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

Guest Post: “Chris Watts attacked her from behind…”

The post below is from a local who lives in the Frederick-Boulder area.

I have just finished reading Drilling Through Discovery and I had no intention of sending you these comments until you posted this: “For true crime to be any good it has to be accurate. If any of the facts are wrong, if small details are slightly off, the whole narrative becomes unreliable. In this respect I sincerely value feedback from readers or critics who point out material inaccuracies.” I wholeheartedly concur so below are a couple of observations.

I noticed three inaccuracies in the book. Two I don’t consider “material” but the third might qualify.

1. The green cigarette lighter was found in the passenger side pocket of the work truck not the Lexus.
2. I could be wrong but I don’t believe Nick Atkinson found Shan’ann’s watch if in the book you were referring to her Apple watch. It’s ambiguous as to who actually did find it. (Discovery Document page 411). I cannot find any statement indicating Nick Atkinson found it.
3. Nickole Atkinson did not know the passcode to Shan’ann’s iPhone. Nickole was on a conference call with Sandra Rzucek and Cassie Rosenburg. Nick Atkinson states in his interview that Cassie suggested the babies due date as a possible passcode. On Coonrod’s bodycam footage you will see Chris Watts ask Nickole if she knows the code and her reply is no. She then talks on her phone and suggests the baby’s due date.

#2 might be considered material due to the question of why Chris Watts would leave her Apple watch there if that’s where he hid it. Along with the sheets in the trash I am unable to sort out why he left those things to be found on 8/15. Need a Rocket Scientist to determine if there’s any significance.

Lastly and not related to your book, I continuously read people stating that the only bruises on Shan’ann’s body were the on right side of her neck. That’s inaccurate. Chris Watts attacked her from behind, his left hand around her throat and his right hand covering her mouth and nose. Shan’ann’s Autopsy Report states, “There is a linear array of variably sized, purple black circular defects which extend from the inferior aspect of the chin, along the jawline, up the left aspect of the face, towards the left temporal area”.

He had to be gripping her face pretty damn hard to leave fingerprint bruises along the left side of her face. The attack was pure power and violence. If I’m interpreting the autopsy correctly he effectively smothered and strangled at the same time but I never see this mentioned anywhere so maybe I’m wrong or maybe it’s not significant.

I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that I still don’t agree with your theory of how this murder played out but your insight as to why Chris Watts committed this atrocious act is absolutely captivating. At first I was so focused on “how” the murders happened (it’s the pointy-eared logic that drives me) but I’ve become so much more focused on the “why”. That’s the question that really has significant value. That’s the question I can’t answer. You can. It’s why I still follow.

My response to #2 is that logic suggests Nicolas Atkinson found the iWatch if he found the iPhone, and if the iPhone and iWatch were both below the cushions on the loft couch [Discovery Documents, page 468].

It also stands to reason that the cops would not be forthcoming about the fact that two crucial items of evidence weren’t found by them, but rather by a teenager who was doing a better job “investigating” the scene than they were.

There is also the issue that the discoveries of evidence items by a minor on a crime scene could be considered inadmissible in a criminal trial, and the initial processing of the crime scene regarded as “botched” as a result.

In terms of #3, one could argue the point, but the fact remains that it was via Nickole that the cop was able to unlock Shan’ann’s phone, not because Watts volunteered the code.

In an “upstairs in bed smothering” attack, it would be unnecessary to put hands around the neck or throat, as the head could simply be squashed face first into the mattress, and also covered with a pillow. The focus then would be on gripping the back of the head and neck to prevent it from turning and getting an unimpeded gulp of air.

The problem with a bed attack, besides that a bed is like a giant sponge for body fluids and tissue [none of which were found], is that someone writhing on a bed is much harder to subdue than someone pressed against a harder surface. Limbs can slip downwards out of the vertical grip whereas on a hard floor, that’s not possible. Hands can also reach for the edge of the bed, get a grip, or for a weapon on a bedside table. This is particularly likely if the victim is laying on the side of a double bed.

Given that Shan’ann was pregnant and big busted, it seems unlikely that she would be lying on her stomach when attacked [if attacked in bed] which means she’d have to be turned, which means she would be woken up, which means she should have had the opportunity to scream and the opportunity to begin to fight back. This calls into the question of a surprise attack in bed.


  1. CBH

    Good attention to detail and illuminating information.

    One thing: I’m surprised Watts would use only his bare hands, and not a belt or something for the strangling. It seems more difficult and chancier.

  2. Sylvester

    This is an excellent post. Thank you to whoever is the guest poster. I too was left pondering just who found the Apple iwatch. And yes, on doc #468 it states “Apple watch in couch pillows loft” – but not who found it. And when a drawing is done of the couch where Nicolas is asked to circle where the phone was, there is no watch. But again, I’m re=reading all of it and I might have missed something. I like your explanation that a teenager finding the items could have thrown that evidence out of court, not to mention showing up Officer Coonrod. Also on the body cam Nicolas says he found the phone but doesn’t add “and the iwatch too” and I think that would be significant, if he had.

