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

Hands up – do you believe Watts and Shan’ann “talked” on the morning before she was murdered?

There is no way to definitively “prove” that a conversation did or didn’t take place early in the morning of August 13. The best we can do is look into the dynamics and see what is likely. This may seem like a weak and uncertain investigative technique, but it’s not.

While researching DRILLING FOR DISCOVERY, the 5th book in the ongoing TWO FACE series, I started cross-referencing Watts’ early statements, including to the FBI, with Shan’ann’s references to the word “talk”.

The word “talk” appears more than 350 times in the Discovery Documents, and many are requests from Shan’ann that her husband talk to her. But he doesn’t. This resistance to talking to her gains momentum towards the last days and hours of her life, and in fact one of her last minutes to him on Sunday night is:

Sorry I bothered you. I just wanted to talk to you.

Below are a few of those instances:

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Once the murders take place, Watts suddenly tells everyone he “talked” to Shan’ann. He woke her up and he talked to her. Not only did he talk to her, she went to sleep afterwards, and then – apparently – Shan’ann got emotional afterwards and disappeared in a huff.

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It’s only when you know the dynamics leading up to the murders, that you can see he wanted to avoid talking to Shan’ann till the last moment, and at the last moment he didn’t talk to her, he murdered her.fullscreen capture 20181224 062911


  1. tbp

    He never talked to her. He ambushed her minutes after she walked through the door. The lack of movement/usage with her phone tells me that. He is a true coward. He couldn’t even talk at his own sentencing.

    I think what is so baffling for many people is how he thought he could get away with it. If a a person goes missing, they always look at the spouse. He is either really stupid or exist in his own alienated bubble. I sometimes wonder if he should have just used an insanity defense.

    • nickvdl

      Good point tbp about him not talking during his sentencing trial either.

    • Apryl

      But she was in her nightshirt and underwear. I believe he waited until she went to bed and fell asleep. there was probably no one for her to text with at 2am when she got home. perhaps before he went to choke her, he stuffed the phone in the couch in case it went bad and she tried to reach for it.

      • tbp

        I was not indicating texting with friends. The cell phone collects data while you are moving with it. Unless she got home and crashed immediately, I would think there would be a little movement on her phone. At least it would have had more than 50% charge on it.

    • ganana

      When and how, given Shanann’s distraught state, might this discussion have taken place? She boils with rage for hours over the “deadly” nut filled ice cream. How would she have reacted when her entire world as she had constructed it crashed down on her and the lies underpinning her happy, successful life then exposed. Chris knew he’d better strike fast, before she went upstairs to check on the kids. And that’s what he did, I believe.


    • Karen

      What about the 2:30 am purchase of the haircare products online and her card was declined ? I think this shows she wasnt ambushed the 2nd she walked in , right ? The 2 FBI agents even asked Chris if the card being declined was a possible readon for an argurment that morning. He said no of course that he didnt even know about that. Whats your thoughts?

      • Ralph Oscar

        It may have been the message generated from an earlier purchase attempt or in response to a scheduled automatic purchase.

  2. LW

    He is a coward and NEVER would have had any kind of discussion like that with Shan’ann. It’s all a lie.

    • sheis

      He would have had that conversation if SHE had wanted it, though. He probably wouldn’t have initiated it ever, LOL. He was a chickenshit.

    • Karen

      I agree … He keeps talking about this emotional conversation but never talks about what was said really .

  3. Cate

    Chris would have needed to kill his wife immediately before she discovered her daughter’s were dead or missing from their beds. This was no time for chit chat. Otherwise he would have an hysterical, panicked person to deal with – and the evidence shows there was likely no major struggle.

  4. Isaac i

    The speculation——there was no confrontation in the morning. He attacked her by jumping on top of her back when she was crying and giving CPR to CeCe. They called him rain- man , a quiet , hard working , obedience, and never confront anyone at work and at home. He is almost like a “smiling robot”- actually emotionless unless his lust was aroused by woman. When he was growing up, his mom totally controlled him. He has low self esteem and he Is so used to be controlled by woman he love. He need to be told what to do Step- by -step and word-by-word. And then he met his wife . The remote- control which control him was taken by his wife; on June 28,2018 , the first time he had sex with the mistress, that remote control was taken to the mistress. He is a treasure for control freak woman. He is a lustful emotionless robot; a coward murdered his family unexpectedly.

    • Isaac i

      He seems to be a under- diagnosis high function autism- Asperger + ***psychopath ***= the worst combination , result in unthinkable crime . For example – the Sandyhook school shooter.

      ** Disclaimer- 99.99% of high- function autism/ Asperger are loving, faithful and kind person. He is a exception.

      • Oops

        He can not confront ; and he won’t have any emotional talk with his wife. He is an emotionless Asperger with communication problem. He will only attack from behind like a coward. Here is the research about 1. Aspergers and 2. Psychopathy.

      • Clean Queen

        I completely agree with this analysis. I’ve often wondered if perhaps he has some high functioning form of Aspergers/Autism.

      • laralovesandrew

        My son is autistic–and a wonderful boy 🙂 But psychopathy can affect all humans, so it makes sense that people on the autism spectrum could also have personality disorders galore. There is a lack of empathy for others that is part of the autism spectrum as well.

