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

Who Wrapped the Doll in the Twister Mat, and Why?

The doll wrapped like a dead body in the twister mat feels like a message, doesn’t it? Given how close to the murders the doll was staged, and the ominous visual of the life-size doll, the wrapped doll is a material factor in this case.


In fact right at the time Watts confessed, his father Ronnie told FBI Special Agent Grahm Coder about the doll. He said it wasn’t the natural thing for a child to do, implying that Shan’ann had done it, perhaps as a taunt or a warning to her husband.

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Ronnie’s theory to the FBI was that:

  1. The murder of the children was planned [premeditated] by Shan’ann.
  2. Shan’ann posed the image and purposefully chose the words “I don’t know what to think about this…” as a warning and a threat.
  3. Shan’ann had lied that Bella had covered the doll in the sheet.
  4. He felt Bella would never do such a thing based on his experience of her behavior.

Ronnie’s theory made some sense, but it shouldn’t be missed that it conveniently provided a theory for his son’s innocence precisely when he needed it most. Like many folks currently shrieking about shadows and shapes, a single image posted on social media isn’t proof of anything. It isn’t forensic evidence. At most it’s a piece of a larger mosaic. If the piece means something, it will help reveal the rest of the mosaic, rather than stand alone blinking a singular, disconnected message within the mosaic.


Often an outrageous conspiracy theory pokes through the surface of the water like a shark fin. It appears to be an incredible distinct possibility, except, beneath the surface of the water the fin doesn’t connect to anything. In other words, there’s a fin but no shark. Most conspiracy theories work like this – they talk a big game but end up being toothless.

The doll image isn’t quite as irrelevant as the shadow and shape-shifting stuff. The doll image involves everyone in this story, and is part of the dialogue of the most important people in this story: the murderer, the victims and the murderer’s #1 confidante.

Watts’ response to his father’s theory is important to note as well:

  1. Watts doesn’t provide much information, except to say he was aware of the incident and recalled that Shan’ann made fun of the image, and thought it was funny. Watts doesn’t disclose what he thought, and as far as we can see, he made no comment on the image himself, or if he did, removed it when he deleted his Facebook account. We also know at some point close to when Shan’ann posted this image, Watts Googled how to delete his Instagram account.
  2. When Coder asks Watts if Bella “did it” Watts answered he doesn’t know, because he “can’t recall”.

In effect, Watts – either by design or by default – is reinforcing the idea that Shan’ann was responsible for the picture. He doesn’t say he thinks Bella would’ve or could’ve or might have done it. There is a slight undercurrent to his reference of Shan’ann laughing in the face of the picture. It seems a subtle jab at her, undermining her as an undermining and sometimes mocking personality. If Watts murdered her to get revenge for her killing the children, then his lack of anger and mild response – his nonchalance – to Shan’ann’s supposed jeering isn’t appropriate.

They key to solving this mystery lies in Ronnie’s remark:

“I was around Bella and she would…never cover a doll’s head like it was a body…”

Due to the very special circumstances of this case, we’re able to be around Bella too and thus we can see how she behaves around dolls and toys. This is how we try to connect the shark fine to a jangle of possible dots below the surface. We don’t take the fin as evidence and run with it. Instead, we try to connect it to something bigger. Not one other image but a body of evidence that adds up to something.

Now, to begin with, the scene for the staging of the doll is the downstairs lounge. It’s on the couch against’s the wall, rather than the main living room couch. In other words, it’s not the couch in this picture.


It’s also not the couch in this picture.

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It’s not the couch in this picture.


It’s the two-seater couch peeking out of the left edge of this picture.


This is a view of the television and of Bella from that two-seater couch.


This is a view of the couch from the main couch. Note the small table on the one side of the two-seater couch.


Here’s a view of the same couch from the floor. Notice the small table beside the couch.


Now that we know where the couch is, we can see it’s an area where Bella and Ceecee not only were likely to play, but also sit. And we can see that life-size doll was also located near this particular couch in several photos and videos.


Sometimes the doll is upstairs.


Other times the doll is downstairs closer to the front door lounge and dining room.


“I was around Bella and she would…never cover a doll’s head like it was a body…”

What was your knee-jerk, gut response when you first saw the doll wrapped in the twister mat?

