True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Month: December 2018 (Page 2 of 11)

“Excuse me for caring!” – Mythbusting the Contentious 663rd Page of the Discovery Documents

Somewhere, somehow, someone has put out the myth that a mysterious person called Primrose school on the morning of the murders, and told the school “not to worry” about the disappearance. This mysterious figure could not have known the status of the children, unless she was an accessory. When a staff member challenged the caller, she remarked with indignation: “Excuse me for caring!”

Who is this mysterious caller? Is this the clue that will blow this case wide open? Did Chris Watts have a woman secretly helping him commit or cover up the murders?

All of these questions are breathtaking – breathtakingly silly.

On page 663 of the Discovery Documents it’s clear who made the call, and when.What’s more, and this takes just a few minutes to read to comprehend the context, it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out that there’s no conspiracy.

  1. The caller is Shan’ann’s mother, Sandi Rzucek.
  2. She called Primrose at 11:00-11:30.
  3. Contextually it’s obvious she called the school after Chris Watts did [he called at 08:26].

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When we follow the continuity of the timeline in the Discovery Documents, it makes perfect sense that Shan’ann’s mother called Primrose when she did.  After Sandi [that’s how she spells her name of Facebook] spoke to Watts briefly three times between 10:28 and 10:44, Sandi called the school to begin her own investigation.

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When Sandi called, she found out the girls weren’t in school, and clearly, the school informed her that the girls weren’t coming back either. This prompted Sandi to intervene, telling them:

“Everything is fine.”

What she meant, and what she assumed, was that the children weren’t dead, and would be coming back to school. In other words, she was asking Primrose to discard Watts’ instruction to them to unenroll the children. Furthermore, given the brouhaha between the various in-laws over recent weeks, Sandi asked the school not to tell anyone she’d called [and interfered].

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At around 15:00 Sandi called the school again, following up, trying to find out if the girls were ever dropped off, or if anyone had seen Shan’ann. Clearly the staff wondered what this was all about, and this prompted Sandi to exclaim with justifiable indignation, “Excuse me for caring!”

The sections highlighted in blue and green above, reflect how poorly this aspect of the narrative is expressed. It appears as if certain aspects are repeated, when in reality, the writing is clumsily executed.

In sum, there is no conspiracy. Sandi calling Primrose when she did is exactly what you’d expect in the middle of the morning, when she realized Shan’ann was missing, and her son-in-law wasn’t being of much help to solve the problem. It’s also likely when Shan’ann missed her doctor’s appointment at 10:00, the ball started rolling in Nickole Atkinson’s mind, and she may have called Sandi to find out if she’d heard from Shan’ann. When she hadn’t, Sandi took over the baton and started to make calls. One of them was to the Primrose school. Make sense?



The latest review, posted yesterday [December 27th], is the 7th straight five star review for RAPE OF CASSANDRA. RAPE  OF CASSANDRA is currently a #1 Bestseller in the Trial Practice category on Amazon, and #18 in the Hoaxes & Deceptions category.

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One reason, I think, for the strong ratings, RAPE OF CASSANDRA is by far the most voluminous of the four books currently available in the series, and for that reason it’s also the most expensive.

While writing RAPE OF CASSANDRA the intention was  to cover essential narrative territory, including the status conference [when the plea deal was announced] and the sentencing hearing. The idea was not to drill into the discovery. I wanted to leave that for the fifth book in the series. In the end, I decided to do some analysis from the discovery dump, simply because the books are meant to be the most current narrative available when they come out, so to not refer to the discovery in some detail would be a failure to do due diligence.

Unfortunately, dealing with the discovery meant sacrificing a fair amount of trial coverage and analysis. Even so, the discovery is only glimpsed at in RAPE OF CASSANDRA. The fifth narrative focuses entirely on the discovery; analyzing, filtering and organizing the information in an effort to make sense of it. That analysis goes way beyond the superlight coverage here on CrimeRocket.

RAPE OF CASSANDRA’s high rating isn’t bad, especially considering the string of poor reviews for the first book that have been coming through of late.

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Many of the complaints about the first book are from folks who are only coming into the narrative now. The complaint is that there’s nothing new in the first book. Personally, I don’t think that’s true, especially the narrative around the dogs which even the Discovery Documents don’t deal with in detail, and much of the information around the dogs is muddled and unclear.