        • Shannon

          I had 2 friends who each had a child with autism. I was able to calm them, when upset. Being with one 24/7 is very tough on the parents. I feel for you.
          I do not Believe Chris was anywhere near this spectrum.
          He just wanted out, of it all. No responsibility. I already expressed my theory about 100 times, and I’m tired…….lol

    • thetinytech2018

      I love hearing not only new information but new theories, and one of the reasons I love this site is because it encourages intelligent conversation in regards to a few of my favorite cases. That being said, did he ever get a diagnoses of Aspergers? I’m asking because I honestly don’t know and I figured someone may have more insight into that than I. There’s a few different disorders that cause people to either not pick up on social cues or have a “flat affect” or “blunted affect” such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, where the person shows almost no emotions on their face and may have trouble picking up on social cues. I knew a girl who had it and at first I thought she was on the spectrum or had aspergers but after observing her behaviour for a day or two it became apparently clear this was not the case. She was not a bad person whatsoever, but she had issues displaying proper emotion and queuing into social situations. She would observe what those around her were doing, say, laughing at a joke – and then laugh only when others would. You could see her attempt to mimic other people in social situations so she wouldn’t appear “weird” to those around her.

      Do I think Chris was suffering from schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder? No, honestly. There would be medical documents of a diagnosis, medicine around the home such as lithium, paliperidone, etc. He could have never gotten a diagnoses but I still doubt it as other symptoms would’ve manifested years earlier, like auditory our visual hallucinations. Did they ever evaluate him? I don’t blame mental illness for what he did, that’s just not rational but I’d be curious to see if he ever had an evaluation while awaiting trial (or in this case a plea deal).

      I’m absolutely of sound mind but there has been times in my life where I look back at my behavior and an appalled by how I handled a situation. Funny thing is, it’s never a situation in my profession/career but usually in my “love” life or interpersonal relationship with family. It’s not indicative of how I usually act, but there have been times when my SO and I have had such a breakdown in communication that one of us lashes out – screams, breaks something, leaves without saying a word etc. I’ve never killed anyone, but I have let my emotions bottle to the point where I can no longer hold them in and one wrong word can make it all bubble up to the surface; Like someone shaking a full bottle of carbonated soda every few minutes with the cap on, when that cap is finally taken off everything comes spewing out and it’s difficult to get the lid back on.

      I wish they would’ve made Chris allocute to the crimes in court, but they didn’t and so we’re left putting pieces of a puzzle together. Only there’s no way to tell if we have all the pieces. What was different this time, different than all the other times throughout his life where he encountered conflict with Shanann? Was there one single catalyst or was it everything finally culminating and coming to a head?

    • ganana

      Odd that he seemed drawn to controlling women and at the same time, angered by them enough to kill.

  5. Aaren

    Nope. They did not talk. I’m going with one of two options: Nick’s attack at the stairs, or he got her while she slept. Though, I think his mention of “mascara running down her face” has a thread of truth in it, which leads me to think maybe it was the stairs if I assume her ocd would never allow her her to go to bed with makeup on. Either way, his lack of injuries says she never had a chance and never saw it coming. If you’re in a discussion and someone lunges at you to kill you, you see that coming.

    • Karen

      I believe she talked ….. He listened and then something she said sent him into this rage he keot mentioning……. She wanted to talk and i think she made her mind up it was time an he was gonna listen. I was married to a Chris for 18 years … He ultimately tried to choke me to death … He stopped right on the verge of me passing out. I believe she said he was just like his mom , and that not only was he not going to see his girls but maybe she said the baby isnt yours just to piss him off. I know what pushed my x into a rage and i think something pushed chris that morning …. Too many mistakes fior this to be planned. I dont think the girls were even dead until possibly after he got to the jobsite ….. Why else would he bring blankets and stuffed animals? I know no one will agree but this is my thoughts in this .

  6. Apryl

    Thank you for this. I feel as though I need to know what happened in her final moments. I too wondered why he kept saying they had an emotional conversation. He must have been emotional while squeezing the life out of her and smothering the girls. Yes, she wanted to talk so badly and hear the truth. I wonder if he ever gave her the truth. I assume she had to be asleep. She would have fought. So, no talk…. Great article.

    • Captain Cassidy

      The theories so far about her death indicate it took some minutes. That’s plenty of time for her to connect what’s happening to who was doing it. Probably she did cry, or at least teared up with her frantic struggles to survive. She had few injuries, so whatever those struggles were they were well-contained, but the heart cracks at the thought of the minutes it took for Chris to complete his mission.

  7. Cate

    Also some certainty around the order of the murders. If the girls were killed first imagine his rising panic when he finds out his wife’s flight was delayed. What if it had been delayed further or even cancelled?Potentially Shan’ann may have lived but the not the two girls. Would he have thought of that scenario? And maybe killed Shan’ann first?

  8. Cate

    And if Chris was lying in wait what would he have done if Nickole had come in as well, say, to help Shan’ann with her bags? Even if it were really late I would do that for a tired, pregnant friend. So perhaps Chris said to Shan’ann on the phone before she arrived home that they would talk that night – don’t invite Nickole in. But of course it never happened.

    • ganana

      Had the same thought. Chris was emboldened by his new persona as Destroyer of Worlds and was calling the shots, as Cate suggests sbove… “we will talk as soon as you get home; keep the friend out of this.. “

  9. Kathleen

    I doubt they talked. My guess? She was on-line shopping at 2:30 and her credit card was declined. Maybe she woke him up to fuss about that and the jaws of hell opened?

    • CBH

      I think so. It’s very likely, and would explain why she was in Tee shirt and underpants. But does this mean the girls were killed last?

    • Clean Queen

      I believe it has been determined that that purchase at 2:30 AM was an automatic subscription for hair care products. In other words, it was just a monthly automatic purchase.

      • Kathleen

        Thanks for the clarification.

