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

Updated Photos of 2825 Saratoga Trail, 6507 Black Mesa & New Wattenberg Well

Some of the regular visitors to this site are locals, and so they’ve volunteered to go to actual locations to photograph and fact check. This is invaluable and much appreciated. There is no quicker way to clear up confusion and dispel myths than to investigate in situ and in person [assuming of course you’re already in the area].

All the images below were taken on the last day of 2018, a devastating year for the Watts family above all.

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Below is 6507 Black Mesa. This site was still under construction when Watts visited it briefly on his way back from CERVI 319 at around 14:00 on August 13th. The Black Mesa address was not the house Watts intended to buy, but an alleged dumping site.

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For more on the relevance of this address: On his way back to the crime scene, Chris Watts first went to look at a house recommended by his realtor… [Updated]

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Photographer’s note: I did NOT stop on HWY 52 to photograph the Wattenberg well site, too dangerous to pull over, but I did get this ‘passing by’ photo as I was heading east on HWY 52:


Photographer’s note: Approaching Wyndham Hill subdivision as I was heading east on HWY 52 (note the development).

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Additional Info: 

  1. The Wattenberg drill site (owned by Crestone) is a drilling site in the area (one of eight, I believe) and was the talk of the town for years leading up to the drilling. Some wells in the area are routed to a Wattenberg site for collection. The site north of HWY 52, east of Outdoor Craftsman (landscape company), and west of CR 5 was drilled earlier this year and is now a collection site. (see attached map/screenshot)Aerial View - Weld County O&G - 12.31.18 (1)
  2. There is an active well very close to the Watts house per the attached map, but I didn’t see it while driving around today. It may be behind the new townhouses being built. Per the interactive map (link below), it is a Spindle field well (also owned by Crestone) – this well, and the Wattenberg sites continue to be a hot topic in the neighborhood (according to my brother who lives in Wyndham Hill). There are many residents stating they are seeing heightened asthma diagnosis and respiratory illness rates – but no firm information from a reliable source. My brother’s two children spent several nights in the hospital this past November – one for a collapsed lung, the other for severe asthma symptoms. My brother is considering moving.

Further reading: Wattenberg Field oil and gas could be worth $179 billion, royalty owners say


  1. Marie

    It is just sad to look at the house. With the reports of so many breathing problems, no way I would want to live there. It is a beautiful state though. The billionaires wanted this case over and forgotten. The almighty dollar is all that matters. Never mind those beautiful little girls.

  2. Sylvester

    That’s Nathan’s same black SUV/truck parked in his driveway so apparently he hasn’t sold and moved yet. Wasn’t his house listed for sale at the time of the murders?

    • Marie

      Yes Sylvester, it did have the for sale sign at time of the murders.

  3. Sylvester

    Maybe he experienced a drop in equity due to living next door to the murders and decided to take it off the market until things settle down. I read on radar online that 2825 Saratoga Trail will be sold to the highest bidder at auction 4/17/19 – may have already been mentioned here, but that Watt’s possessions are still inside the home. If his family wants to come pick them up they still have time. What would he have that’s his – her family took everything that was hers. I suppose it would be his weight equipment, clothing – technically the furniture would be 50-50. If I were his family I would fly there, put it in storage, and sell it later. Watts is also going to be sued for wrongful death so I would think whatever is his in the house might be worth going and getting. I just wouldn’t want the bank to get it.

    • Marie

      I would do the same , could possibly be that whatever is left there is not worth the airfare to them. Doesn’t appear that the thrives want it either. Watts should donate it all to a domestic violence center. He doesn’t seem to be inclined to do the right thing tho

    • mitzi2006

      Frankie said they had been at the house 4 times but only picked up some personal and sentimental items, I believe he said it to that molly go lightly. He showed up calling into her because people were saying it wasn’t really him who was calling her. Apparently she is going to North Carolina to visit the family. Odd because she put out a horrible video mocking shanann not long after the murders. Would all the furniture and stuff in the house belong to the rzuceks or does the bank own what’s inside too besides personal items

  4. JC

    My heart goes out to the families experiencing negative health consequences from living in close proximity to active well sites.

