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

"Bella asked, 'What are you doing with Mommy?'" – Chris Watts' Second Confession on Dr. Phil

Watch this show, by all means. Listen. Maybe we’ll learn something meaningful, but don’t believe everything you hear.
Fullscreen capture 20190304 225348
I will do analysis of course but it’s the position of TCRS that both children were killed several hours before Shan’ann’s arrived and that neither were smothered. It’s also the position of TCRS that Shan’ann was murdered in a surprise attack before she went upstairs.
One aspect to consider when you’re hearing this nonsense is the most obvious question of all. If Shan’ann and Bella were murdered simultaneously, or soon after one another, why did no one hear anyone screaming in the dead of night between 01:48 and 04:00?
I’m also interested in the semantics Dr. Phil is going with;  specifically in the use of the word “admission” here. Why not confession? An “admission” is a concession, a claim, an expression, but it’s not quite as strong as a confession [a formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime].
More analysis to come.


  1. Stacy

    Who is the person talking in the interview?

  2. EJD

    I’m now officially throughly confused. I thought nothing would be released until Thursday.

    • Vivek Nair

      This is based on Shan’ann’s parents interview to some TV show guy (sorry, I don’t know who Dr. Phil is). So either they know details of the “confession” or the advertisements for the show have mixed facts with fiction for publicity.

    • CBH

      Dr. Phil is a jerk and he’s gone and spoiled everything.

      • Sylvester

        Thank you for that, CBH! You gave me some comic relief. Dr. Phil is turning into Sally Jesse Raphael or Jerry Springer.

        • CBH

          That he is. 😖

  3. Sideaffected

    That story is bullshit. It’s trying to make it look: not premeditated, and a “good reason” for why he killed his kids. He’s still talking like they had “an emotional conversation.” Don’t know why I’d expect him to tell the truth now in the first place. I think the DA is right he’ll never do that

    • Donkeykong

      Side affected COMPLETELY agree. And the most infuriating thing is, due to the nature of this game he’s playing out, 99% will believe it and go with it. Because “why would he be lying now, he’s admitting to the murders and with details now, who would be lying when doing that?”
      Chris watts that’s who. Still lying. TO SAVE FACE.

    • Clean Queen

      I agree the story is BS, and I definitely believe that the crime was premeditated. However, I think we have to wait and see where this info is coming from. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t been confirmed that this is coming straight from Chris, but if not him, who?
      Playing devil’s advocate, SW’s side would have reason to create a story in order to cover for any of Shan’ann’s misdeeds. They would also have good reason to create an explanation of the events for the public, in an effort to put a stop to the online speculation regarding SW’s guilt. If there are major discrepancies in the confession vs. Dr. Phil’s show, then the timing should be viewed as a little suspicious. In other words, could Shan’ann’s parents be trying to beat Chris to the punch?
      Granted, I’m a pretty firm believer in the idea that Chris killed all three of them and that the girls were dead before Shan’ann arrived at home that night. It just seems like it would be so much easier to control the variables and kill the girls first. And I realize that I’m thinking of this from a logical perspective, but knowing Chris, I don’t think he would want to deal with the confrontation even from a four-year-old. I don’t think he would have wanted Shan’ann or the girls to have seen him coming. I think he literally wanted to do it behind their back, or at least Shan’ann’s.

  4. Clean Queen

    I just watched the clip, and I really just don’t believe it. On a lighter note, that look of “disbelief” Dr. Phil makes at the end makes my soul cringe. lol

  5. Ilovedogsandcats

    This goes against what most of the posters here feel, but I believe him. Why? Well, he didn’t have to talk to them at all as the case is closed. He is getting nothing in return for giving them this final information. The biggest “shame” and horror he felt was that he killed his children, yet he finally admitted to doing so. I’m sure he had planned to go to his grave with the info about his daughters because it would have been so hard to admit he had done such a heinous thing. But for some reason he decided to talk.
    This doesn’t change what he did to his entire family and he fully deserves his punishment and zero empathy from anyone.
    It’s terribly sad and monstrous that SW and the kids were awake and knew he was going to kill them. I cannot imagine their terror.

