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

Cassie Rosenberg’s Interview with the Cops [August 15, 2018 from 10:50 – 12:00]

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  1. Mustang Sally

    Wow…just wow.

  2. CBH

    Even if Chris had not been interrupted in his plans by the flight delay and Nicole and her son, it’s obvious he would have been the #1 suspect due to these interviews with friends. I just don’t understand what his long term plan was. Was he counting on lack of evidence to ever arrest him?

    • Clean Queen

      I think about this a lot. The more I study true crime, the more I believe that Chris was compelled to kill them. It’s like an addict with drugs, sex, gambling, etc. it is a compulsion. I think the last few pages of “Drilling Through Discovery” really illustrates this for me. Like Nick hypothesized, thought started as a ghost and became more and more pervasive. I think Nick is exactly right when he says that at first, Chris narrowed the problem down to the new baby. If he could just get rid of the pregnancy, it would make his life so much easier. Then he came to realize that in order to do that, he would have to just get rid of Shan’ann. From there, the girls too. It’s hard to imagine as a rational human being. He probably thought about it obsessively until he was simply compelled to act.
      I also believe there is an element of magical thinking involved with a lot of these perpetrators. They commit to murder, and because they must do it, (in their own minds) they begin to rationalize the any part of themselves that comes up with logical reasons as to why they won’t get away with it. It is wishful thinking. It is also possible that some believe they are just smarter than everyone else around them.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “The more I study true crime, the more I believe that Chris was compelled to kill them. It’s like an addict with drugs, sex, gambling, etc. it is a compulsion.”

        You mean “addiction” and “compulsion” in the same sense as the way Shan’Ann kept chasing illusionary riches through MLM scams? Thrive was her SEVENTH MLM – and they’d just filed bankruptcy in 2015…

      • Ralph Oscar

        “Chris was compelled to kill them. It’s like an addict with drugs, sex, gambling, etc. it is a compulsion.”

        To some extent, “free will” is an illusion. “Determinism” is the scenario where a person’s choices are already determined in advance, so that, even when there are a dozen possible options, the person in question will choose only one. Often, those who know the person well will be able to predict which choice the person will make! It’s that obvious/parsimonious/Occam’s Razor-ish. Given a specific person’s “conditioning experiences” – upbringing, fears, views on reality, dreams, goals, past experiences, etc. – there is often only a single option out of that set of a dozen potential choices that this person will choose. And that choice will reliably match that person’s conditioning experiences.

        So given the nature of CW and SW’s relationship, with his background of a domineering mother he could never please, with SW likewise so much in control and him lacking any *agency* to make changes (he complained that he couldn’t even hang a picture on his own home’s walls without her moving it, after all) and the financial disaster looming like a giant wall of tsunami rearing up to crash down on them all and destroy everything, perhaps he saw the “family annihilation” scenario as the only realistic option.

        It’s really sad, but these things happen, too often. Remember, murder is the #1 cause of death for pregnant women, according to the CDC, and the babydaddy is typically the culprit. I’m at a loss to figure out a societal approach that could have saved SW and those poor girls – I think the first step should be to outlaw MLM scams like Thrive, because they all result in 99.999% of the participants *losing* money, and most of the victims are women, mothers of young children desperate to be able to make enough money to stay at home with their children. Given this motivation for plunging into disaster, we as a society could do better at safeguarding young mothers’ (the mothers of young children irrespective of the mother’s chronological age) economic stability. If we had guaranteed minimum income for all, a way for moms to stay at home with their small children the way “welfare” used to be, before it became “you have to work to get benefits even if there is no childcare available” “workfare” under the Clinton Administration, I think that would help.

      • CBH

        Yes, agree with all.

      • thetinytech2018

        Agreed. Also, what kind of nurse is Cassie? Is she an actual RN or LPN? I’m thinking CNA but I could be wrong, either way apparently she can tell if someone is hypoglycemic just by watching them? She was making sure Shan’ann ate so that her blood sugar didn’t get low from not eating? Really? Shan’ann wasn’t diabetic type 1 or 2, she never mentions hypoglycemia and I very strongly doubt she missed enough meals to have any significant dip in blood sugar, let alone having it drop so low she’d pass out. She was in her first or second trimester, so the baby doesn’t need more than 300 calories a day, that’s not very much. I find it interesting she went from one claim of ill health to the next…

        I’ve known plenty of women who claim, quite often, that “there blood sugar is low and they need to eat immediately or they’ll pass out”. These are usually the melodramatic types, that like to get attention from claiming medical issues they don’t have. Most would have no clue what dangerously low blood sugar felt like. Shan’ann looked exactly the same to me as she did the months prior, no drastic weight loss or anything. I wonder if the constant complaining of low blood sugar is what led her friend Nicole to claim she had diabetes that day? She certainly wasn’t type 1, and I’m doubtful she had type 2. No glucose tablets, insulin, syringes, keto sticks etc were found in the home, so it was just another made up illness I suppose. It just gives more credit to CW co-worker saying “Everytime a commercial came on about an illness or a medication to treat an illness (weve got plenty of those in the US) Shan’ann claimed either she or the kids had it.” She seemed to love having people think she was this fragile sick person but she was far from it.

        I wonder at some point if she got so used to lying that she wasn’t sure where the lie ended and the truth began. I find so many things odd about this case, it’s like they were living completely different lives. Perhaps CW chose to be in the background because he couldn’t keep up with her ever growing list of lies and ailments, and rather than get screamed at for not going along with things, it’s easier to smile and nod your head. I imagine Shan’ann’s BS was exhausting after a while. Furthermore, maybe this is why he didn’t often bring up finances with her, she seemed to pull the “I can’t do everything, I’m home taking care of the kids all day you have no idea how hard that is” card, you see it in some of her texts. Chris was working long shifts at a physically demanding job, so I doubt after doing that all day he wanted to come home and fight with someone who refuses to bend even a little bit. Not that that excuses him turning a blind eye, but if you’re working all day at a bank breaking job while your wife is throwing money into a pretend job, that’s gotta be frustrating. Especially since she acts like the kids are such a burden but they’re in daycare half the week, so other than her fake business, I really don’t see why she’d be so overwhelmed.

