan’ann had great organizational skills, she completed a task once she started it, traits I am envious of, after seeing those shelves in the basement.
      People who truly have OCD actually SUFFER from ritualistic behaviors that they wish they could stop, like washing their hands 100 times a day.
      It has become a common, short way of saying to others that I am good at things, that I am proud of skills in certain areas.
      “I’m OCD about my cupboards” does not mean I ACTUALLY suffer from OCD.

      I looked it up to know how to explain it, so I will instead copy the first paragraph from the first 5 paragraphs on the site ‘INTERNATIONAL OCD FOUNDATION’ , and let you all check it out.
      It’s better for you to read it from an expert.
      It includes a 30-second video by a doctor with the credentials of PhD ABPP [American Board of Professional Psychology].

      “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.”

  30. Mo

    Hiya folks, i found this site tonight, via a link on YouTube, and I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who still has many unanswered questions regarding this horrific case.

    One is the autopsy stating that the children sustained only scrapes to their faces and bottoms. My grandson shares a birthday with Bella Watts and he also turned five years of age last month. He has a similar slim build to Bella too.
    I have a hard time accepting the children fit through that eight inch pipe, in one piece, with only superficial marks to their faces and buttocks.
    I recall CW being adamant, in a taped interview, responding “God no” when asked did he need to stamp on his daughters to get them through the opening to the tank.
    I shudder to think how he did it !!

    • Mo

      Anyone good with maths ?
      Would a child, with a head circumference, measuring 21 inches, fit through an eight inch pipe ??

      I’m still trying to fathom how it was humanly possible without broken bones which were not recorded in the autopsies

      • Duttdip

        Don’t know what head circumference means-is it only the head or the circumference of the body..

        An object which is 21 inches in circumference would pass through an 8 inch hole.
        R= 21/6.28 = 3.34
        Diameter= 2R=6.68 which is < 8

        I guess it would be easier to enter the hole like a diver with hands together and feet up.

      • Nick

        @Duttdip so you have your head circumference at 6-something inches plus arms in air…the upraised arms add to the overall total circumference of the head…

      • Mustang Sally

        Mo, I’m not the greatest at math but considering that an opening with an 8” diameter would have a circumference slightly larger than 25”, logic would suggest that something with a smaller circumference of 21” would pass through it. That’s just in answer to your direct question.

  31. Mo

    Thanks Duttdip and Sally .. you’ve both answered the question that it is in fact possible for a child that size to fit through an 8 inch round opening..
    In a horrible way, i guess it’s a small relief to know that 😢

  32. Mo

    Thanks Duttdip and Sally .. you’ve answered the question that it is possible for a childs’ head to fit through an 8 inch round opening.
    Nick, i guess the only one who can explain the semantics is CW himself.

  33. don faruolo

    A great list and a great site. Thank you – this is my first post. Maybe someone can answer these two questions for me, which may have been addressed else where, but what are the theories on why SW’s cell phone was under pillows on the couch and why was it turned off?

    • Maura

      Many of us including Nick believe Shan’ann never made it upstairs and was killed downstairs. Her phone and Apple watch were found under the loft couch’s cushions.

      Chris either hid them there after the murders or had the phone with him on 8/13. When called home by Nickole with police at his home Chris then could have hidden the phone when he went upstairs. He didn’t have time to find a better spot.

      • don

        Thank you for such an immediate reply! I don’t believe Chris had her cell with him because when he texted her phone twice on that Monday, he would have wanted the location to register at the house. I am thinking that SW did go upstairs and check in on the girls, begin to prep for bed, attempt her online purchase on her phone and was ambushed by CW from behind on the couch. That would account for the phone to be on the couch. As for being turned completely off….?

      • Hannah

        If she was killed downstairs , why was there a blue glove found in their bedroom and why did he strip the bedding off the bed( aside from the sheet he used to wrap her)?

        • nickvdl

          Are you sure she wasn’t killed in the kitchen, there was a blue glove there too.

  34. Anna Plummer

    Looks like Chris Watts, or whoever took the photo of NK, shown in bathroom mirror, had a larger camera, maybe a DSLR which makes me wonder if the police found any type of cameras other than smart phones in the Watts home, (or, does NK have one, as CW wouldn’t have used his own) and if so, where are the images and digital files? They should’ve looked at NK as a suspect and or accomplice and looked at her home computer, cameras, etc. Many photos than Shanann posted online look like they were taken with a camera other than a smartphone, they look more professional and appear like they were taken with a larger lens than smartphones have.

    • Karen

      If Chris hadn’t confessed and brought everything to a screeching halt, I believe they would have eventually gotten to her things. For whatever reason when he confessed it all stopped. The big question is why?

      • Ralph Oscar

        We’re all wondering that as well. At the time of Chris’ plea bargain, his employer Anadarko was in the middle of a multi-billion dollar acquisition, and of course there’s the elephant in the room – that predatory Thrive MLM that had sucked them into a black hole of financial disaster they weren’t going to be able to get out of. THAT had to be shut right up/down too. Can’t be talking about such things in public, can we?

    • Hannah

      You can clearly see he is holding a phone.
      Shanann used an iPad for her videos. She mentions it in one of them.

  35. Sonja Savolova

    I also noticed that the photos on SW’s FB page look like they were taken with a better camera. I have an iphone and it does not take photos of that quality. Yet,, no mention ever made of another camera.

    • Hannah

      She had an iPad and I believe she took photos and videos with that. She mentioned it in one of the videos

  36. DARLA


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