    I have mixed feelings about how she got into her nightshirt – or t-shirt. I don’t see the logic in why he would want to change her clothing – his DNA would be on everything in that house no matter what. And if he took the time to change her clothing because she had messed herself then wouldn’t Officer Coonrod have noticed, either by checking the laundry basket or seeing just where she did? So I’m of a mind that she changed into that nightshirt herself. But that sort of changes everything, doesn’t it. So I’m on the fence. And if he wanted everyone to believe she had gone to bed – well, he changed his story many times over.

    I’ve also wondered how he could get a good grip on her neck “from behind.” And if her face was pressed into a hard surface there would be bruising around the nose. Also the motion he makes in the interview room looks to me like a view he would have had being on top of her. But in your hypothesis above it could have been an attack from behind, where she was not ground into the floor – since there were no bruises from the neck down.

    Also after listening to someone who has a youtube site called “411 Now” before the autopsy was released to the public he ordered it and as soon as it was released to the public he believes what the autopsy shows is that the girls were smothered by Watts pinching their noses shut with his arm or hand clamped over their mouths. He absolutely could have placed the pillowcases over their heads and pinched, which might account for the strange stain on the pillow cases which on one case looks as if pinching of the nose took place. Of course drugging first may have made it easier for him.

    • CBH

      If she changed into the Tee shirt and underpants for bed(and Watts does in fact say that’s what she wore to bed in one of the interrogations) then you have to figure she wanted to wear a bra to bed after a flight and long night. Also: Wouldn’t she have checked on the children first? What would she have seen? Would she simply view them on the monitor so as not to wake them?

      All these questions arise in my own mind as well, because I can’t rid myself of a strong, strong intuition that he used sex as a prelude to murder, ESPECIALLY after reading Nick’s theory in Drilling, that when Watts told the investigator that Shannan might say if he woke her roughly, “What the hell are you doing?” and looked at him with one eye opened, that in his opinion Watts was revealing something which happened during the murder. And how easily it comes to me, Watts making an overture behind her, and then her asking, “What the hell are you doing ?”as the strangling begins.

      • Sylvester

        I haven’t finished Drilling. But I don’t think anything happened in the bed. After going through the documents again (I stopped last night at 755) there is a more revealing synopsis of Chris’s confession to his father where he says after he murdered her he put her on the bed to wrap her up in a sheet. So if the bed was used, it was after she was dead. She could still change into her nightshirt and be killed on the floor, the stairs, close to the kitchen, etc. Where was he when she got home – that’s the question. If he was downstairs behind a post then he would have to wait quite a while for her to come to him (if she changed first) – or he could have been lying in wait on the loft couch. But I don’t think she went to bed alive.

        • CBH

          No, I pictured it happening in the basement, not the bedroom.

    • Victor

      @sylvester I concur. There would have been significantly more bruising facially, if he had done this on a hard surface. As suggested by others, he may have lured her sexually (doggy style sex perhaps) and moved in for the kill from that position/vantage point.

      He has a demonic soul. So sick.

      • Sylvester

        @Victor – I know many here think sex was the lure but I don’t think she would have had sex on her mind at all. Not without a good long talk about who he spent $62 on and what was the status of their marriage. After the weekend she had where she was emotionally, physically, psychically sick sex wouldn’t have been a remedy for her.

      • thetinytech2018

        I used to think perhaps he killed her in the basement but now I believe it was in the entryway/foyer (not quite the living room or the stairs, but the area infront of the door). Perhaps he even waited in the alcove under the stairs, but either way I don’t think she left that main floor, and here’s why..

        It was a Sunday night I believe, so Chris would’ve had work in the morning. Usually he got up along 430am I believe, perhaps a bit earlier, but she originally wasn’t supposed to come home that late. She texts him and let’s him know she won’t be home till around 2-230 am, and I think that was her basically saying “Just letting you know home I’ll be much later than I originally planned, if I’m not home by x time, don’t worry because my plane was delayed until 2-230.” If he wakes up that early, he’s probably going to bed around 1030-11 the latest, so even though he wasn’t asleep when she got home, she thought he would be. I mention this because she was coming from a trip without her kids, was probably exhausted and had her guard down. If she gets home, she’s most likely dropping her suitcase, maybe getting a drink from the kitchen or something and going to bed, but not before she kisses the girls and checks in on them. If they were deceased by this time, even if still in bed, surely she would notice they weren’t breathing when leaning in to kiss them, or that they were cold. She’d run to the next child’s room, discover the same thing and be freaking out screaming the whole time, understandably. She had her flaws like anyone else but I believe it’s safe to say she’d be in a state of shock and/or horror upon discovering the kids were murdered. The last thing he wanted was a hysterical wife waking up the neighbors.