    • marielangford3311

      I love dogs and cats., Do you honestly believe that Watts is getting nothing for talking? That makes no sense! He is all about himself and you can be sure that he got something for his lies.

      • nickvdl

        Arguably he’s still winning his right to not get a death sentence [just in prison this time].

    • Maura

      How do we know CW wasn’t promised anything?
      When interest in the case dies down or more time passes suppose they said they’d consider moving him to a prison near his parents as a reward for details.
      It’s a shame all he can tell are lies, lies lies. All to avoid him having to admit that the murders were premeditated and that he drugged his kids first.

  6. mitzi2006

    Wouldn’t Chris lie to make himself look better? This makes him look much worse, certainly makes me think much worse of him if this turns out to be what he actually said

    • Kaye

      I agree. It bothers me that he told this story of taking the girls in the truck. Maybe he is trying to make people think he went temporarily insane after killing Shan’ann? I can’t understand why if he decided to kill the kids he would make them first go through the trauma of sitting next to their dead mother for 45 minutes. And if he didn’t really do that, why put that image into everyone’s heads? I don’t see how his father would be OK with this.

  7. Ilovedogsandcats

    Hi nick,
    I am always respectful when posting a comment to your site. I am one of your subscribers, but because I don’t believe this case was premeditated, you have chosen to delete my comment. I don’t understand why. Aren’t you a professional investigative journalist and writer?
    I agree with many things you write and am appreciative of your informational blog but don’t agree with your actions of censorship nor do I understand them.
    Thank you.

    • nickvdl

      I didn’t delete your comment. I’ve raised the moderation filter of this site. As such when I am asleep or out, many comments are caught in the filtered net in “pending” status until I get to them. Please don’t make assumptions, and don’t try to twist my arm into what I should or shouldn’t publish here. Comments as a whole are hanging on by a very thin thread.

  8. Kathleen Caraway

    If Watts said all this, it’s Shan’ann’s family attorney who claims he did, could he have been sending a message to Kessinger? Yes, I asked for a divorce, yes I admitted the relationship with you, and only my wife’s threats to keep the kids from me forced me to kill her? Then the kids had to die because Bella witnessed…….etc. it is an insane story. It seems to benefit Watts in eliminating premeditation. And as one of this forum said earlier today, he’s had all this time to seek another way to blame Shan’ann for causing her own homicide. And maybe he got a quid pro quo in the form of a transfer to a different prison? I hope not. I hope he got nothing. Whatever happened it was a nightmare initiated and perpetrated by him.

  9. Tracey 14

    I always thought Shanann’s murder was premeditated. The doll picture sent to her by CW was surely sent as a sign of what was to come. As for the children’s murders, It’s quite possible he didn’t plan on killing them at all. NK already knew he had two daughters and they were looking for an apartment with his children in mind. I think it was Shanann’s pregnancy he was looking to terminate because that was going to affect his relationship chances with NK. If Shanann had not been pregnant I doubt any of this would have happened. I think he would have just gotten a divorce but the pregnancy was insurmountable in his mind.
    It seems plausible to me that Bella being a light sleeper and excited to see her mom, walked in on the murder and in that moment he decided to kill her and CeCe. Interesting that they mention the blanket used to kill CeCe so that explains why he had to stop first before going home to get rid of the blankets.
    I don’t understand why CW would lie about this now as it doesn’t paint him in a better light, in fact, if the new info is true he looks far worse.

    • nickvdl

      He lies to minimize. Someone told me this isn’t minimizing. Well, “just snapped” is always minimizing of a premeditated murder.

  10. Duttdip

    Without inviting censure, if I may, I find this story plausible, if not entirely believable. Not because this is what happened (who knows!), but in absence of any more information, this is the most plausible one. If 1000 people were asked to guess what could have happened, 800 would have ended up with this postulation, because such moments are common in lot of families (parents fight, kids watch, things spiral out of control). Again, it does not mean that it actually happened.
    I have posted this before, but one thing that always made me sway towards the “not premeditated” crime was the utter lack of research on “how to dump bodies”, “how long does it take to dissolve”, “can Vivint record in battery mode”, etc. Other than one isolated search on Oxycodone and volunteering to go to Cervi (which was apparently rare but not entirely unusual), there was no sign of premeditation. In fact, everything was way too sloppy. Cellphone, purse, medicines were all right there.. Scott Peterson researched about ocean currents and boats, Ross Harris researched about deaths in hot cars…In my view, a pre-meditated murder would have been better accomplished during the weekend trip to Aspen.
    Now, “not premeditated” does not equate “not motivated” or “accidental”. The motivation might have been there during the last few weeks and his blood could be boiling at the sight of Shanann. The thought of eliminating her might have crossed his mind, but that does not mean he planned it through.

