I posted that blog two days after Watts appeared in court for the second time, based on information presented [and later removed/redacted] from the Warrantless Arrest Affidavit.
Since the affidavit explicitly mentioned Watts was actively having an affair with a co-worker, it didn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out who she was. All one had to do was go through the list of female names on the affidavit, exclude those involved in law enforcement, and cross-reference those affiliated with the oil industry. More likely than not the likely candidate would be reasonably attractive and probably, though not necessarily, close to Watts’ age or slightly younger.
In the end there was only one name, one likely candidate that stood out. A certain Nichol Kessinger was one of a handful of names listed as “address pending”. The others included Frank Rzucek Junior, Nickole Utoft Atkinson [spelled incorrectly], Jeremy Lindstrom [spelled incorrectly], Cristina Meacham [spelled incorrectly], Addy Molony [spelled incorrectly] and Sam Paisley. None of these individuals had connections to the oil industry, and half of the women weren’t even resident in Colorado.
There was also another compelling reason why it probably was Kessinger. Because there was almost no evidence of her online. By as early as August 23rd, Kessinger had scrubbed virtually all traces of herself online, but not everything. This photo, for example, came up.
Google cache still had a reference to Kessinger working for Halliburton, a company associated with the oil industry.
And with a little digging, it turned out Kessinger’s father lived in Arvada and was also affiliated with the oil industry.
KESSINGER: Yeah I saw that. Those people are grasping at straws. That picture is very very old and they don’t have my last few employers or my correct address. Or even my last few addresses for that matter. I’m really doing my best to stay under the radar as long as possible. Do they release more information about his case at his hearing on November 19?
But “those people” weren’t grasping at straws. It turned out it was Kessinger all along, and while the media only disclosed her identity in an “exclusive” published by the Denver Post on November 16, three days before the final sentencing hearing, the real scoop had been published by me almost three months earlier, as early as August 23rd, just ten days after the incident.
In late August, Kessinger was right about one thing. People were grasping at straws because tight control was being managed around the information in this case. Some of the less intuitive argued in the months that followed that Kessinger wasn’t necessarily the mystery mistress, because there wasn’t absolute proof that she worked at Anadarko.
The media remained strangely silent on the matter while going crazy about Trent Bolte as well as another dubious mistress Watts supposedly met on Tinder. In hindsight, both of these charlatans appeared to be either random attempts by individuals to hog the limelight, or someone was purposefully and strategically trying to misdirect attention and speculation away from Kessinger [and Anadarko] in the run up to the trial in November.
It’s interesting that Lifetime will be chronicling the months leading up to the crime, in an effort to piece together the motive. It remains to be seen how closely the script will follow the #1yearagotodayCW timeline, but if it does it may well clarify rather than cloud the premeditation narrative.
Sean Kleier (Odd Mom Out) has been cast as Chris, Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother), as Shanann and Brooke Smith (Bates Motel, Ray Donovan) as FBI agent Tammy Lee. Sony Pictures Television is producing the film for Lifetime.
Have a look at the trailers below for an idea of what to expect from Lifetime.
CrimeRocket.com ‘s coverage of the Chris Watts’ stands apart as the most comprehensive, accurate and compelling version of what actually played out on Sunday night and Monday morning in 2825 Saratoga Trail, Frederick Colorado on Agust 13th, 2018.
The TWO FACE book series is the definitive account of the Watts Family Murders. In spite of these efforts, the mainstream version of events continues to echo Watts’ dubious version . Weld County also appears content to recycle Watts’ doubtful version of events.
True crime documentaries like HLN’s Killer Dad and ID’sFamily Man, Family Murderer thus far have not even begun to scratch the surface, or interrogate the evidence, of what actually happened in the Watts case .
Isn’t it time a proper documentary, from someone with expert knowledge, covered the Chris Watts case?
Since covering true crime as a full-time author, I’ve become increasingly appalled at the documentary coverage of high-profile cases. From cold cases like JonBenet Ramsey all the way to the latest documentaries on Chris Watts, the quality is invariably shabby. The producers seem to do little more than a tip-of-the-hat to the actual meat-and-potatoes of these cases.
A few years ago, I approached filmmakers and had several high-level discussions with a view to converting many of my crime narratives to the medium of television. In some cases they offered contracts to buy the rights to some of my books. In the end, I turned these down because I didn’t have confidence that any of these producers had close to a gut feel for how to go about rendering these narratives. The bigshots in the industry, with experience in the genre, seemed to lack confidence in my work because it was self-published.