        Her phone didn’t connect to the Wi-Fi and it should’ve recognized the network as she was walking up to the door, the Wi-Fi signal usually reaches outside your home a bit unless your home is around the 10,000sq ft range which there’s certainly was nowhere close. So that tells me the router was most likely dowm at that time, because he wanted the cameras to not record the murder. She Lana, perhaps texts him, gets dropped off by NA and when she walks into the front door, right after she closes it he basically throttles her, grabbing her neck with his left hand and smothering her airways with the right dominant hand, strangling her at the same time with the left hand around her throat. She didn’t inhale fibers so the murder most likely didn’t occur in bed, and rather than push her down on the ground against a hard surface, he attempts (succeeds) the strangulation and asphyxia as they’re both standing upright.

        He could’ve waited right by the door in the dark. Her guard was down, she was home and it was late, plus she didn’t expect him to be awake considering he gets up for work at 430am. He completely blindsides her after she closes the door. This way she has no time to find out the kids are gone, no time to panic or scream, no wandering around the house or getting a hold of a phone (two things you certainly don’t want your target doing). Strength aside, the thing Chris had going for him in this scenario is the element of surprise. Not to mention be then doesn’t have to drag the body down or up a flight or two of stairs, carrying dead weight is not easy and Shan’ann wasn’t a small woman. She had just been dropped off, so he knew this was most likely his best shot. This way he can control most of the variables, make sure she doesn’t wander or try to use her phone in the middle of an attack.

    • ganana

      It can take as few as 10 seconds to render a person unconscious if pressure is applied to the carotid arteries. In that case she wouldn’t gave struggled long and thus no bruising on her body.

  3. nancyjames3358

    Excellent post.

    “It also stands to reason that the cops would not be forthcoming about the fact that two crucial items of evidence weren’t found by them, but rather by a teenager who was doing a better job “investigating” the scene than they were.”

    Benefit of the doubt to Officer Coonrad. Would the initial officer, responding to a welfare check, be expected to secure the “scene” and look for evidence? Our legal system baffles me, so one could suppose this could be thrown out.

    • ganana

      I dont see why that evidence would have been thrown out. This would be the same as someone finding a murder victim’s clothing items, shoes, purse n, etc on a roadside and turning them in, where they were accepted as evidence. There is a case like that in the area where I live. The thing for the Watts prosecutor to have shown would have been, did Nichokas have anything to do with Shan’ann’s and the children’s disappearance.

      • thetinytech2018

        I believe it breaks the chain of custody plus it makes the police officers on the scene look sloppy. Instead of the officer finding the phone, a teenager stomping around the house finds it? Perhaps that’s not a great start to an investigation. If not that than there’s most likely certain protocol in place for the collection and gathering of evidence and if the kid finds it then that protocol is breached our it’s validity comes into question.

  4. Sylvester

    It’s kind of surprising in the first place that Nickole and her son were allowed to go inside the house. And Madison – who can be seen busily playing in the background in CeCe’s room. Officer Coonrod could have said “thank you for your help, I’ll take it from here” and gone in alone to talk to Chris. Also if it turned out to be an actual abduction, then Nicolas putting his fingerprints on the phone would have been seen as contaminating the crime scene – same with Nickole picking up the handbag and handing it to Officer Coonrod.

    • ganana

      From the moment the officer saw the neighbor’s security camera video, the Watts home should have been taped off as a crime scene. Instead, people were clompng through that house like a herd of mules, contaminating everything.

      • Sylvester

        Then that night he was allowed to remain in the house, where he did a scrub down before retiring for the night. I thought it was interesting in re-reading the documents where Jeremy Lindstrom said he offered to spend the night there and Watts said “I just want to finish cleaning then go to bed.”

    • CBH

      It’s as though Officer Coonrod did not believe any kind of crime had occurred at that point. Just a welfare check.

      • nancyjames3358

        Just my guess, Officer Coonrad may not have smelled a rat until mid way through the Open House and by then, the visitors had scrutinized the house. One of him, four moving targets.

      • mitzi2006

        He did however call his detective because as he said “it’s a strange one”. Also his statements to another officer there, that Chris hid the opener, he was suspicious but it still was a welfare check, they did not have a warrant at that time. She also was only “missing” for a few hours at that time. The detective did say if she didn’t show up overnight he’d be ready to “pull the trigger” on a missing person alert, so at that time I don’t think they had the ability to kick anyone out of the house. Officer had to ask Chris’s permission to even enter the house

        • CBH

          Yes, all true. Was it the next day that the detective (can’t recall his name, but he was in plain clothes with a badge on his belt) and the dogs came in? The 14th?