        There’s so many aspects of this case that boggle me. I’ve never seen a person so far in denial that even when they’re about to lose their home, they just keep spending like there’s no tomorrow. There’s so many fascinating elements about this case, and I love reading this blog because we can discuss them openly. Very rare on the internet, unfortunately.

        • Fhiona Brett

          It’s a bit late i know and apologies but this is a very good post and I feel compelled to respond.
          I think SW told them she was Diabetic. Or if she didn’t say it outright she implied something along the lines because there’s no reason for her friends to focus so much on her blood sugar. To be concerned about her not wanting to eat fair enough, and for good and obvious reason, but these two seem very specific in what they were worrying about.
          SW wasn’t backward in coming forward either when it came to blowing her own trumpet was she? Making the statement that she did more than 90% of women (mother’s?) out there. She seemed to like playing the martyr and did it very well if the statements and actions of her girlfriend’s are anything to go by.
          Did she deserve to die because of it? Of course not, but while there may be no excuse, there are always reasons.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “Was he counting on lack of evidence to ever arrest him?”

      If he could have gotten ALL the bodies into the oil tanks, the caustic crude would have dissolved them within days – no evidence. And it’s much more difficult to convict for murder if there’s no body/bodies. It’s been done, sure, but it’s way less likely.

      Between the delayed flight and NUA messing around at the house and calling the cops, Chris ran out of time. He’s not talking, but if his plan was to get all the remains into the oil tanks, he could have gotten away with it. He should have sacrificed a couple of days at Primrose Preschool, though, instead of calling immediately Monday morning to save a few bucks. Once his family hadn’t been found by, say, Wednesday, THEN he could have called and no one would have been as suspicious.

      • CBH

        True. I think he thought he could call Primrose as preparation for separation/ divorce. So many people have asked how he could be so stupid as to make that call, but really it wasn’t meant to indicate murder or vanishing, just that since they’d be selling the house and leaving the area, it didn’t make sense for them to begin there now. He even asked if they were there ( in his mind showing if he thought they might be, then he had nothing to do with their disappearance.

  3. nancyjames3358

    CW conversation with Cassie’s husband Josh “Do I look bad?”
    Painful. I want to divorce him.

    • Liz

      nancyjames, Agreed.

      Chris did not just have a disconnect as he called it with Shanann. I’ve had to finally understand what a narcissist is to understand Chris better. I’m still in that process of viewing youtubes by reliable people with psychology backgrounds and reading further as well.

      At the end of Chris’ confession video, Chris says I’m going to Fuckin’ jail. Tammy Lee and Graham Coder both hop up and go out for a moment saying they will be right back, and Chris says more: “This is fucking horrible.” Saying something also that the worst part is he doesn’t even think they believe him, referring to TLee and GCoder. It’s not that his daughters, wife are dead, but he’s going to jail that provokes all this. Yep, he certainly looks bad, acts bad, and is bad.

      Sorry for the rant, but watching that video today got me fired up.

      • thetinytech2018

        I try to stay away from the narcissist label (or histrionic, or any other personality or mood disorder) when reading about this case. I certainly don’t see narcissist in CW though, hr only fits bits and pieces of it, if anything Shan’ann is closer to that description. Have you read Nicks post regarding it? It’s a very good one if you haven’t.

  4. Sylvester

    Where is the Chris and Shan’ann private gender reveal party posted on Facebook (where Josh noticed Chris smiled but was not happy in his expressions).

    • Teresa

      I think it was the one posted with Shanann wearing the “oops, we did it again” shirt, where Chris walks in and hesitates at the doorway.

      • Ralph Oscar

        I hate that stupid shirt like burning.

  5. Sylvester

    Cassie said it was their own gender reveal ceremony, after she had had the ultrasound, after Nickole knew, and before going to Arizona – she cancelled the gender reveal party, and instead just told Chris. And posted it on Facebook. The “oops” video was when she became pregnant, but didn’t reveal gender. It was probably taken down or just hasn’t surfaced.

    • JC

      Do you think Shan’ann took it down at some point over the weekend? I don’t think it was there 5 days later when the media started scouring her timeline. At least I don’t remember it being mentioned, or know who else would have had her FB login info.

    • nancyjames3358

      Thanks for differentiating oops vs gender reveal.
      I should be taking notes or making my office wall a white board to keep track of so may details.
      Better yet, keep reading Nick’s books. On to Book 3.
      In meantime, thanks posters!

    • Ralph Oscar

      “The “oops” video was when she became pregnant, but didn’t reveal gender. It was probably taken down or just hasn’t surfaced.”

      I saw it linked here on this site. Decidedly cringe-worthy.

      • Ralph Oscar

        Saw the “oops” video here – that’s what I meant.

      • thetinytech2018

        Agreed. I couldn’t watch much of what she posted, not all the way to the end anyway. It was so cringe worthy? Saccharine sweet? Ridiculously outlandish? Try hard? Perhaps a combination of those things, but whatever she was going for, it wasn’t conveyed well. Instead I saw someone who was so thirsty for validation shoving an unwanted camera in people’s faces, only to keep recording when it was clear this was making people uncomfortable. No point in saying it anymore though, because she still didn’t stop. In many of them everyone but her looks uncomfortable, and you can tell they’re just going through the motions to get it over with and give her the reaction she wants, even if it means just gritting your teeth and bearing it. Otherwise, that video will be deleted and it’s on to the next take until she gets one that’s “Facebook perfect”.

        Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get it and I don’t participate in Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. I’m 30 and much of my childhood I had a camera shoved in my face. It’s very annoying when you can’t even wake up on Christmas morning and descend the stairs without having someone shove a camera in your face and ask you a bunch of questions. My heart goes out to those kids because most of their life, their mother interacted with them only through a lense.

  6. Sylvester

    It’s yet another thing that’s missing JC.