Mine was that Watts had been intently watching a lot of true crime in the lounge on television while Bella played. Bella, taking her cue from what her daddy was watching, imitated something on television to get her father’s attention and approval.

Obviously this initial response was based on knowing [at that time] virtually nothing about Bella, knowing nothing about the ongoing nut anxiety, and knowing little about Bella’s habits and the family’s sense of humor. Does any of this really matter though? It does. These dynamics are important, but it takes a long time to figure them out.

When we take the time to try to understand the dynamics, a few things become apparent that begin to play into that mysterious image.

We see several instances of Bella imitating one or both of her parents.


It’s also debatable whether Bella wouldn’t cover the head of doll or toy.


In many of Shan’ann’s posts, she has pictures of her children in weird sleep poses, many from the baby monitor showing Ceecee in particular climbing under her blankets or sleeping face down.


As for the idea of covering up the face with anything, the children were often seen wearing masks, and at one point Deeter was also recorded crawling into the long sleeve of a sweater. During that recording Shan’ann says: “Bella would get a kick out of this…”


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Since Chris Watts sent the image to Shan’ann, it’s likely he did so because Bella asked him to. Perhaps Bella wanted her mom to see it because she thought Shan’ann “would get a kick out of it” [and if that was the plan it worked].

It’s not likely Watts sent the image to Shan’ann either to implicate her, or himself. This is sort of the main thrust of the conspiracy shark fin – that either Shan’ann or Chris Watts deliberately staged an image as warning that they might commit murder unless X, Y or Z, and then went through with it despite the fact that it had been posted in the public domain, onto social media.

Was Watts wasn’t aware of Shan’ann posting this image to Facebook? It was posted at 11:46 local time. Less than two hours later on August 9th, Watts scrubbed his Facebook account.

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An interesting question is whether he knew about the image and continued with his plan regardless [similar to the hitch of the flight delay], or whether he didn’t know. Another possibility is that he did know, and didn’t like the aftermath of the nut incident, where Shan’ann’s family started talking about a dead body and the kids having one another’s backs. We know shortly after deleting his Facebook his father asked him about it, to which Watts responded:

“Yes sir, liberated myself!”

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This indicates the degree to which Watts felt exasperated with and perhaps imperilled by Shan’ann’s social media.

We also see many signs of Bella staging with toys, blankets and dolls, many of these instances are on the same couch as the life-size doll, and in the same room.

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If Bella did stage the doll, what was she trying to do? One possibility is she was playing a game of imaginary hide and go seek with the toy and perhaps with Ceecee.

Another possibility is she was trying to communicate some message to her mother, either to amuse her as mentioned earlier or, possibly, to send some sort of urgent but unconscious message.

If it is the former, Bella may have learned that her mother got a kick out of seeing children, adults or dolls sleeping with or without blankets over their heads, and Bella simply wanted to share the joke with her mother.

The elder daughter had spent several weeks back-to-back with her mom, which was plenty of time for mom and daughter to develop a rapport, particularly around a particular subject.

Perhaps Bella had gotten in the habit of covering her own head with a blanket when the sun rose in the early summer mornings, or, if Shan’ann had cried herself to sleep over the past week, perhaps Shan’ann herself had covered her face in the mornings.



If it is the latter, and Bella wanted to share a more serious message, we know in the last days of her life, Bella was concerned that Ceecee might go to sleep and never wake up. That was an artifact of the nut debacle, which had clearly traumatized the older child.

We know Bella had confided in McKenna as late as the last night of her life that she was worried about Ceecee eating coconut and never waking up. Bella was so worried about this she couldn’t sleep when Ceecee went to sleep.

When Agent Kevin Koback spoke to McKenna he asked her if Bella had any concerns when she babysat her on Saturday night [August 11].

KOBACK: Was there anything that was concerning, that you heard?

MCKENNA: Um…Bella just…she sat by me and she was really concerned that…her little sister fell asleep before her, so she sat on the couch with me for a while. And she actually told me something. She said, ‘Can I ask you something?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ ‘My little sister has, like…’ She told me if she eats coconut she’ll never be able to see her again. So I’m guessing that the littlest one has a severe allergy. And that’s what they told her, that if she eats that she’ll never be able to see her again. She was really upset by that. 

KOBACK: Bella was?


