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Shan’ann KNEW Chris Watts was deleting messages off his phone

If Shan’ann knew, or suspected, that her husband was cheating on her, when would have been the best time to confront him about it? Before her trip to Arizona was one possibility, except he’d already communicated to her that he didn’t want the baby. So consider the fine line Shan’ann may have felt she had to walk. If she confronted him too strongly, he may have dug in his heels and rejected the baby. What she was trying to do was sort of woo him back – by suggesting counselling, by have him read a book, by him writing a love letter to her.

Shan’ann would have felt some confidence, perhaps, that she could get the ship back on course. She was an influencer on Facebook, and she was used to controlling her husband and telling him what to do. So this would be just another version of that.

At 16:18 in the video below  Addy Molony, one of Shan’ann’s Thrive promoter pals, mentions Watts “coming around a little” immediately before her trip to Arizona. This made Shan’ann think she should stay and sort out her marriage. If she had, maybe the children would still be alive, and maybe Shan’ann would be too.

ADDY: Maybe he was willing to work things out. And she told him she didn’t want to go to Arizona, she wanted to stay home, and work things out with him. He said, ‘No, just go.’ Because, you know, she had the kids by herself for six weeks, so he said, ‘Go, go ahead and get away…and we’ll talk when you get back.’ So she was really anxious to get back when all the bad weather was happening, she was super nervous that she wasn’t going to get back…And she was looking forward to this coming weekend when they were supposed to go away [to Aspen].

So Watts also made Shan’ann think it was okay, even good, if she went on the last trip. Of course what this did was buy him more time with Kessinger, and provide him access to the girls while she was away.

During the weekend when she was in Arizona, the signs that something were afoot got worse. Things – literally – weren’t adding up. Addy suggested Shan’ann look through Watts’ phone to make sure.

But Shan’ann had already done that.

At around 09:00 in the video clip below, Addy tells the cops that Shan’ann knew he was deleting messages even before she left for Arizona on August 10th.

ADDY: She told me through a text that he was even deleting text messages with his dad…because she’d had a falling out with his parents.

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We ought to ask: why would Watts feel it necessary to delete messages to his father while Shan’ann was still alive? One possibility is that he was trying to minimize the fallout that was already taking place. Shan’ann had exploded about the nuts thing, and after that she wanted to some extent to shut out Watts’ family. So if he was communicating with them, this could set off a conflagration between her and him.

Another possibility is that Watts knew the argument she’d had with his dad could go to motive, and so he wasn’t just deleting messages at this stage [about 4 days before the murders], but destroying evidence.

What this demonstrates, though, is the first person Watts was trying to conceal, hide and deceive stuff from was his wife, and arguably he’d sort of succeeded in that until he made a credit card purchase on Saturday night [August 11th] at the Lazy Dog restaurant.

This purchase then alerted her phone, just as the hair care product purchase on the morning of August 13th immediately activated an email at 02:30. When it did, the penny dropped.

From the moment Shan’ann found out about the $62 charge, she was pretty sure he was having an affair and she was right – he was. That bill was proof that he was on a date with one Nichol Kessinger. But Shan’ann couldn’t very well confront him while on a business trip, nor could she do what she did to his parents on Facebook [name and shame] because by then his Facebook was no more. That meant she had to sort things out the moment she got home, or the next morning first thing.

In one of her messages she admits to temporarily “going with the flow” and hoping for the best. Watts was hoping she would do that, anything that could buy him some extra time with his mistress.

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This was an interesting change in the dynamic, because usually it was him going with the flow, not her.

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If Watts knew she was going to return home to confront him, and the murder is premeditated, why would he want to have that confrontation? Why would he let that happen? Remember, if he told Shan’ann he was having an affair with a co-worker, would Shan’ann want him to continue going to work? Would she try to confront Kessinger herself? What would happen then? 

Wouldn’t he prefer not to have a confrontation, or rather, to have a confrontation on his own terms?


  1. Kim C.

    Insightful indeed!

  2. Sylvester

    Ronnie Watts said he knew about Chris’s girlfriend. So he may have wanted to delete any messages from or to Ron where the girlfriend came up.