    I recently learned that St. Vrain SD (Frederick) admin and teachers are increasingly concerned about rising absentee rates and declining test scores. Emerging data show the correlation to schools in close proximity to active drilling, as well as students living in these neighborhoods. An implication that cognitive development of children could be negatively affected is alarming. I’ve read personal testimonials from people living near the active drill sites; adults diagnosed with cancer/other debilitating illnesses, children with respiratory problems, people experiencing improved health when they move, etc. It could take years for the statistics and studies to catch up with hard evidence.

    If this case had gone to trial, a good defense team would bring these things to light. Big oil expansion is a runaway train. It’s no surprise that Thrive, with its promise of improved health and wellness, is a popular choice with some in the neighborhood.

    • Marie

      I agree JC. New attorneys could use this . I wonder if people in Texas, around oil wells, have these health problems?

      • JC

        Marie, I haven’t read much about these types of health issues in Texas. Texas has such vast areas of undeveloped land that I don’t think they’ve experienced the collision of new development and active wells as much. The front range in CO is experiencing it on a massive scale – Wynham Hill is literally building right around an inactive well (like making it a pocket park} and building as close to active wells as the law allows. It’s weird to see it happening.

      • Cindy Lynde

        I currently live about 8 min from where they lived. (Erie, Co) We have lived here over 6 years, no health problems. Btw, stop victim blaming, it’s really ugly.

        • JC

          Cindy, you live more than a mile from the nearest oil rig – yes, I checked. There’s no victim blaming for children experiencing increases in illness or anyone connected to this case. The rise in St. Vrain absentee rates is due to wells allowed to operate too close to homes and schools. Willful ignorance does not change facts.

      • Kr31

        I live in west texas. My husband works in the oil field. I have yet to hear about anything like that here.

  5. Sylvester

    Meanwhile 1000 Peninsula Drive Belmont, NC, ( sold for $350K in August ’12) now has a Trulia estimate of $589,568, previously owned by Leonard and Sha’nann King. I’d love to see that transaction. He must have “given” her the house in a divorce settlement, then she couldn’t make the payments. Where did that money go?

    • Spring time

      Shanann bought 1000 Peninsula with her own money and she was the sole owner on title. I have all the details of the transaction and it is flawless from beginning to end. By the way, Trulia estimates are not taken seriously by professionals in real estate.

      • Kr31

        Crazy considering you go bankrupt not too long after.

  6. Shannon

    I believe Chris’s stuff still there. Shanann’s family was already there quite awhile ago. Police there also. They’ve already sold her stuff. More money.
    I don’t know how far away Chris’s family is.
    The house and property need a Complete Cleansing done to it.
    Move away the evil and let any spirits pass to the other side.
    We had a guy here who killed 7 gay men, dumped bones on customer’s property. Then did a cleansing and built a small garden for the men..
    I would do this.

  7. Marie

    JC, I have never realized all of this. It is a shame, destroying our beautiful planet and possibly making people sick !

  8. Kim

    Wait what did he dump on Black Mesa?

    • coolgirlrocks

      It is alleged he dumped the baby blankets and teddy bears there since they have never turned up. He stopped there for four minutes on his way home to meet with police Aug. 13 when Nichole raised the alarm and the police called him. There was a dumpster in front of that home. However, when poiice followed up it had been taken to the landfill. I also wonder what happened to Shan’ann’s pants that night? She wasn’t wearing any when found.

      • CBH

        The lack of pants makes it seem like she was killed in bed. I recall in a police interview CW was asked what Shannan wore to bed, and he said tee shirt and underpants. But the bra points the other way.

        • coolgirlrocks

          Yes I know but she doesn’t strike me as the type of person who who go to bed in a bra and underwear. She seemed too OCD for that, if you know what I mean. But if she was killed in bed, did Bella wake up (a light sleeper by all accounts?) and that caused him to smother her (she fought, according to autopsy reports) and then smother Ce Ce?

          • CBH

            Yes, very possible and all grist for the mill. If she was killed right when she came in the front door, where are the pants? Did CW dispose of them after cleaning?