We also know from Watts’ evidence that although Bella went to bed much later than her sister, she would up first and went to wake Ceecee up.

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We also know that far from Watts sending images to Shan’ann, he was far more likely not to send images to her, and also less likely to post images to Facebook. In fact the final request made by Shan’ann to send images of the sleeping children wasn’t honored by Watts – instead he simply resent images he’d sent of the girls eating and playing from earlier in the day.

So the likelihood that Watts staged the doll and took the photo is slim. It’s more likely Bella demanded that he send the image to Shan’ann, perhaps as a message to her mother that she was worried about her sister and needed to confide in her, and be comforted [just as she needed that from McKenna].


We also know that Watts was cold and standoffish to his children, so Bella “reading” something unsettling in the ether was based to some extent on real and mythical undercurrents,. The nut emergency was [arguably] overblown, just a case of the older sister picking up on her mother’s paranoia. But the other aspect that was unsettling was she wasn’t getting the soothing she needed from her father when he mother was away.

Perhaps in a sense the doll covered up was a kind of self-portrait, a sculpture of suffocation and agony that Bella couldn’t explain or give voice to, but nevertheless felt. It’s difficult to imagine her father, given his murderous premeditations right then, didn’t see any symbolism in the doll turned into a mummy. Perhaps he sent it on because he knew what it meant: that Shan’ann had unnecessarily traumatized both his children, turning them against his parents, and ultimately declaring them unfit parents while expecting him to babysit.

Bella’s concerns about Ceecee would also have made her difficult to babysit, and difficult to put her to bed, something that would have irritated the adulterer when he wished to have long conversations with his mistress.

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When the FBI asked Watts if he thought Bella staged the doll, Watts answered that he couldn’t recall. Since he sent the image to Shan’ann at 11:44 on August 9th, and since Shan’ann’s response was that Bella did it and she couldn’t explain it, it means Shan’ann didn’t do it. And since Watts was home, and the doll was staged in the most communal room in the house, how could he not know who did it? If he didn’t do it, and Shan’ann didn’t do it, who’s left?

In the same way that Watts “implicates” Shan’ann in the staging of the doll, he also implicates her in the staging of crime, and murder of his children. It’s the coward’s way out – to accuse or manipulate by not providing evidence to the contrary, evidence only he had.



More: Bella and Celeste Watts: how were they murdered?

How Happy were Celeste and Bella?

Shan’ann’s OTHER response to the doll wrapped in the Twister Mat

Bella and Celeste Watts: What if the cause of death WASN’T strangulation?

Bella and Celeste’s Last Supper

“She wants more marshmallows.” “Okay.” – More Insight into the Watts Family Dynamic

Discovery Documents Interview with McKenna Lindstrom + Audio [5th Tranche]


  1. tbp

    If my husband sent me this picture, I would be confused. Something about the way it’s wrapped around the doll leads me to believe that a child didn’t do it.
    The following are thoughts that come to my mind when I see the image:

    1. He basically ignored her during this time, but took the time out to specifically send this photo with no captioning. Why?
    2 He seemed cagey when questioned about it in the FBI interview. He didn’t want to admit to it. I thought he was known as “Rain Man”. He remembers everything about the oil battery sites per his co workers. Wouldn’t he remember a picture he took less than a week earlier?
    3. It appears he wanted to send the image to his wife, but wanted to remove it. Shortly, thereafter, deleting his FB to remove it. He probably saw his wife posted it on Instagram as it came across his feed. He wanted to try and remove it, as well.

    I think his intentions were to get some sort of response from her, but he didn’t expect her to post it on. I think the Chris that sent that image is the Chris he keeps hidden behind the mask. Maybe he can let lose and be his real self now that he has taken up a new residence.

    • nickvdl

      But this isn’t about the sort of things your husband would do, or how you would feel. It’s the dynamics of the Watts household and the extended friends and family that are material here, not your household, not your personality, and not your field of reference.

      This post went to a heck of a lot of trouble to mine the relevant footage. Is your response to the dynamic we see on Facebook really as shallow and dismissive as: “Hmmm, but I wouldn’t think that?”

      In terms of your first question, I mentioned in the post that Watts probably sent it because Bella asked him to.