    • nickvdl

      Well I think we [and you] should make a mental note of what you you’ve just said: “I find this story plausible, if not entirely believable.”
      Your version of what sloppy is or what you would have researched doesn’t tell us anything about Chris Watts, what he did, or how he thought. If after several months of analysis you can throw what we know in the air and go, GASP, yes, that’s it! It basically shows a very thin grasp, and that any new information is good enough to sway you. The tabloids flourish because of this kind of vacuous mindlessness.

      • Duttdip

        I don’t think you should take any counter-theory as a negation of the work that you have done. In epistemological terms, all these are theories- some better than the other. No one has access to the absolute truth in terms of space and time. Even our judicial system works on epistemological truth and not absolute truth; no one knows what exactly happened in 575 Bundy Drive on the night of 12th June, 1994.
        All I said is the new scenario propounded is a common one and is also the simplest one (does not need change of clothes, doctoring of routers, etc).
        On the lack of “screaming”, there ought to be some acoustic test done to validate it. In the double murder case (look up Arushi Talwar murder case) in Delhi, India, the parents claimed they could not hear anything from the next room (separated by a cardboard wall) and the detectives validated that claim.

        • nickvdl

          The great thing about this world is you are free to believe whatever you would like to believe.

        • nickvdl

          What does “epistemological”. I write for a living and am familiar with a lot of words. I’m not quite sure what that one means. Could you explain it to me? Thanks.

          • Duttdip

            I learnt the word in a class on Michael Foucault. It is that “justified beliefs” become truth as opposed to the “absolute truth”. The best example of that is “Schrödinger’s Cat” problem. If I lock a cat in a room, and don’t know for sure it is dead, is it dead or alive after 3 days? Each of us has justified beliefs on the state of the cat, but the absolute truth is only one.
            Unlike you, I have no background in crime theories. But, I am merely a curious follower who tries to assimilate theories to form an opinion.
            I am no fan of Dr. Phil; in fact I am ideologically opposed to everything he represents. But I do think that the theory has merit primarily because CW showed no acumen of a seasoned criminal. He could not withstand an interrogation for few hours! I would not even be surprised, if he started to suffocate her in a bid to suppress her screaming and grew increasingly violent, ending up taking her life. It is also consistent with his porch story (which I thought carried half truths). He told that Shanann went away, which was precisely what she threatened to.
            On his apparent lack of emotion during the interview, I think he got mentally detached (and in some ways relieved). It is like an old car that you think you care about. But once it gets into an accident and gets totaled, you abandon it instantly, because the insurance is paying for a glossy new one.
            As far as sound goes, both the children were very soft spoken. If Shanann got murdered in her bedroom, the nearest house on the frontside is 50 yards away. On her left would be the old couple’s house (the lady struggled to follow LE questions from 2 feet away) that too separated by at least 3 intermediate walls. On the right, would be the house of the Trinastich’s that too equally distant and separated by walls. There were hardly any inhabitant at the back of the house. A simple acoustic test would reveal the reality.

  11. Julia

    I’m not meaning to spread rumors, but a Facebook group I’m in is saying (allegedly via the Watts family) that Chris killed Shannan in bed, then took the girls ALIVE with her body to the oil site and killed them there. I’m shaken to my core

    • nickvdl

      Please try to avoid using all caps. This forum doesn’t agree with any of that, but I’m sure the other forum is very popular.