    • Karen

      Where did you see that, Sylvester? That Ron knew about Kessinger

    • Karen

      Sylvester, disregard my previous comment. Thx

  3. Pasha

    I wonder if Ronnie knew that his son was having an affair already and perhaps he mentioned it in one of the texts, so that’s why Chris deleted texts from him. When Ronnie goes in to speak to Chris after Chris failed the polygraph, Ronnie asks why police won’t let him go. Then “Chris said police knew about the affair (Pg. 602 of discovery doc.). To me, that just sounds like Ronnie already knew. He didn’t say, “Dad…I have to tell you something. I’ve been having an affair and that’s why police won’t let me go”. If I were having an affair, I would have explained that first and then stated that perhaps that’s why police won’t let me go. I would not have just said, “they know about the affair”.

    It’s odd that Chris tells police that “Shan’ann knew about the dinner and confronted him” (pg. 603) when police asked why she would have snapped and killed the girls. It’s like a half truth…..she did confront him, but he was the one who snapped. Maybe he planned to use the dinner charge all along as a motive for his fake story of Shan’ann snapping and killing the girls.

  4. Anna

    Reading all of the communication between all parties involved I would say that the reason that Chris deleted his father’s text messages was that he was afraid that Shan’ann would see him communicating with his father and that would trigger her to get really upset since she almost despised Chris’ parents after what they did to CeCe. That’s what Chris said straight out !

    • ianmc1968

      totally agree

  5. Mustang Sally

    Have you ever wondered, and this could be an utterly ridiculous thought process but one my mind has traveled a few times, if CW completely disarmed her with a tactical approach he knew she’d respond to? What if, instead of secretly waiting for her to spring his deadly attack, he was waiting for her with open arms and used her own desires against her? Shan’ann had been determined to try an upbeat approach in those last few days, thinking they had turned a corner. Perhaps he was leading her around that corner with ease. She walks in the door, he wraps her in a bear hug, she sets her suitcase down, he continues this silent communication her body and soul craves, a few minutes into it, he either reaches up in a loving, yet calculated gesture to massage her neck and continues the pressure until its fatal end or leads her upstairs into their bedroom where he partially undresses her (T-shirt is under hoodie?) and initiates sex with her from behind (was any info. ever reported about sexual activity?) and he pushes her facedown by her neck continuing the pressure. Neither making a sound because she doesn’t wish to wake the children, he acting like he doesn’t. His passion is ignited by the brilliance of his plan. His new life soon to begin. His new love.

    • Karen

      I think in his mind that would have been a waste of time when he could just get it done much more quickly. He couldn’t even seem to pretend with her on the phone or while they were with her in NC so why waste time going through that for any amount of time when she arrived home

      • Mustang Sally

        Good points, Karen. Although, that strikes me as hasty when it seems his actions had become more cold, calculated, and methodical.

    • Maura

      He planned to murder them all on Sunday and had their disposal site picked out for Monday whe he’d be alone at Cervi. Most likely he killed the kids first and had them bagged in the basement where the Cadaver dogs alerted to an odor.

      Shannan was supposed to be home by 11 pm but was delayed 3 hours. I think he planned her murder as soon as she walked in for the element of surprise and because he still had a lot of work afterwards to cover up the crime scenes. She never made it upstairs to see that the kids weren’t there.

      For changing her clothes to destroy any evidence of him, showering, changing his clothes, staging the kids beds to look slept in, mopping the floors with bleach, vacuuming, washing clothes, scanning her phone, packing tools and extra clothes for work he needed a lot of time. Police said the house smelled strongly of cleaning chemicals.

      Chris is a coward and never planned to tell his wife about his affair. He decided the week before what he was going to do and fed her lies until the end.

      • Mustang Sally

        I was unable to “like” your comment, Maura, so this is my pedantic like! Lol

  6. sheis

    Shanann needed total control over everything. That’s what it boils down to.

  7. Karen

    The telltale sign of “his actions had become more cold, calculated, and methodical.” that something was bound to give

    • Karen

      Sally my last comment was in reply to your reply. I’m just figuring out that there is no ‘reply’ button to replies so I will start using names.