          • nickvdl

            Baumhover arrived at around 14:35 on Monday afternoon.

          • CBH

            Thank you.

        • CBH

          PS: Usually with missing persons they wait 72 hours. However this did include 2 toddlers.

  5. Victor

    Thank you, thank you to the poster, a local who lives in the Frederick-Boulder! We now have a clearer picture of the truth. Much gratitude is given in the fact that the contributing (missing) pieces to the overall puzzle are now in place. Shannan’s father was 101% correct when he said CW “is an EVIL MONSTER”. My God, the depth of depravity it took to carry out these murders is almost beyond grasp. Horrifying!

    Im so very sorry this happened to you Shanann, Bella, CeCe and Niko. RIP sweet souls. 😢

    • ganana

      I have tried to see Chris Watts as a damaged human who came apart under extreme circumstances he couldn’t control.

      But yesterday I read in the discovery documents that he heard the splash when Cece hit the oil and water in that tank. And that the recovery team found one of the girls lying on her back and the other one face down in black gunk And that the skin of one of their hands slipped off like a glove.

      I thought of his hours of lying, of not crying, and of him barely being to contain his satisfaction with himself…I am at a loss as to what to think. We like to out labels on the worst people…psychopath, sociopath, and so on. I’m not sure the word exists yet that would tell us who (or what) he is.

      • Geoff

        The clinical term is Covert Narcissist but in layman’s terms “Evil monster” …just like Shanann’s dad said.

        • nickvdl

          I think Dr. Phil mentioned something about that, didn’t he? Are there any others who’ve mentioned that that you’re aware of?

          Btw would you mind taking this test and letting us know the results? At this site we try to identify covert narcissists as well, just to be safe. The CrimeRocket definition of a covert narcissist is one who insists on using the narcissist label to explain true crime [as if that means something], but refuses to acknowledge their own narcissism:

      • CBH

        I think the detective who said Chris split into 2 Chrises (hence, Van der Leek’s title, Two Face) hit it with uncanny precision. We know from all the Facebook videos that Chris was a doting, affectionate, caring father. He was a good worker, good with money, a loving husband and father for years.

        Meeting NK seemed to have made another Chris. And he’s the one who did it.

        • nickvdl

          Hi CBH

          The TWO FACE title came from September 2018, before the “two Chrises” were public knowledge via the discovery document dump on November 19. It was mentioned by FBI agent Grahm Coder during questioning on Tuesday August 14.

          • CBH

            Then your own intuition was the more uncanny. Bravo.

  6. Shannon

    I don’t know.
    Bra- I wear a sports bra to bed. Lots of woman wear bras, especially when big.
    Contaminated- The whole scene was contaminated. With all the walking, touching by everyone.
    Cops- They were not all professional. But at first they thought, wellness, missing then murder scene.
    Shanann – it takes seconds to rip pants of someone. It takes a minute to maybe change the top.
    One hand covering mouth, screaming.
    Other hand, on her neck.
    If they went to ground, which I think they did, him on her. Once she seems passed out, other hand on neck. I’m sure there was abit of wrestling at first.
    Remember caught off guard, tired, not feeling well.
    People can bruise easily, I do.
    He might have know, Exactly where to place hands.
    Give you an idea.
    Me dating a bodybuilder, 6 feet, 220 lbs solid.
    Me, 5’3, 118, in good shape.
    We’re both done in, stoned, drunk.
    Having sex, he’s on top, his hands start to come to my neck…a few times….. suddenly I become aware, I say his name, nothing, say it a few more times….no response..i kept saying Get Off Me….as his hands are on my neck, he bites my leg…
    I yelled Stop your almost killing me, and literally throw him off me, he falls on the floor. I sit up grab my neck, put my hand on my leg, and said…Holy fuck you asshole, what the fuck.
    He said he was so out of it, that he didn’t realize exactly what he was doing…..said we need a Safe word. We talked about it.
    2 days later, I called him and said, your fucking hands are on my neck…..brusing and my leg….oh so sore.
    We dated off and on for 7 years. We had other incidents also. Once I became Aware, I guess a strength came over me, to throw him.
    Sorry for the swearing.

    • ganana

      You are lucky to be alive.

      • Shannon

        Yes, you are right. That was the first time. From then on I became aware. He did other things, and I would have to be careful. Sometimes yelling at him.
        But because he Competed and also was a male stripper, and did steroids. The steroids change them, their moods, with a snap of a finger.
        I don’t know if Chris did, steroids….but from what I have seen I don’t think so.
        So coming from behind, her hands should have come towards her neck, or his hands. To grab them. I grabbed his hands. Chris probably had full strength from the get go.
        Mine, his hands became tighter each time he brought his hands up to my neck. I know he was not using full strength, thank god. I would have been dead. I had 220 lbs of strength on top of me, and he was done in.

