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

“I’m not kidding Christopher…I’m spotting…” – What did Shan’ann mean?

On the afternoon of August 5th, 018, a Sunday, Shan’ann encouraged her husband to go see his grandmother, but without her and without the kids. In an uncharacteristically stern tone, Shan’ann told Chris Watts:

“I’m not kidding Christopher. I’m having a bad experience these last few days with my pregnancy and I’m spotting. I’m not dealing with it…” What did she mean?

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In OBLIVION I make the case that Shan’ann was suffering classic symptoms of lupus – skin rashes, inflammation etc. brought on by stress. She started feeling unwell the day Watts arrived in North Carolina. We also know she wasn’t feeling well during her trip to Phoenix, and that she was due to see the doctor first thing Monday morning.

But a Seattle-based reader recently contacted me to to stress that spotting is also a well-known symptom in the first trimester of pregnancy. According to

Spotting is considered a light or trace amount of pink, red, or dark brown (rust-colored) blood. You may notice spotting when you use the restroom or see a few drops of blood on your underwear. It will be lighter than your menstrual period. There won’t be enough blood to cover a panty liner.

During pregnancy, spotting can be caused by a number of factors. Spotting is different from heavier bleeding, where you’d need a pad or tampon to stop blood from getting on your clothing. Seek emergency care if you experience heavy bleeding during pregnancy.

Given Shan’ann’s health issues with lupus, spotting would be a real concern, a real possibility of miscarriage. Was that why she had her doctor’s appointment Monday morning?


  1. Janie

    I researched it, and in an article on People’s website, it said her appointment that she missed was going to be listening to the baby’s heartbeat. So a normal pregnancy appointment. But I imagine she would have brought up her spotting issue. Why did she have to tell Chris that she’s spotting and isn’t going to go? Was he pleading with her to come to where he is with his parents? Why did she encourage him to visit his grandma if she hated his side of the family, and in doing so creates yet another instance of making him choose between her and his family.
    Was she using the spotting as a reason to get out of being around his parents, as a “If I have to see your parents I will miscarry and that will be your fault”?!!

    I’m curious to know if she told her parents or friends that she was spotting, or if she had spotting in her other 2 pregnancies. Why would they even want another child when her health was at risk and that she could potentially pass on health problems to the child like was the case with Bella and Celeste. Hasn’t it been proven time and again that having more children never saves a marriage?

    • ncam619

      I think she was just trying to get his attention by saying she was spotting. If a woman in her 4th month of pregnancy with previous complications from past pregnancies) was ACTUALLY spotting, she definitely wouldn’t have went on an unnecessary trip to Arizona. Shan’ann was considering cancelling the trip to stay home because of her marital issues with chris, so why not cancel for an issue such as spotting (which is not to be taken lightly btw).

      • Ralph Oscar

        Two ideas here:

        1) Shan’Ann was being her old manipulative self, making up some health crisis that she hoped would prompt Chris to come riding to her rescue. Hey, it had worked in the past…

        2) If Shan’Ann had not gone to the AZ hootenanny, LeVel might well have fired her. Shan’Ann could not risk that. Being a Thrive distributor was her identity.

  2. Jenn H.

    I researched lupus, spotting, and pregnancy.
    Shan’ann claimed she was spotting, not bleeding heavily
    Heavy bleeding would be a bigger concern for miscarriage.
    As it reads, Shan’ann claimed she was having a bad time with her
    pregnancy, and she was spotting. She wasn’t feeling well.
    Considering, the lupus, pregnancy, stress, and her crumbling
    marriage, it isn’t surprising she was experiencing this and said it.
    Shan’ann was organized, everything was on a schedule.
    A routine follow up was likely anticipated.

    • Gayle Gallien

      I do not believe she was spotting. Her brother said she was not sick until the day CW arrived in North Carolina. This was to gain sympathy and attention from him but he had already checked out of the marriage.

      • ncam619


      • C

        ?? He gave her Oxy…he says once, he is lying as always, it was prolly many times.