  10. Sylvester

    I was wondering the other day if he did any “talking” while he was murdering her. For instance, O.J. was taunting Nicole when he had the blade to her neck. O.J. talked constantly – he can be heard ranting at her when he was breaking down her door on Gretna Green. But Watts was not a talker. If he wanted to taunt her during the strangulation that would be his chance, to hold his prey down and get it all out. But I doubt he did, even then. I think he was a “suffer in silence” type of person, disliked confrontation, and even during her death it’s not likely he said a word.

  11. Diana

    Kathleen – Shan’ann’s phone received email notification that her credit card was rejected at 2:30 in the morning, That doesn’t mean that’s what time she placed an order. For all we know she could’ve placed the order when she was at the airport in Arizona waiting for her flight.

    Did Chris have any conversation with Shan’ann the morning of her return? No way! That man couldn’t handle confrontation! Reading texts between them in the days leading up to the murders, Shan’ann begs him to tell her what was wrong, he wouldn’t, he couldn’t handle the confrontation had he been honest with her. He did everything Shan’ann said in order to avoid confrontation. Other ways he avoided confrontation? Wouldn’t let his dad FaceTime the kids because he feared the kids would tell Shan’ann, he wouldn’t discuss his plea deal with his family, likely because he knew they didn’t want him to go that route, and I also believe a small part of the reason for the murders was because he wanted NK but didn’t want to deal with the fallout with Shan’ann and their friends and family – his goal always seemed to be to AVOID CONFRONTATION at all costs!

    • thetinytech2018

      For what it’s worth I heard that it was an autoship that got declined. Not sure how true that is, could’ve just been speculation.

      • ncam619

        I also heard that and it makes the most sense. My recurring automatic payment are always processed in the middle of the night.

  12. Cheryl Filar

    No. He’s not confrontational, especially with Shan’ann, of whom I believe he was afraid. There was no talk—just action—his “fixing” what was for him an untenable, intolerable situation, and it certainly didn’t involve that couples self-help book that he tossed in the trash. Shan’ann had no defensive wounds; she was ambushed—no talk, no emotional discussion, no nada, just a perfunctory murder. Given the several minutes it takes to die from strangulation, it must have been horrifying— physically and emotionally.

  13. Jerry Manziel

    I personally believe from putting on my Sherlock Holmes hat of logic and intuition that there was never any discussion. Shan got home close to 2am, left her suitcase at the bottom of the stairs and hit the sack in her usual t shirt and panties attire. Anyone who has frequently travelled and been through delays knows what it’s like to finally get HOME. Watts had planned and WAITED for Shan to arrive, albeit hours late which delayed his plan and contributed to his desperation. She likely was choked nearly upon the time she hit the hay, attacked in the darkness by a total coward. I believe the children were thereafter smothered by Satan (in Watts clothing); he likely left them asleep knowing the first thing Shan would do upon arriving home was check in on them. Not really that hard to deduce, Watts wasn’t a smart person (I’m being kind) and his onion is easily unravelled.

  14. Shannon

    I believe kids were killed first. Shanann was ambushed minutes after she entered the house, downstairs. The Talk never happened because he knew he was going to snuff her, kids out. Clothes can be removed by anybody, anytime. Mascara could be from tears in her eyes and being moved about. Not sure if he dragged or picked her up. I think drag. Dead weight is heavy. Foetal position, I think her on ground him on top, her curled up, by time of movement, rigor mortis might set it.
    Paramedics have to break bones in some dead people. You always see them flat on a gurney….never curled.
    She was quite decomposed when found, after a short time frame being in the ground.

    • Brian George

      I agree with your line of thinking.

      • Shannon

        Thank you Brian George.
        It could be different ways, different reasons.
        Just my thoughts.

    • Kathleen Caraway

      It seems like the mascara and makeup on her face is objectively provable; wouldn’t the Autopsy note that? Of course, it would be smeared up and dirty but it should be there chemically?

  15. Ilovedogsandcats

    I think after her CC was denied (she was still awake as evidenced by her not having washed her makeup off yet, something she was ocd about) she was furious because of the $60 plus he spent at the lazy dog where she suspected he had not dined alone) and woke him up in the basement to have it out with him about his behavior. A huge fight ensued and he killed her. The fight woke up Bella who probably went down to the basement too.

  16. Ilovedogsandcats

    I think after her CC was denied (she was still awake as evidenced by her not having washed her makeup off yet, something she was ocd about) she was furious because of the $60 plus he spent at the lazy dog where she suspected he had not dined alone) and woke him up in the basement to have it out with him about his behavior. A huge fight ensued and he killed her. The fight woke up Bella who probably went down to the basement too. I don’t believe the murders were premeditated.

    • Jerry Manziel

      Not premeditated? The guy had already called his co-workers the night before regarding going out to the sight unscheduled, and getting their early (to get rid of the bodies). He immediately called to pull the girls out of school, and was already working with a realtor to sell the home. I could go on and on and on. You don’t smother your kids after a heat of passion murder of your wife. C’mon now….seriously. He dead center planned this thing out, clumsily as it and he may be.

      • CBH

        Is there a list pointing to all the signs of premeditation? I read all 4 of NVDL’s books but the volume of information was hard to retain. I can think of:

        1. Sunday call saying he was going to site early Monday
        2. Having asked his neighbor weeks prior if he could see what CCTV showed of his garage (supposedly regarding a robbery. But why did he then seem so shocked at the footage on 8/13?)

        Any more?

      • CBH

        “He immediately called to pull the girls out of school, and was already working with a realtor to sell the home. ”
        This might show only that he was planning for divorce.

        See my list; I could only think of 2.

      • CBH

        I’m seeing more as I reread Rape of Cassandra.