    • Ilovedogsandcats

      Hi nick!

      I think it would be quite fascinating for you to compose a scenario of what happened that night, had the killings not been premeditated, nor any sociopathy or psychopathy involved. What insights could you give us?

      Shan’ann came home with a huge fight (talk to get to the bottom of what was going on with CW) and CW desperate to get the ball moving on divorce so he wouldn’t lose NK.

      Let’s say the trip out to cervi 19 was something he volunteered for, with no evil intentions involved.

      I would very much like to read what you think. Thanks!

  7. Seymour Glass

    In my own personal experience with pathological lying, manipulative people, one must extract the truth from the lie. They mix truth with lies all the time. Sometimes you have to switch it around.

    For example, someone close to me said, “You never had a mother,” even though we had the same mother. Funny, this person didn’t say “WE never had a mother.” It was, “You never had a mother.” They attributed this statement to someone else. So I extracted that this person who told me this was telling me a truth mixed with a lie – that X said it when I know X didn’t know me organically or my family very well. This was in case I made a stink and went to X and asked, “Why did you say that?” And X will say, “I never said that.” And then the original person who said that mean statement to me while pregnant with my first child can then deny they ever said that to me. This is called gas lighting, a mental game that fucks you up for life if done to you for years as in my case. So I was able to get at the truth and separate the truth from the lie without falling for the gas lighting set-up.

    We know that Chris took the picture of the doll wrapped in a Twister mat (only white side showing), and sent the picture to Shan’ann while she was in Arizona over the weekend at a Thrive event. Shan’ann made a comment on Facebook that “I don’t know what to think of this?” I noticed that the Twister mat was wrapped around the doll several times, white side up only. I think that would be hard for a 3 & 4 year old to coordinate.

    I think Chris was playing Funny Games with Shan’ann by way of the doll photo. He even admitted to the investigators of being emotionally abusive to Shan’ann the last 6 weeks of her life. At this point, he hated her with a passion. I think he killed Bella & CeCe first (supported by the loud TV NK heard in the background during their 111 minute call), and wanted Shan’ann to find the babies dead before he strangled her. This is the worst torture you could inflict on a loving mother, to harm her children.

    Sylvester brings up that 411 Now says that he killed his precious babies by pinching their nose and covering their mouths, which made me sick. Not that covering their faces with pillows is any better. But My God, WHY?

    • CBH

      I had assumed Nick’s original theory that Watts had drugged the children at least showed some form of love for them ( putting them to “sleep”, not seeing them suffer). Are we certain Nick isn’t correct?

      • Seymour Glass


        By the way, I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments.

        If Chris drugged Bella & CeCe first, then why was there evidence that Bella fought back. She would have no injuries to the inside of her mouth and tongue, if she was drugged beforehand.

        I think Chris killed the girls first because he was watching TV loudly while on the phone with NK for 111 minutes. I don’t think (but not 100% sure) there was a TV in the basement. There’s a TV outside of the bedrooms in the loft area and in the den downstairs. Bella was a known light sleeper, and probably would have awoken, if she heard the TV on loudly.

        Chris was absolutely emotionally and psychologically cruel to Shan’ann in those last 6 weeks. He wasn’t being very affectionate with Bella & CeCe either, process of detaching. Chris was enjoying hurting Shan’ann. I believe that doll picture was a foreshadowing, almost taunting.

        That doll photo even got Ronnie Watts’ attention. He brought it up to the two interviewing detectives that Shan’ann had the picture on her Facebook, and that he thought it showed premeditation that Shan’ann murdered the girls, not Chris. Talk about I*R*O*N*Y.

        That doll picture is more important than we think.

        • CBH

          Thanks very much; I also enjoy your input!
          Did you read the ending of Nick’s Rape of Cassandra? He sets forth a theory that Bella never fought back.
          Nick also believes the last thing CW would do prior to the murders is taunt Shannan. Many people believe he did taunt with the doll pic, but I agree with Nick: the goal was to get away with murder, not leave incriminating evidence. Just an odd coincidence that the kids did.

    • HB

      Actually that picture was taken before she left to Arizona on August 9th, she left on August 10th.

      • Seymour Glass

        I thought it was Chris who took the picture, and sent it to Shan’ann?

        Shan’ann then posted the picture to Facebook.

        I didn’t read the whole discovery report so I’m not 100% sure but was under the impression that Chris took the picture and sent it to Shan’ann.

      • HB

        Seymour Glass, there isn’t a reply option under your response so I’m responding here.