      In terms of your second question, he was cagey in how he responded, but you seem to miss what he revealed in his cagey reply [implying Bella didn’t stage the doll].
      If you think that thinking through to it’s logical conclusion, if Watts wanted to clear suspicion off himself, why not just say “I saw Bella doing this…” How does it benefit him to suggest Shan’ann did it instead? It’s obvious, isn’t it? It benefits him because he’s just “confessed” to Shan’ann murdering her children, so Shan’ann staging the doll feeds into that.

      In terms of your third question, it may be that he deleted his Facebook because of this particular image, but beware of confirmation bias. Just because the image and time and date are framed around the same time as the deleting of his profile, doesn’t mean they’re directly related. The other factor was the gender reveal. That was the real thing he wanted to hide. Failing to hide this image doesn’t provide a conclusive answer one way or another. If Nichol Kessinger saw this image, would it mean anything to her, one way or the other? [Perhaps after the family disappeared it *would* raise red flags in her mind].

      For a dude who was very clever and very crafty at hiding away texts and images of his mistress, the idea that he let this slip through is a stretch, in my view. On the other hand, he may not have expected Shan’ann to post the image. On the other hand [three hands now!] it’s difficult to imagine Shan’ann being selective about anything sent to her as she tended to post everything all the time. So Watts had to have assumed if he sent this image it stood a decent chance of going onto social media, like most things the kids did.

      “I think his intentions were to get some sort of response from her, but he didn’t expect her to post it on…” >>>Have you caught on yet that Watts isn’t that kind of person? He’s not confrontational, he’s not attention-seeking, he’s not taunting, he’s the opposite – he’s awkward. He’s introverted, cowardly and prefers to be thought of positively. He also steers clear of social media.

      Final point:

      We already know Shan’ann’s response to it. She was confused and bemused, and so was everyone else. That tends to be how many people react to children’s pranks.

    • Tonya

      During the interview…CW and his Dad.. Dad gets his phone…thumbs through HIS PHOTO GALLERY……then talks about and shows LE this DOLL PHOTO..hmmmm now ask yourself…why does dad have a screenshot of this doll saved in his photo gallery!!

  2. Sylvester

    Beautiful collage of pictures, artfully arranged. There is a lot of symbolism in the idea of covering in this case – covering a doll, covering up one’s other side of their personality, covering up a crime scene, putting a dog in a cover, putting a dog in a cage cover, dog trying to escape a cover, covers thrown back in beds not slept in, covers thrown off a bed not slept in, missing covers, covering one with a blanket and a sheet and a plastic garbage bag, covering up Grandpa next to a lifeless doll, covering with oil, covering with dirt, leaving under the cover of darkness, a father offering a cover for his son, covering up one’s true financial picture, covering up an affair.

    • Sideaffected

      Her “cover-up” coming off on the sheets that he covered her up with, which he threw in the trash to cover it up

      • Sylvester

        Interesting Sideaffected!

        As I wait for Superbowl kickoff, another random thought – is anyone slightly disturbed by the “cheesecake” pose of Bella above? It seems a bit mature to me – like the 1940’s pinup queens, lifting the hem of their dress and showing off some leg. Similar to the inappropriate Las Vegas showgirl and “cowboy’s cowgirl” outfit and routine Patsy Ramsey put JonBenet in.

      • Mustang Sally

        Sylvester, the only way that particular picture disturbed me was in seeing how adorable she was. I also noticed the hint of maturity but was only disturbed that the hint reflected in that picture was all the world will ever know because her life was cut so tragically short. 4 years old. Yes, it disturbed me but not at all in the same way it disturbed you.

        ps…hope your team wins tonight!

  3. Cate

    Fascinating post Nick. The doll must have been wrapped on the ground and then laid on the couch. With a pillow for head and feet. A coincidental foreshadowing…and maybe Bella’s game prompted something in Chris that compelled him to photograph it. At hat point he was already fantasizing about or even plotting murder.

  4. Sideaffected

    This is very interesting because when I think it through, it doesn’t make sense, given what we know. Mostly, it doesn’t make sense that he sent it to her. He was already planning the murders, so why would he do something that A. Could be later seen as evidence of planning or B. Could make her unsettled? We know he was trying to fool her into thinking things had gotten better. Why would he do something that would make her feel MORE uneasy, which I think she did? I don’t think she thought it was funny-I think she was, as she said, confused and looking for reassurance from other people that it wasn’t weird. Some people thought it was, which is important because it was before her murder. Some people told funny stories about their childhood. But to the extent emojis can be significant, she says “at least they have each other’s backs” and shows a surprised and sad face. So she did appear to be trying to comfort herself.