When the first TWO FACE was published on September 10th, the information and the chronology was brand new. The power of the first narrative – in my view at any rate – lies in its prescience. The crime scene and execution of the crime was intuited and three books later, many of those original intuitions still appear to hold water. So the complaint that the first book was written “too early” misses the point – it was intended to be written early for two reasons:

1. To meet the demand of regular Rocket Science [originally #Shakedown] readers who have come to expect and rely on rapid delivery of true crime narratives.

2. To test and challenge my ability to fathom a brand new case while being mostly in the dark about many, if not most aspects of the crime, crime scene and characters involved.

So, to be fair, the first narrative ought to be evaluated within those parameters.

It should also be mentioned that in order to enjoy these books, to get the most out of them and the series as a whole, it’s important to catch the narratives as soon as possible after they come out. Besides being the first narratives to bite at the various cherries in this case, many of the links referred to work early on, but over time are sometimes removed by the original source. That is one reason why CrimeRocket exists. It serves as an archive of content – including photos – for the narratives to refer to, without the risk of them being removed months or years later.

Coming in January…


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?

Shan’ann Watts Also Has A Pinterest Page – and what that reveals

Various sources confirm an unusual trait about Shan’ann – she had Obsessive Compulsive Discorder [OCD].

When Nickole Atkinson gave an interview to ABC, she was adamant that she knew something was wrong with Shan’ann because it wasn’t like Shan’ann to go somewhere without her car, or phone, or to leave the kids’ beds unmade [let alone her own].

Atkinson told ABC:

“The girls’ beds weren’t made [looks at the ceiling, then to her left]; Shan’ann was very OCD. Everything in her house had a place. Everything was labelled. If something was out of the ordinary, it was very out of the ordinary, for her…”

Shan’ann’s OCD is a big deal. It was a big deal to Nickole, and yet the term OCD appears only six times in the Discovery Documents, a relative rarity given how instrumental this was to Shan’ann’s personality, and identity.

OCD was largely who she was. It made her somewhat controlling, somewhat overbearing, somewhat regimented in how she ran her household, and in terms of scheduling her life and those around her – Shan’ann ran a very tight ship. But how much somewhat are we talking about here, really?

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The combination of OCD and MLM is also central to the operative psychology of the Watts case. In September 2018 I dealt with this aspect in a post titled:

What impact did THRIVE have on Shan’ann’s marriage?

Of course it’s one thing to say someone is OCD [or a narcissist], it’s another thing to know what that means – to experience it. Nickole did, and we get a little sense of what she means by looking into Shan’ann’s pantry, and her home. But is it enough?

At the bottom of this post, Shan’ann’s Pinterest profile provides insight into the scale and scope of her OCD.  You can see the size of it at a single glance.

But, as I’m often at pains to emphasize in my books, when it comes to personality traits and dynamics, we can’t be told what they are – we have to be shown them, we have to experience them – like the Matrix – for the truth to really resonate.

Before showing you though, the OCD aspect deserves a little tell, too.

Shan’ann’s OCD was likely rooted in anxiety primarily about her health problems. Shan’ann had other anxieties too, but her health issues were fairly significant. The OCD was thus a response – arguably an over-response – to control her environment. That environment included her spouse. Now here’s the rub. OCD can also be rooted in narcissism, and aggravated by narcissism.

The table below from provides some cursory coverage of the difference between OCD + NPD [NPD = Narcissistic Personality Disorder] and vanilla OCD.

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Notice the aspect at the bottom of the table:

No concern or empathy for how their OCD behavior negatively impacts others

When there is vanilla OCD on the other hand:

Constantly feels bad for how their OCD behavior impacts others

Thus far Shan’ann’s narcissism, especially as it relates to her OCD, has been completely missing from the media narrative, or any narrative surrounding this case. The accusations that Chris Watts’s narcissism stands alone, and is central to the murders rings hollow because we haven’t contextualized it: his narcissism compared to whose? Yours? Society’s? What about Shan’ann’s?

If we refer to Shan’ann’s social media, there are countless instances where she describes her husband as someone who does whatever she tells him to do. Shan’ann has no concern for how this makes him feel; it’s simply the way things work in their marriage, and he gets it, because he gets her. That’s great, except we can tell – intuitively – that over time being a pawn on someone’s OCD board game – even within a loving marriage – has to get old at some stage.

Narcissism is a popular catch-term in true crime now, dropped by all the big hitters – Nancy Grace, Dr. Phil, HLN and so on. And the more it is used, the more it gets reused.

Most of the folks using the ‘N’ word don’t really understand how narcissism works, and even less how it relates to true crime. They have a vague sense that’s it’s a particularly ugly form of conceit, and selfishness. And so I guess Chris Watts was a particularly conceited and selfish husband and father to do what he did. Well, except before he committed the crimes no one – especially not Shan’ann- would accuse Watts of being either conceited or selfish, in fact quite the opposite.

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No one, naturally, wants to talk about Shan’ann’s narcissism. That would be distasteful, wouldn’t it? Victim blaming. But here at CrimeRocket we’re not trying to win a popularity contest, or trying to use the same catch-terms as the talk show hosts.

We’re here to find out what the fuck happened, and who these people really are, at least, that’s why I’m here. Now when I say this, I say it with the greatest of respect; if you’d rather talk about only certain aspects of a case, and feel uncomfortable talking about other aspects which you feel should be off limits, please fuck off and go be schizophrenic in your selective reality on your own time, somewhere else.

For the rest, let’s answer the question: is OCD related to narcissism, and if so, how so?

According to

The narcissist’s very pursuit of Narcissistic Supply is compulsive…[and] in many respects, narcissism can be defined as an all-pervasive obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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So we see OCD and Narcissism are related, and that Narcissist Personality Disorder [NPD] actually exacerbates OCD. OCD and NPD aren’t the same thing however [a video at the bottom of this page explains how they differ]. But going back to additional reinforcing aspects from’s table, we see there are some pretty ugly traits associated with OCD and NPD, especially exploitation, entitlement and arrogance.

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How much of this is “evil” in the conventional sense of the word? In some ways, none of it is evil. It’s simply the habitual psychology of control, or the efforts at control, and how that is exerted is by putting the world [and people] into box, with nice neat labels on. The world is also reduced to timetables and schedules, along with everyone in them. So the OCD-Narcisisst may not be aware of the terror they unleash on the world in their efforts to control every conceivable aspect, they’re simply doing their thing trying to organize their shit.

On the other hand, is it okay for one person to exert a fucking tyranny over another? In that sense, it’s not evil, but it suggests there is a flagrant lack of self-awareness. In other words, do I realize that what I do habitually can cause pain to others, or do I simply not care?

Shan’ann’s nut meltdown is a good example demonstrating how difficult it may be to know where to draw the line between tyranny, OCD and common sense.

Which is it?

Shan’ann’s Pinterest profile below shows the extent of her OCD. Not all OCDs are created equal, just as there is a spectrum to narcissism and NPD. But clearly, sometimes OCD is on a vastly different scale to what could be considered “normal”.

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The above profile comprises the following categories:

  1. Meal prep
  2. House Stuff [92 pins]
  3. Photography [54 pins]
  4. Exercise [54 pins]
  5. Party Ideas [16 pins]
  6. Tattoo ideas for Me [14 pins]
  7. Organize it [11 pins]
  8. Beauty
  9. Drink Anyone?
  10. Desserts [304 pins]
  11. Dinner is served! [273 pins]
  12. Breakfast
  13. Salads [47 pins]
  14. Appetizers and sides [71 pins]
  15. Sandwiches and burgers
  16. Food party ideas
  17. Snack ideas
  18. Soups and stews
  19. Dressings
  20. Pasta salads
  21. Gluten free desserts
  22. Workout
  23. Breads and Biscuits
  24. Marinades and dressings
  25. Bella [46 pins]
  26. Bahaha
  27. Good to know
  28. Lunch ideas
  29. Holiday baking ideas
  30. Valentines
  31. Love*
  32. Crafts
  33. Newborn pic ideas [12 pins]
  34. Smoothies
  35. German dishes [19 pins]
  36. Polish food [9 pins]
  37. Chicken dishes
  38. Ground Turkey Dishes
  39. Basement ideas [8 pins]
  40. Crockpot kinda Day
  41. Pork Dishes
  42. Bella’s 1st Birthday [70 pins]
  43. Kids activities [4 pins]
  44. Seafood dishes
  45. Kids playroom [23 pins]
  46. Mothers/Fathers Day [3 pins]
  47. Fathers Day [8 pins]
  48. Baby boy room ideas [46 pins]
  49. Man cave [2 pins]
  50. Pregnancy
  51. Halloween
  52. Thanksgiving
  53. Freezing food
  54. Italian food
  55. Thirty-One [82 pins]
  56. Outdoor patio
  57. Origami owl
  58. Dips [13 pins]
  59. Christmas
  60. Halloween Costumes
  61. Crafts with Kiddos
  62. Sensory Play [75 pins]
  63. Activities for 0-18 mo
  64. Gross motor skills play
  65. New Years party
  66. Super Bowl Party [20 pins]
  67. Girl room ideas [42 pins]
  68. Baby number 2
  69. Baby play
  70. Mexican food
  71. Motor skills play
  72. Girls Bathroom [12 pins]
  73. Easter
  74. Fine motor skills play
  75. Baby shower Girl [12 pins]
  76. Greek food
  77. Crafts to make with girls
  78. Healthy snack for kids
  79. Back exercises
  80. Keepsake ideas for kids
  81. Kids snacks
  82. Poppop to build
  83. Fondue
  84. 4th of July
  85. Bella’s 2nd Birthday
  86. Guest Room
  87. Dream closet GIRLS!
  88. Bathroom organizing
  89. Beef dishes
  90. Kids Keepsakes
  91. Reading nook
  92. 2 year old play
  93. Kids Science
  94. FMF
  95. Nails [59 pins]
  96. Fall
  97. Football
  98. Punta Cana
  99. Thrive Experience [0 pins]
  100. Instant Pot [25 pins]
  101. Organization Remodel Expert
  102. Wedding [220 pins]