        In the discovery document:
        August 9th, 2018
        1144 hours: this image was taken by Watts’ phone, which he sent to Shanann. She replied, “Don’t know
        what to think about this…”
        [41 – TL: 7299 – 7300]
        She posted the picture on Facebook on August 9th.
        Shanann didn’t leave until the morning of August 10th. I don’t know where she was when the photo was taken but, she wasn’t in Arizona. On Facebook she also mentioned the girls did it together and was proud they had each other’s backs.

    • Jennifer A. Sinclair

      My mother gaslighted my brothers and sisters and me while children and now as adults. I have called her out on it all my life and I am STILL a mess because of it.

  8. Sylvester

    There is a bit more detail about the covered doll on p.604.
    And I honestly think Ronnie Watts was horrified by what his son had done – which was like pulling teeth to get him to tell him they were dead (the babies) and where he stuffed them. But when he suggests they get an attorney Coder and Lee run in the door faster than screwing rabbits.

  9. Aaren

    Has Nickole A ever stated what Shan’ann was wearing when she dropped her off? What if she already was wearing that shirt? It does not look like strictly a night shirt. That shirt would have been fine to wear with flip flops and shorts or leggings…

  10. Aaren

    And if Nickole has described what she was wearing when she dropped her off ( and it was not that shirt) were those clothes ever recovered?

  11. Sylvester

    some of them were in the laundry basket, and some ended up spread out on his newly remade bed along with the Hawaiian paper leis for some reason

  12. Aaren

    Okay, so what Nickole A described, wasn’t not that shirt, then, I assume. Do you recall where this info was documented (description of what she was wearing)? During the detective interview at her work? Or the interview with her and her son?

  13. Ralph Oscar

    This is terrific analysis. I’ll point out that it still fits with my hypothesis that Chris offered Shan’Ann a backrub to help her relax after her long day of travel delay; even pregnant and large-busted, she could have laid down on her side toward her front (3/4 face down) so that he could rub her shoulders and back (as he described in the context of waking her up), and from there, he would have been in a good position to immobilize and throttle her.

    Since her neck surgery incision/scar was on the left side of her neck, I suspect she would have chosen to lie on her right side (to avoid stretching against that site). Since she would have lain down on her own side of the bed (which was the right side as you’re standing at the foot of the bed looking toward the pillows), that would have put her facing *away* from her nightstand and thus in no position to be grabbing anything defensively.

    I obviously like my own ideas very much.

    • nickvdl

      Chris offered Shan’Ann a backrub to help her relax >>>He refused to have sex with her, didn’t sleep in the same bed in the days prior but you reckon he’d offer to give her a back rub, and she’d want one while suspecting him of an affair?

      • mitzi2006

        ….and VERY pissed off about that 62 dollar charge among many other things

      • KerryA

        I feel like I have to respond to this – the short answer is YES absolutely he could talk her into this. No matter what you think of Shannann, you have to really feel for her at this time. Many years ago, I had 3 yr old twin girls when I found myself pregnant again with my son so I was in a position very similar to Shanann’s when she died. Even though I was educated (MD) and had a solid financial situation, I was extremely vulnerable during this time. I had just graduated and my planned residency had to be delayed in favour of a part time job teaching pre med at a local college to accommodate the pregnancy and my young children. Not only was i physically exhausted, but mentally as well. Just having survived raising twins through the baby years and now dealing with two lively toddlers, the thought of doing it all again was overwhelming.
        I leaned on my husband a lot – emotionally, physically and financially (fortunately he was practicing full time as an MD so his earnings were enough to comfortably cover living expenses). Thankfully, he stepped up to the plate and we got through it fine with a few adjustments. However, I would have been in quite a pickle if he had picked that time to bugger off, I was really dependant on him and wasn’t making much money on my own plus I would have been so exhausted during the pregnancy i don’t think I could have taken proper care of the twins on my own. When I think of what Shanann was facing, my heart really breaks for her, she would have found her world in shambles. A shaky financial future, looking after 2 sick toddlers on her own – the shame and humiliation she would feel as well as losing her position and middle class lifestyle would mean no more Thrive either. The Lexus and house would have to go, she would find herself scraping by in a small apartment or moving back in with her parents and working long hours while pregnant to pay the bills and she knew it. I think she was so anxious and scared that any sign of affection from him, she would jump at it and gladly accept it. It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – first in her mind was warmth, shelter and food for herself and her offspring which Chris could supply during this vulnerable time. i have read her last text messages and conversations with friends – I think she was understandably getting to a desperate point mentally and she was scared. Any transgressions could easily be pushed aside in her mind in favour of surviving and her children’s welfare.

      • Donkeykong

        Nick just read this on discovery page 1892. It’s what Shan’ann told NA on their flight home (I cant work out how to attach a picture so I’ll write it
        “I asked NA if she knew SW had asked CW to wake her up when he got up for work. NA said SW told her she wasn’t going to speak with CW when she got home because she knew he’d be sleeping. She told NA that she’s going to put her arms around him because they hadn’t been touching lately, but nothing else that night “

        • nickvdl

          So let me flip the question around. Do you think Watts wanted to lie there and get a back rub?