    I don’t believe he thought she would think it was funny-I think he said that because Ronnie brought the picture up, not knowing that Chris had sent it, and Chris was probably like “Dad shut UP…” he was trying to play it down by saying “oh yeah she thought it was funny” the same way he said she was emotional but mostly fine with the separation when he woke her up at 4 to talk about it.

    It makes sense if Bella covered it subconsciously, but it doesn’t make sense that he sent it to her, whether or not he covered it. I’ve even thought “did he mean to send it to someone ELSE?” and I’m not a conspiracy theorist that believes other people had any foreknowledge, so I’m really reaching.

    If Bella did ask him to send it, couldn’t he just have pretended to? Was she there watching him/commanding him to do it? Was he that much of a pushover even with a 4 year-old? I guess that more than any other explanation makes the most sense, but it still feels incomplete and not quite right.

    I looked up why kids would have their adenoids removed today and saw sleep apnea, mouth breathing (more breathing stuff that’s all over this case) so I’m guessing that is why a lot of these pictures of the girls exist. It does look like she had Munchausen’s by Proxy symptoms-before I thought it was more hypochondriacal but her posting all these to social media and getting the “aww” responses does seem to fit the pattern doesn’t it-especially since they both had the same stuff.

    That last photo is really very, very sad. She’s covering him (with room to breathe) saying “shhh” because she’s being considerate that he’s” sleeping.”

    • Ralph Oscar

      “That last photo is really very, very sad. She’s covering him (with room to breathe) saying “shhh” because she’s being considerate that he’s” sleeping.””

      It’s adorable. One of my favorite pictures of Bella.

    • BS pisses me off

      Um some people post their lives on Facebook. She posted everything! It goes with her job and people want to hear and know what was happening with her and her kids. Just bc she posted this doesn’t mean she’s a hyp or munchausens … this seems like victim blaming honestly . She had a disease totally different than theirs….. I had a step son who had asthma and needed a nebulizer . Kids get this. And she had issues conceiving was that also a lie according to you? It’s awfully Easy to sit back and evaluate sometimes life isn’t it? How wild you like it if someone was making these accusations about you or someone you loved that passed? Maybe they had asthma due to the fertility drugs? Stop being so damn judgmental

  5. Shannon

    When you think of the picture, doll covered. The doll would have been covered up on the coach, not the floor. Shanann’s families emojis were laughing ones.
    So far no other creepy pic like this sent to Shanann. Only just before the murders.
    So Bella’s pics really don’t show any other doll covered on the face. Only this one.
    I bet Chris did it, sent it…….as a warning to Shanann. You’d have to have a good imagination to think this was meant for you. Which I don’t think she thought harm would come her way.
    By him not confirming this, it leaves everyone to wonder.
    Could it have been him, being delirious …like a smirk…haha.

  6. Shannon

    Nick, this whole New Post, shows me how much thought and time goes into your work. To write this is mindblowing. How you phrase your sentences, paragraphs, put together the pictures is so articulate.
    Thank you.

    • CBH

      I very much agree with you, Shannon.

      • Shannon

        Yes CBH.
        I remember someone seeing you sitting in. Smoking jacket….cigar…bourbon.
        Is this you.

        • CBH

          More or less 😉

      • Sylvester

        Yes Shannon, CBH is “The Continental”

        • CBH


  7. Carolyn T

    The level of cruelty, depravity, conniving, and scheming among the family Watts is stunning. An American horror story, the likes of which we haven’t experienced in quite some time. I’m having a difficult time recalling one this bad.

  8. Mustang Sally

    I’m going to suggest a different scenario and hope I don’t get ripped apart for it because as Shannon stated above, I too, greatly appreciate how much time, thought, articulation, and dedication goes into Nick’s work. This is not meant to challenge this but offer a similar perspective but a difference in how it may have come about.