      • mustangchick0101

        I totally agree!!

      • ganana

        If he killed the girls early in the evening, being seen cooking out on the deck could give the appearance of relaxed normality. His girl friend said she heard the TV on later that night during a long phone call. 2 The girls were light sleepers, so kicking back and having a 111 minute phone conversation could show that he felt
        “everything’s going exactly as planned”

  17. Chip

    Why was her credit card declined? Over the limit or because Chris had put a stop to it earlier? Do we know? Btw, Nick, this a really good one to discuss. I’m enjoying the feedback. Thanks for posting this one!

    • CBH

      Seems likely because he had maxed it out dining out with NK Sat night.

    • thetinytech2018

      Its amazing to me that with all that debt only 3 years after delaying Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, after borrowing against his 401k to pay late mortgage payments (that still didn’t help them escape the threat of foreclosure), she still enrolled those kids in school at the cost of $1700 per month, went on a six week trip and was asking him if he wanted the NFL package for DirectTV. It’s like she just didn’t get how dire things were. It’s mind blowing to me how they were having a third kid when the threat of being out on the street was becoming a reality as the days progressed. Not one mention in their text messages of the court case that Monday with the HOA where they were being sued for $1500. Surely not taking that trip would’ve saved money, and not enrolling the girls in Primrose would’ve been enough to pay off their HOA debt.

      I almost wonder if Chris had all these plans to leave her and start a new life with Nicole, and then when Shanann leaves he comes across all the bank letters and letters from debt collectors and realized that not only would he have to deal with the divorce and Shanann using the kids as weapons, but now he’s going to have to take on half this debt that was accrued mostly by her. Imagine you just took out a loan from your 401k (and got a nice hefty penalty fee which he couldn’t have been happy about) and you think you just escaped foreclosure by the skin of your teeth. It’s like a weight is lifted off your shoulders. Then one day as your wife and kids are on a six week vacation where they’re using up money to stay in hotels, eat, gas, money etc.. you come home after a long day to find 4 boxes of thrive on the porch. You’re already exhausted but you carry them inside and put them in the office that you’re wife uses for “Work” and you see these pink envelopes from the bank that holds your mortgage. But wait… Those have to be old, right? We only just took out 10k to catch up a few months ago. You pick up the letters and see that your mortgage is again behind by a few months, you feel the rage start to bubble up as you go through the office and find more “final notices” from credit cards, insurance, utilities… All these things your wife had told you were taken care of. You see these ridiculous outstanding balances from department stores where your wife is blowing money on clothes and shoes and other things you don’t need… yet two nights ago she called to scream at your and question why you spent a measly $60 on dinner for yourself. Youre the one that’s up everyday at 4am working outdoors in a gritty job and you can’t even buy yourself dinner one time without your wife belittling you, and worse, in front of her friends! Just then your phone goes off and when you check it you see you have 30 new texts and 5 missed calls, all from your wife when she knew you were at work. She’s asking if you want the NFL package, like you guys have another 60$ a month to spend on TV when in a few months you may not even have a home. You answer calmly because you don’t know what else to do, it’s obvious talking hasn’t worked because you’re the only one who ever changes, so you sit and stew in a quiet rage.

      Obviously I don’t know if that’s what happened, but I’ve been in a relationship when I was younger where I was the higher earner (by a long shot) and my boyfriend thought it was cool to use mymoney for his frivolous crap, but when I paid bills would ask where x amount went, never contributed, and would question my spending (even when it’s my money) and it was a fraction of what they spent. It was supposed to be a partnership but you realize you’re the one doing all the heavy lifting and getting all the grief while the other person does the bare minmum.

      • CBH

        Great post.

      • Chip

        This really hits it home.

      • Cheryl Filar

        Thetinytech2018: Excellent comments. Thank you. I’ve also thought she was likely lying to him about income from Thrive. Instead of income, I bet it was just the opposite: money being racked up on credit cards to buy Thrive and other MLM products, a lot of which ultimately wasn’t sold. I recall one of the videos (not sure of the time frame) where she had an MLM event and invited several women, most of whom were likely MLM promoters themselves. Although she was serving the usual Thrive “crack,” there were also several racks of clothes set up in the living room, which I assume she was trying to sell too. Assuming this was all her purchased merchandise, I can’t imagine the outlay for all that stuff—at few thousand? Crazy. I agree: if he discovered the full extent of their financial demise during her absence, he would have been incensed, especially when she had insisted on sole control of the finances.

      • Sylvester

        I think a large part of his passivity was not taking any kind of a stand in regard to finances. No reason to suddenly start to do so in the days leading up to the murder. He liked it that she handled everything – that way he could make her wrong when things weren’t working out well.

      • Maura

        Shannan visited and stayed with family in NC for 6 weeks not in hotels. At least once she texted she didn’t have a car. Chris initiated the 3rd child. During her trip he told his pregnant wife he was happy with 2 kids and thought the 3rd child would fix his feelings toward her. Before SW left for NC she said Chris couldn’t keep his hands off her so his affair with NK escalated after she left. She would have stayed home otherwise.

        She suspected Chris was cheating and questioned the $60 dinner for 1 entrée and beer that he told her he’d had after checking the restaurant’s menu. He wasn’t a great liar or he would have said he bought drinks for friends. Instead he and his girlfriend had a dinner he couldn’t afford.

        Chris was using prepaid Visa gift cards most of the time in an effort to hide money he was spending on his girlfriend. I think he trashed his wife’s office looking for cash.

        It’s incredible that they BOTH didn’t take steps to change their lifestyle after their bankruptcy by selling the house, downsizing to a smaller place in a city they could afford, not having another child, pulling out of the preschool, going to credit counseling, cutting their spending and Shannan finding other work not an MLM.