  9. Sylvester

    The Wyndham Hill homeowners could sue Wyndham Hill development company for putting up a development so close to where Anadarko would be fracking – and/or for not disclosing that it would be a possibility. If enough home owners join in in a class action lawsuit then Wyndham Hill will turn around and sue Anadarko oil. That will still hurt the homeowner though as once a lawsuit is pending on your property your value goes down and you can’t sell. It’s a Catch 22.

    • JC

      Sylvestor, I’m surprised it hasn’t already happened. I wonder if Wyndham Hill has covered themselves legally with some sort of agreement signed by buyers. Those homes are somewhat less expensive than comparable homes in areas not surrounded by fracking operations. Just across the county line in Boulder County there’s a temporary moratorium keeping them out until 2020. It’s a crazy situation. I think the Watt’s house would go for close to a million if it were closer to Boulder, across the county line.

      • Cindy

        I live in Erie Co. Just East of Boulder. Boulder was very smart to do that. So many ppl are moving here it’s horrible. All you see on the highways nowadays are huge trucks for construction. It’s changing rapidly, not so beautiful. Pollution was never a thing. Now we have the warning days. You are right, homes are cheaper near the wells, but sellers have to disclose. Remember fracking is done one area at a time. Lasts for several months, then on to new site. I’m really sad to read all of this really negative stuff on here. I hope when I die ppl do not scrutinize every decision I made, because I’ve made a million mistakes. This world has gotten so judgemental. Let’s give ppl a break. Thx 🙂

  10. caseykaufman6922


    This entire time I’ve agreed that she was basically ambushed at the bottom of the stairs and never made it to bed like everyone thinks. I agree because of the plethora of evidence suggesting otherwise, and have further solidified my belief in this thanks to insights by you – like the bent post at the bottom of stairs, Chris possibly moving her phone from her car, her phone being turned off and easily powered back on once found in the cushions, etc.

    But just now, thinking about the way she was found in her grave has thrown me for a little bit of a loop. She was found in a T-shirt and underwear/bra. No pants right? So, that would be her “in bed” clothes, I would assume, right? Why would Chris take off her pants to bury her? But then again why would she keep her makeup on? Wouldn’t it be necessary and extremely helpful to know what she was wearing when she returned home from the airport? This is something her friend Nickole (spelling unsure) would be able to confirm. If she was wearing the shirt she wore to the airport, in her grave, then yeah maybe Chris took off her pants to bury her (but still, why?). If she was wearing a different shirt from when she left Nickoles car, then to me that shows that she began to get ready for bed – which you’d think would be upstairs, likely in their room.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Nick

      Thanks for your question Casey. Clothing evidence in true crime is like cell phone data. What you see is a distortion. So you can’t take it at face value. In almost every high profile case these days, a load of laundry is done in the middle of the murder. Watts himself appeared to have changed his clothing 3-4 times on the morning of August 13. The bed sheets were changed. What does all that tell you about Shan’ann’s clothing?

    • mitzi2006

      Her sleeping in a bra doesn’t surprise me at all. My daughter is big busted as well and when she was pregnant she wore a bra to bed because she said they hurt less when she had support on

    • Dolly

      Shanann WAS wearing a pair of blue pants – you can just see them in a police video on YT, together with her black embroidered bra, blue T shirt and the muddied, stained sheet Chris Watts had wrapped her body in. I don’t think he would have ambushed her as soon as she got into the house – on her feet, she could have fought back or escaped and raised the alarm. The coward wanted her as defenceless as possible when he attacked. He did not want to fight her – he wanted to kill her! As she was in bra, pants and T shirt not PJs/a nightdress, I think most likely scenario is she was sitting on the bed, getting undressed when he struck. By this time, he’d have been agitated and wanting to get the murders done. He overpowered her fast, there were no defensive wounds on her body so she never saw it coming and didn’t fight fight back. We know he had prepared the dumping location for the bodies on Friday so he must have spent the weekend psyching himself up for the murders. When Shanann called him on Sunday night to say her flight was delayed, she told her friend he had sounded annoyed. No wonder – she had delayed his plans to murder her and the kids! It’s obvious the children were alive when she got home, he knew she would have looked in on them as soon as she walked in, he couldn’t risk her seeing them dead and freaking out. Killing Shannan first was his priority and biggest challenge because unlike the kids she at least in theory had a chance of fighting back or escaping to summon help. Once he had successfully strangled Shanann and made sure she was dead, phase two, killing his two children, was easy. Their mother could not help them. He killed Bella first, smothering her with his bare hands – she struggled, biting her tongue several times and tearing the frenulum, the skin between her lip and gum – so it’s likely she was awake when murdered. 3 year old Cece was last to die by the same method. There’s no evidence she fought back so she was either asleep, or just too tiny, to put up any resistance. He killed them in order of size and strength. These murders seem to become more, not less shocking over time, and with repetition. Utterly sickening, hope the scumbag never has a moment’s peace for the rest of his miserable life.