I also negotiated with a producer based in New York, affiliated with HBO. In 2018 a major American network stole major elements used in a narrative series. When confronted with these infringements, the network offered a licensing agreement, and agreed to credit my work, but refused to pay for their appropriation.
I’ve also spent some time reaching out to part-time podcasters and videographers. Thus far it’s been very stop-start. Some aren’t au fait with true crime, others who are have other jobs they do fulltime.
The best solution seems to be to write, produce and direct a documentary myself. I have photographic experience as former professional photojournalist for mainstream magazines.
I recently watched the excellent series on Netflix called The Family. All of it is based around the narrative of investigative journalist Jeff Sharlet. Sharlet produced the series and also appears in it to narrate the often complex backstory.
The way to go will involve starting up a GoFundMe with a goal of $50 000 in seed capital. This will involve travelling to the US, purchasing equipment and filming on location for 3-4 weeks. The documentary will be rooted in the research found on CrimeRocket, and throughout the TWO FACE series.
Right now, everyone’s talking about the spate of mass killings in America. Why do these mass shootings keep happening? What’s triggering them? What everyone can agree on is that no one has been able to figure out WHY?
Everyone from the families involved to the FBI are stumped. Experts and researchers have joined some dots, but haven’t been able to pin anything down. No one can provide a foolproof profile.
When Trevor Noah went onto the Daily Show recently in a clip titled What Causes Mass Shootings?, he invoked all the usual suspects. The internet, gaming, mental illness and gun laws. Give it a watch.
It’s an interesting point that gaming and internet are also big in Japan and yet Japan has one of the world’s lowest crime rates and no mass shootings to speak of.
Unfortunately Trevor Noah ends his spiel with a cop-out.
“Mass shootings are caused by any one of those factors if not more. But there’s one thing that every mass shooting has in common. Whatever motivated it has to be combined with a gun.”
Whatever motivated it?
In a clip that’s headlined WHAT CAUSES MASS SHOOTINGS, why not just say “We don’t know the cause”. Or “America, we don’t have an answer to why mass shootings are happening in America right now”. Because saying Motive [Question Mark] + Gun = Mass Shooting QED isn’t solving the math. Not even close.
In the same clip Trevor Noah refers to a New York Times article showing that according to research, mental illness isn’t statistically relevant to mass shootings.
Well it is and isn’t, but it makes sense to read the research to get the nuance beyond the headlines, and I have.
The TCRS take on mental illnessis that it isn’t the whole answer, but it’s an important path to the answer. Without going into too much detail, the metal illness moniker is a too difficult standard to be met by all mass shooters. We can say with confidence that virtually all mass shooters are lonely, disaffected, alienated and invariably single. That doesn’t quite reach the bar of mental illness, do you see what I mean? You can be unhappy but not mentally ill. You can be desperate and miserable, but still be sane, not so? Often we do see symptoms that many of these young men having gone off the rails or lost the plot – including on social media, especially on social media – long before these incidents happen.
This piece does an excellent job of covering areas glossed over or dismissed by other pundits. It’s moving our understanding significantly in the right direction, but as you can see, it’s not Rocket Science. There’s not some fancy smancy psychobabble, there’s no new syndrome or disorder, there’s no snazzy new narcissism subset to explain these killers.
It’s so simple it’s almost stupid: all of them hate women. Hating women means they hate seeing women with other guys, even their friends. Their’s is a bitter hatred born of jealousy, envy and insignificance. And insignificance most of all. What sort of people are jealous, envious and bitter about everything and everyone? People with no lives. People with no social currency and no influence.
Let’s go through a few highlights from the article before I give you the TCRS position, which is even simpler than the hatred of women as a common cause.
I’m glad the authors added “sharing of misogynistic views online”. It’s implied that one or all of the shooters demonstrated some form of abuse or disaffection towards women. This may have been extreme, such as assault, less threatening but no less serious in the form of verbal abuse. Sons may have gotten stroppy with their mothers, or threatened their sisters. Spurned boyfriends may have turned into stalkers, online and offline. Do you see what’s happening? Now we’re conflating traits of mass killers with traits we might see in ordinary,m everyday men in families and relationships. It looks that way, but it isn’t. Now stay with me, because it’s easy to get lost.
It’s true, the fact that shootings are virtually 100% attributed to the male sex is missing from the national discourse. What we also ought to look at is the victimology of these shootings. Is it always young men shooting young women, or is always young men shooting other young men? Is it young men shooting men and women, or only men, or only women? Are the victims old, young, or random? Is it white guys shooting people of other races?
