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“Chris is a very smart guy…It was an accident that spiraled out of control” – Josh Rosenberg’s Theory of what really happened… [54th Tranche]

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More: Josh and Cassie Rosenberg Texts on August 13th [35th Tranche]



  1. Liz

    I would love to hear what Josh would say now, in hindsight.

    Chris did have a lot of secrets, like one of the profilers said early in the case. It’s too bad most of his male friends were husbands of his wife’s friends. Even so, he didn’t confide in Mark, his very own friend, about what he was doing. He pretended to be something he was not with NK – extending his relationship credit where he was already full to the hilt with responsibilities and another on the way. He prepared Nikki for when his wife was going to be gone for the 5 weeks so he would “get some.” This is the accident that spiraled out of control.

    • Clean Queen

      Me too! I feel like sometimes you can be too close to the case, so to speak. You develop a relationship with someone and know them to be a certain way. When something like this happens, it can be pretty shocking. It would be interesting to see what Josh and others have to say now.

  2. CBH

    You would assume at first that any husband committing such a crime would have begun it inadvertently as an accident spiraling out of control, but on close examination and in retrospect there are many signs of premeditation. Josh Rosenberg didn’t even think it was possible that Watts was having an affair.

  3. CBH

    Addendum: He says CW was too smart to have planned so poorly. In truth he planned fairly well. Had the flight not been delayed and had NA and her son not been so persistent as to see the car was in the garage by Nickolus having stood on the hood of the car things might have turned out differently.

    Question: If things had been different and Chris hadn’t confessed or told about the oil tanks, would law enforcement have thought to drain the tanks?

    • Fred Gonzalez

      I like to think that because LE couldnt eliminate him as a suspect and I really think that would’ve remained the case, eventually they would begin to look at work locations. He never really estblished an alibi and he was absolutely the last person to have contact with all 3 victims. Then theres the home security video which never showed anything else besides SW arriving and CW leaving(after backing his truck in the garage). Maybe he would’ve been under heavy surveillance and we all know he would’ve committed some huge missteps with his affair and starting a new life with NK. So maybe this investigation drags on for a good while before it went to trial but I believe in the end Watts ends up in the same place. What I don’t know is if we still have all the same unknowns that we do now.

      • CBH

        True. However: As some have pointed out, if he’d refined his plan and led others to believe Shannan and the girls had really left him, and they’d not had cause to drain the tanks and perhaps never suspected them, he could well have gotten off on reasonable doubt. Or they might never have been able to bring him to trial.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “Maybe he would’ve been under heavy surveillance and we all know he would’ve committed some huge missteps with his affair and starting a new life with NK. ”

        I’m no expert, but something I’ve picked up from missing persons cases is that the grieving family *never* sells the house or moves. They stay put, right there, because if the person somehow surfaces and tries to come “home”, that’s where they’ll go. Yet CW contacted a realtor that morning to put the house on the market right away. He also called the school first thing that morning to tell them the girls wouldn’t be coming back – how did he know? Why didn’t he wait a day or two to see if they’d show up?

        Oh, yeah, he already knew no one was going to be showing up…

        So his behavior was already suspish.

    • EllTee

      I’ve wondered that about the tanks myself. If it occurred to them, it might have taken awhile for that idea to crystallize, and by then, the girls might have been pretty much dissolved in that caustic crude. Or, who knows, an intuitive law enforcement agent, perhaps FBI or CBI, could have gotten that inkling early on. It’s hard to say, and I can imagine a number of scenarios. Glad you brought that up!

      • CBH

        Thanks, I agree that an intuitive investigator might have started to gaze at those tanks. 🤔

    • Cheryl Filar

      I’ve thought about this, CBH—would they have drained the tanks absent a confession from Chris? After all, the authorities had GPS data leading them to the site, and logic would indicate that’s where he disposed of the bodies. During the interview with Chris, the authorities really pressed him to provide assurances that the girls were in the tanks. This was due to the magnitude of the operation, which was an expensive, lengthy, and very hazardous operation—a lot of risk/exposure to whomever contracted the hazmat team to recover the bodies. My sense is they would not have undertaken this operation without a confession followed by assurances extracted from Chris.

      • CBH

        I think you’re right. And if in time they finally did, all traces would have turned to sludge.

  4. Sylvester

    I think so – the other Technicians had already noticed some irregularities (p. 356 discovery)

    • CBH

      I don’t have access at the moment. What were these?

