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More Proof Chris Watts was a Lovesick Fool [Updated]

When we first examined Trinastich’s surveillance video, most of us focused on the television. There wasn’t much to see, was there? Even the original video is fuzzy in depicting the goings-on in that all-important top left corner.

It didn’t take long though for folks to pick up on something else in the bodycam footage: Watts’ oddball behavior beside the flat screen.  He seems at turns nervous, restless, distracted and even seems to be daydreaming at times.

On a few occasions he reaches for his phone and seems to be simply checking messages. Now we know he was responding to messages, including one – it looks like – to his mistress.

Although a reader brought this information to my attention, it’s been surprisingly difficult to confirm, and to be honest, it still may not be. This is because Detective Dave Baumhover and the other cops are somewhat vague in describing 1) at what time Officer Scott Coonrod entered the neighbor’s house to view the surveillance footage and 2) detective Baumhover’s exact time of arrival at the scene.

What we do know is that Coonrod was dispatched at 13:40 to 2825 Saratoga Trail on a check well-being call. Coonrod arrived roughly ten minutes later at 13:49.

Fullscreen capture 20190103 123247

According to the Discovery Documents, Coonrod entered the Watts residence at 14:19:49, but that can’t be right because if Watts arrived at 14:07, everyone entered the residence no more than two minutes later. So the correct entry time must be closer to 14:09.

Fullscreen capture 20190103 123228

And a check of bodycam footage at the moment Coonrod enters the house for the first time confirms this.

fullscreen capture 20190105 093822

In any event, Coonrod was on the scene for approximately twenty minutes before Watts showed up.

Detective Baumhover arrived on the scene sixteen minutes later [subsequent to Coonrod entering the home] at “approximately” 14:35 according to the arrest affidavit.

Fullscreen capture 20190103 115523

So we see, Coonrod was inside the scene with Watts for just a few minutes when he reckoned uh-oh, something is badly out of whack here. And then he summoned resources.

Coonrod and Watts were heading over to Trinastich’s house when detective Baumhover arrived at about exactly 14:35.


We know Watts remained at the neighbor’s house for seven more minutes after Coonrod made Watts aware of the detective’s arrival at the scene. That pushes the clock close to 14:42.

Now let me show you how and why we make these inferences.

At 02:04 in the video clip above, while Watts is doing his lip-curl thing, has both hands cupped against the back of his head, and sways from side to side [henceforth known as the Watts Bullshit Dance] Coonrod says: “My detective just showed up.” The bodycam records the time as 20:40:42Z.

If we assume the 14:35 arrival time is fairly accurate [but it may not be], and we advance 9 minutes forward  through the timeline of the bodycam video [to the time of the text message to Kessinger] we get this at approximately 14:44 [20:49:35Z on the bodycam clock].

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At this point in the bodycam footage, Watts has just exited Trisnatich’s home and returned to his own home to be questioned by Baumhover. It’s possible during this interlude, Watts sent this text to Kessinger:

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As mentioned above, the bodycam clock shows the time when Watts exits as 20:49:35Z. I’ll explain the “Z” in a moment. For the time being, bear with me.

If the detective’s arrival time has a five-minute margin of error, and if we add a minute or two for the detective to arrive on scene and for dispatch to convey that to Coonrod, then it’s possible Watts sent the message to Kessinger while standing beside the cops. And we know that he was texting because on at least two occasions we can see he is texting beside the television.

His last text is at 20:42:53Z.

What does the “Z” mean?

The bodycam seems to be configured to Zulu time, which is a military metric based on Greenwich Mean Time [GMT]. 20:42 Zulu converts to 15:42 Mountain Standard Time [MTS]. So it appears Officer Coonrod’s bodycam clock is fast by one hour or the arrest affidavit is inaccurate by an hour. It seems unlikely detective Baumhover would mistake his ETA by more than a few minutes.

The Discovery Documents do show Watts texted Cristima Meacham at 14:26, which is nine minutes prior to Baumhover’s estimated arrival. Watts’ text to Cristina read:

Police are here, call you when I know.

Unfortunately the Discovery Documents are silent on further activity from Watts, or the cops – there is nothing between 14:26 and 15:46.

Fullscreen capture 20190103 134026

It’s frustrating that on so simple an issue as when the cops arrived there’s so little clarity or consistency.

Incredibly, in the Amanda Knox case, there’s also confusion around a critical part of the timeline; when the cops arrived at the Villa crime scene in Perugia.

In that case CCTV footage from across the road partially but indistinctly recorded vehicles passing in the road, but that CCTV footage was also said to be inaccurate. Knox’s defenders claim the CCTV footage from the garage was ten minutes behind real time. Meanwhile other grainy CCTV footage appeared to contradict Knox’s alibi.