    Some other interesting things from Cassie’s interview – Shan’ann was afraid Chris would leave her and take the kids. That statement coincides with the questions she had for Mr. Hamza, the attorney at the restaurant regarding CO state laws regarding which parent might be awarded custody in a divorce. So in March or April she was already pondering that question. She would have reason to worry, since I suspect he was the primary breadwinner, the house was in his name, and he kept telling her he loved the girls (but had fallen out of love with her). Frightening – for her.

    • HB

      I thought the gender of the baby was to be announced on Facebook on Monday, August 13th.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “the house was in his name”

      If memory serves, the house was purchased in Chris’s name, but the next year, he added Shan’Ann to the title.

      • HB

        I have heard that her name was added to title. However, in a group text between Cassie, Nickole and Shanann, she says, “the house is in his name”. Maybe she was referring to the mortgage. Colorado law does not subscribe to the concept of community property. Colorado is an equitable distribution state. All property acquired during the marriage, with exceptions such as inheritances and gifts, is considered marital property and subject to division.

      • Ralph Oscar

        @HB: Yes, Chris added Shan’Ann’s name to the title, but they would have had to refinance in order to get her on the loan as well. So the loan was entirely in Chris’s name.

        I saw this comment on reddit – don’t know how accurate it is, but food for thought:

        “Records for the sale of the home show that Chris obtained the home and the loan solely, adding Shanann later to the title possibly via quit claim deed methods.”

        “A saw a discussion on FB from a realtor that explained when lenders find out that a home owner has done this, they can call the note out and demand it be paid in full or the home will be foreclosed on. Usually this goes undetected…until you get behind on payments or say an HOA agency decides to file a lien against the home for failure of nonpayment.”

  7. ncam619

    Chris thought he would get away with murder just by the fact that he’s known as the “good guy”. You can tell by interviews that he believed that others also perceived him that way. I really think he thought the cops would never really suspect him because he’s the “nice, calm, involved” father/husband and he was counting on the fact that their mutual friends would back him up and the cops wouldn’t feel the need to investigate him any further (that would have never happened btw, but he’s quite dense so that was probably believable to him) . One thing he NEVER considered was that Shan’ann’s friends knew it all, and because of that, the exact opposite happened: they immediately suspected him. If Chris knew Shan’ann was disclosing personal info about their relationship, his family would still be alive.

  8. Clean Queen

    I’m curious as to why Shan’ann told Cassie she was worried Chris would “take the kids from her”. Why would she ever think this? Unless she is hiding something. The only thing I can think of would be she is less stable financially. I don’t believe a judge would give full custody to one parent just because of that. Shan’ann wasn’t even necessarily unstable, she was however involved in a convoluted MLM mess. It is quite common in a divorce for parents to be given joint custody. Barring abuse, neglect, or personal issues such as addiction, most judges try very hard to reach an agreement that allows both parents to play a semi-equal role in a child’s life. It is quite rare for a parent, particularly the father, to be given full custody without a really good reason.
    In Nick’s book, “Rape of Cassandra” an interview with Mr. Hamza is referenced. Hamza is an attorney that Shan’ann and a friend happened to sit with at a Hibachi-style restaurant in the Spring of 2018. According to his interview with law-enforcement, Shan’ann grilled him on all things divorce (including child custody matters) over the course of the meal.
    So why would she fight so hard to keep Chris only a few months later? Could it be that she was pregnant with their third child? Or perhaps she was scared straight when the rubber met the road in terms of an actual separation. Why was she so concerned about losing custody? It is possible given her control issues, she considered anything less than full custody for herself to be unacceptable.
    I’d love to hear any insight!

    • Ralph Oscar

      “personal issues such as addiction”

      Shan’Ann was clearly addicted to her MLM lifestyle. She wanted that image; she was all about the appearances. Nothing else mattered to her. She quit her *paying* job to be a “stay-at-home mom”, and then immediately enrolled the girls in 8 AM – 4 PM very expensive (too expensive) private preschool (when they were just 4 and 3 and could very easily have been spending all day at home with their stay-at-home MOM) which they as a family could not afford. Then, after the girls got out of school at 4, they came home and were promptly put to bed between 6 PM and 6:30 PM. Shan’Ann was minimizing the amount of time she had to be around her own children! In favor of doing…what? What was she doing all day? If she was making as much money as she claimed, they wouldn’t have been several months behind on their mortgage and a year and a half behind on their HOA dues (to the point that the HOA was suing them in court and was likely to seize and foreclose on their house!), AND she wouldn’t have yanked $10K out of Chris’ 401K (thus jeopardizing his future) just to try and get caught up on their mortgage payments!

      Shan’Ann was lying about everything and spending them into a giant hole with her MLM addiction. All those “freebies” she was giving out to try and get suckers hooked and paying? She was *paying* for those. That “work trip” to AZ right before she was murdered? That was no “work trip” – the company PAYS for the trip and all expenses when it’s a legitimate “work trip”. This was nothing but a MLM scam rah-rah session that Shan’Ann was paying for out of her family’s dwindling finances – for nothing but her own vanity. Shan’Ann was a sucking black hole as far as money was concerned, because she was completely addicted to MLM scams. Thrive was her seventh MLM scam…and they’d filed bankruptcy just in 2015.

      She had good reason to fear she wouldn’t get custody in a divorce.

      • Clean Queen

        Ralph Oscar, excellent points here. You’re right, and when you think about it, Shan’ann’s entire world and identity revolved around MLM and Thrive. My understanding is that when she started selling thrive, she deleted her old Facebook profile and created an entirely new one which seemingly became her new identity. She was most certainly addicted. It’s pretty clear that if a person was selling Thrive, they’re selling a “lifestyle” to people. It’s all a bunch of phony nonsense, but SW did everything she could, even to the detriment of her family to play the part. She was invested in MLM down to her very soul. I still am not entirely sold on the idea that financial issues alone are enough for a parent to lose complete custody of their children. I just don’t think that would be enough.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “She was invested in MLM down to her very soul. I still am not entirely sold on the idea that financial issues alone are enough for a parent to lose complete custody of their children. I just don’t think that would be enough.”