    It looks like the doll was pre-wrapped, evidenced by the overlapping layers of the mat, and then gently (as the sweet Bella would tend to her beloved doll) placed on the couch for her nap. Upon seeing that she didn’t look quite comfortable enough, needing to be adjusted farther up on the head pillow, it’s likely sweet Bella pulled the doll from the edges of the mat (and only the mat) to adjust her. The tug necessary to move her doll could have resulted in the mat sliding up, without the much heavier body moving with it. The narrowing at the head and the widening of the mat at the feet would result from this as well.

    Now, having mummified her doll rather than making her more comfortable as intended would likely have set Bella into hysterical laughter…and a wish to share the hilarity with her mom; therefore, requesting Dad send her a picture.

    • CBH

      That could well be. Makes a lot of sense the way you’ve presented it.

  9. ganana

    Of all the scenes with their toys Chris could have sent, why this one? It looks very neat and composed, not like something a child would arrange. This was August 9..Chris was hardly reaching out to his wife very much at that late date. He had already made a decision to kill them all, I think. And I believe he had discussed his plan in detail. Remember he had written… ‘big things are going to happen this year’. On the continuum of ongoing planning discussions about the murder and promises of big things coming, might this image have been sent to Shan’Ann by mistake, in his excitement of the moment? If this happened in that context, no caption for the pic would have been needed; the intended recipient would have understood immediately. …”hang in there; this is gonna happen soon. “

    • Sideaffected

      I know where you’re going with that, and and I wouldn’t be 100% completely flabbergasted, but..I don’t think so, just because I feel like there’s a lot we don’t know about her movements because of her protected status that would shed a bit more light on her. We know they got, at least as far as I’ve seen, just 4 phones analyzed, and hers was one of them (Chris was two of them.) So they obviously considered her a “person of interest,” no matter how much they say they just wanted to learn more about what Chris was up to-I don’t believe that. I also think they think she might be not the best person in the world because even though she’s in witness protection, they still included her Google searches that make her look like a scumbag (and were not helpful to the case, just embarrassing, aka the porn searches.) At least that was my feeling-that she’s kind of a scumbag but had no foreknowledge. If she did, I don’t think she would have made that Amber Frey search on Monday. I also don’t think Chris would have shared that with her. His best friends seem to know not so much about him. I can’t see him throwing out feelers, like “hey what do you think if I murder my kids?” It would have had to be her idea.

      However, did she have two phones? Chris had a “work” phone (which surely is code for “burner”)? Why would oil workers need a whole extra cell phone?

      It did bother me how he sent her that photo though of the field-or was it just because she “liked flowers”?

      That picture is another example of his photo-sending that could be seen as malicious or explained (even though if there was a good reason for it, HE knows he just buried her!) Did he send other field/nature pictures? Was that part of his job?

      • Sideaffected

        I know it’s not THE field but still, come on.

      • CBH

        I was struck also by some of the written comments by the investigators, about NK’s “creepy giggle” and “this was by no means her only porn search”. There’s many questions still in the air about her.

      • LaraLeon

        They definitely thought she was a pos because they said, that those were not the only searches for porn she had done 🙂 and it was definitely not necessary to have that in the discovery. Because by her googling “man i am having an affair with said he will leave his wife”, and asking him “are we bad people” it shows she knew really well he was married. Also, they included that search she did in September 2017 just because they knew she was bad also. They could have excluded that. They didnt

      • thetinytech2018

        No it wasn’t a burner phone nor was it code for one. Anadarko oil gave him a work phone and a work truck, both for (you guessed it) work purposes only. He couldn’t even pick the kids up from the corner in that truck if he wanted to as it was equipped with GPS and it was to be used only for work purposes, nobody else was supposed to be in that truck ever. The phone they gave him was just for work purposes as well. Separate from that he had a personal Iphone on a plan that included Shan’anns phone as well. Neither of his phones were burner phones.

  10. Sylvester

    I think it’s a very covert thing to do – cover the doll over the head like a sheet in a morgue. Granted there is a doll that has it’s head next to it’s body, but lets assume she was playing with her twister sheet. She hasn’t used the twister side, it’s the blank side, as if it’s a plain white sheet from a morgue. It’s also tidy – a pillow for the feet, a pillow for the head. Using both couch cushions. Watts was nothing if not tidy.

    But why don’t we see what message he sent along with the picture to Shan’ann. Did he delete that as well? What did he say when he sent it? If he said nothing then that’s even more sinister to me.