      • Donkeykong

        I honestly think she was so desperate for CW to show his love or affection to her that yes, she probably would have let him do it. I’m not saying oils and the whole big massage set up, But I’m thinking one that just involves laying down and being rubbed through clothes while they lay together. I don’t believe she would have sex him given the weekend and the dinner. But I do believe she was extremely vulnerable and just craved his touch or something to affirm his love to her. Similar to Kerry said above, I also can relate. I have little twins plus 3 older ones, and while pregnant, I couldn’t imagine the prospect of being on the verge of being alone and left by my husband at that point in time. I think it would have been VERY easy for Chris to lure her like that

      • Donkeykong

        Hang on wait ..haha I just re read your question again. Do you mean did Chris watts want to lie there and get a back rub?

    • Maura

      She arrived home at almost 2 am: tired, sick all weekend, not eating much according to friends, sick from the pregnancy and was very upset at how Chris had treated her for the last 5 weeks. In fact, the autopsy showed she had a gallstone which also could have made her sick. She was not in any shape to seduce anyone and it hadn’t worked before her trip. Emotionally she wasn’t there either and no back rub was going to fix her marriage.

      The night before, Chris charged two dinners on the Visa bill and she and NUA looked up the prices to confirm that the $70 wasn’t for ONLY 1 Salmon entree and 1 beer that CW said he’d had. It was double what it should have been. Chris gave her a huge clue about the affair and the VISA bill was proof. Was he out of gift cards Saturday or did he not care if she found out as he planned to murder her Sunday night?

      Shan’ann could have called the restaurant, spoken to the staff about that bill and who had been dining with Chris at that table. It’s possible that the restaurant told her Chris and a long haired brunette had dinner together and everything they had ordered. PROOF that he was with another woman while the kids were home with the sitter.

      When she arrives home sick and emotionally wrecked it makes sense that Chris planned a surprise attack somewhere on the first floor. By now he’s killed the kids and they are stored in the basement. With her 3 hour plane delay he has to move quickly and still clean everything so that the crime scenes downstairs disappear just as his family will.

      As Nick has pointed out with his expertise, bedrooms hold a lot of evidence beyond sheets and blankets. They have the most things and clutter which are hard to clean. The police found no evidence that anyone was killed in the master bedroom or kids’ bedrooms. The master bedroom would be the last place he would murder anyone because it points directly to him as being the murderer. It wouldn’t fit with his story that she took the kids for a play date.

  14. Geoff

    @Nickvdl Not sure I understand your theory on Narcissism? So as not to assume, are you then saying in order to recognize a narcissist, one must themselves be a narcissist? I hope not, as that would be a flawed conclusion. No, I never saw the Dr Phil expisode. I was in a relationship with a Covert Somatic Narcissist for 4 years, being very naive at the time, to personality disorders/Cluster B’s. After that dark experience, I did years of research on the topic to educate myself moving forward in an effort to recognize the red flag signs.

    Coverts need to keep reinventing themselves via new relationship. Covert Somatic’s use narcissistic supply (sex and attention from new partners) to regulate their labile sense of self-worth. Covert Somatic Narcissist are unfaithful and pathological in regard to extra-relationship affairs because sexual attention is the feed for their ego and how they obtain their “fix” intended to support his/her somatic and FALSE Self-image. Problem in sustaining satisfying relationships- since new supply will always be more intoxicating for the a Covert. They seek new sex as validation that the False Self they’ve constructed is real. They need that high and energy in their lives and are constantly in pursuit of this supply. Thrilling sneaky ways with multiple people. The core simplistic nature of narcissism is nothing, if not a metaphor for “selfishness” or “ungratefulness”. We should not over complicate things. We chose light, or darkness.

    • thetinytech2018

      If he was a covert narcissist, then I wonder what Shan’ann was. Her refusal to live within their limited means, constant reckless spending, refusal to get a real job with actual income instead of sinking thousands into a pyramid scheme, thinking that pregnancy was a good idea at a time where they’re about to be foreclosed on and at least 5 figures in debt, the malingering she transferred over to the kids, the constant need for validation and always shoving a camera in someone’s face (whether the kids were in the hospital or people were getting annoyed, didn’t stop her) etc etc…

      He may have been cruel to her in the few weeks prior to death, but she wasn’t very nice to him throughout their marriage. He was a prop and a provider, he was her meal ticket and key to that house, she couldn’t even get a mortgage her credit was so tanked, and after the embezzlement charges getting an actual job that isn’t a scam would’ve been difficult especially since she wouldn’t want to go back to the hospital call center. She left that job because she claimed her pyramid scheme was making her money when in reality, that was a lie, and she would see turning to that job as a regression and a failure.