*In the Love category, Shan’ann highlights various ways couples can express their love to one another, including 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage, a Couple’s Appreciation Journal and 58 Creative Ways to Cheer Up a Love One. The category also includes The best days of our lives – plates with all the significant dates in a marriage. For Mother’s Day, that’s exactly what Chris Watts gave her.

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Many have criticized Chris Watts for Googling when and how to say I love you. Such criticism is fine, as long as you compare it to the other side of the equation: Shan’ann and yourself.

Further reading: OCD and the Death of the Christian

Ronnie and Cindy Watts believe Chris Watts didn’t kill Bella and Celeste, say Shan’ann “changed” him, was abusive and isolated him from his family

Did Chris Watts Kill Shan’ann For Nothing?

First, a disclaimer. There is naturally never a “good reason” to commit murder. In true crime it shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but in this case it is, especially given the hordes doing the rounds making accusations of “victim blaming”.

Chris Watts’ reason for committing murder is what we’re trying to get at. If we do come up with a cogent theory, that still doesn’t mean Watts had a “good reason” for killing anyone, murder is never a good reason. We’re trying to establish whether in Watts’ mind he thought he had a good reason, given his circumstances.

The timing of the murders are important. Without going into too much detail, what was floating in the air just prior to the murders was Watts deactivating/deleting his Facebook profile [August 9th], and the mutual decision to cancel the gender reveal party the following weekend, and instead reveal the gender on Monday [the Monday of the murders].

Now, if there is some truth to Nichol Kessinger’s claims, that she didn’t know Shan’ann was pregnant, or that she’d been led to believe the baby wasn’t Chris Watts’, then a “gender reveal” would clearly change that. Since Shan’ann was very public on Facebook about being super-excited about her pregnancy, and gushing about Chris, he had every reason to fear she’d let the cat out of the bag.

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The above snippet from page 574 of the Discovery Documents suggests Kessinger was under the impression Shan’ann was pregnant as a result of an affair with someone else. It’s unclear for how long Kessinger was under this false impression, but we can see how this aspect as part of his overall narrative to her [that they were getting separated/divorced because of her affair, and because she fell pregnant] would make Kessinger feel a sense of certainty that the marriage was over.

Finding out that the baby was his, on the other hand, would swing everything around, and “ruin everything”.

Yet on the day prior to Watts deactivating his Facebook, the trio of girls decided amongst themselves not to reveal Niko’s gender on Facebook. Fullscreen capture 20181225 213819

This had to be because Watts insisted. For Shan’ann to put every detail over her life on Facebook but not this one was a major concession. So it was part of the deal that she wouldn’t go public, if he would invest in their relationship. But it seems both sort of reneged on that promise. Shan’ann let her inner circle know about the sex of the child [and it was perhaps a matter of time, in Watts’ mind, before one of the promoters blabbed on Facebook], and Watts was never planning on sorting the rift in their relationship. The best he could do was buy time.

By Monday 13th, Watts figured time was up.

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The Ghosts of Christmas Past: Watts Family Christmases in Pictures and Videos [2010/2014/2016/2017]

The images below span the month of December over a four year period when Shan’ann and Chris first met, the aftermath of their wedding in November, the end of Shan’ann’s first pregnancy and birth of Bella, and the first Christmases spent in their new home on Saratoga trail in 2013 and 2014.

Date Unknown

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Notice in the image below the familiar railing of the staircase behind Shan’ann. The hallway around it seems to be missing the stairway down to the basement, so this may not be their house on Saratoga Trail.Fullscreen capture 20181224 054908

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