This is a complicated area, so to keep it simple, it’s safe to say that mass shooters while indiscriminate, it’s not random. What does that mean? Well, what do all the worst shootings have in common – Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas, Orlando, Aurora? They’re all in public spaces, and they all involve a cross-section of society – men, women and children. So it’s not random in the sense that the location doesn’t matter, it does. It’s also not random in the sense that the victims don’t matter, they do. The shooter is targeting indiscriminately, that that doesn’t mean without intent. Try to hold onto that idea even if it’s not resolving just yet. It will.
This Shannon Watts is obviously no relation to Shan’ann Watts of Frederick Colorado. While we’re on the subject, the Watts Family Murders fell one person short of qualifying as a mass killing. A mass killing occurs during a single “rampage” where four or more people are killed with no cooling off period. Because the fetus in the Watts case wasn’t regarded as a person, the Watts murders are officially a triple homicide. But that’s the FBI definition for you. This “no cooling off period” tells us a lot about the crime, the criminal and the motive. Again, hold that thought, we’ll be reconciling it in a moment.
What does it tell us when we see mass shooters often kill a member of their family as part of their rampage? Adam Lanza did [killed his mother first]. Elliot Rodger didn’t kill family, but expressed the into to, and knifed to death both his flatmates as well as his flatmate’s friend. He did this first, then went out to rampage. Connor Betts – the Dayton Shooter – killed his sister.
People were quick to assume that Connor Betts sister Megan was simply a random accident. This is what we mean by indiscriminate. Betts didn’t aim at each and every one of his victims, but you can bet he aimed at his sister. Nikolas Cruz had an argument with his brother.
If we scroll a little further down the “Red Flag” section of the New York Times piece, we come across this.
I don’t like the term “domestic violence”, just as much as I don’t think “mental illness” is helpful. There doesn’t have to be actual violence, or a felony, but there probably is serious unhappiness and brokenness at home. The statistics bear this out as one of the most significant factors [follow the black arrow].
In the above table by far the highest correlation here has to do with family dynamics. How do these kids get along with everyone else? Clearly they’re pissed off because they’re outsiders, often in their families, and frequently among their peers. The error made by the cops, the FBI, families, pundits and psychologists, is that one and all of these project their own adult psychology on these young adult killers. It’s apples and oranges. Adults often have jobs, wives and networks. These mass killers have none of that, and little or no social currency. So for a person with influence [social currency] to be pontificating on why, when they have no clue about the dynamics of identifying experience and the activating impulses, it’s no wonder motive eludes the mainstream.
In certain crimes we must intuit the criminal psychology by studying the criminals using their psychology not our own. Amanda Knox, the West Memphis Three, even the JonBenet Ramsey case, all require us to become experts at the psychology of young adults and children. Otherwise it’s just vanilla projection and biased transference. That gets us nowhere.
The identifying experience in these incidents is invariably the young male trying [and failing] to assert his dominance. And no one in society really has an interest in acknowledging that. The rampage is his final, desperate act to assert himself in the world, and the shooter is fully prepared to give his life for this “final demonstration”. It’s done on the largest possible stage, the most visible arena he can imagine for his swan song. In effect, the crime itself speaks so loudly about the motive – and emotions – it’s deafening.
I was particularly interested in this aspect, since I’m just wrapping up a book, a follow-up to SLAUGHTER called INCELS CAUSE & EFFECT. It turns out the profile of a mass shooter and the profile of an incel are precisely the same, the only difference is the incel’s identifier is more explicitly about women, about sex, and about hating the world. I want to be clear on that. Incels hate themselves and hate the world, and they’re completely clear on that, on both scores. Mass shooters aren’t always as good at expressing themselves. Seung Hui-Cho and Nikolas Cruz were so inarticulate as to be virtually unwatchable. But that didn’t make their rage, or their malicious intent any less real.
It’s through the incel that we get another profound, and profoundly accessible insight. Just as mental illness is less about insanity than just feeling miserable, and domestic violence is less about actual violence than raging against those close to them, the incel’s plight is all too familiar. Sexual frustration.
Elliot Rodger was a whackjob, but he wasn’t mentally ill. You try writing an error-free 137-page Manifesto that people will actually read. Domestic abuse? None in Rodger’s case, unless a messy divorce qualifies. Elliot Rodger was intelligent and eloquent, the son of a Hollywood producer involved in the making of the Hunger Games. He was more privileged than most. He was also able to articulate at length what his motives were.
