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

Was Bella more difficult to strangle than Shan’ann?

At 3:28:10 in the clip below Agent Tammy Lee touches on a critical aspect of the evidence. I discuss it in detail in ANNIHILATION. She’s trying to confirm how Bella sustained the gash to her frenulum, an atypical artifact of asphyxia.

Remember, to strangle someone one typically closes off the throat area, and if the mouth is covered, it often includes closing off the mouth and nose. One could expect pressure on the lips but not upward, vertical pressure.

One wouldn’t expect strangulation to include throttling the throat and closing off the mouth and nose, and especially not for a relatively weaker victim like a toddler.

In the clip Watts tries to account for this anomalous injury by explaining how Bella’s head tossed from side to side as he throttled her under a blanket. But that doesn’t work either. To cause that sort of injury there would need to be jerking in a vertical nodding type motion.

In any event, a 33-year-old man would have almost no problem subduing a 4-year-old girl in a vice-like grip around her mouth and neck, assuming that’s what happened. If Watts was able to subdue his wife with no defensive wounds, and almost no wounds to her, then why did he have so much difficulty with Bella?

His version is that because Bella was murdered last, she fought back the most.



  1. Sideaffected

    I’ve also wondered about that. He’s obviously lying about why, since anyone being strangled/smothered will be in terror whether they’ve witnessed it or not (except SW of course, who was straight CHILLIN/praying.)

    Interesting you posted this today, because I watched a (mostly slow-moving and containing re-enactments that suck) video today about a guy who killed a woman and her two year old daughter by strangulation. Not the husband this time, a store owner strangled a woman in front of her two year old daughter, had sex with her AFTER she was dead, and then killed the little girl, in his baby-clothing store. The child was found within a couple hours and they described her injuries as being strangulation and hand over mouth to cut off airway of child and strangulation of the woman (which they depicted as a chokehold from behind but i’m unsure if that’s accurate.) Also interesting-he was suspected immediately because his face was so fucked up from her scratching him. It’s the murders of Lisa and Devon Manderach.

  2. Sarah

    Is it possible Bella hurt her mouth when he was putting her in the tank rather than in the killing itself?

  3. Donkeykong

    I have never ever believed the narrative that Bella’s injuries were from fighting back. Because a blunt force induced severed frenulum is not an easy feat. It’s very protected and hidden up and away from a good portion of possible mouth injuries
    Before even reading Nicks thoughts on Bella, I scratched my head at how her frenulum could be broken like that from struggling to get away from Chris smothering her. It didn’t add up. And I struggle to understand how the prosecutor thought he could get away with selling that idea. Unless you get a knife or long flat object and force it up into the gum area and behind the top lip and directly contact it to injure it, you really couldn’t sever that strong section of tissue.
    Far out, Chris watts is so full of shit his eyes are brown.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “I scratched my head at how her frenulum could be broken like that from struggling to get away from Chris smothering her. It didn’t add up.”

      My thoughts as well.

      Now such an injury *is* consistent with the head being forced through an unyielding metal opening…

      • Donkeykong

        Exactly Ralph. Head booted down into tank and the edge of a hatch coming up at the frenulum is exactly what the coroner said ‘blunt force injury’
        I honestly cringe at the thought of how hard he must’ve booted her down for that to happen
        Poor Bella

        • Ralph Oscar

          At least by that point she wasn’t feeling anything any more.

Leave a Reply

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