  8. Sylvester

    Reading Nichole Kessinger’s interview in the documents, she said she had urged him to try to work it out with his wife while he was in NC – before he left. She said she had been asked out by two different men and she was considering moving on if he didn’t take some kind of action – either work it out, or get it resolved so that she could move on or plan a life with him. She said he was very bothered by that, finally talked about it and said he was jealous and that he had no right to be. She said after that his mind wasn’t in the game sex-wise and had a performance problem. Also she pulled back from him and what was sex 4 times a day became once a day. He was caught between two women – one he was afraid of, his wife, and one he didn’t want to lose, his girlfriend. If he did ask Sha’nann for a divorce he knew it wouldn’t be quick, it wouldn’t be easy, and where would that put him with Nichole, when he told her when he first met her that they were separating soon to be divorced. She would move on. He trapped himself.

    • Marie

      Sylvester, it makes you wonder if other men had asked NK out? Women sometimes use that trick to make a man jealous.

      • Sylvester

        Yes, it’s a tactic Marie – but she was pressuring him from one side, he was pressured by his wife to tell him what was going on and you can see how he was in a trap of his own making.

  9. Mustang Sally

    Got it, Karen! 😊

    Sylvester, is there somewhere NK’s interviews are transcribed so they may be read instead of having to listen to them?

  10. Sylvester

    Yes Sally – in the documents. but I didn’t make notes for that page so it was on or about page 1060. Do you have the documents saved/bookmarked so you can go back and forth? Nichole also mentions Watts using condoms. That passage was strange.

    • Maura

      Nichol gave him an ultimatum, pick her or his wife.
      I read her police interviews again. (Discovery p1059-1064). A few things stand out:
      On 6/25 she asked CW when he and SW separated. He’d said late March/early April. He wanted the separation for 2 reasons: 1. SW was bossy. 2. SW hated that he liked to work out and eat healthy. IMO he made up the second reason to bond with NK who liked those things.

      On 6/27 CW brought 2 boxes of condoms with him. One unopened and one half full. He said they were collecting dust in a closet implying he hadn’t been sleeping with his wife. Now, this is weird to me, NK said she researched the condoms using their expiration dates to determine when they were sold and guessed late 2017/early 2018. So NK had doubts about what CW told her. Of course he was lying. SW’s texts said he couldn’t keep his hands off her before she left for NC visit.

      On 7/14 NK said she told CW he wasn’t being fair to her or SW by living 2 lives and having 2 relationships simultaneously. He needed to fix things with his wife or finalize his divorce. NK did not understand why the divorce was taking so long. Since he’d told her they filed 3-4 months ago wouldn’t that process take awhile? NK put pressure on him 1 month before the murders.

      NK said she realized he might be lying about the separation, quizzed him when he last slept with SW. Now he answered May before he said March/April. CW said he and SW hadn’t used condoms but weren’t actively trying to have a child. Couldn’t this indicate NK knew SW was pregnant? She doubted CW and researched condom dates so why wouldn’t she look at SW’s Facebook posts for the truth and see the pregnancy video if he hadn’t yet told her about the baby.

      Over 7/15-7/19 NK kept telling CW to fix his marriage or forget about her. (Ultimatum). NK said she’d been asked out on 2 dates since she was with him. (IMO to make him jealous, not sure if true).
      “Told him he took the respect and trust from our relationship because I felt like he was lying.” (More pressure that he’d lose her.)

      On 8/11 their last date: CW said he didn’t have money for an apartment. Every time he got paid he watched his bank balance go down. He wished he had a way to prevent his income from being spent. (He chose murder.)
      NK told him he could get another bank account for income left after paying his bills. (All his bills weren’t being paid so he had no extra income). On 8/14 he told her he’d opened the second bank account to save for an apartment. I doubt he’d done this after the murders.

      NK pressured him a lot the last month to pick her and seemed to be as managing or controlling as SW. A lot of pressure for someone she’d dated for about 60 days. If they had ONLY been dating 2 months, which I doubt, she complained about his waiting 3-4 months for a divorce to be final and pushed him to hunt for an apartment. Nichol’s ultimatum about their relationship, SW’s pregnancy and their dire financial situation were 3 big factors in his choice.

      • Mustang Sally

        Nice research, Maura.

    • Mustang Sally

      Thank you, Sylvester.

  11. Karen

    can someone please post a link to the discovery files? Mine stopped working. ugh thank you

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