In future one hopes the timekeeping of the cops and the settings of CCTV cameras [and bodycams] will make timelines easier to decipher, not harder.

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  1. McGriff

    NIck – In August Colorado is on Mountain Daylight Time (MDT); not Mountain Standard Time (MST). Does this account for the hour time difference between Zulu Time (GMT) and MDT? Many people use this phrase when changing from Daylight Savings to Standard Time: “Spring forward; Fall back.”

    • nickvdl

      That makes a lot of sense, and I think solves the problem, wouldn’t you say. In other words, he was standing by the TV when he sent that text.

    • thetinytech2018

      I was just about to say that. I believe Nick lives outside the US, in Australia or New Zealand but I could and am probably wrong about that. I was reading one of the JonBenet articles and saw it was written by an Australian news outlet IIRC. Anyway, I wasn’t sure if he was aware of the fact that from March to usually the first week in November, every state in the US with the exception of Arizona pushes the clock ahead a hour at 2am to observe daylight savings time, and from November to March rolls it back an hour.

      Anyway, I very much enjoyed reading this, thank you for your insight Nick.

  2. Sylvester

    Nathan said in the above video “It looked like he came from down the street.” Meaning he usually goes to his truck from the front but he doesn’t appear to be walking out the front of his house – or the garage – to the car since you can’t see him doing so. I hadn’t noticed that before. What would it mean that he
    approached his truck from down the street – was he “down the street” on foot for some reason? Might he have disposed of some things on foot leaving from the rear of his house and through the side gate so as not to be caught on that little slice of camera? Then of course he gets in the truck and pulls “way out” according to Nate. But that would be after he returned from down the street.

  3. Mustang Sally

    Is there context for this message? Is NK’s message available that his highlighted above, “Omg that is absolutely ridiculous!! They would freak out!!!!!!!” is in response to?

    • Nick


      • Kaye

        At this time did NK know that his family was missing? Didn’t she say it was in the later afternoon, about 3-ish? I’m wondering if this is an innocuous message about something totally unrelated to the police etc., if Chris hadn’t yet figured out how to “break” the news to her.

  4. Kaye

    Never mind I answered my own question! according to this article she only found out at 3:45 pm. So it’s crazy to think Chris was maybe joking around and sending “normal” sounding texts while the police are swarming. Avoiding much?

  5. bassekrokke

    Hi. Does anyone know if Chris’ allegation that Shanann killed the girls came organically from Chris, or was it first suggested by a detective*? I used to believe it possible that Shanann killed the girls out of spite, but that was when I thought Chris came right out of the gate with that claim. Chris also said to his father that he couldn’t bury the girls with their mother bc she killed them.

    *Good Cop: Chris, I know you loved those girls; did you kill Shanann bc Shanann did something to harm the girls? Did Shanann hurt Bella and CeCe? Is that why you snapped and killed Shanann? You’re a good guy, Chris; you don’t seem like a guy capable of killing his daughters … blah, blah, blah.

    The 3rd interrogator in the Jennifer Pan case used that tact successfully. “You were a prisoner in your own home, Jennifer! I can see that you just couldn’t take the oppression anymore. You’re not a child! Your parents are to blame for their own deaths.” And the second Jennifer took the bait, the interrogator stood up and arrested her for the murder of her mother and attempted murder of her father. Jennifer even said, I thought you were on my side!

    • nickvdl

      First suggested by FBI’s Grahm Coder.

  6. me

    I noticed the cops camera time stamp was off too, as 20 hundred hours is 8pm.

    What’s odd as well is when the two additional cops show up with Coonrod to do the second search of the house they do not have time stamps on their cameras.

    Coonrod arrived at 1:49pm and Chris arrived home at 2:07pm so Coonrod was only there for 18 minutes before Chris, not half an hour.

    I have also yet to figure out what Chris’ 2:44pm text / statement was in reply to.

    When you watch Coonrod’s first chest cam video, at 2:25pm Nickole brings Chris’ ringing phone into his master bedroom for Chris to answer. It’s Shan’s mom. This call is not in the discovery log.

    At 2:26pm Chris texts Christina Meacham and this text is in the discovery log.

    If the 2:26pm text time is correct then it proves Coonrod’s camera time stamp is off by 5 minutes and it is 5 minutes fast not 5 minutes slow.

    This is so because the discovery log shows Chris texts to Christina Meacham occurred at 2:26pm and Coonrod’s chest cam shows Chris making this text and Coonrod’s chest cam time stamp says the time of day is 20:31.

    After texting Christina Chris immediately make a phone call and this phone call is not in the discovery log. However we know the time is now 2:26pm.