        Neither of them appeared to be good with money. I blame Chris equally for their financial mess. His name was on the mortgage. He was responsible for the kids’ medical bills too, appeared to enjoy the vacation trips, etc. When their finances worsened in the last few months he’s overheard screaming at his wife. However, he’s spending money they don’t have on Nichol.

        One of Chris’s Google searches in the discovery docs was looking up the price of an expensive Audi luxury car. His desired purchase after he kills his family?

      • Mustang Sally

        TinyTech, 👍

      • Ralph Oscar

        That’s the scenario I’m envisioning as well, tinytech. Great job articulating the details.

      • Ralph Oscar

        Cheryl mentions:

        “Although she was serving the usual Thrive “crack,” there were also several racks of clothes set up in the living room, which I assume she was trying to sell too.”

        I watched a video of Shan’Ann where she’s putting on makeup – it appears to be Younique makeup she’s demonstrating (I looked up the products she mentioned and Younique has the color, shape, size, and labeling that match what Shan’Ann is holding up). The video description says it’s from Nov. 27, 2016. She mentions that she’s wearing her LulaRoe leggings, right here:

        So that’s TWO different MLMs the year after their bankruptcy, and before she got into Thrive.

      • Alyson Marie Rogers

        I don’t disagree with alot of this, but he was the one who wanted another baby according to Sha’nann, and I believe her over him any day of the week. They were both irresponsible when it came to money. If he put all this finance stuff together, he was still researching a trip to Aspen on 11 August.

      • ganana

        Someone should do some reliable research on how multi level marketing tactics damage people, destroy their values and most scary, cause them to lose sight of reality and truth.

    • Captain Cassidy

      The Watts were in very critical financial distress. She was right on it when her phone alerted her to their shared card was used. The amount was enough to prompt her immediate action: asking Chris what was up there, checking the restaurant out, etc. Gal was ON it.

      Many couples in that kind of distress keep their cards on the brink of max limit. Shan’ann, as the one doing the bills each month, had a working total in her head of those cards’ status at any given time. Chances are she knew the restaurant jaunt would jeopardize her auto ship, if that’s what was going on. It may even have impacted her spending decisions in the last day of her life.

      Either way, one major indication to me that Chris had decided to kill her is that he used the card that night. It’d normally have caused WW3 at Casa Watts, I’m guessing, for him to go spend that kind of money without clearing it first. Dude was out of f***s to give about appeasing his control freak wife. Even his mistress noticed his change of custom regarding the card. To her, it was a clear signal that Chris was finishing up his separation from his wife. She just didn’t think like a coward who deeply dreaded confrontation, so she down realize exactly how he was goin about that final separation.

      I’ve mentioned before that Chris takes a lot of traits I noticed (and dated) in the men of the Deep South, and cranks them up to 11. His aversion to confrontation and intense discussions is 100% included in that evaluation. His usual strategy for dealing with it, when he couldn’t avoid it at all, was mollification and appeasement. In the South I heard it called “going along to get along.” He didn’t know how to have those kinds of discussions. Nothing in his life had equipped him to do so.

      And by the time his wife left for her weekend rah-rah session with her snake oil cult, he’d lost all interest in even pretending to care about what he clearly regarded as her tempests in teapots. It was easy to lull her into thinking he’d had a sort of change of heart, that weekend.

      No way, no way in Hell, was he going to talk to her at all that last night. Nothing good would come of it. It’d delay what he already had planned, might arouse her guard or even tip her off, and there’s no way he could avoid her checking on the kids while that talk was happening. I am quite certain they were dead well before she opened the front door and may already have been readied for their last journey. It’s impossible to think she went first, what with them being such light sleepers and already in a state of major anticipation over seeing their mom again.

      No, he took the path of least resistance, just like he always had.

      • ganana

        Spot on insight about southern nen, although they have other traits that compensate. Just a generalization though..many exceptions to the rule.

  18. Georgia

    No talking. She was pleading, calling and writing…trying every avenue for him to talk to her leading up to that day. He gave enough to placate her now and then and to avoid a storm. His whole goal that morning was to end her talking, taking the breath out of her; silencing her. He had all that time to psych himself up into killer mode he would have been high on that and not even able to talk I think.

  19. Cate

    The crimes would be indisputably premeditated if he killed the girls first. Is there any time of death information? Or has that not been shared?

    • nickvdl

      Is there any time of death information? >>>No, in fact not even Shan’ann’s time of death is certain.

  20. Cate

    It seems to me that evidence of indisputable premeditation (ie. the killing of the girls first) may have been the turning point for Chris Watts’ family to finally accept his guilt. But it seems there is nothing in Discovery to support this speculation – so the investigators don’t know? Or aren’t telling? Or it would have had to go to trial for the answer to be pursued?

    • Captain Cassidy

      Likely it didn’t impact their case either way, especially with a confession. This whole thing was fast-tracked all the way. Lawyers and investigators cost the state money and limited labor hours. A time of death starts mattering when establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or eliminating suspects. Neither of those was at issue here. If Chris hadn’t folded so quickly, maybe the state would have spent more resources on those questions.

  21. Sylvester

    Something else bothers me about the attire she was buried in. Blue thong lacy panties. She’s nearly 4 months pregnant. Do you wear thong panties? They would have to sit under her belly, and go in between her buttocks. I don’t see her selecting those panties either to sit on a plane, or wear to bed. That’s another reason to me that he took off her clothes, and re dressed her, don’t you think Apryl? Much like JonBenet being found in underwear way too large for her. Someone re-dressed her in a panic without thinking about what she would wear and just grabbed something.