    • Ralph Oscar

      BTW, the post of the bannister wasn’t bent; it was an artistic swirl decorative feature that from a certain angle looks bent when in fact that’s just how it is – like this:

    • Ralph Oscar

      “like the bent post at the bottom of stairs”

      There’s nothing bent at the bottom of the stairs – it’s just the angle of the shot. The decorative bannister detail just looks like that normally.

  11. RC

    It all comes down to mineral rights. When the developers purchased the land, the mineral rights were already owned by an oil and gas company. The developers signed all sorts of legal paperwork and they then had each home owner sign loads of paperwork disclosing what the were and weren’t buying. This was oil and gas land before it was housing. With the economic growth (600k+ people moved unto CO since 2010!), many people move east to find cheaper housing. Can’t blame them, not many can afford the average home price of $850k in Boulder. Search for the Colorado oil and gas map, there are over 58,000 wells in Colorado. In November, on the ballot was Prop 112, written to move oil and gas setbacks to at least 2,500 ft from any building for human occupancy, from the current 500 ft from homes and 1,000 ft from schools. Sadly, “NO on Prop 112” was was funded $36 million by oil and gas companies, and “yes on Prop 112” raised $819,000. Oil and gas is taking us down – our homes, our health, and our state. The Wyndham Hill HOA is still controlled by the developers as active development continues. They aren’t pushing for lawsuits, they’re building as fast as they can do they can get out as fast as they can.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “The developers signed all sorts of legal paperwork and they then had each home owner sign loads of paperwork disclosing what the were and weren’t buying.”

      Even in So. CA, when we were buying our first home in a location where there was no known gas or oil, the contract stipulated that the mineral rights to our property did not belong to us.

  12. Sylvester

    Didn’t know where to put this so I’ll put it here. In reference to items missing or disposed of – on p. 1432 Frank Rzucek states in Baumhover’s report “a big blue blanket was typically on the couch. Note: this blanket has not been located to date.” I searched around for a big blue blanket and found one on the upstairs loft couch and can be seen here at the 6:19 – 6:22 point, draped over the center couch cushion. If it was missing might he have used it to transport, and then disposed of it during the 2 1/2 hour it took him to return home to his house after Nikki called the police.

    • nickvdl

      Yes, he may have dumped the blanket at Black Mesa.

  13. Sylvester

    I think he needed something dark to transport her from garage to truck. She wouldn’t fit in black trash bags, his neighbor’s camera might pick up something white that would be reflective, and a sheet wasn’t enough to hold in bodily fluids. Given that it took him 2 1/2 hours to arrive home after Nickole called him he had plenty of time to dig a hole somewhere else and lay the blanket to rest elsewhere. He may have even wanted to keep it – he’d already broken up the sheet set, no big deal – but in his haste, put the blanket back in the truck and then didn’t want to leave it at Cervi 319.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “he had plenty of time to dig a hole somewhere else and lay the blanket to rest elsewhere.”

      Here’s what I can’t figure out – the shallow grave for Shan’Ann. Given premeditation, which seems obvious given how he decided to put each child into a separate oil tank, why didn’t he dig a decent grave at some point during the time Shan’Ann and the girls were in NC? She and the girls flew to NC, right? So he’d have Shan’Ann’s vehicle – he wouldn’t have to use his work truck and its GPS entanglements. He could have gone into the field near the oil tanks and dug a decent grave at night, camouflaged it with long dried grass like the rest of the field, so that when he had the body to dispose of, he could have buried it properly. The shallow grave Shan’Ann was found in speaks to poor planning and in a rush.

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