  12. Diana

    Kathleen – Chris’s new confession in no way eliminates premeditation! It would’ve taken at the very least, two full minutes to strangle Shan’ann. That’s two full minutes to contemplate whether to continue on and let her die. He made the decision to continue the strangulation until Shan’ann was dead. That fits the legal definition of premeditation. Then he did it two more times! He had time to consider his actions while smothering each of his daughters. He continued smothering until death occurred. Again, premeditation. Then he did it a third time!
    Clean Queen I’m really confused by your comments! You said Shan’ann’s family would “have reason to create a story in order to cover for any of Shan’ann’s misdeeds”. Huh? Are you saying her family is telling lies to hide something Shan’ann did wrong? I know you’re not saying anything Shan’ann may have done was grounds for Chris to be judge and jury by sentencing her to the death penalty and carrying out that sentence too! So, serious question – What stories are the Rzucek family creating and what misdeeds of Shan’ann’s are they trying to cover up with these lies? Besides Chris, is the Watts family telling lies again too?

    • Stacy

      Completely agree about premeditation Diana. It would still apply to the girls at least. I think Bella was alive but other than that I think he just wants to spin a story that he snapped thinking people won’t think he is as much of a monster.

    • nickvdl

      I know what you’re getting at Diana, and premeditation can be a few seconds before a crime.
      If the murders were executed one after the other [three people murdered in 2-8 minutes], there would be a lot of screaming, shouting, crying and barking as well. Many like you who subscribe to this “he just snapped” theory, dismiss the screaming thing as a maybe/maybe not. I’ve been writing about true crime for a few years, and on almost every occasion screams are heard. When people are being killed, especially at night, you tend to hear screaming. In the Van Breda axe murders, which were also premeditated, loud arguing was also heard.
      I don’t think you’ve grasped the premeditation of this case. The dumping site was premeditated as early as Friday. And deleting of Facebook and contacting the realtor happened even before that. The affair was a long period of dealing with his ambivalence. The $68 bill that alerted on her phone was another trigger. The moving of messages into secret apps, and the seamless loading of bodies and disposal with very little being seen, was premeditated too.
      When a crime is committed on the spur of the moment, as in OJ Simpson, Oscar Pistorius, Meredith Kercher etc, it tends to be a bloodbath and people run around without a plan, and it is a big mess.
      But I know you quite well by now. You tend to be quite adamant in your beliefs, so I don’t expect this will convince you. Watts’ nonchalance after the murders isn’t because he’s a monster, it’s part of his “I don’t know what’s going on therefore I’m innocent act.” If the crime was committed the way you say, it means he lost it [as he confessed]. That he freaked out. Why doesn’t he become emotional or freak out in his television interviews, or any of his interrogations? If he’s the kind of guy that can lose it and crack, why do we never see that? The answer is premeditation, which continues after the crime is committed. You’ll only get that sort of handle on him by careful and consistent study, much of which is dealt with in DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY.

      • Donkeykong

        Nick. That was said brilliantly!! If you don’t mind, may I use your words you just wrote as an explanation to someone I am writing to online? You summed up what I have been trying to say to these people.
        Totally fine if not…

    • nickvdl

      I think I see where you get your “the murders weren’t planned, that doesn’t make any sense” theory. Scott Reisch. Am I right?

    • Clean Queen

      My point, as I stated, was that they may be trying to shut down all of the internet trolls that go on and on about Shan’ann killing the kids. I never said I believe that. I don’t. That was simply a hypothetical. There are lots of unknowns in this case, and although we all feel like we know, (me included) we can’t be entirely 100% certain of everything just yet. I believe that speculating, as I did, can help foster ideas among us. I simply try to keep an open mind. I am also not of the mindset that Shan’ann was without fault in this situation. For the love of God, that does not mean she should have been murdered, so let’s not go there. Hope that helps you understand my reasoning a little better.

  13. Liz

    I’m worried from what I’ve heard, from the teasers to youtube, that the second confession is Chris again doctoring the story. I’m not sure he is capable of telling the truth. Maybe that is why he was always so quiet. He’s good at letting other people fill in the blanks.
    However, he is saying or I think he will be saying, that he murdered the children. I think most of us are going to be disappointed in the new fake story, but I plan to watch the show. Also, I hope I am wrong.

  14. julinka1981

    I don’t understand Nick.What confession? And why is it one dr Phil?Thought he wasn’t reliable. I am seeing on one of forums that he drove girls to the site,so confusing now. What are your thoughts? Is this really CW confession?