    • Pasha

      I was thinking about this too. The bra that they found her in appears to be an underwire bra, which are extremely uncomfortable and dig into your rib cage. I can’t imagine a pregnant woman wearing one to sleep in. And then there’s the thong underwear too. Maybe she planned on surprising him in her sexy bra and thong to seduce him? Maybe she did go into the bedroom (or basement) to surprise him and use sex as a desperate tactic to get him to open up and reconnect with her. And that would explain why she still had mascara on…..because if you’re trying to seduce someone you’d want to look your best.

      Either way, I’ve never believed his BS story about talking.

      • Cate

        Interesting – and maybe she in her desperation she conceded to some rough sex (am I remembering right that this was favoured by Chris according to other partners?) that includes some form of strangulation.

    • Shannon

      The baby was the size of a Orange in her tummy. She could still wear that attire. Pictures of her pregnant are with the other 2 kids….not this one.

    • ncam619

      Interesting.caylee Anthony was also found the same way, with pants that were away too small for her.

  22. Chip

    Talk, talk, talk. Yes, I’m sure that’s what she wanted. As long as the talk was being done by her and the listening by him. I doubt she ever really wanted to have a genuine talk with him. Her talks were probably more about mind control but he was starting to see the light. It wasn’t working anymore and it was making her desperate. How is she gonna survive without his paycheck? He probably was the only thing stable in that relationship until he lost it. It all boils down to hate. I think he had grown to hate her and his life with her. How else can you explain it?

  23. Cate

    Agree. But as I don’t think he hated his daughters it remains perplexing.

    • Shannon

      Have to remember the kids were talking to Chris without respect…..big no no in my book. Taking after Shanann.
      I also think she kept the mail from him.
      Some good comments on here.
      Combination of financial issues, kids, new baby, new affair, new confidence, new thoughts, realizing how Shanann really treated him….losing your home.
      No talking for him, he was finished.
      By killing all, freedom from all this.

    • nickvdl

      It’s easy to assume he didn’t hate his children. I don’t think he hated them, but there’s clear evidence that his feelings towards them changed in the last weeks and days, and not because of Kessinger. For a very specific reason which he sort of alludes to in his Sermon on the Porch, in the initial bodycam footage when he speaks to Coonrod in the kitchen, and which he told Kessinger in confidence.

      • julinka1981

        Absolutely!Also he was away from kids for 5 weeks before he arrived to see them,kids get attached easily to primary carer and they would want mum and play up with him.He probably struggled massively with them when SW left for her trip,which only strenghtened his rationing behind killings.

    • ganana

      I think he was tired of dealing with them.. the chaos, crying, and their growing disrespect for him. He wasn’t equipped to deal with a situation partly of his own making. This tragic family needed an intervention so they could have gotten some insights into their own decisions.

  24. Liz

    Wasn’t the “Talk” story just a part of the ruse as to why Shannon and the girls had supposedly left? It was the fabricated reason Chris gave as to why his girls and wife were missing. Chris seemed to be enjoying “not talking” to his wife near the end; it was a sort of torment he was imposing on her. Like he said, “I am not a good man.”

  25. Sylvester

    I think he was doing a lot of passive-aggressive things in the week before she was murdered – during the trip to NC. Sha’nann’s mother says he was driving too fast, and was short-tempered with the girls, so much so that they acted afraid to be with him and would run to Frank Rzucek instead of their dad. If he was going to be a pickle puss as my mother used to call me when I was sullen and sulky, he shouldn’t have gone. Then you have the neighbor, Nathan T., who overheard him shouting at his wife, so loudly that he thought she may have gone to NC to get away from him. Nathan was probably standing in his own driveway and could hear it from there. So although Watts appeared mild mannered in the videos, I think he was someone else when the cell phone wasn’t rolling.

    Now the only way I would put her in the bed, with him, is if he was pretending to be asleep. If she wanted to wake him up he could go on pretending to be “out cold” as he says, and after she falls asleep he murders her – but to me it’s highly unlikely there was any talking that wouldn’t have involved loud arguing, and a light or two turned on, etc. Also wouldn’t you think if there were any of her bodily fluids on the top sheet and pillow cases CBI would have told us? I admit though I still have questions and nagging thoughts.

    • ganana

      A decision to kill them all could have been made while his family was in NC. He got the first freedom he’d had in a long time and he liked it. Plus the girlfriend was doing everything she could to create a bubble of unreality just for the two of them. There was no place in there for two kids.

  26. Nick

    Nice assessment. The passive-aggressive thing rings true. In fact just before she left for Arizona she thought he’d had a change of heart. He said he’d do counselling. He talked with her ( a little). He agreed to a weekend in Aspen. He agreed to announcing the baby’s gender on Monday. Of course all of this was a spiel. He was playing for time. It was part of his premeditation.

  27. nancyjames3358

    I am curious about the Discovery documents that were released. Does anyone know how they pick and choose what to release and what not to release? And why? There appears to be so much missing. I was incorrectly under the impression they release all of it.

    • nickvdl

      That’s a good point Nancy. My 5th book on the Watts case is DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY. One of the main areas I address in the 5th narrative is what’s not there, and why. What’s fascinating is also what’s in there and how it allows us to join certain dots, converting unknown unknowns into unknown knowns.

      • Sylvester

        is there a link to read any newly released documents?