    Thanks Mustang Sally girl, I hope my team wins too!

  11. CBH

    Beautiful collection of pictures of Bella and CeCe. Bella laying on her father’s lap shows her level of comfort and trust in him (growing up in our household, we none of us would ever have dreamt of doing that with our father. He was a tyrant to be feared.). Sad how it all ended.

    I never for a moment bought into the foolish idea that Watts wrapped the doll and was taunting Shannan: His goal was to get away with murder, not leave evidence of premeditation.

    I also don’t believe Shannan had any urge to kill her children nor to send messages about it.

    I believe Bella did it and asked Daddy to send it. Van der Leek’s astute as always theories of a) Bella’s fears about CeCe’s allergies b) seeing Chris’ crime shows c) sensing her Daddy was distancing himself , all combined to form this pictorial message.

  12. CBH

    Addendum: What troubles me chiefly is that it looks too neat to be the work of a 4 year old.

  13. Sylvester

    This reminds me of the 126th episode of The Twilight Zone called “Living Doll.” The doll’s name was Talky Tina. It had a very specific message for the dad.

    • CBH

      I recall well that doll episode!
      I’m in agreement that that one picture of Bella looks sexualized.

      • Shannon

        Yes.sexual looking.
        Also since Shanann was ocd, perhaps the kids learned to be neat.
        I’ve never seen girls cover the face of their dolls, unless something mentally wrong with them….sinster.
        I think Chris.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “I’m in agreement that that one picture of Bella looks sexualized.”

        Considering that Shan’Ann was always carefully posed *just so* in all her pictures – and perfectly dressed and coiffed and all made up – Bella likely was simply copying Mommy.

        • CBH

          Yes, you may be right.

      • ganana

        Agree. Also thought the video of Cece in her pullup before bed was inappropriate…was nothing private to Shan’Ann Watts? Her children had no say about their most private moments being put out there for the world to see.

        • CBH

          Yes, very disturbing and not a good mode for parenting.

  14. Cate

    Yes, why did Chris send the photo. Maybe he and Bella were playing together – Shan’ann would have videoed it if she’s been there! If it was a weird stunt by Chris then it is a counterintuitive move on the part of a soon-to-be murderer to advertise his future deeds. But then so much of what Chris did showed faulty thinking – perhaps a result of not having to think for himself for such a long time.

  15. Ralph Oscar

    Did anyone else notice two life-size dolls? There was one with pale blonde curly hair, and another with long reddish-brown braids. Was the reddish-haired braid one Bella’s and the blonde one was for CeCe? Kind of like those American Girl dolls that are supposed to resemble the girls who own them? I realize there’s no way to tell, but I wonder which one was in the Twister mat and if that was significant…

    • Cate

      Yes I noticed that. For some reason I think it was the blonde one wrapped up (red haired doll had a lot of hair that might have peeked through), i.e..the one in the photo with Shan’ann’s Dad on the couch.

    • L

      Yes, there are two dolls. They are Disney 3 foot tall dolls. You can take the princess dresses off them so the girls can wear them. The one downstairs with the braids is Anna. The blonde one is Cinderella. I believe the Cinderella one would be Bella’s since she has it tucked into bed on the couch with Pop Pop. Also, that doll is seen upstairs in the playroom and downstairs when Chris is doing push-ups with the girls on his back. I think Bella would have the strength to move the doll around. Not sure about CeCe. They weigh just over 5 lbs so not a lot of weight but bulky to maneuver. The Cinderella doll has had its hair restyled as well.
      Also, I’ve noticed there tend to be two of a lot of toys. Since both girls were close in age they could have shared all their toys. It would have saved money.
      I wonder what the reasoning was. Was it an appearance thing? We have enough money for both girls have their own toys!
      Was it so they didn’t have to deal with fighting over toys? It takes more energy and patience to teach and enforce sharing.

      • L

        Correction: I went back and looked at the post again, and Shan’ann calls the blonde doll Barbie. The other doll with a braid is clearly an Anna doll though.
        Doesn’t make much difference, just wanted to get my facts straight.

    • Anne

      They are probably Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”. If you don’t know those characters or the movie you’re, well, kinda lucky

  16. HB

    According to the GPS records Chris was at work on August 9th from 6:24am-4:40pm. How could he have possibly taken this picture at his house, at 11:44am if he was at work in Fort Lupton?