      • Sylvester

        CBH – on 8/13 at Cervi 319: “during the course of repairing the equipment, Watts released the pressure release valve (PRV), which caused some oil to spit out. Parrish had observed Watts to be meticulous with cleanliness, but on this occasion, he did not clean up the spill. Later in the day Parrish went back to Cervi 319 to evaluate the equipment as repairs had not been fully completed. She noticed that PRV had not been wiped down, which she thought was unusual given Watts propensity to clean messes and spills.”

        It’s likely that Watts intentionally released the pressure valve because he had placed bodies in the tanks and knew data was monitored (Nichol’s job?). We know he took a picture of the spilled oil – but according to Parrish he didn’t clean it up. Wasn’t that why he was supposed to be at Cervi 319? I don’t have the text to Cody in front of me, but I think he caused the spill intentionally, to release the pressure in side the tanks but in his haste to get out of there didn’t clean it up. Parrish noticed it though, and either documented it or alerted her boss, and in the end many people contributed to Watts being nailed. A little longer though and the bodies of the girls might have turned to sludge and oil.

        • CBH

          Thanks so much for that info. Yes I see. I don’t have any animosity toward Nichol as a ‘home wrecker ‘ but I do wonder if she may have given him some ideas. Your thoughts?

          Yes, I assume his plan was to have Shannan at some point added to the tanks, and have all 3 disintegrate. Had the plane not been delayed 3 hours we can presume he wouldn’t have had such haste. Another question for you: Do you think this also points not only to premeditation but to definitely having killed the children first and hours before Shannan: The 3 hour delay ought to have made him postpone for another time. If the girls were dead, he couldn’t postpone.

  5. Liz

    I believe Watts to be a reasonably smart man. If he had taken the Lexus away before he left for work, and if he had not buried Shannon in the ground, his chances of getting sway with this would have been greatly improved. One other detail is if he had not been playing what seemed like mind games with Shanann at the end, the odds would have astronomically increased. I recall that the first person he told where Shanann was … was that she had left in the middle of the night. I believe this was his original plan. What altered it, not sure. Maybe he did make the shampoo purchase and find he had no credit to catch an Uber back to the vicinity of the house where he could have walked the rest of the way, hopped the back fence, and slip in through the back which he hopefully left unlocked. Maybe he was so good at running that he would not even have needed an Uber. I am not sure, I have pondered this … would Anadarko have let Law Enforcement drain the tanks … without knowledge from Chris that bodies were there.

  6. Liz

    Maybe the gas tank of the Lexus was empty and that’s why he took the red gas can in the truck that morning.

    • CBH

      Great observations!

  7. Sylvester

    CBH – do I think Nichol gave Watts any ideas? No. I’m just not certain if her job was monitoring those tanks for pressure. That’s all I meant by that. She, and others.

    Yes, I think he wanted very much to go back to work on the 14th, and at the very least take a look and see if he had missed anything. I’m not sure if the rusted rake broke and that’s why he plunged it into the ground or if it broke and he wanted to mark the spot so he could dig it up later. An investigator said he saw a shovel in his truck too that was missing, but if it had a nice rubber handled grip on it I think he would have wanted to hide it somewhere and keep it. They also mentioned a sickle and I had an image of the Grim Reaper.

  8. Sylvester

    I think maybe the doll seen above that CeCe is holding might be the one found in the trash in the garage. Just a hunch. The dress isn’t the same – same color, but with those baby dolls you can put a dress on them. If he took a picture of a doll covered over the face, a doll that was Bella’s and more like a little girl, then throwing out CeCe’s doll, the baby, “like trash,” was his symbolic way of saying this is what I wish, both of them, dead. This crime has a lot of symbolism to me. Chris was an insular sort of person – lived his life inside his thoughts, wasn’t comfortable socializing – he would if he had to and there were many occasions when he had to – like the LeVel trips, but he preferred a more introverted life. His co-workers tried to get him to socialize with them but to no avail. He could have joined a gym but didn’t, and once S. bought him workout equipment he could go down to the basement for his workouts. So his manner of expression could be interpreted as showing up in symbols, in digital pictures, even his choice of occupation. He could work on and fix things in solitude. Housecleaning and being the designated laundryman are insular activities too. Conversation isn’t necessary. But look beneath what he says and there is an expression of self, in symbols. There’s a giant symbol tattooed on his back, of jagged edges and dangerous intentions.

    • CBH

      Thanks for your great as always input. 👍🏼

    • Lucas

      The tattoo is the Metallica logo. Not the bigger outside tribal type thing but the smaller one is made up of 4 “M”s rotated at different angles.

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