  28. julinka1981

    This is one part he nearly tricked everyone. I inititiqlly thought it would have to be confrontation but after reading this blog it was clear as a day.He killed her by stairs,suitcase stayed in place.He waited until she said goodbye to her friend and got everything in. The reason he mentioned they talked is to create impression she is upset and she set off and gone away to not to be around him.He wanted everyone to think he told her he wants divorce and she in now upset and needs time to figure out.That was his strategy to keep his crime under wraps,which obviously didn’t work.CW is not psychopath and he displayed some emotion to a degree-was nervous and anxious with police around,neighbour showing him video was a shock.When he talked to TV he was swaying from side to side to soothe himself. I think we should just accept he killed his wife and kids for a reason he felt was enough with many unfortunate circumstances and background leading to it.

  29. Diana

    CHERYL the MLM event you refer to in your comment that Shan’ann had in her home was a sales event for Lularoe, and yes, she served the attendees Thrive pro-bars. To sell Lularoe you have a mandatory initial investment of $5000! You’re required to purchase their clothing items to start. If that’s not bad enough, they further get you by REQUIRING their salespeople to use THEIR clothes hangers to display their items when you conduct a sales event as Shan’ann did! Who knows how much Lularoe charges for each clothes hanger! It’s confusing to me how a relatively intelligent woman like Shan’ann was so taken in by all the MLMs she was involved in. Perhaps if she was having to wake at 4 am and go work to earn the money she handed over to these MLMs, she would’ve thought twice about it!

    After reading the many, insightful comments here, something CATE wrote got me to thinking. Firstly, I don’t see OCD Shan’ann leaving her suitcase on the main floor when she arrived home from Arizona. The question becomes – Did she go upstairs? Did she go to the basement? Was she strangled on the main floor? The suitcase left on the main floor makes me doubt she went upstairs because she wouldn’t have left it sit there. So here’s just one scenario how Chris could’ve killed her. Maybe she went to the basement knowing Chris was down there in bed. Maybe she talked him into sex, he went along with it, got her in just the right position where she was defenseless and strangled her while she just thought they were engaging in a sex strangulation game. Don’t know if he could’ve restrained her enough to prevent her fighting back, but I guess he could’ve been sitting on her back while she was laying on her stomach, that would’ve likely restrained her legs. The question then becomes how he restrained her hands while strangling her, but I would have the same questions if he killed her on the main floor right when she arrived home. Whether she was standing or in bed with Chris, either way, I think it being a sneak attack was key!

    • Cheryl

      Thanks, Diana, for the Lularoe information–the overhead is even worse than I thought! And your comment/question regarding how relatively intelligent people, like Shan’ann, can be taken in by these companies, why don’t some red flags appear in their minds? I wonder if there’s a personality type drawn to these companies coupled with certain circumstances (such as wanting to stay at home with kids)? Given a recent bankruptcy and declining finances from that point forward, it’s remarkable that Shan’ann stuck with it so long–about two years–literally to the end.

  30. Ralph Oscar

    Wow – that last pic, the ‘baby daddy’ one – that’s the creepiest look on Chris Watts’ face that I’ve seen in any of the pics so far! He looks *quite* different.

  31. Maura

    No talking. Chris is a coward. He avoided talking to her for weeks by pretending he’d gone to bed at 7/8 pm. During her last week, he acted a bit more himself. She offered to cancel her last trip but he said they’d talk when she got back. He treated his family coldly during their last month which her family noticed.

    Chris was planning their murders at least a week in advance when he told Shannan he would fix things. He wanted her to travel that weekend so he’d have access to the kids alone. I believe he drugged them on Sunday night before she arrived before killing them and storing their bodies in the basement.
    Due to her plane’s delay she arrived home 3 hours later and he ambushed her right away. He barely had time to do everything he did from 2:00-5:30 am including redressing his victims, vacuuming, cleaning, mopping and laundry. None of them slept that night.

    Over the 6 weeks Shannan and the kids were away Nichol questioned his lifestyle and conditioned him against his wife and kids using their financial situation as a weapon. SW was blamed for all. Unborn Niko represented an additional financial bill that Chris would have to pay for 18 years.

    Besides giving him an ultimatum to pick her or his wife several times, Nichol painted a vivid picture of Chris’s financial future after a divorce left him paying alimony and child support for 3 kids. Chris believed it and acted so he could afford to be with NK. He’s desperate to change his situation before he loses his girlfriend so after his family is gone he cancelled the expensive preschool and got ready to sell his home.

  32. Brian George

    First off, a possible scenario crossed my mind about the time frame for when Chris gave the girls ice cream and afterwards when he went out to BBQ his chicken. Weeks earlier, Shan’ann had stirred up WW2 over his mom giving Bella and CeCe ice cream with nuts. So sill distraught over how SW treated his parents, he might have passive-agressively asked and then granted the girl’s wish to have nuts on their ice cream as long as they didn’t tell their mom. He loads the ice cream up with sprinkles and nuts and then goes out to do his BBQ. By the time he opens the sliding glass door and comes back in, the girls are suffering from an allergic reaction and turning blue. ( Remember how he later tells law enforcement that Bella looked Blue on the monitor early morning on the 13th?) Anyway, on the early evening of the 12th, things go from bad to worse and, in great fear of the wrath of SW if a hospital trip for the girl’s allergic nut reaction is involved, he takes the insane option putting severely incapacitated Bella and CeCe out of their stricken state. After smothering them, in a paralyzed state, he ignores SW’s calls and texts and seeks comfort from Kessinger via an extended call. At some point between SW’s return at 1:48 a.m. on the 13th and shortly after 2 a.m., her phone is manually shut off. Something she would never do even if she were recharging the phone. This signals an early, sudden catastrophic encounter. I don’t think SW even made it upstairs into her bedroom, but CW staged it to make it look like she changed into her night clothes. Just a thought.
    I don’t think the girl’s killing was premeditated, but SW’s would have been hastily planned in the wake of what happened with Bella and CeCe.