Was it political? Racist? Was it a cloud of vague things all added together? No. It’s the most obvious thing in the world. Rodger felt humiliated. He felt like a nothing and a nobody. And no matter what he did, he felt he could’t escape this perception. He was angry at being rejected by society over a period of years. Surprise surprise, many men – young and old – have since identified with Rodger. His crime has been copied so often since the Isla Vista massacre in 2014, other incels now refer to copycat killings as going ER or doing ER [as in doing an Elliot Rodger].
In March 2018 I published a 522 page book on School Shooters and Mass Killers that no one read. The story behind why I wrote SLAUGHTER was quite simple. No one could understand why Stephen Paddock had committed America’s worst mass murder. Months passed and the FBI admitted they still couldn’t say why. It was like True Crime 101. If the mass killer didn’t leave a suicide note saying why then it was a complete mystery.
Perhaps it takes a True Crime Rocket Scientist to see the wood for the trees, because there is no case more obvious in terms of the crime scene, than the mass shooter’s. The more bullets that are fired, the more dead bodies, the more rage the killer felt and wanted to convey. The biggest clue of all is that the killer’s kill themselves. This is treated as an afterthought. When people in society commit suicide we don’t think of their motives either. We don’t think about someone killing themselves as committing self-murder. We don’t care about their motives because the person who killed them is dead.
I think the failure to see these killers for who they really are speaks about some fundamental flaws creeping steadily through society. We have become terrible at recognizing or discerning truth just as general rule. Everyone. The media. The public. Paid experts. We’re useless at understanding others because we don’t understand – and often don’t care – about ourselves, much less our world. We’ve just become shallow, selfish and superficial – all of us. And we can’t understand why our world and our society is turning to shit.
SLAUGHTER was one of the most difficult books to write, a big statement when you’ve written 92 books. In the end the psychological ingredients essential to the motive of mass shooters were as rudimentary to the meal of life as bread and butter.
Why do mass killers kill so many? Why do they kill family and themselves? Oh boy, we love to turn to the terms and labels for revelation, we love the minimum safe distance of names and syndromes. The answer to why – are you ready – is it’s about humiliation.
Many reading this, I know, will scoff at the idea. Everyone is humiliated. High school was tough for everyone, they’ll say. Sure it was. But it was a lot tougher for some than for others. Life is the same way. Some people ride a much bumper road than others. We don’t tend to notice those riding the bumpier road, we’re too busy getting what’s coming to us and reading the mile markers on our own yellow brick roads.
Ultimately the defining characteristic goes much deeper than humiliation, although humiliation is the motive. You won’t see a shooter who didn’t perceive himself to be humiliated, and who didn’t have low social currency. In terms of profiling, it doesn’t matter whether his peers felt he was bullied or not, or whether or not he bullied and threatened them. What matters is he felt himself to be extremely and acutely impinged, sufficient to take up arms, and sufficient to end his life and the lives of others at the end of it.
People at the end of their tether feel humiliation far more keenly than most other people. A fucked up family background is more likely to manifest the same misery elsewhere. Folks who are failing at the game of life, across the board, whether with the opposite sex, or their grades, or with their peers, these are dysfunctional dropouts far more compromised and anxious than everyone else.
Take any person and push the anxiety button to an extreme level. Take away all their social currency, take away their family, friends and the possibility of a girlfriend. Then push that into their face in a group setting. Repeatedly reject and humiliate them. And then put a gun into their hands and see what happens.
The final psychological dot to connect is the sadism involved.Why are these shooters so sadistic? Why do they take so much pleasure in killing other people? It’s important to absorb that idea for a second. Why is the raw sadism so intense?
It’s because of the sadism they feel they experienced. Whether ex-girlfriends say they treated them well or not, whether their family or school believe they were fair or not, they experience the world as a particularly, cruel sadistic place. And there is always a connection between the anal personality, or anality, and sadism. The anal personality is so common in our society it would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. To be anal is to be fixated, obsessive, compulsive, inflexible, brittle, broken, stuck. The mass shooter scenario flows out of precisely these obsessions – the massacre itself is a fantasy, an obsession, a daydream for a loser to challenge his low status in the world and emerge with heroic potency once more.
We shouldn’t be too quick to put the anal-sadistic type into a box, and say that’s someone else. That’s them, not me. In the early stage of childhood development the anal phase is represented by a fixation with feces. This is quite common in human infants. An infant feeling its not getting enough attention from its primary caregiver, an infant in need of soothing, might try to extort control or exert control over its parents by holding its own feces hostage [during toilet training or changing a nappy]. Make no mistake, this is is unfiltered sadism, and it’s so common it’s innate.
