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

"Ceecee was first…"

According to the Second Confession, Shan’ann was killed in bed, and both children killed one-by-one inside Watts’ work truck, on the back seat, while it was parked at CERVI 319.

When Coder says, “And what was Bella doing…” does he sound like he’s buying any of it?
It’s natural to feel emotional hearing these disclosures, but what’s really missing is Watts’ emotion. We should compare his demeanor and tone of voice here to how he “confessed” to his father in the cubicle at Frederick Police Station in the late afternoon of August 15th. That was a false confession too, but when he gave that confession he had his head in his hands, and he sounded tearful as croaked out a few words at a time, with his father rubbing his back.
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A few minutes later when his father left the room, and he was asked to explain how he disposed of the children’s bodies [which ought to have been the most traumatic moment of all], Watts was completely nonchalant about it. When asked if he had difficulty pushing them through the hatches, he answered evenly, with no trace of emotion:
“Not really.”
It’s natural for us to feel emotion listening to this and reading it, but we ought to guard against letting emotion or sentiment cloud our perceptions. If Watts’ isn’t getting emotional about killing his family, if he’s not shedding a tear then there’s no remorse. And where there’s no remorse there’s no honesty. When a person shows genuine contrition, they are humble enough to tell the truth, as humiliating as it may be. We don’t see any of that here.
A few hours after skimming through the transcript and listening to a few pieces of the audio I couldn’t help thinking back to Shan’ann’s Thrive videos. The whole thing was a house of cards held to together with words. His confession, and Watts’ seemingly enjoying selling it, feels a lot like a super long Facebook Live promo, except instead of selling powders and shakes to make a living, Watts is selling a formula for a crime to save his soul.
Is anyone buying?
Although most of what he’s saying isn’t true or credible, not all of it is lies. Probably some of the words, feelings, sights and sounds are true, the trick is knowing which is which.
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We should also take note of the capacity of this guy to delude himself. Lying to others on a scale and scope like this begins with lying to oneself. And that’s what a Two Face is. It’s someone whose entire life is a lie.

“What is the Matrix? It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth…”


  1. AMS

    Even in his “I snapped” story, he messes it up by saying he felt like he knew he was gonna do it and then when he WOKE UP, he felt it was probably gonna happen (the latter part I can’t recall exact words but it was that same sentiment). And then there was the thing where he said he got on top of her to talk but he wondered “did I know I was gonna do that and that’s why I got on top of her?” As if he’s just now theorizing on his behavior that day, as if he is sincerely wondering that aloud. He knows damn well and that’s why (if this SW part is true) he made sure she was powerless so he could say some crap that he knew was gonna piss her off .. so then she would say something bad enough to piss him off so that he could get worked up enough, or get enough adrenaline, to do it. Like a premeditated crime of passion if you will.

    • nickvdl

      Exactly. And so true about it being premeditated *and* a crime of passion [passion for Kessinger].

      • J.

        Shanann had paper bags around each of her hands. Why?

        • nickvdl

          Standard protocol when processing a body at a crime scene.

    • Kathleen Caraway

      I think I caught a huge discrepancy in his description of strangling Shan’ann; he says she slept on her stomach and rolled over on to her back as he sat on her “to talk”.. But then when his hands moved to her throat he says she “looked back at him”. In his version she passively allows herself to be murdered while probably praying. He does not remember if his legs had her arms pinned down. I think he got on her back while she was sleeping knowing full well she was going to die and would be completely unable to defend herself. Once he had her pinned and her fate was sealed, he may have actually told her about the affair. This cowardly approach is consistent with his words in the confession and his personality. Nobody could not fight while being strangled. Except baby CeCe covered with her favorite blanket.

      • Right44

        That “looked back at him” stood out to me, too. If you’re face to face as CW described, there is no LOOKING BACK.
        Looking back at him could only occur if SW was lying on her stomach while he strangled her from behind.
        CW wants us to believe SW knew she was being murdered and just accepted that and let it happen. He also expects us to believe that Bella sat QUIETLY AND CALMLY and watched him kill CeeCee, never saying a word or being upset.
        CW is tormenting Sha’Nan’s family with all these different versions and he seems to be enjoying doing so.