    • nickvdl

      Not a bad scenario, and one I initially considered. I think you’re right about Shan’ann never making it up the stairs.

      It is difficult to imagine Watts deliberately, in a premeditated fashion snuffing out not only one of this kids’ lives but both. Why is it so difficult to imagine that? What would make it conceivable [in his mind] to WANT to do that? And it turns out, there is an answer to that question.

      • brendaTX

        If Chris killed Shanann anywhere outside of the bedroom, why strip the bed? That only serves to make things look very suspicious. And if he killed her outside of the bedroom and needed a sheet to wrap her in, surely it would’ve been easier to grab a spare from the linen closet OR strip the basement bed. But not the main bedroom where a stripped bed would be more conspicuous.

    • Mustang Sally

      Just the night before, Bella had expressed her fears to the babysitter that if her sister ate coconut, she would “never be able to see her again.” Anything nut related seemed to be something the girls, or Bella at least, were aware was very dangerous. I don’t think the “very cautious” Bella would have been tricked so easily nor would her “motherly instincts” have let Celeste eat them either…even if served to them by their father. (Whom they had just been away from for five weeks.)

      For all the evil he has done…there were ways easily available to him that distanced himself from his girls’ deaths that would not, in his mind, cause them pain or him as much anguish, but would result in his objective. They took medicine all the time. Dad was just giving them their medication. They were dumped in oil tanks. What might that do to the results of toxicology reports? Mom had been prescribed some heavy duty pain killers in the past…now if Dad could just find some of those, crush them up, put them in their normal meds…

      No fibers were found in their lungs from being smothered with something such as a pillow. Could CW stifle his struggling Bella with his bare hands? His beloved daughter so much like himself? Or did her body suffer those ignominies after death being stuffed through a hole too small for her body to fit? Would a coroner be able to tell after being submerged in toxic oil for days?

      RIP beautiful Shan’ann, Bella, Celeste, and Niko.

      • Brian George

        Very good insight about how Bella would have felt about the nut allergy allergy danger and her being protective of his sister. So, it’s very very possible he made a critical error with the amout of medication he administered.

  33. Mustang Sally

    Before Shan’ann left for Arizona, she penned CW a letter in a heartfelt attempt to express herself with words of love, remorse, questions, answers, and other thoughts in hopes of saving her marriage. The first page of this letter has been pictured online, a photo she sent to a friend, but the letter in its entirety has never, to my knowledge, been recovered.

    She asked CW if he would respond in kind telling her friend that CW often expressed himself better in writing. She told him she hoped there would be a letter waiting for her upon her return.

    In her state of mind, that letter from him would have been one of the first things she went looking for upon her return. I have often wondered if he did write her that letter, a letter that made her cry and her mascara run, is the “conversation” he alludes to having with her, and was the distraction before he murdered her.

    Her letter is gone. Might his have been destroyed as well?

  34. laralovesandrew

    Chris went to great lengths to avoid direct confrontation about any issue. He said that he was “passed out” asleep when Shan’ann got home. I think he pretended to be asleep & waited for her to get ready for bed. Then he got on top of her & strangled her. If he did it “right,” there’s a way to make the person pass out pretty quickly, so the relatively long period of time it takes to strangle her to death would be “easier.” If a man straddles a woman, pinning her arms to her sides, there is little she can do to fight back. I also think he murdered the babies first–once Bella heard the front door open, she was going to run to her mama–Chris even mentioned that she kept getting up. Chris seems so shut down and vacant emotionally–I think it’s his toxic reaction to life–he can’t handle adult situations like supporting a wife and kids–he has to rely on an overbearing woman telling him what to do. He complies, but he resents her–and hidden rage just starts collecting. He’s not mature enough to express it, so he comes up with murder. What a pathetic man.

    • brendaTX

      That doesn’t jive with what the next-door neighbor said, that they would often have screaming fights and that “He {Chris} gets CRAZY.” He said the fighting was so bad that he wondered if Shanann left to get away from that. He didn’t emphasize how loud or crazy Shanann got. He said Chris.

      Doesn’t sound like someone who avoids confrontation at all costs.

      • nickvdl

        Interesting, so Brenda do you think the introvert thing is false?

        So after hiding his affair and pretty much hiding his pregnancy from the world for weeks, Watts waited for his wife to come home to confront her. What do you think that entailed? Telling her about the affair? So you think he wanted to let her know about the affair, even though she was pregnant. And what would he gain from that?

    • Kathleen Caraway

      So laralovesandrew, you think he was in the marital bed, even though he had been sleeping in the basement? It is certainly possible and might have been an attempt to placate her. I feel like she arrived home ready to burst with her rage and jealous fear that he’d spent Saturday night with a woman. I can envision her flying into the basement, waking him up and demanding accountability about the dinner charge purchase. But your vision might be more accurate and disarming to Shan’ann. Seeing him in their bed, where she wanted him all along may have defused her anger and made her much more vulnerable. I just so wish we knew! Nick, I hope you’re trying to get into the prison to talk to him and tell us what happened!

      • nickvdl

        Chris Watts took the plea deal so that he could avoid telling the world what happened.

  35. Kaye

    As an introvert, I can say that being introverted doesn’t prevent you from being loud or confrontational when needed. Introverts just get drained energy wise when having to spend time around a lot of people and sometimes it’s exhausting to socialize. Alone time is needed in order to recharge. But with close loved ones and friends, it doesn’t mean you are always very quiet.

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