In the mass shooter we see the same thing. An extremely anxious, neurotic, humiliated loner, using his feces to even the score with those more powerful than he is. It’s a power struggle, but instead of feces the shooter fires bullets. The crime is invariably symbolic, it’s the resetting of the social currency score, and at worst, the shooter comes away with the world knowing their name. When they see themselves scraping the bottom of the social barrel, that’s a fate worth dying for.
If this is the problem, the cure is pretty straightforward, isn’t it? It has less to do with mental illness, guns, video games and the internet than being less of a dick to your fellow man. If your fellow man is an asshole, maybe be less of an asshole back, how about that? Maybe notice the disturbed loners limping along the fringes of society, and help lead them back into friendships, back into relationships, back into their families and the warm bosom of institutions. Instead of humiliating them more, build them up more. Yes, this is the most devastating indictment of all, isn’t it? When confronted with the solution, it’s unlikely our society – such as it is – will care much about doing anything about it. Because who is going to do it? And this is the real problem. We just don’t care enough about each other.
Since following this case, there’s been a frustrating lack of information. Very few photos of the resort were released, and very little information has been made freely available to contextualize the scene. Has this been by accident, or by design?
The images released by the authorities of the window [the imputed exit point when Nora supposedly wandered off] were from such a wide angle, it was difficult to see any artifacts either on the inside or outside of the windows. There was also only a limited view inside the bungalow.
As a result of extensive digging and dogged research it’s been a slow process to start piecing the Quoirin accomodations together.
Having done so, it now appears unlikely that Nora slept upstairs at all. The parents and siblings told police Nora slept close to them, upstairs [see screengrab below]. But is this accurate? If it is, why didn’t they hear her move out of the room? The bungalows upstairs have wooden floors. So if she was sleeping right beside them, how couldn’t they hear her?
We also know the children were later not allowed to communicate any further with investigators as a result of “legal advice”. The family lawyered up as early as Day 2 of Nora’s disappearance. Missing from the British or Irish coverage of the case was this snippet of intelligence published in the Malay Mail on August 7th, and sent to me courtesy of @McCannCaseTweet [who’s also been cautiously studying this case].
These [see below] are the upstairs living quarters. Enough to sleep two or three people. [Nora was on holiday with her parents, and two younger siblings, a brother and a sister as reported in The Mirror on August 7th].
With her spatial difficulties, she would have struggled to navigate the spiral staircase between the upstairs and downstairs level, especially at night.
It was never explicitly stated where Nora slept, if she was upstairs with her parents or with her siblings, but one assumed it was with her siblings. It was clearly implied that she slept upstairs on August 3rd, and that she was the most tired after their long trip.
But the police believed – correctly – that Nora probably didn’t sleep upstairs, despite what the parents and perhaps Nora’s siblings had told the Malaysian authorities. This comes from The Sun, August 9th.
Below is a clear view from the inside towards the kitchen window. It shows a bedroom in the double-story Sora House. If this is accurate, Nora was left to sleep on her own, while the family – the Quoirin couple and her younger siblings – all slept upstairs.
Edit: It appears more likely one or both parents slept downstairs in this room and presumably in this bed.
If Nora woke up at night and went looking for her family, would they have heard her? And isn’t that why she might have wandered off in the first place – because she was in a strange place, in the dark, looking for her mom and dad, brother and sister, couldn’t them and horribly lost in the process?
The Sora House appears to be the biggest of the six units offered by the resort.
Was this vertiginous setup of structures connected by stilts and staircases really the ideal setting for a child with Nora’s developmental difficulties and cognitive vulnerabilities?
Nickole Atkinson talks about the incident as if it were a bad dream. Cassie Rosenberg refers to a nagging voice in her dead telling her something was wrong. She also remembers Watts begging her not to call the police.
I have been thinking about this day for well the last year. Thinking that is was a bad dream and I was going to wake up…
Book 4 in the TWO FACE series, one of the best reviewed, is available now in paperback!
“Book 4 in the K9 series is a must read for those who enjoy well researched and detailed crime narratives. The author does a remarkable job of bringing to life the cold dark horror that is Chris Watts throughout the narrative but especially on the morning in the aftermath of the murders. Chris’s actions are connected by Nick van der Leek’s eloquent use of a timeline to reveal a motive.”