        I don’t think so, either. Unless there are very serious (abuse/neglect) issues, the courts are very reluctant to remove small children from their mothers, and while I think there was some neglect there (I’m thinking of Shan’Ann’s video where her child is crying with hunger while Shan’Ann videos herself eating a Thrive bar and mmmming over how delicious it is – “No, you can’t have this – it’s Mommy’s. Mommy earned it.”), there’s no outright abuse that I have seen.

        Unless Shan’Ann was involved in a Munchausen-by-proxy situation, where the girls’ only ailment was a touch of asthma (which is now commonplace among small children and they often outgrow it completely) – and that could come out in a custody hearing – and/or Shan’Ann was doping the kids with allergy medication to get them to sleep more and earlier, there would be no reason to think she’d lose custody.

        But facing the unknown, people fear all the fears.

      • Clean Queen

        Ralph Oscar: “But facing the unknown, people fear all the fears.”

        I LOVE the way you phrased this.

    • HB

      I think you are right on the mark about her controlling personality playing into her desire to have full custody or fear of Chris “taking” the kids from her part of the time. With joint custody she wouldn’t be able to protect her children from Chris’s mom, treenuts and anything else she deemed unacceptable! The struggle between her and the MIL was a glimpse into how she behaved towards another woman in Chris’s life. Can you imagine if that other woman stole Chris from her and was her children’s step mother? I don’t think she would’ve been able to cope.

      She viewed herself as a strong and independent woman even though she was completely dependant on Chris. Maybe she realized that after talking to the lawyer.

      This would be her second divorce, three kids she couldn’t afford on her own, the house in his name, the MLM facade she worked so hard to create would be ruined. Perhaps she felt humiliated by Chris (little brained, ball-less, asshole) wanting to divorce her.

      “His family will get what they wanted.”(she loses, they win after the 8 year battle?) “I honestly wish I wasn’t pregnant, not bc of the child but bc they don’t deserve this life.” (Being raised in a broken home is worse than never existing?) Quite revealing of her mindset about getting divorced.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “The struggle between her and the MIL was a glimpse into how she behaved towards another woman in Chris’s life. Can you imagine if that other woman stole Chris from her and was her children’s step mother? I don’t think she would’ve been able to cope.”

        That’s a piquant observation – I think you’re right on the money.

        I’ve seen a couple of comments about how Shan’Ann (rudely, it sounds like) grilled that attorney she ran into at dinner over divorce and child custody issues, but I’ve missed that post – does anyone remember where that info was?

    • Cheryl

      Could Shan’ann have been bipolar?

      • Cheryl Filar

        Ronnie Watts mentioned in police interview that Shan’ann was unstable, that she was bipolar. Could this have some validity? Could this be the reason the children were placed in daycare–because Shan’ann was unstable and unable to care for the children. Could this also be part of the the reason for Shan’ann’s parents extended stay with them at Saratoga? Could this also be why Bella seemed so stressed, worn, and overly cautious. Since she was older, she may have been exposed to more mood swings, which are typical of those who suffer from this disorder, as are financial issues. I grew up with a bipolar parent, and at given times felt physically threatened by my mother’s dark mood swings–throwing breakable dishes out of cabinets onto a the tile kitchen floor, yanking me out of bed by my hair in the early morning hours because she couldn’t find her tweezers, etc. Although Cindy and Ronnie have been vilified by social media, I think their comments about Shan’ann likely have substance and should be considered a line of inquiry in a case that still has so many voids.

      • Cheryl Filar

        If Shan’ann suffered from a mental disorder (see my comments below), this would have been another reason for her to be concerned about being granted custody of the children.

        Sorry about the multiple posts, I’m having problems doing so…writing fairly lengthy comments only to have them disappear into the ether. grrrrr…

      • Cheryl Filar

        If Shan’ann was bipolar, this would have been another compelling reason for her to be concerned about related to custody of the children. Sorry about the multiple posts, I’m having trouble doing so–comments disappearing into the void.

      • HB

        Possibly, and/or facticious disorder and facticious order imposed on another…
        If the latter, she would need to have control of the children, someone finding out that they are only sick around her might report her. It is child abuse.

      • Ralph Oscar

        Thanks for your insights, Cheryl Filar. I’m truly sorry you had to experience that as a child. It adds an interesting angle to the picture of who Shan’Ann was, though, and, yeah, when the possibility that Shan’Ann had some mental problems was raised, I immediately thought that might be a reason Shan’Ann could lose custody of the children. It does explain why the children were spending such excessive amounts of time in the care of strangers – to get them away from Shan’Ann. But if that was the whole point, I suspect someone involved with the Watts would have floated that during interviews and no one did. Quite the opposite – her friends commented on what a great mum she was.

      • HB

        I’m so glad you want to discuss this.

        “Certainly my mother had her share and no one even suspected what was going on behind our closed doors.”
        I’m incredibly sorry.

        “It’s possible for someone to hide emotional disorders and maintain a semblance of functionality and/or normality.”
        I agree 100%, my sister has BPD, she’s a great mother. No one would guess she has a cluster B personality disorder. My family didn’t until she attempted suicide.

        “Ronnie Watts mentioned in police interview that Shan’ann was unstable, that she was bipolar. Could this have some validity?”

        Yes, I think so. Ronnie was close with Chris, I’m sure they had discussed marital problems and he knew a lot about Shanann’s personality based on that, in addition to the disagreements Shanann had with Cindy.
        We know Shanann was terrible with money, possible embezzlement charges, potentially cheated on Chris (or was it the ex husband?) with Hisham Bedwan, was naive or delusional about the MLM stuff, dramatic, controlling and manipulative, had shallow and/or fragile friendships, quick to anger, isolating and vindictive tendencies, functioned on very little sleep. I’m not a psychologist but… Bipolar or histrionic personality disorder seem likely.

        “Usually family members are complicit in hiding such issues, ergo the possibility that extended in-law stays and childcare hours may have been a part of compensating for Shan’ann’s lack of parental wellness.”
        So true. I read on YouTube, (I know terrible source) that Shanann may have had a court order preventing her from being alone with the kids for extended periods of time after CeCe was born, hence the reason her parents moved in for over a year and the girls were in full time daycare. Do know anything about the validity of this claim? If it’s true, wow!
        Do you know if it’s true that her brother has a record of child abuse?