    • nickvdl

      Was the first one really a confession?

      • Sarah

        The girls were alive till cervi, check out critical Kay on you tube he confessed to his best friend last night!!!

        • nickvdl

          You really should rather go to Critical Kay for your true crime information, this site doesn’t have a clue. Off you go then.

      • julinka1981

        True, altering the truth as it suited him from the start but perhaps this “confession “ might give us clue to his mind-i know it will be a lie but some segments will reveal the logic and timeline hopefully. Won’t watch the show and will wait for your summary.

        • Ralph Oscar

          “perhaps this “confession “ might give us clue to his mind”
          It appears that CW sifts factual details in with his made-up scenarios. Teasing them out can provide some small amount of clarity.
          Example: CW says he saw on the (b&w) baby monitor that Bella was “blue”. Bella was likely blue at some point (that’s the fact in this scenario) because of having been drugged with Shan’Ann’s leftover Oxycodone and then suffocated with a plastic bag taped around her neck. But she wasn’t blue because Shan’Ann had strangled her. No way.

  15. kswilson15

    I will say the header “Bella pleaded for her life” made me feel physically ill. Regardless if it’s sensationalism or not.
    Here’s what I don’t get. If they had gotten into this second argument, how are there zero defensive wounds on her or him? She seemed to be a pretty spunky person and if it came to her or her childrens’ survival I find it hardly plausible that there were zero signs of a struggle? (Because there wasn’t….) CW and his “a piece of chicken for me, one for Bella, one for CeeCee”, the TV blaring and lack of pictures after the Facetime…. it doesnt add up for me.
    For the record, I live in a northern Denver suburb and I remember when the news first dropped. Initially, I thought Shannan had taken the girls out of spite. Oh how I wish that were the case.

  16. SRC

    I’ll just say this before Dr. Phil’s show airs and the 2nd “confession” is released is that the only redeeming factor Dr. Phil can offer or any purpose can be served for giving this airtime is to remind everyone that Chris Watts is a known liar who will state his stories to suit his needs. By pointing out to the Rzucek’s and anyone else listening or watching that every bit of this new information must be questioned and taken with a healthy dose of skepticism is creating responsibility and reducing the sensationalism this is perpetuating.

  17. Duttdip

    I listened to the show. I strongly believe that for the horrific episode to be released in this way, LE must be having water-tight proof. Here are the things that ring:
    1. Hundreds of hairs found in the truck’s seat. That was a flag that the truck was the ground zero of some action.
    2. The door video, that would have a view of the truck either during the loading process or while it was turning. I can somehow connect why the door video was released a few days back.
    3. If not, #2 some CCTV video during the 45 minute drive. All it takes is 1 camera in course of 45 minutes to spot that the girls were alive in the back seat.
    I think LE is fully equipped with the evidence.

    • Duttdip

      If they do not have the evidence, it is extremely insensitive and irresponsible to release such information. Lot of people will have trauma from just following this.

    • Sarah

      I have the original evidence log and although I’ve heard of the hairs in the back seat I’m pretty sure they weren’t logged but I’ll double check. I also have the original neighbours footage video and it’s clear on my computer and not fuzzy like on you tube and you can see at least one girl is alive the other is in his arms but having watched it several times there is no sign of shannan and wrapped in a white sheet she would be hard to hide, leading me to believe she was taken out of the back way but that’s just my opinion and it’s probably wrong

  18. Georgia

    I’m pretty sure there is an aerial shot showing a sheet out in the field near the gravesite, plus two large black plastic bags, separate but near locations, and a roll of the bags found under his seat. If the girls were alive, why would he just tear off a couple of those bags and throw them around the field? I need to hear how her brother explains how he went from seeing ‘them’ carried out like trash, switching to them being alive right out until the tanks. With all their visits to the hospital Bella would well know they weren’t heading there. She was already paranoid about her sister dying, on high alert for such things I don’t believe she would have thought Mum lying in a sheet on the floor of the car as her just needing a Doctor. If she was put in that situation she would have been hysterical to the extreme, and then why would he take her sister in front of her eyes first. It’s a no from me.

Leave a Reply

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