  2. CBH

    Just in general what I’ve gleaned so far from transcripts. audio:
    1. I think the NVDL theory and the original thoughts of Agent Coder were correct: That the crime was premeditated and the children were killed on Aug 12.
    2. Watts, because he can’t abide being viewed as bad, would rather be viewed as crazy, snapped.
    3. He now must cast about for a scenario which will assert that. His imagination now runs to crime shows, Hitchcock films, and Stephen King. (Shannon wrapped in a sheet, little Bella asking what was wrong with Mommy, a nightmare car ride with two toddlers and a corpse; smothering little girls and Bella’s cry of “Daddy, no!”. )
    4. He says he hears this last cry every night in his dreams, but might it not rather be that he is haunted by stomping on Bella’s head to get her through the thief hatch, and imagined her, saying, “Daddy, no!” as he stomped ? Is this what haunts him?

    • Sass

      I think you nailed it. He would rather be seen as insane than a corrupt individual. He was reading crime books when he first got to prison. I remember one he read because it was a book by one of my fav authors. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell. It’s the first book in her Kay Scarpetta series. The book is about a serial strangler and one of the clues he leaves is an odd, unidentified smell. I thought maybe that was what Chris was using in his retelling of that night. He said Bella said that something smelled bad. Coder asked him if it was Shannan, Chris tried to imply it was another, weird smell that wasn’t recognizable. I just rolled my eyes because I know he read that book. He is using professional fiction to help craft his own emotional damaging fiction. I hope he is being watched carefully. He seems to be in the coherent, euphoric stage of a psychotic break. The investigators seemed very concerned that he was given that type of book by a guard.

      • CBH

        Intriguing. Yes, I would agree he is in some sort of psychotic break. Great comments.

        • Sass

          I also noticed since Shannan is now dead, he seems to be shifting blame over to NK. It seems like he feels nothing is his fault. I am sure this is a pathology in his life. I am sure before Shannan the blame was on his mother or sister. He blames his father for nothing accept taking drugs when he left at 18, which I find very odd if true. You can never tell with Chris. He seems to enjoy the structure of prison and the isolation of his protective custody.

          • CBH

            Yes, he does. I agree with all you said. I think also now that Shannan is dead he longs for her, because she is now unattainable.

          • Sass

            I think Chris likes to just exist. That is why he likes dominate women like Shannan, NK, and his mother. They do everything and all he had to do was just play the good husband and father. That is why he enjoys prison. All his needs are taken care of and he does not have to make decisions for himself. He just has to play the good prisoner. I think Shannan will always be someone he longs for because not only did she make all of the decisions she would sing his praises to anyone who would listen. So he could do the least and still get a lot of praise. Shannan liked him in the beginning because he went to Dr appt’s and he let her lay on his lap while not feeling well when all the while he had to pee. She said that is when she knew he was the one for her. NK did that with him as well. She was impressed with him because he could fix stuff and her dog liked him. I mean, those are nice qualities but it’s not going to make me fall in love with someone or proclaim them the right one for me. I am deeper than that and I need my relationships to be more in depth. I see a lot of people thinking there was no way he enjoyed Shannan’s personality but that may not be accurate. There are people who love people like Shannan, someone with an A type personality. I have men in my family that love those types of women and are confused on why everyone else finds them annoying. Chris did not leave her all those years before because he enjoyed their arrangement. He even said he did not even know he was unhappy in his marriage until NK came along. A lot of relationships are one sided like theirs was. He may be saying he hated it all now because it helps him to be seen as a victim. NK was probably going to be worse than Shannan and he killed his whole family for her. And yes I do agree with you, he can never have her again so he will long for her. I would really like for him to get to a point that he can admit his part in getting to the point of murder. But I am not holding my breath.

