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

“I wonder if, on August 13, 2019, they will try to recreate the events in the driveway. What time is sunrise in Colorado on this date? Can this have an effect on shadows? Is that why the auction has been postponed?”

The above quotation is from a reader’s comment, thank you. Quite correct. If I was in Colorado, that’s what I would do. But will the investigators? Are the Weld County investigators still scratching their heads about this case.?

One can really not over-emphasize the importance of simulating a crime scene in real time. There are often many subtleties and ordinary realities that one overlooks.

In the Watts case there are several light sources to consider, along with the slight concave slope of the driveway and small groves in the cement [running vertically and diagonally] to consider.

Now that we’re on the subject, it should also be noted that the Lexus was parked on the left side inside the garage. Since Watts backed up his truck so that it was slightly in the garage, it stands to reason the truck was parked to the right of the Lexus [in terms of the driveway]. This is difficult to see from the tight angle of Trinatich’s video camera, and with the tree obscuring the view.

But we can see even when Nickole Atkinson parked on the driveway, she parked relatively more on the right side. We also know Watts carried a gas can with plenty of space between the tree and the side of the truck facing the tree and camera.


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When we look at the idiosyncrasies on the driveway, where are they?

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And we can see from the shadows of the defense team carrying the containers, the legs are almost invisible from the perspective of the road, while the containers are larger than the actual figures. if someone bent down to lift one of those containers off the ground and transfer it to the back seat [while several light sources were shining from the front and behind], we can see how it may appear as something moving forward of its own accord.


Incidentally, sunrise in Colorado on August 13th, 2018 is 06:10 sharp. Watts backed his truck into the driveway approximately an hour earlier, at around 05:18 and left the scene at 05:46, 24 minutes before dawn broke.



  1. Lynn

    Not sure why the would waste time and resources for a closed case.

    • JC

      The case was closed when FBI, CBI and the Weld County investigator traveled to Wisconsin to interview CW in prison. That must have been a hefty expense.

      A re-creation wouldn’t necessarily be cost prohibitive or even inconvenient. The house remains empty and the neighbor likely still has the same video cam. Investigators surely have unanswered questions remaining too.

      • Teri

        The moon phases are different, waxing gibbous vs waxing crescent. Last year a majority or the moon was luminated and it was almost a full moon. This year it is just coming out of a new moon and it is mostly shadowed. As to the effect of the rising sun although the sun is very slightly in a different position as the Earth’s complete revolution around the Sun is 365.25 days and we use leap year to adjust this every four year. But they just need to replicate the angle it was rising. It rises from 0 degrees horizon but the azimuth, angle from the North Pole at which it rises changes throughout the year but it is the same on anniversaries as is the timing of Sunrise is the same. There may be miniscule differences due to the Earth’s orbit because revolution is not exactly 365 days. But the biggest factor is that the luminosity of the moon is significantly different on the date of the murder and the anniversary. Since he move the bodies in the dark the moon would be a bigger factor I would presume. The Sun rises at 6:10 in Colorado on the 13th so I’m not sure what time he finished loading the truck but there is twilight before. Hope this helps.

        • nickvdl

          I don’t think the moon phase is relevant at 05:30 in the morning.

          • Teri

            Neither is the sun rising since sunrise was 6:10 that morning. It was twilight and the artificial light was stronger at that time.

          • Teri

            Also havn’t you seen the sun in the daylight. Ive leave for work often before sunrise and Ive seen the moon before the sun fully rises and it is illuminating. For reference: At Full Moon, the Moon is opposite to the Sun – 180 degrees away, and 12 hours behind it. So the Moon rises as the Sun is setting; it’s high in the south at midnight, and it sets in the morning, at sunrise.

          • nickvdl

            If you’re in the area, maybe you can do some moon shadow experiments on the driveway for us.

  2. Barry Wise

    I would be interested to know how the moon phases play a role in what we are percieving through the camera.

    My only issue with suggesting it was not an object actually appears to move towards him and he then reacts.

    As much as it is important understand lighting, depth perception and perspective, we also need to remember to look at things logically and when you watch the video, it appears to demonstrate all the signs one would expect to see of a dad picking up his little girl.

    As awful as them being alive at that time seems, sometimes the simplest explanation is often the right one.

    • nickvdl

      Barry I wouldn’t say that scenario is the simplest answer, because it raises a lot of complicated, inexplicable and unreasonable scenarios supposedly contingent on it. Often the reverse is true in terms of “seeing is believing” – what we can’t quite see *isn’t* what we imagine; we see what we imagine. There’s a huge difference between imagining a UFO and an actual extraterrestrial sighting that confirms intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe and we are not alone. The thought arises quickly, the confirmation never does. And this is a classic example of having very few visual clues and then jumping to overly imaginative conclusions.

  3. Shannon

    I don’t think they will do a re enactment of that nite.
    Can’t find anything on the house, whether sold yet. That was to be in late July.

  4. Karen

    I cannot believe that I have been looking at the picture of Nate’s truck for nearly a year now and this is the first time I have seen that there are two vehicles in Nate’s drive and not only his truck. I am so disappointed in myself

    • Sheis

      Don’t feel bad, Karen! Most of the videos I’ve seen were zoomed-in and both weren’t visible.

      • Karen

        lol I thought I was a little better than that though

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