        My suspicions about the possibility of Shanann having facticious are based on illnesses being part of her identity, it was mentioned by every single person that knew them.
        The list of ailments for Bella and Celeste: surgery on her tearduct, endoscopies, small esophagus, acid reflux, nut allergy, both girls had tubes in ears, adenoids removed, asthma, familial mediterranean fever (, breathing treatments, hospital visits, chiropractic adjustments. In almost every video she says the girls are sick.
        Shanann doctor shopped and fished for information on forums until she was able to get a diagnosis she wanted. The list for Shanann: Lupus, diabetes, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, gluten allergy, neck surgery, colonoscopy, migraines, constipation, nausea, dehydration, low blood sugar, infertility issues (3 pregnancies in 4 years, yeah right!), claimed to be spotting and at risk of losing the baby but didn’t go to ER.

        If Shanann was diagnosed with bipolar before she was murdered, what do you think that would imply about the case?

    • CBH

      Her criminal past could be used against her.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “Her criminal past could be used against her.”

        Yes, I’m sure. Do we have any details? I’ve picked up on brief mentions, asides about Shan’Ann having something of an unsavory past in NC, but I haven’t seen anything definitive. Anybody got a link to details about what went down before SW and CW hightailed it to CO?

        • CBH

          Don’t recall now where, but months ago I did read on various forums that she’d been involved in some sort of embezzlement scheme with her former boss. Plus another poster here points out that her having taken out a credit card in Bella’s name could be used against her in a divorce/custody suit. When it came to finances she was like a gambling addict, both pathological and criminal.

          I’m sure a Google search could lead to more info.

          I do recall Van der Leek saying on his site or in one of his texts, that Shannan said in a video that so many people abandoned her when she was diagnosed with Lupus. NVDL asked, was that the real reason, or was it due to her having been involved in embezzlement?

      • Ralph Oscar

        Something I ran across looking into Thrive’s compensation plans – this has to do with attaining the Bonus level:

        “COMPLIANCE NOTE: Bonus Buying is strictly enforced. Anyone caught creating fake accounts and placing orders through fake accounts will be disqualified from achieving the GO VIP Bonus and will be suspended from Le-Vel without pay.”

        To get in at the $400 VIP Bonus level, you have to be “Qualified & Active”, plus have 2 new Autoship Customers, and enroll at least 2 Promoters with Enrollment/Upgrade Packages. I’m certain Shan’Ann signed Chris up as a Promoter in order to build her structure to get qualified for bonuses – this is the lowest Bonus level. I wonder if she would have signed Bella up as a Promoter, too, if she felt she could’ve gotten away with it. That would mean that Shan’Ann would have to be selling for 3, of course, and allocating the sales around to make it all work, but whatevs…

        • CBH

          They ought to ask themselves why anyone would feel the need to create fake accounts.

    • Deanne

      Perhaps she was concerned with the thought of him having any custody of the children, and that was what she meant by him taking them. She obviously had concerns about his family, and him having any custody would give his family access to them without her presence. Just a thought.

      • HB

        This is what I think, too. It wasn’t that he would try for full custody, just that she didn’t want him to have the kids at all. I wonder why? By all accounts he was a good dad and typically spending equal time with both parents is in the best interest of the children.

  9. Duttdip

    The problem is that this circumstantially supports the “she killed the girls” theory. “If I do not get them, no one would.”
    Though I never believed in that theory.

    • Ralph Oscar

      Nah, Shan’Ann only “killed the girls” figuratively in sacrificing the entire family’s future on the altar of her own vanity, in service to her god of MLM scams.

    • Ralph Oscar

      ‘“If I do not get them, no one would.”
      Though I never believed in that theory.’

      I find it implausible in the extreme. Shan’Ann clearly loved her girls, and IF they’d been killed after a custody hearing in which full custody was awarded to CW, then maybe I could believe such actions on SW’s part for those reasons. But for her to kill them at this early point, when they hadn’t even begun taking legal steps to separate – I can’t believe that.

      And in any case, if SW killed the girls, why did their father move those little bodies and dump them into crude oil tanks??

  10. Ralph Oscar

    Wow – Shan’Ann’s Thrive friends are ENORMOUS!!

    • CBH

      Very unusual for a slim, attractive woman like Shannan to have only big, fat friends.

      • Ralph Oscar

        I was kind of thinking that myself, although according to a before/after pic Shan’Ann posted to show off how much weight she’d lost with Thrive (which I can’t find now – saw it within the last coupla days), she was pretty big at one point. I don’t know how much of that was leftover pregnancy weight, though.

        Anyhow, for someone as image-conscious as Shan’Ann was (almost all her pics show her carefully made up and posed for the camera), being around much bigger friends would of course make her look more slender by comparison. And she could use that to her advantage – “Buy your Thrive from me! I’m living proof it will help you lose weight!” I suspect there was pretty stiff competition between all the too-many Thrive reps in the area for what customers were available, so Shan’Ann used a weight loss angle her fatter friends couldn’t use as effectively. I’m thinking of SW’s apparent plan to brand Baby Niko as a “Thrive pregnancy” and “Thrive baby” as Nick explained in an earlier installment – a way to distinguish herself from the sea of other Thrive reps and claim more of the market for herself.

        • CBH

          Yes, that would have been more awful stuff. Can’t blame Chris at least for wishing it could all just go away.

          I was thinking too that despite Shannan being quite pretty and attractive, Thrive seemed to attract big cows. The types of women who couldn’t make it in the corporate world.

      • Sylvester

        lol CBH! Well, it is the elephant in the room.

        Anyway I think Shan’ann’s concern in talking to Hamza was mostly thinking she would like to take the girls back to NC if things didn’t work out with Chris, and would she be allowed to do so? And the answer is no, not if he filed for joint custody. She would have to stick around and make a living in Colorado. What would she do – go back to Longmont Ford?