  3. Sylvester

    I think he’s being truthful when he says he began to be split – wondering who he was – who could be with one woman for a month and just have a “blinder” on, then look at his family pictures and wonder who could begin to think about shedding one life to have another. That it caused him enormous conflict in his brain – one scenario which was dream-like – the other reality but fast becoming of no use to him – an old life. He’s not unique – many married men go back and forth like this. Sometimes they justify it by saying they have children and their children don’t want to see Daddy leave. So they stay in the home and continue to promise the mistress it won’t be long, they’re working on it. If the mistress is smart she will give up and try and find someone more suitable. But she still harbors the fantasy that if she leaves he will get the divorce and come back. He won’t. He’ll move on to another naive mistress. I think Kessinger was going to leave. She was too smart to buy the bull any longer. He made his choice.

  4. KerryA

    I have not listened to everything as I have been travelling but so far I’m not buying the following scenarios: Bella, CeCe and Deeter standing silently by while Chris drags Shan’anns wrapped body down the stairs, banging it on each step and then dragging it outside The girls then silently marching out to the truck. Then apparently (it was light when he pulled out) – the girls sat (without being strapped in car seats) in the backseat of the cab with their unresponsive mother at their feet and did not jump up and down hysterically or peer out the windows with red crying faces for a 45 min car ride. Next, protective older sister Bella (who worried just the evening before that she may ‘never see CeCe again if she ate coconut’), sits idly by while Chris smothers CeCe and does not scratch/grab at his arms, jump on his back or plummel him with her little fists. BTW, he describes himself smothering CeCe with her in a sitting position against the back upright part of the seat – anyone who even has tried to wash a toddlers face with a washcloth in this position knows how surprisingly easy it is for them to squirm away downward and escape your grasp. But apparently ‘ball of energy’ CeCe who is ‘a tornado’ just sits quietly and cooperatively while Chris deprived her of oxygen and smothered her (this ignores also the natural panic and surge of adrenaline anyone has when deprived of oxygen for more than a few seconds) Next, he leaves the truck and apparently Bella sits silently by while he disposed of CeCe’s body – she didn’t try to rouse her mother (now lying on the ground nearby) or run and hide in the field or equipment, or even follow her father up the stairs to see what he is doing to CeCe? I’m not buying any of that – and it appears Coder is highly sceptical too. Also I think Nick is correct that Shan’ann died on her front/face down – even in Chris’s version – she is face down sleeping, she then rolls over and he straddled and strangled her but she is magically again face down on the bed when Bella walks in shortly after. He also sounds like he is lying when questioned about what he took from her car when he first came into the garage with the officer that morning – he sputters around and talks a bit but seems just evasive. Sorry these thoughts are a bit jumbled, I am writing quickly but this story is definitely not adding up for me so far.

    • Maura

      What pregnant woman sleeps on her stomach?
      Not buying 95% of his story. Maybe 5% of truth is weaved in. All of his new confession was created to avoid telling the truth that he premeditated the murders and planned to dispose of his daughters’ bodies in oil to erase the truth.

      • nickvdl

        I agree on those proportions. 5% truth sounds about right.

        • mitzi2006

          I can tell you this because I have a fusion and rod/hardware in my spine, you do not lay on your stomach no matter if it’s your neck, mid back or low back. It bends the spine and neck and puts pressure and loads of pain on the fusion/hardware and rod if you have one. No way did she lay on her stomach with her head twisted to the side. And Nickole Atkinson saying that they had been doing a lot of sitting and shanann was in pain is exactly what happens no matter where the fusion is, it forces your spine and neck to curve a bit, but it’s enough to irritate the heck out of it. So, no way do I believe this girl was on her stomach

        • CBH

          This is why it’s so angering that the DA Rourke and the “very skilled and experienced investigators” issued the statement today that Watts’ recent confession was “credible and mostly true”. Rourke even admitted Armchair Detective’s theory of a shadow which Watts picks up on the neighbor’s surveillance was one of the children!