    • CBH

      That’s a very good question.

    • nickvdl

      Important question. It’s possible Shan’ann took the image with his personal phone. I’m assuming she had regular use of it in order to post Thrive stuff to his social media. Someone on the TCRS Facebook group said Shan’ann took numerous photos in the final days of dolls. Not sure how to confirm that.

      • HB

        Yes, she did use his phone sometimes to take pictures, the santa video is proof of that. When do you think she would’ve used his personal phone to take the doll picture? Maybe the evening of the 8th after the ultrasound appointment?
        The link doesn’t work, says “content not found”. I sent a request to join the TCRS FB group, though.
        Here’s the picture of a decapitated doll posted on Facebook by Shanann on August 6th. I can’t find this post on her actual FB page anywhere.

        I wonder if it’s just another one of the many inconsistencies/errors in the discovery documents.
        Page 2017: August 9,2018
        Watts took the day off from work and Shanann left for Arizona
        [s1 I FBt 57 I FBt 59]

        Page 2110: August 10,2018
        Watts took the day off from work and Shanann left for Arizona
        [s1 | FBr 57 | FBI 59]

        We know she actually left to Arizona on the tenth. Could the person writing the report mistaken the source of the picture, also? Maybe he meant Shanann took the photo with her phone then uploaded it to Facebook with the caption “Don’t know what to think about this…”
        Isn’t it strange that there is no more to the text conversation than this photo? She didn’t question Chris when he sent it to her? Yet, Shanann somehow knew that the girls did it together. Doesn’t really make sense to me.

  17. Diana

    HB – Perhaps Chris staged the photo while everyone was still in North Carolina, had it already stored in his phone, then sent it while he was at work that day. He may have just finished talking to NK and was dreaming how he would soon be with lovergirl all he wanted to very soon. Maybe he was relishing what was to come and couldn’t resist his own inside joke and sent it to Shan’ann.

    • HB

      You could be right.
      Wouldn’t Shanann have questions about the photo if Chris randomly sent it to her without an explanation? There’s no mention of follow up texts questioning him about it, in the discovery. How did she know “At least they covered the body together. At least we know they have each other’s back.”?

      • nickvdl

        The phone analyst says the image was recorded at 11:44 on Watts’ phone, and posted two minutes later on Shan’ann’s Facebook.

  18. gardenmamarama

    I see a parallel between the doll photo Chris sent to Shannan and the sunflower photo he sent to NK. Both contained cryptic messages. Appears he has a hard time keeping big news to himself.

    No way would Bella have been able to wrap the doll so neatly. It’s not a coincidence that Chris deleted his Facebook account 2 hours after Shannan posted the photo. He didn’t think of that. Just delete the photo and delete Facebook. Then no one can trace it back. Right Chris?

    • nickvdl

      What’s cryptic about a photo of sunflowers?

  19. Kaye

    something about this photo that just occurred to me….

    Shan’ann and her family all said that the Watts family blocked all of them on Facebook. So how did Ronnie know about this photo? He wouldn’t have been able to see any of their pages, posts, or comments on posts. Who told him about it?

  20. Jenny Duran

    My first thought upon seeing this on her FB page was-What if he was molesting one or both girls and this was an attempt by Bella to “tell”? And I thought this before Chris’s first interview before him being accused.

  21. Jenny Duran

    Because the post was actually posted by Shanann the day before her business trip to AZ. So my guess is she found the scene took the pic, probably sent it to Chris with a “WTF” kind of tone- he probably thought his daughter/s were not going to keep his “secret” Bella was probably reinacting something she either experienced or witnessed Chris do to her or her sister or both. This could have been the catalyst for him “snapping” and murdering all of them. I also think they were killed before Shannan even returned home from her trip. The neighbor’s video doesn’t pick up any sound coming when he is loading them all into his truck and if they were still alive there would have been some sort of noise-kids talk, kids ask questions.

  22. Anne

    Please know this. It is a normal behavioral stage for a child to make a bed for a pet, doll, etc
    As far as Dieter being in the robe, dachshunds are smart! They can also walk backwards or crawl backwards on their belly.
    He probably would have done that.

  23. Ter

    It’s not the same doll upstairs and downstairs. Two different dolls Re-Re. At least get that part right.

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