        • CBH

          So it seems she had little faith in Thrive as a money making strategy. Because 80K plus along with child support would be enough.

        • CBH

          Elephant 🐘 in the room. 😂

      • mitzi2006

        She didn’t only have bigger friends, Addy, Christine, Amanda, just to name a few. Being Thrive resulted in many losing weight it’s hardly a surprise that benefit would attract those interested in the product. Obesity rates are very high in the US, they represent a lot of people struggling with the issue

  11. Ralph Oscar

    I gotta say – the “Cassie” narrative is, like, 1000 times more exciting than the NUA narrative! Holy buckets!

    • Mustang Sally

      Ralph, it was very revealing, very interesting, and very detailed. Holy buckets, indeed!

  12. Ralph Oscar

    “SHANANN said CHRIS wanted to sell the house before the wells were drilled.”

    Given NVDL’s analysis of how that big empty house was killing them financially,

    I’m reminded of a recent headline where a man was convicted of killing his wife (who was planning on divorcing him) by throwing her into a body of water with a 110-lb slab of concrete tied around her neck…that slab of concrete was the equivalent that albatross of a house. It shows CW’s anxiety that two of the first moves he made after annihilating his family were to contact a realtor about putting their house on the market and canceling the too-expensive preschool for the children (I don’t remember which of those came first). These actions on the part of CW show what he was panicked about.

    • Ralph Oscar

      I forgot to finish a thought:

      Given NVDL’s analysis of how that big empty house was killing them financially, I suspect that Chris would have told Shan’Ann *anything* to persuade her to agree to sell that house. Of course, that’s just the first step in a downsizing process – after getting rid of the too-big, too-expensive, unnecessarily ostentatious house, would he be able to persuade her to “settle” for a smaller, perhaps “used” house? Something *not* new? I suspect not. Shan’Ann had expensive tastes and did not like being told what to do. She was the one who ran the show, not Chris, and she wasn’t about to let that change.

  13. Seymour Glass

    Shan’ann’s texts to Cassie about Chris’ sister being the “golden child” and Chris being “chopped liver” his whole life speaks to the narcissistic mother – enabling father – toxic family dynamic that is/was the Watts family.

    Shit, I lived this life, too, and can relate so much with Chris’ social awkwardness. For me, I can talk to anyone – Muhammad, the kind bodega owner; Margarita’s son from Mexico who makes my daily beet-kale-lemon-ginger juice at a raw juice bar near my NYC apt, whom I always generously tip, etc. Superficially, I’m a social dynamo. However, where it gets super complicated for me, especially with female friends, is when they encroach past my boundaries. Anything could trigger a myriad of complex PTSD stress from growing up in the kind of home like Chris’.

    Chris was abused, treated as an object to control. It’s called “narcissistic abuse.” It’s a real thing, but it’s often covert. There is a generational impact on future generations if you are not self-aware, and how to not make the same mistakes with you own children. Some of the things I do with my children is tell them everyday that I love them for who they are, just for being themselves – never any pressure. I’m teaching them to not let their friends treat them badly, to go no contact peacefully. This way they are not primed or easy targets for future abuse.

    The black sheep, scapegoated children have so much rage they have to work through due to the unfairness, no validation, gas lighting, no boundaries (no privacy or respect of your things), tight control, forced isolation via behind the back smear campaigns, shame, fear, guilt. We struggle with emotional regulation, and learn unhealthy coping mechanisms. When I get that wave of righteous anger, I can eat a whole pie with just a fork and can of whipped cream. It soothes (hugs) that inner, damage child. Then Sia’s song comes to mine when she sings in Chandelier, “Here comes the shame, here comes the shame.”

    For Chris, he would turn socially awkward from going grey rock for the majority of his life – not showing emotions. Emotions were considered weakness in his home. Chris asking Cassie’s husband about should he go to work while his pregnant wife and two daughters were actively missing, how would it look, and also a similar question about appearances to his childhood friend, is a symptom of dissociation. He completely dissociated when he killed Shan’ann and his beautiful little girls.

    My own mother told me at least two times in my teens and twenties that she feared I will be murdered. I was a good kid, and never gave my parents trouble. There was no reason to say that out loud to your child, unless she was practicing the law of attraction. Watching Cindy Watts interviews were quite triggering for me. Do I think Shan’ann was a saint? No way. She had her own issues she brought to their relationship. I do think she loved the Chris, and was the only one who would stand up for him to his parents.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “beet-kale-lemon-ginger juice”

      When we were in San Francisco, I tried a beet-carrot-lemon-ginger drink from a raw bar and it was terrific! If you have Frazier Farms groceries where you live, you can get something similar there, along with other bottled fresh juices.

    • Kaye

      I believe that Chris started to learn how to lie when he was young. He observed his sister causing trouble and drama, so he learned how to be the good boy in order to get his parents approval. He lied about anything that could create negative attention for him and buried it within himself. This pattern worked well for them, I’m sure. With Shan’ann he was rapidly coming to a point where she wasn’t buying anything anymore and she knew he was lying. He was at a loss about how to keep up the facade.

    • Ralph Oscar

      That’s a powerhouse of a post, Seymour Glass. Very insightful. As to the very last, If someone like Shan’Ann who perhaps didn’t have the best interpersonal skills to begin with (though she was very effective at sales – not necessarily in the same wheelhouse) who bristled at how Chris’ family treated him because she loved him and hated the injustice of it all decided to confront that long-standing family dynamic that she had just married into and thus wasn’t a part of — oof. Disaster. Way to make everything worse.

    • Eve

      No, there is no reason to say that out loud to your child-wow. Black sheep here who felt physically sick reading that whole thing. I relate. Though I don’t think Chris disassociated, or if he did, that’s not a sign of it. Because he’s more often like that than not. I think he’s always like that, he’s just with people who don’t question him too much or aren’t too discerning. No one seemed to notice he was “off” until after, and everyone looks off after. Part of what’s so disturbing-I know I think “I’d know.” Really? Would I??

      Probably not. However I’d be safe (from him at least) cause I’d never marry someone with so little…oomph. Humor? Personality?