    Chris and the cop then walk outside and Buamhover arrives at 2:30pm. This is so because Coonrod’s camera runs non-stop and Buamhover appears on camera 4 minutes after Chris texts Christina Meacham at 2:26pm.

    So it is now 2:30pm and Chris is walking to the neighbour’s house and Coonrod’s time stamp says 20:35, but it is 5 minutes fast. The time stamp on Coonrod’s camera when Coonrod enters the neighbour’s house is 20:38:34 and his time is 5 minutes fast so the real time is now 2:33pm.

    Unless the discovery time entry for Chris’ text to Christina Meacham at 2:26pm is wrong, the images you show of Chris’ texting are actually occurring 5 minutes earlier than the time on Coonrod’s camera time stamp shows. The last photo you show is Chris texting at 20:42 thus it is really occurring at 2:37pm.

    However, Chris remains in the neighbour’s house for another 5 minutes after Coonrod’s camera shows Chris texting at 20:42. Chris does not send another text while in the house and Chris leaves the front door of the neighobur’s house at 20:47 on Coonrod’s camera time stamp.

    Therefore it is now really 2:42pm.

    This proves Chris sent the 2:44pm text after he walked out the front door of the neighbour’s house.

  7. me

    What is also weird is Chris’ truck GPS shows Chris did not arrive home and at his house until 2:07pm. It shows Chris first stopped a street over for 5 minutes and 19 seconds before he finally arrived at his house.

    However, when Chris arrived home Coonrod’s chest camera time stamp shows 20:07. The minutes of the truck GSP and Coonrod’s chest camera match at 7 minutes.

    So how could Coonrod’s chest camera time stamp and Chris’ text to Christina Meacham at 2:26pm now be off by 5 minutes?

    If Coonrod’s chest camera time stamp is correct, it means the person who wrote in the discovery log that Chris texted Christina Meacham at 2:26pm made a mistake when writing down the correct time of day. If this person is wrong, them the real time of the text was 2:31pm and not 2:26pm.

    If this is the case then Chris did in fact make his 2:44pm text while standing in the neighbour’s house with the cop standing right beside him. However Chris does not make a text at 2:44pm while he is in the neighbour’s house as Chris’ last text while in the house was made at 2:42pm.

    Therefore, maybe the text /phone company time stamp is off by two minutes.

    So either, the cops camera time is wrong; the discovery text log entry time is wrong; or the phone / text company time is wrong, because someone’s time is wrong.

    • sheis

      I could be wrong, but I believe the 5 minute stop was allegedly stopping by a home suggested by their realtor.

      I remembered it because he was supposedly flying like a bat out of hell to get to the house before police, but then he stops to look at a house?!

      Anyone want to shed some light?

  8. Nick

    It’s made very close to 14:43 and it’s possible Kessinger’s phone received it with a few seconds delay, especially since both were in and out and on their phones a lot that day. 14:43 and 14:44 is almost the same time.

    Will fix half an hour to 19 minutes. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • me

      You have a great site and you’ll doing amazing work on this case.

  9. Sky900

    To verify the time; here is another new unedited complete bodycam video ( 1 hour and 19 minutes) of the first responded police: Mr. Coonrod, Scott,

    1) Rewind at 1:44 ; You will see 1st police-Coonrod arrived at bodycam time 19:51 ( Discovery report stated arrived 1:40 pm**** could be very possible typo in the discovery report )
    2) Rewind at 40:58 ; you will see the 2nd police Detective Baumhover MAY HAD ALREADY pulled over his car for two minutes when first police walked toward the detective in the street; bodycam time 20:35 ( Discovery report stated Baumhover arrived 2:35 pm); therefore,***** the bodcam is possible 2 minute delay.*****

    2nd police Detective Baumhover stated”..At Officer Coonrod’s request, I responded to the scene and arrived at approximately at 2:35 PM….” could be the time car just pulled over. (Discovery page 1088= pdf page 971 )

    If you only based on 2nd police-detective Baumhover’s stated arrival time in Discovery report;
    real time = police bodycam time – minus 6 hours
    OR – minus 6 hours and 2 minutes (bodycam maybe 2 minutes slower.)
    Therefore, when Chris was texting mistress at 2:44pm = bodycam time 20:42 (video rewind 5:34)
    *Source1: Full unedited Bodycam
    *Source 2:
    Source 3: Text message screen shot -discovery pdf files page 614-615 =discovery page 693-694

  10. Sky900

    I aplogize for the wrong video link in my above comment. Here is the correct link of completed first police body cam video (unedited)

  11. Julia

    I think his text “…they would freak out” was in response to something NK showed him that she thought his girls would like.

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