As part of ongoing research for the 6th book in the series, I spent a fair amount of time studying the image below. It’s one of the view truly authentic crime scene photos in the entire Watts case.
When this photo was taken by Crime Scene Analyst Dave Yocum [using his cell phone], he was trying to see inside the tanks. They knew the children had been dumped in the tanks, and yet when he shone a special torches inside the tank, the view was obstructed by venting mist.
No smoke or gas fumes are evident in this image, but the tape measure unfortunately obstructs and reflects a lot of the light that would otherwise penetrate the orifice beneath the thief hatch.
I was also looking very carefully at many of these surfaces for traces of blood, hair fragments, fibers or skin tissue. There is a strange flap of something at about two ‘o clock on the image below. It could be a fragment of pajamas, or it could be part of the thief hatch apparatus.
In a comment left on TCRS today by Sylvester, I went to look at Melissa Parrish’s comments about Watts releasing the pressure value on the tanks at CERVI 319 [on Monday morning] causing oil to spray out. Parrish was surprised not only by this, but by Watts not bothering to clean up the mess he’d made.
It’s often missed that Watts was also OCD in his own way, just as Shan’ann was. He was meticulous about cleanliness, which is possibly why Shan’ann used this to her own advantage and put him on permanent laundry duty for the whole family.
Watts’ emphasis on appearance is also perhaps why he appeared to like wearing matching outfits, and why his well-groomed appearance played so well into the “fairy tale” aspect of this case in particular. His meticulous attention to detail [in certain areas] also explains why so little crime scene evidence was found in totem.
Watts’ OCD may be why they got along in a certain sense, and perhaps why Watts [quite uniquely] understood and loved Shan’ann, and she him, certainly during the initial phase of their marriage. And so, because of this clear behavior pattern, Parrish thought it was weird that on this day of all days, Watts was being something of a piggy on the site.
Curiously Troy McCoy made a similar observation in terms of Watts appearance that same morning.
Clearly this manoeuvre to vent the tanks was intended to contaminate, and indeed eviscerate all traces of his daughters and himself in, on and around the hatch. In some footage of venting that I’ve come across, it sounds like a jet engine when high pressure hot gas escapes out of these eight inch holes.
The image below, photographed Tuesday night, also appears to indicate some of the residues of this spray that Watts deliberately discharged over his crime scene the previous day. It was the equivalent of dumping bleach over a kill scene, just quicker and more effective.
Kudos to Sylvester for bringing my attention to this. In true crime we try to be omniscient, and when many eyes and heads apply themselves to the same thing, we can come close. If we keep paying attention, what is buried or simply obscure is eventually brought to light.