    • WTH

      “Every generation blames the one before …” I think most, not all, but most parents try to do the best they know how. Then their kids grow up and tell their therapist how fucked up their childhood was.

  14. Ralph Oscar

    I’m about 1/2 way through, and I haven’t yet noticed where Cassie lives. Apparently not in CO? So she and Shan’Ann met at one of these Thrive shindigs and hit it off, then just had a long-distance relationship? I know those can work, that’s not a problem, but I am not seeing anything about where Cassie is actually located.

    “She would never risk their spot by not showing up for the first day.”

    Someone recently called up Primrose School and asked when the fall semester (kindergarten for Bella) started and was told August 20. That was apparently the day Shan’Ann asked Chris to take off so they could take Bella together for her first day. So before that, apparently it was just more preschool daycare so the stay-at-home mom didn’t have to be bothered with having her own children around.

    • nancyjames3358

      “I haven’t yet noticed where Cassie lives”
      Per Cassie’s facebook page – Kingman, Arizona

      • Ralph Oscar

        Was Cassie a fellow Thriver (peer) or someone Shan’Ann had recruited into her own network (subordinate)? Shan’Ann seemed pretty eager for Cassie and her husband Josh to move closer.

  15. Ralph Oscar

    Chris asking Josh what he should do re: work etc. was a huge mistake.

  16. Ralph Oscar

    “CASSIE told me that CHRIS refuses to drive the work truck onto the driveway because he was concerned with getting oil from the tires on the driveway. CASSIE and JOSH were in staying at the WATTS’ house at the end of May 2018. CASSIE offered to park on the street to allow CHRIS to park in the driveway, but he declined. He said that he never pulls into the driveway because he did not want any oil from the oil fields messing up the driveway. CASSIE had learned from NICKOLE that CHRIS backed his truck into the driveway on the morning of 08/13/2018. CASSIE said that when she was staying at their house, CHRIS never loaded or unloaded anything from his truck.”


  17. Ralph Oscar

    Shan’Ann texts about CW’s father “He’s just as guilty by not doing anything.” Does this kind of thinking excuse every destructive thing *she* does by spreading the blame equally onto Chris, in her mind? So it’s just as much his fault as hers that their finances are in a shambles? To the point that, if called to the mat, she might feel she could point to Chris and make it all *his* fault, because “He’s just as guilty by not doing anything”? Obviously it’s a narcissist’s ideal “out”.

    Many commentators have noted that CW didn’t “rein her in” in her MLM excesses and thus he’s complicit at the very least, but given the dynamics of their relationship, with her the overwhelmingly dominant partner and him the obviously submissive partner, was that a realistic expectation, that CW could control and dominate SW? I think not.

    • Mustang Sally

      “So it’s just as much his fault as hers that their finances are in a shambles?”


      • nickvdl

        At the risk of reaping the “Victim Blaming” whirlwind, I’m going to say it’s not necessarily as much his fault that their finances were in a shambles. This topic probably deserves its own post to credit to it – pun intended.

      • Mustang Sally

        I would look forward to reading your analysis! My one word response to such an overarching question certainly left a LOT of room for debate and goes on to emphasize that there really aren’t any easy answers to a case, marriage, family dynamic, police investigation, and file of forensic evidence that is as multi-level (moreso) as any pyramid scheme.

        I’m most appreciative of your responses to any commentaries as they always provide a continuation of your thought processes or add a bit more to the many layers of what you have already shared on your blogs or in your books.

      • Ralph Oscar

        Nickvdl: “At the risk of reaping the “Victim Blaming” whirlwind, I’m going to say it’s not necessarily as much his fault that their finances were in a shambles. This topic probably deserves its own post to credit to it – pun intended.”

        Yes please.

    • Eve

      Why does one person HAVE to control and dominate necessarily, and if one isn’t then another is? If neither had to, this would never have happened

  18. Ralph Oscar

    “SHANANN texts CASSIE a photo of a house for sale and they discuss mortgage issues as CASSIE has a foreclosure on her history”

    UH-OH! Not the kind of person you should be choosing to advise you on issues surrounding your too-big, too-expensive house that’s heading for foreclosure! Does anyone have an image or info on that house for sale? I’m suspecting it was at *least* as big as 2825 Saratoga Trail…

    • HB

      Shanann asked Cassie, “what if it’s solely on your mom’s name?”
      Cassie’s response, “she doesn’t make enough”
      These women are in their 30’s, married and have kids why would they even consider asking their parents to buy homes for them? Seriously wtf?!?

      • Ralph Oscar

        ‘Shanann asked Cassie, “what if it’s solely on your mom’s name?”’

        Shan’Ann bragged about “building her own house” back in NC, before Chris, but I’ve got in my mind some comments about her parents having a bankruptcy (not just Shan’Ann and Chris later, but her parents earlier as well), along with buzz about Shan’Ann having gotten herself in trouble with the law for embezzlement, etc. (hence the urgency of getting the heck outta Dodge and fleeing to Colorado). Did Shan’Ann’s parents cosign on her first house?

      • Ralph Oscar

        Hmm – I interpreted that “texted her a picture of a house for sale” and thought Shan’Ann was thinking about switching to that house herself, but now I’m thinking she was suggesting it as a house Cassie could buy.

      • HB

        “Hmm – I interpreted that “texted her a picture of a house for sale” and thought Shan’Ann was thinking about switching to that house herself, but now I’m thinking she was suggesting it as a house Cassie could buy.”

        Yes, Shanann was suggesting Cassie and Josh buy the house she had sent a picture of. They were going to be staying with the Watts’ for at least a month while they looked for jobs and a place to live in Colorado.

      • Cheryl Filar

        HB, I’m sorry this comment is out of sync with the current topic, but I wanted to respond to your earlier response to my comments regarding Shan’ann’s possibly being bipolar. First of all I appreciate your response but wanted to further discuss her friends’ believing she was a good mom and that fact making it unlikely, as you pointed out, that Shan’ann had emotional issues, which could impair her being awarded custody of the children. It’s possible for someone to hide emotional disorders and maintain a semblance of functionality and/or normality. Certainly my mother had her share and no one even suspected what was going on behind our closed doors. Usually family members are complicit in hiding such issues, ergo the possibility that extended in-law stays and childcare hours may have been a part of compensating for Shsn’ann’s lack of parental wellness.