  3. Holly

    Exactly Gayle. Anything to get attention as I believe that’s how she has been all her life. I don’t
    believe the lupus or other medical conditions but alot of others do, I personally do not. Funny how
    Chris had to wait to leave til after kids went to bed. I think she ran him ragged all through their marriage and just telling her no would have caused a severe backlash. I don’t think he was pressuring her, no way, he knew better, I just think he wanted to go and she was pressuring him to stay and take care of her. I’m surprised he left honestly but let’s face it he didn’t want to be around her or the kids. She tried yet again to get some sort of reaction out of him, some concern or attention but it didn’t work. I’m sure she was pretty purplexed as to what was going on with him.

    • Rachel Leigh

      I agree. She had the mild form of lupus or was misdiagnosed. She wasn’t spotting. She used it to get sympathy or his attention. It didn’t work. She was also claiming to have diabetes with this pregnancy.

  4. Karen

    I have often wondered why Shan’ann didn’t just go back home. She and Chris were not communicating. She suspected him of seeing someone. He was ignoring her texts for hours at a time along with her phone calls. Why didn’t she just say, “My marriage is in trouble and I’ve got to go home?” It just seems like a normal thing to do once you realize that something is definitely wrong

    • nickvdl

      Because part of the point of going to North Carolina was to see what her options were. She probably found they weren’t good.

      • Karen

        It just makes me feel like if she really wanted to save her marriage, long distance wasn’t the way to go.

        • Ralph Oscar

          “It just makes me feel like if she really wanted to save her marriage, long distance wasn’t the way to go.”

          We’ve seen time after time that Shan’Ann did not make good decisions. From the too-big house in NC to the too-big house in CO to her *7* different MLM mistakes to that embezzlement thing in NC, it was just one thing after another with her. Shan’Ann wasn’t living in reality. And in her mind, it would all turn out the way she envisioned. Until it didn’t.

      • ncam619

        Nick, I also recall an interview with one of the stylists who worked with shan’ann’s mom who said shan’ann told her mom they were separating (this was before case docs were released, so it’s most likely true). I also recall ronnie mentioning that chris said they were separating. So do you think shannan’s time in NC was most likely a “trial separation”?

        • nickvdl

          It’s possible that it was a trial separation, but from Shan’ann’s point of view this seems somewhat unlikely [she was pregnant and didn’t seem to want to get divorced]. She seemed genuinely surprised by his lack of attention just before and when he arrived in North Carolina, but who knows, perhaps she thought being away from him would jolt him back into their marriage instead of the opposite.

          Shan’anns trip to North Carolina was already decided when she made that 30 minute video in April or May. If I remember correctly the idea to go to North Carolina was already in place close to New Year’s Day. My impression was that Shan’ann went to NC to try to make extra money. It was like an extended business trip. This suggests Shan’ann was aware that their financial situation was perilous and required drastic action. And I think they were both aware that things weren’t great in their marriage, but as far as Shan’ann was concerned, it was still salvageable, especially now that she was pregnant.

          It’s also possible she went there to look for a new house. Whether the trip amounted to a trial separation is a different story. I think it became that to Chris Watts, and the longer it went on the more he wanted to make sure they stayed separated.

        • Ralph Oscar

          “So do you think shannan’s time in NC was most likely a “trial separation”?”

          Typically, with a trial separation, one person moves into a separate domicile and from there they see what life would be like if they weren’t living together. This includes co-parenting the children. It’s really rare to think of moving to a different state = separation, because even when a parent has full custody, they typically aren’t allowed to move out of state without the other parent’s permission (when the other parent has at least visitation rights). So for Shan’Ann to think that she and the children would just move away to NC brings to mind that old-timey notion of a man “putting away” his unwanted wife so she’s no longer around.

  5. monicakelly7488

    I think the spotting was BS to get attention and sympathy. However, I do believe she had lupus. My aunt has suffered from it since she was a teenager and Shannan had the butterfly rashes consistently. Lastly, I have no idea why at age 34 she would even consider having another child while suffering from Lupus. My aunt had one child because her pregnancy was pure hell,

  6. Marcie

    Hey Nick. Did you see Cindy Watt’s pre-published chapters on Reddit?
    SW was a mess.

  7. LW

    In light of the Oxycodone confessions, this spotting post has even more significance.

  8. Debra Davis

    Exactly what i was thinking LW

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