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

This is the moment Watts hands over his phone to the FBI

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18 minutes before Nick Thayer’s text – sent from the parking lot of the Frederick Police Department – Watts handed over his phone to the FBI. Watch that moment here.

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This means Thayer’s text came through when Watts no longer had his handset with him. It was the best advice he ever got, from anyone. Approximately an hour after giving up his phone, and half an hour after Thayer’s text, Watts had already consented to give a polygraph.

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  1. thetinytech2018

    His phones pin code was “3387”? Any chance that was NK’s birthday? She’s 30 or 31 so her birthday would be 87/88, 3387 is March 3rd, 1987. Not that it matters just something I noticed that piqued my curiosity. If it is her birthday I wonder if that was his pin for a while or if he changed it after the murders. If it isn’t, I wonder what significance that date held for him.

    • nickvdl

      87 is right.

      Nichol’s birthday is July 3rd.

      • Pam Foldesi

        Fingers work faster than my brain. Wish I could delete that!

    • Kaye

      This idea was brought up in comments on another post but I do not think that the PIN is anything to do with NK. The old pass code to Shananns phone also used to be 3387. That is what Chris says to Officer Coonrod and in interviews. Both Chris and Shan’ann must have decided to use the same PIN/pass code at some point. What’s interesting is that Shan’ann seems to have changed hers for some reason, while Chris probably felt he wasn’t allowed to do the same.

      • nickvdl

        I’ve been a pendulum on whether Watts knew or didn’t know Shan’ann’s passcode. I suspect he did know it, but there’s clearly strong reason to believe he didn’t. Part of the reason I think he did know is because I suspect he knew the password to their bank account, yet he pretended [I think] not to know that either [which seems highly unlikely, especially for a numbers whizz like him.]

        In the Discovery Documents Nicolas Atkinson also makes a slight slur, suggesting Watts didn’t know or pretended not to know Shan’ann’s passcode.

        The odd thing is he knew many other passcodes, including for her iPad.

        It may be he was particularly reluctant to reveal the passcode because by doing so that meant he had to explain what it meant and what it referred to…

    • ncam619

      Her birthday is in July. I only know that because he gave her a birthday card.

  2. Sherri

    Is there a possibility he didn’t know Shan’ann’s recently changed pass-code, which foiled a potential plan to use her phone to send out texts to friends saying that she’d be unavailable..? Just thinking about Kelsey Berreth’s phone and how it was used to send a text to her employer saying that she wouldn’t be there the next week.. which is why she wasn’t reported as missing for a while. If Chris had known his wife’s passcode, he probably would have been able to use her phone as a decoy and send out a text that night. Just wondering…

    • Ralph Oscar

      I agree that having access to Shan’Ann’s phone would have been essential to CW buying time for himself. I think it is too likely that he would have sent out messages to her friends, particularly NUA, to tell her she’d decided to reschedule her dr appointment because she was feeling so tired and lousy and she was just going to rest quietly that day. If he *could* have, that is. Because he didn’t (couldn’t?), NUA showed up at his house before he’d even had the chance to return home and finish clearing the murder scene.

      • Sherri

        I get a sick sense of satisfaction that if Chris really wanted to send out a text message from her phone, he couldn’t. Also, she wasn’t feeling well with her pregnancy recently.. when did she schedule the doctor’s appointment, especially considering she just had an ultrasound recently..? Did Chris even know she had a doctor’s appointment?

      • Teresa

        Yes, didn’t NUA say Shanann had changed the passcode to a 6 digit number that was Nico’s due date?

  3. Liz

    I thought Chris had said at the time of the first officer to the house that he knew the password/passcode for the bank account, but he did not know the logon or username. I thought he reiterated that.