  19. Diana

    Ralph I’ve been saying for awhile that the actual first day of school/kindergarden for Bella would’ve been August 20, not the 13th. You’re correct it was simply another day of daycare for the girls, I’ve also been saying that right here on this forum too. I even googled the very Primrose School the girls attended in Colorado which also shows the first day of school was August 20. Of course daycare is year round. Guess it’s a moot point anyways.

    • Ralph Oscar

      Ah – I’m sure you’re the source of that information that I was thinking of – thanks for that! Before you provided that, a lot of us were thinking that Aug. 13 had been the first day of school, but that wouldn’t have made sense in retrospect because Shan’Ann had her OB appt that morning, at 9 I think, and she’d wanted Chris to take off work on the first day of school so that they could take Bella together (and he wasn’t scheduled to take the day off Aug. 13).

  20. Ralph Oscar

    CW: “I really don’t want you to think I’m a bad person Cassie.”

    By my count, this is the THIRD person he’s confided in that he is afraid they’ll think he’s a bad person – Cassie’s husband Josh, the investigator, and Cassie. That should be the least of his concerns, with his pregnant wife and two vulnerable daughters missing (the scenario he suggested).

    CW wanted to erase his family but still keep his reputation and image intact. That’s a tall order.

  21. Sylvester

    Who was this Mark Shan’ann wanted to confide in? Did she?

    • HB

      I think she was talking about Mark Jamieson, Chris’s friends from childhood.

  22. nancyjames3358

    So the options are:

    A. SW big spender, family finances a disaster and CW didn’t have any idea, clueless because SW handled all the money and she demanded/he deferred all adult financial responsibility to her.

    In the beginning it was possibly ok with him. Overtime, CW silently grew to resent it, but continued.

    Curiosity (or something) peaks during the NC trip, and Voila, does some digging and discovers the degree of how bad their situation is.

    B. CW had full knowledge of the financial disaster, was complicit in it and wasn’t concerned . . . until he wanted out.

    Any other?

    • Ralph Oscar

      C. Both CW and SW believed that Thrive “business” was an “investment” that would soon pay out straight to Fat City. A lot of the people who get burned by MLMs dump thousands of dollars into the venture in hopes it would result in significant profits not far down the road. This, in fact, is how those at the top of the MLM pyramid become wealthy – off everyone else losing their shirts.

      Under this scenario, CW and SW both believed in the Thrive MLM promises – they’d been strung along just far enough (with trips and the car allowance and the writeup of Shan’Ann’s family in the Thrive publication) to get them good and hooked and trying to move up to the next tier of rewards (12K sales or something rather than 8K). Part of moving up required that SW have so many sellers at a certain $ level underneath her in her own “network”, and she’d put CW there, likely with his agreement, as a way of positioning herself to claim the benefits of the $8K sales level that they were enjoying.

      At some point, it all breaks down, some worse than others. SW and CW were all in with the Thrive MLM, which could only lead to disaster. In support of this hypothesis, I would like to see stockpiled product that SW had not been able to sell. But how much was she giving away as “samples”? Where did those bars she videos herself and her friends “sampling” come from? Did Shan’Ann have to purchase those or did the company send a few freebies for promotional purposes?

    • KerryA

      I think it was a combination of the first two but it really came to light during the NC vacation when Chris was collecting the mail. I personally believe that after Chris had withdrawn 10K from his retirement for the mortgage, Shanann promised him it wouldn’t happen again and that she was making a lot from Thrive going forward etc. She was at home and probably collected and stashed the mail away from him. When she was away for 6 wks that summer, Chris started opening the mail and realized they were trouble. (There were open bills spread all.over the desk downstairs in the police bodycams). This likely contributed to his feeling of being trapped and drowning, so distressing that he began thinking of a way out and how to get ‘free’. It’s pretty telling that his first calls after disposing of the bodies were financially focused (to the realtor and school)

  23. LGW

    Nick, do you have a copy of that “Time for a Reset” article that was in that Thrive magazine?

      • nancyjames3358

        Thanks HB for finding this. I tried unsuccessfully. Quite the delusional gem.

        “I was working 65 hours a week and also taking care of my kids” she says. (65 hours a week and 2 small kids, . . . c’mon)

        “I rarely got any sleep but my passion for wanting more for my kids was stronger than anything else”. (supermom and no mention of CW and her marriage)

        It’s amazing that my husband and I have created more memories in the last two years than we did in the previous eight”. (wth)

        Shanann’s Le-Vel business led her to leave both of her jobs and realize her dream of staying home with her kids and sending them to preschool. (mixed message)

        “I went to the Le-vel meeting in Dallas my first year and discovered I loved helping single parents (huh?) or want more in their life for their families” she says.

        Oh man, maybe I’m in a funky mood because this is truly hard to swallow.

      • LGW

        Thank you HB!!

      • LGW

        Just finished the article. She still comes across to me as someone who was very ambivalent in her role as a mother. She sounds like she was unable to cope with the basics: getting your kids dressed, feeding them, etc. She did not want the caregiver role. Making breakfast and doing laundry and taking care of your kids is something millions of people do every day. I also think she was psychosomatic and don’t believe she had a chronic health issue because she sure seemed able to jet-set around all the time no problem. These are my opinions only.

  24. Cate

    I was enjoying this site until some of the posts from men (I presume) started calling the overweight Thrive women ‘cows’ and ‘elephants’. Not cool. It comes across as sexist and demeaning and undermines the quality of your other comments.

    • Ralph Oscar

      Is it okay that we refer to them as “morbidly obese” instead? Remember, this is a health program they’re peddling to others. Is it unreasonable that we should expect to see the reps reaping the benefits of these supposedly terrific health-oriented products that they’re expecting others to buy for top dollar?

      • Cate

        Yes that’s less insulting.

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