          • nickvdl


          • mitzi2006

            I saw that, in the Coloradan, it’s why AD is doing a gleeful victory lap now. The DA literally said in his sentencing that it was not done in a rage but a planned premeditated manner. So he buys this shadow was a kid, where’s the shadow or Chris picking up the other kid. I don’t believe that those detectives bought that but DA said he was mostly truthful. Starting to remind me of the Boulder DA with Jon Benet, ignoring a grand jury’s finding, now this case seems to be sewed up by Chris, who rourke said would never tell the truth, but now this is truthful, makes no sense

          • CBH

            That was my reaction. 😑

          • Clean Queen

            Oh Dear God. You have got to be kidding me. Somebody had stated on here yesterday that the motivation for law-enforcement to interview Chris again could have in part been due to the fact that they wanted to quell the rumors and curiosity of the public once and for all. As they stated yesterday, they were getting bombarded by people wanting to know more. Well that was a fail!

          • CBH

            It certainly was. 😑

          • Sass

            I think the reason they are doing this is because it has slipped out that they keep getting phone calls in reference to the case. Phone calls about NK and the like. I think this is their attempt at giving people “closure” because LE and the DA just want to be left alone. They probably don’t believe a word Chris is saying and I am almost positive they see all the conspiracy videos (including the shadows videos) all over youtube about the case as eye rolling but they are tired of the high demand of attention the case has brought and they probably have better things to do with their time. I am certainly not trying to give them an excuse I am just taking a stab on why all of a sudden he was interviewed and why would they all of a sudden believe a man who they said themselves would never tell the full truth about what really happened. They just need patience. Evil never sleeps and there will be some other shocking case that sucks up everyone’s time and energy. Chris Watts will just fade into Discovery Channel episode rerun history.

          • CBH

            Yes, I think you’re right.

      • Clean Queen

        Maura, exactly! That bothered me tremendously when I read that. To me that is practically impossible. Any woman who has been pregnant knows that tender feeling in your abdomen that prevents you from laying on your stomach or (for example) pressing into a counter when washing dishes. The only way I see this as reasonable is if she was kind of in her side with a leg bent and face turned toward the side. It could seem like she was face down that way, I suppose.

  5. caroleann29

    I was almost convinced he might be finally telling the truth until he said “ I once convinced my teacher that I went to Japan during the summer break” he said he had her convinced and then says I was good at it (lying) or something to that affect.

  6. coolgirlrocks

    Upon reflection, the only thing I now believe from this confession is his admission to feeling “Anger” like never before, and her showing “desperation”.
    Yep, he was angry when he strangled her, she was desperate for him to stop strangling her.

  7. Kathleen Caraway

    I can only think of one reason Watts would tell the horrifying version of the latest confession, true or not. Could he be the world’s biggest and vilest sadist? What he did to those little girls, making them watch the burial of their mother, ride with her body for at least 45 minutes, then sit side by side as he suffocates and dumps one rhen comes for the other one is sadistic torture. Just telling the story even if it isn’t true is a way to ratchet up the pain and despair of all the living folks who loved them. Additionally, all the people following the case are haunted by it. Could that mass misery have been his objective?

  8. Sarah

    I wonder if he put the first little one in the oil tank and heard from its distance splash that it wasn’t that full and may be the tank that was leaking (hence the CERVI fix) and so decided to put the other one in the other tank which had more oil. He knew the oil would break down their bodies and needed enough oil to break down both. He didn’t want the oil tank to leak out and the oil to be gone before they were decomposed. He probably wanted to hide this fact – when they asked him he said he didn’t know why he put them in separate tanks – because it would reveal that he had premeditated to put them in the oil tanks knowing that it would quicken decomposition.
    I also think he waited to kill the girls until he was at CERVI because of the “mess” that was created by Shanann’s strangulation. Judging by the general cleanliness (remember when he said in his first confession, “There’s nothing on my hands.”) of these murders, it seems like the “mess” deterred him from wanting to go through that again.
    Also, I’d love a post on Shanann’s body – its trouble, its triumphs and its controlling power it had over Shanann and Chris. They both seemed to trade power, allegiance, love, victimization, currency over her body. There was a lot of concern and focus on her body.
    Also, her neck made an easy target because of her recent surgery – he might of taken the into consideration.

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