  4. Liz

    OK, so I went back to a video when 2 officers were going through the house and at the end, they come outside and are talking to Chris. One officer asks about the bank accounts as his wife could have drawn money and left, and Chris says his wife does all the finances. Chris also states he knows the password; he doesn’t know her userid. The only reason I am adding this to the thread is I have seen at least on 2 separate occasions that Chris didn’t know the password/passcode to the bank account, but he actually does know that. He doesn’t know the userid that his wife used.

    I wish there were an area here to ask questions, but it’s your forum, Nick. This question is not searching the clues, but a general question. Why would a man who has killed his family, lost his ultra love through all of this even want the death penalty off the table so he could live his new separated life from his wife, downsized life in an 8 or 9 ft by 6 or 8 cell when he’s only 33 years old?

    The video I checked today, there are so many of them, is this link, and the part about the userid is around 26 or 27 minutes from the beginning.

    • Pam Foldesi

      Liz, you asked, “Why would a man who has killed his family, lost his ultra love through all of this even want the death penalty off the table?”
      It was not Chris who asked for that, it was Shan’ann’s parents who asked for it.
      Chris just agreed to it.

      • Oliviajoy1995

        I thought Chris’s attorneys went to the DA with a plea offer but the DA said he wouldn’t accept it until he spoke to Shannan’s parents. So they flew to NC and told Shannan’s parents that Chris was willing to plead guilty as long as the death penalty was off the table. So they agreed stating it wasn’t their place to decide someone’s death anyway.

  5. Sylvester

    Thanks for that comment Liz. I don’t think we can answer why Watts did what he did. We can try to get into his brain but isn’t that rather impossible? We can say she was domineering, dismissive and this or that but it will won’t explain why he didn’t just walk away. We can say he had financial issues – but then at one time or another who hasn’t. And I mean the kind of financial issues where people take their own lives over it. They at least declared bankruptcy – once – pulled themselves back up and started on a wrong path again. I guess they didn’t learn from their mistakes. Doesn’t that sound like most people?

    It’s very doubtful he will ever say why so we won’t get it from him. And if he’s a liar, then whatever he says might not be the truth. So where do we go from here? We’ve already established we can’t see Watts from our own perspectives. And we can’t crawl inside his brain, or experience his thinking as he thought it. So the best we can do is take this blog and look at it as an opportunity to see where we fall down as human beings. Look to see when we aren’t kind, or forgiving, or where we harbor ill will toward others while outwardly putting on a inauthentic and fake face. If we can do that, then maybe we will finally come to realize that we aren’t Chris Watts, and we are Chris Watts.

    • Kaye

      Great comment, Sylvester! When people are afraid of understanding or going deeper into something they are afraid of, demonizing and simplifying make it easier to deal. CW had everything that we are supposed to believe is the American dream. When he rejects that, it is a threat to people’s perceptions.

      • Sylvester

        Yes, you’ve got it Kaye. Have a good day everyone – I’m off to put money in my pocket.

  6. Liz

    Yes, that was a superb answer, Sylvester: We are Chris Watts and we aren’t Chris Watts. I have no one to discuss this case with, as the 2 members of my family, one says this has been happening since the beginning of time, and the other simply cannot deal with it on a depression level. I’ve been trying to get some resolution from online. To imagine being free one day and then being locked up forever (until death) has just abhorred me, perhaps because there is no understanding, at least for me, the nature of this crime done from someone who appears/ed as *One of Us.* The prison system in the US is so draconian it sends chills down my back, the Rzucek family is left with gaping holes, and the Watts family as well. Nichol Kessinger …. I can’t even imagine what English-speaking country she needs to move to and how to change her voice and appearance.

    The link from Jim Can’t Swim that Nick posted this morning under new crime is an excellent synopsis of this case: There are so many subtle clues in that video, it’s no wonder the FBI and CBI dug in right away.

    While I’m at it, one other thing about the 2:30ish a.m. credit rejection of a shampoo purchase is that it has been entertained that was perhaps a rotating auto-purchase that neither Shan’aan nor Chris to cover tracks explicitly attempted at that time.

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