      She didn’t deserve to die, but Chris certainly wasn’t the only person in that home that was mentally unstable.

      • Shannon

        That was good. Tiny. I feel the same way.

  15. Sylvester

    But Geoff, if you are going to label Chris a Covert Somatic Narcissist how would that explain all of those years they had together where there were no problems? Was he a “closet” Covert Somatic Narcissist just waiting to happen? And if we put labels like that on people then we don’t get to do any real work trying to uncover the aspects in their lives that led them to make their irrational and criminal decisions to murder people. They are just written off as having some disorder as an explanation for why they do what they do. Not criticizing you Geoff!

    • Suzanne

      I was wondering the same. If Chris is a true Narc he would have found it near impossible to remain faithful throughout ANY marriage or long term relationship. Not only was he not getting his supply and attention fix from external sources until Nikki came along, (or was he?), but he wasn’t even validated by his wife, in fact he was belittled and undermined at every turn. I’m not bashing Shanann but she certainly would have been very difficult to live with even for the most stable, grounded, loving devoted partner. How could a Narc starving of supply possibly maintain that marriage without infidelity for 7 years? I don’t know what the story is with Trent Bolte. Is there any credibility to his claims?

  16. Duttdip

    >>It’s kind of surprising in the first place that Nickole and her son were allowed to go inside the house. And Madison – who can be seen busily playing in the background in CeCe’s room. Officer Coonrod could have said “thank you for your help, I’ll take it from here” and gone in alone to talk to Chris. Also if it turned out to be an actual abduction, then Nicolas putting his fingerprints on the phone would have been seen as contaminating the crime scene – same with Nickole picking up the handbag and handing it to Officer Coonrod.

    Sylvester, I am thinking it could have been worse than that. In absence of the neighbor’s camera which apparently captured Shanann getting dropped off at 1:48 am, Nickole Atkinson would be the last person to have been in definitive company of Shanann. And Nickole stepped in and moved things around without any awareness of the neighbor’s camera. A shrewd defense attorney could have flipped the things around, cited “professional envy” or something similar as a motive and put it back on her.

  17. Melinda Shepherd

    I think CW killed SW first. Rage and lust killing. In his mind killing the kids would not be a problem but SW would be a huge problem. What if her flight was further delayed once again? What if she was rushed to ER UNANNOUNCED? (it was stated she was sick on her arrival back home big red flag). He also underestimated how much SW told her best friend and what actions she would take because SW entire life/job was spent on social media the majority of the time. This is ego driven on his part. (Superiority). He wanted a way out. SW always, always had her phone near by. CW knew if there were any chance for his plan to work he would have to make sure she seen those kids alive and sleeping so she could not get to her phone and call 911, (too risky). IF SW walked in learning the children were dead his plan would fail. I think once he knew he killed her and could get away with it (ego superiority) the children came next. (Even though he believed he was not going to get caught hes stupid). I do think somehow he lured her into the basement but I think he raged at her and killed her showing her at the end who had control. (sad yes). The kids would not be awakened by her screams in the basement. Details of how and what he used Iam not sure. I do think he used his hands. He knew he could not let her get away so he had to do it swiftly. Planned yes and hes crazy. I see others believe he killed her last so Im hoping others will explain in more details on why they believe he killed the children first? Thank you.

    • Ralph Oscar

      Melinda, there is evidence that the children were killed in the late afternoon/evening Sunday Aug. 12.

      – When Shan’Ann asked Chris to text her a picture of them that evening, he sent one from earlier in the day, not one he took when she asked.
      – Chris was seen barbecuing at the grill outside that evening with no sign of the children.
      – The girls were notoriously light sleepers, to the point that Shan’Ann lost her mind at the prospect of even opening the garage door while they were sleeping, for fear of waking them up, yet Chris was watching TV loud enough for NK to hear it in the background when she was having her nearly-2-hr phone conversation with him starting about 11 PM. Both of those details – talking on the phone, loud TV on – would have been risk factors for waking the girls up, if they’d been able to wake up at all by that point.
      – Chris reacts to Shan’Ann’s text that her flight has been delayed by 3 hours, an hour and a half later (what was he doing in the interim?), with an outsize reaction: “Holy crap!” He was not just acknowledging the information, which was unpleasant, but he was shocked and surprised. Why?

      If the children had still been alive, Chris might have delayed his plans when he learned of that flight delay, because by the time Shan’Ann got home 2 am-ish, that only left 3.5 hours to get everything done, from the killing to the packaging of the bodies to the cleanup etc. If he had been able to, he probably would have chosen to reschedule the planned activities for a time when he’d have more time to get things in order before needing to leave the house for Phase 2, the disposal of the bodies.

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