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

The Doll in the Garage Trash Bin

Each day we’re getting to know the labyrinth that is the Watts crime scene more clearly, and in more detail. Each day we’re increasing our knowledge of known knowns, and known unknowns. It takes longer for the unknown unknowns to make themselves known. Sometimes we stumble upon these by sheer happenstance.

There is a place for intuition in true crime. There’s always a grey area where we can see something, or feel something, but we’re not sure what we’re seeing. True crime is filled with smoke and mirrors, but it’s important not to look for smoke where there is none. Rather, we want to try to make sure what we are seeing is actually there.

In the video below we see a collection of “omens”, from weather phenomena, to sinister dolls to injuries. The weather isn’t irrelevant in true crime. The fact that this crime took place at the height of summer, towards the end of summer, late at night/early morning means something. It feels premeditated but it looks last-minute in a sense too, doesn’t it?

The doll in pink clothing wrapped in a white plastic bag with an orange ribbon is perhaps easier to glimpse by watching the video. Dolls and toys also feature prominently in the JonBenet Ramsey and Madeleine McCann cases. What is the significance of this one – in the trash?

Fullscreen capture 20190205 093944Fullscreen capture 20190205 093953

Beside the bin with the doll in the trash bag is something else that’s plain to see. It’s an orange container. It’s close to the door to the garage.

Fullscreen capture 20190205 095022


Permatex Fast Orange is a typical hand cleaner used by mechanics. Although not odorless, it is colorless, waterless and biodegradable. It doesn’t contain ammonia, which destroys DNA, but it does contain glycerin. Glycerin is a type of humectant – a substance that reduces a loss of water. So in terms of crime scene maintenance, this substance would likely not have been used inside the house, but may have been used to wash hands. Even then, ordinary soap and water would be more effective in destroying DNA.


One possible explanation for the doll in the trash, like the sheets in the other trash bin, was the removal of reference evidence from the crime.  Reference evidence isn’t direct evidence as much as it’s evidence that might cause one to ask relevant questions.

If one of the children typically slept with a doll, then where that doll was found [if not removed from the scene] may be where the child died. If so, removal of the doll from the scene would be insufficient because if it appeared somewhere else, then that might cause problems too. So the doll needs to be discarded entirely so that that line of inquiry isn’t triggered.

As mentioned above, the same psychology appears to be in operation in terms of the sheets and pillow cases. The sheets and pillow cases aren’t removed because they contain evidence, but because they may trigger questions that may lead to other evidence. In sum then, the removal of certain reference evidence is to create smoke and mirrors. You’re seeing something, but you don’t know what you’re not seeing [the unknown unknowns]. Once you see, for example, the doll or the sheets in the trash, you have the beginnings of a known unknown.Fullscreen capture 20181212 184434

Fullscreen capture 20181213 161539

Fullscreen capture 20190126 223519-001

Okay there is something here, but what does it mean?

In the kitchen trash, the bag itself is approximately the same color as the sheets that were placed in them, presumably under a layer of trash that concealed them from a cursory inspection. Was that intentional?

The color of the bag seems to be coincidental [based on the screengrab below from one of Shan’ann’s Live videos].

Fullscreen capture 20190205 112010

The debris scattered on top of the sheets was obviously deliberate. But was it meant to conceal just the sheets, or something else too?

Fullscreen capture 20190205 110521

There are two Thrive sachets at the bottom of the trash bag, suggesting the girls may have had something to eat or drink before they went to bed. If so, what does that mean…?



  1. Liz

    Just on a quick Google, I think the 2 packets found at the bottom could be Thrive Pro Bars Lemon Meringue flavor, not a drink shake. Each of the Thrive Products appears to be color-coded and have different symbols. The + on the bar is for the Pro Bar.

  2. mitzi2006

    I was way on the wrong track with the doll. I thought I could see wrapping paper beside that doll and was thinking it could be the gift Cindy Watts sent for CeCes birthday that she wasn’t going to be playing with so he pitched it along with the relationship book Shan’ann had sent.

  3. Sylvester

    I love this! Objects, symbolism, placement, discarded items. Also see how orange figures prominently in this case – man in orange tshirt buying a breakfast burrito, orange sofa cushions under doll, orange swimming trunks, orange hand cleaner, orange ties on trash bags, and now Watt’s new jumpsuit.

    Some of the debris in the wastebasket can be seen a little closer in the slides below. I think he dumped some dust from the vacuum cleaner in with the mix. Then notice how “her rooms” are the most cluttered and junky. HE was the cleaner. He was the one who liked to fix things. Also in her pantry closet of organized items I don’t see the lemon meringue bars although they could have been in the “Goodies” bin.

    Finding a doll in the garage trash bin is very much like what Telly Savalas tried to do to Talky Tina. He tried burying it in the trash, sawing it, burning it. But the Watts story isn’t the Twilight Zone, however, that doll needed to be thrown away for some reason – might it have been some sort of form of punishment? Or again, putting a doll in a garbage bag and into a dumpster bin is rather symbolic of what he did to the girls.

  4. Sylvester

    Also doesn’t that toy on the other side of the wall where Chris is standing resemble the family? Chris with the outstretched arm and strangling fingers, someone with dark hair shorter and to the right, and a blur of bags in front on the tray.

  5. mitzi2006

    One thing I still haven’t been able to figure out is how long those bodies were in the house or somewhere but cadaver dogs never really seemed to get a big hit, the trauma dog seemed to alert much more. Drug dogs can sniff out drugs in a closed bottle thrown in a huge container. Surprises me that even if he put them immediately into bags that the dogs didn’t strongly alert, but unless I missed something did they film cadaver dogs with his truck?

  6. ganana

    The discarded doll could have been on the bed with one of the girls’ bodies. This association meant that it had to be thrown out, as NVDL suggests in his article above, to discourage certain questions.

    Watts was rushed for time and may have planned to finish his work on Monday the 13th, taking the trash bags to a dumpster or burning it in a remote area.

    Another possibility is his rage at the children made him throw out a favorite doll.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *