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“The reason the medical examiner found Oxycodone in Shan’ann’s system is because I gave it to her” – Chris Watts

In Chris Watts’ Third Confession he claims the smothering of his children in their beds was botched, and that while murdering Shan’ann, after poisoning her with Oxycodone, the children came back to life – a scenario which angered him.

In this version, Watts murdered [or attempted to murder] his daughters while Shan’ann was asleep in his bed.

Watts’ words are italicized below.


Source: Daily Mail

‘August 13th, morning of, I went to the girls’ room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella’s room, then Cece’s room and used a pillow from their bed (to kill them). That’s why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece’s room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued.

‘After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I’m not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella’s eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma. That made the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location of the batteries.

Watts also admits to concealing other facts from authorities that he would not talk about in phone calls from prison to prevent them from being recorded. 

‘I don’t like saying stuff like that over the phone because I’m never certain when they screen my calls,’ he wrote. He had previously claimed that it was a spontaneous outburst of rage that led him to kill his wife – who was 15 weeks pregnant with their son, Nico – and his daughters so that he could be with his mistress of two months, his co-worker Nichol Kessinger.

However, he admitted in the letter that he had been plotting the murders for some time.

‘August 12th when I finished putting the girls to bed, I walked away and said ”That’s the last time I’m going to be tucking my babies in.” I knew what was going to happen the day before and I did nothing to stop it!’ he wrote.

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He also confessed that he had slipped the potent painkiller Oxycodone to his wife in the hope of inducing a miscarriage.I thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn’t pregnant,’ he wrote.

The 34-year-old described how he killed his wife in grisly detail and recalls how she looked moments before her death as he told her that he wanted a separation and no longer loved her.

‘Isn’t it weird how I look back and what I remember so much is her face getting all black with streaks of mascara? All the weeks of me thinking about killing her, and now I was faced with it. When she started to get drowsy, I somehow knew how to squeeze the jugular veins until it cut off the blood flow to her brain, and she passed out… I knew if I took my hands off of her, she would still keep me from Nikki. They asked me why she couldn’t fight back, it’s because she couldn’t fight back. Her eyes filled with blood; as she looked at me and she died. I knew she was gone when she relieved herself.’

Watts said that, to his surprise, his daughters came walking into the room while he was wrapping Shanann in a bedsheet and began asking what was wrong with their mom. He told them that she wasn’t feeling well.

Watts said that he tried to carry Shanann’s body downstairs but she was too heavy and he lost his grip. He ended up dragging her down the steps and then bundled her in the back of his truck.

Watts told Cadle: ‘The girls were just kind of running around the house, and watching me with scared looks on their faces. Bella started to cry and when she did Celeste started whimpering. What a nightmare this was. I realize now the girls getting up and walking around may have been God’s third attempt to stop what I was doing.’

He said that his overwhelming feeling was being ‘so mad they were still alive’.

He then drove with his wife’s body, her face and feet wrapped in garbage bags, and his two daughters to a remote oil field owned by his then-employer, Anadarko. He had packed his lunch, a shovel and rake, along with a gas can, which led the FBI to subsequently ask whether he was considering suicide.

‘The FBI asked me if I was going to take my own life, and I told them I thought about it but honestly no, I was not going to take my own life,’ he later told Cadle.

He recalled that it took him an hour to drive to the site where he methodically killed both of his daughters.

‘I dumped Shanann on the ground, then I walked back to the truck and with the blanket that Celeste was holding, I put it over her head and smothered her.’

Watts squeezed Celeste’s body through an eight-inch hatch in one of the oil tankers.

‘I couldn’t believe how easily it was to just let her drop through the hole and let her go. I heard the splash as she hit the oil.’

He then relived for Cadle, in appalling detail, how he killed his eldest daughter Bella after she had watched him murder and dispose of her sister. He spoke of his surprise that: ‘Little quiet Bella had a will to live.’

‘Out of all three, Bella is the only one that put up a fight. I will hear her soft little voice for the rest of my life, saying, ‘Daddy, NO!!! She knew what I was doing to her. She may not have understood death, but she knew I was killing her.”I had to put the girls in the tanks so they wouldn’t get up the second time,’ he said.

He then turned to the task of burying his wife in a shallow grave.

‘When I dug the hole, it seemed a lot deeper than it was. As I pulled on the sheet she rolled out and into the hole. I think she had given birth. She landed face down, I remember being so angry with her that I was not going to change how she landed,’ he said.

Cadle asked him about the claims that Watts gave his wife Oxycodone and he responded with conflicting stories, saying he had given it to her twice – once at her parents’ home in North Carolina to try to cause a miscarriage, and then immediately before her death. He later contradicted himself and said he only gave it to her once in North Carolina.

‘I asked him where he got the Oxy, and he told me that is one of the things he will take to his death,’ Cadle wrote.


April 23, 2019

Dear Cheryln,

Hello again! I hope you are doing well! It has been awesome talking with you on the phone, but I know the 15-minute timeframe is a pain. Sometimes I can get right back on the phone but right now there are other inmates that like to be on the phone as much as I do, so I respect their time as well. How’s your dad doing, I’ve been praying on that every day.

Yes, that petition really blew my mind that people really want to make me suffer like that. Even if they did ever take my pictures, they can’t take my memories. An inmate from another institution wrote me about that subject and said, ‘If they take your pictures, they would need to take the pictures from the other 500-600 people that have their family pictures up on their cell convicted of the same act.’

Do I feel like I should be incarcerated? For the act I committed, I most definitely thinks so. Do I imagine myself ever doing anything like this or be a danger to society? I most definitely think NOT! If I were to ever be released, I know I would go straight to a ministry and start going to jails/prisons and help inmates. If God led me to be ordained, I would go that route as well; possibly even be a Chaplain. Maybe the laws will change one day. My attorney team could see I was different and knew that this was a one-time occurrence for me. They told me that in Europe, the law is I would serve 20 years or so for homicide, and in California, after 25 years of imprisonment, on a life sentence you can be released if you’ve had good behavior. So, there’s hope for everyone to live outside prison walls. I know physically I’m behind these walls, but my spirit is FREE with Christ!

If God keeps putting it on your heart that there is more to the story than what I told the FBI has, you’re correct. I don’t like saying stuff like that over the phone because I’m never certain when they screen my calls. I know I already told you the vision I had before August 13th, when I was lying in bed and all the lights were on in the loft and downstairs and I felt so alone. That’s exactly what happened April 14th when I was lying in bed.

I don’t know if you want this in the book or if God does but here are the things I left out.

1) August 12th when I finished putting the girls to bed, I walked away and said ‘That’s the last time I’m going to be tucking my babies in.’ I knew what was going to happen the day before and I did nothing to stop it! I was numb to the entire world. I had literally taken my kids to a birthday party, played with water balloons, had an amazing time, sang songs all the way home, gave them bath a shower, ate dinner, read bedtime stories and sang bedtime songs, and still nothing registered!! When Shanann had to be somewhere, I always enjoyed taking the girls places or playing outside because it was our opportunity to bond, and still the night before I couldn’t stop myself from what I knew would occur the next morning.

2) August 13th, morning of, I went to the girls’ room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella’s room, then Cece’s room and used a pillow from their bed (to kill them). That’s why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece’s room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued. After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I’m not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella’s eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma. That made the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location of the batteries.

3) The reason the medical examiner found oxycodone in Shanann’s system is because I gave it to her. I thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn’t pregnant.

I don’t know if this was a spiritual visit, but I had a dream Cece was dancing next to the chair in my cell. When she was dancing, all of my folders on the chair started moving and I thought she was in trouble, so I said Watch out, get away, watch out! Then I woke up. I’m hoping she comes back! I hope everyone comes to visit me. I’m trying to see if I can clear my head better before I go to sleep to help.

I like that John 10:10 passage you sent. I wish I could’ve had an open ear to hear the Lord calling me back in June/July/August. If we run after sin, we won’t hear our Shepherd calling us. I couldn’t discern between the good spirits and the evil spirits and that eventually lodged me into a deep pit I couldn’t climb back out of.

Take care and God Bless!



  1. cox1961

    Words fail me, just when you thought it could not get any worse, CW proves that theory wrong. An evil monster

    • Aloma Cowie

      Yes there will be true justice not from man but from God! He will be judged for his demonic crimes and as God is a reader of human hearts and knows all! As we are all sinners and imperfect and the world is under Satan’s control these evils will contains, and will get worse 2nd Timothy 3:1 to 5 last days critical times hard to deal with will be here!
      Shannon and children will have a resurrection that’s a certainty Acts 24:15 and John 5:28,29 God DOES not lie ,they are asleep resting until they are called remember sin when it is fertile can bring death Gods word can educate humans with warnings about living under Satan’s world once you apply them they work along with prayer and supplication, meanwhile God knows all and his kingdom over the earth is very close prophecies are nearly all fulfilled and Satan knows the scriptures also that’s why he’s angry like a roaring lion. But we can build our faith read the bible daily meditate on his word!

  2. ncam619

    How much of this do you believe Nick? Just curious.

    • nickvdl

      Some. Not much.

      • Julia81

        He really just confirmed your theory that girls were killed before SW arrived. I don’t get how grown strong man is not able to kill them? Makes no senses dragging them alive to his work.

        • nickvdl

          I don’t get how grown strong man is not able to kill them?>>>It’s actually not a bad question. But I think you’re asking it in the wrong way.

  3. Kit1806

    I don’t buy it. He killed the girls before Shanann got home. There is no way he would risk having her see him smothering the girls. If this was premeditated, and I believe it was, why would he wait? There are some aspects that are true, but not all. I really hope that Cece and Bella were not alive when they went into the oil tanks, but he is such a monster I don’t put anything past him. What I find most frightening is how normal he looks on the outside and how easy it is for him to talk about the details. Pure Evil. Truly Frightening.

  4. Juliew

    So disturbing I’m almost glad that we know his changing iterations of what happened can’t be taken as truth. Interesting he’s managed to find another woman to tell him what to think and ‘guide’ him and express his thoughts for him. In a book. And this time in his new role as a God bothering repentant, having moved on from his dependable dad and husband role. He does seem to thrive on having an assigned role.

    • Glinda Marcum

      I am sick so sick after hearing Chris’s 4th confession. He premeditated his family’s life. This man needs to be burnt at the stake. What trauma he put his little girls through and Shannan. Lord how can this family of Shannan hear this. It’s awful pure evil. He is the possessed by the devil. Ever time I hear this I get sick at my stomach I just don’t want to hear it again. I just hope that his family haunts him that he can’t rest, sleep or eat. I hate to say this but that man should been put to death where he couldn’t write more stuff to hurt Shannan family.

      • Laura Thompson

        Glinda, how do you know to believe anything he says in this go ’round? His story has changed so many times, at least five, if my math is accurate. I think the murders were a lot quicker, quieter, and less dramatic than this version or any other Watts version. A young woman, her unborn child, and two little girls are still dead, but I’d think it over before allowing myself to become so upset over a version of events that might be pure fiction. There could be dribs and drabs of truth sprinkled in this story, such as, I do believe the mascara thing and that he fixated upon that for some reason, but, don’t forget how many different stories he’s told!

        • nickvdl

          Couldn’t say it better Laura. Thanks 😉

  5. Shannon

    Wow, I just finished saying in another Post, this is his 3rd Confession.
    I don’t know whether to laugh or sit here amazed.
    Maybe he’s trying for an insane plea.
    Like I said before there are lies and truth in all 3 confessions.
    One thing thou, the kids….after, 1st attempt killing them, they miraculous wake up…
    Have the strength to walk to their parents room and speak. Really.
    A grown man smothering his kids can’t do it right, but can say Shannan had blood in her eyes.
    Absolutely ridiculous.

    • ncam619

      If we all noticed that then you would think that the author would pick up on it too. Nobody ever calls him on his b.s.

  6. JC

    “I went to Bella’s room, then CeCe’s room, and used a pillow from their bed. *That’s why* the cause of death was smothering.”

    This statement is significant in that it implies that being smothered by a blanket at Cervi was not the cause of death. **Additional side note: his writing skills are pretty decent…correct grammar, use of punctuation, and spelling. (sorry, can’t help but notice that stuff)

    • LGW

      @JC, he also didn’t make any mistakes, apart from one word he scratched/scribbled out. The rest was like he was taking dictation.

      • JC

        Also, “…knowing I still took their lives at *the location*.” Weird word to use – what location? It’s almost like he’s creating his own fictional narrative. Oh, and he doesn’t know why they “woke back up” – part of the story he still needs to elaborate later when someone on YouTube tells him (or his outside sources) how that’s possible?

    • nickvdl

      Well-spotted JC. I agree – being smothered by a blanket at Cervi was not the cause of death.

      • JC

        I’m with you on that,Nick!

  7. Julia

    In the linked daily mail article it says he refuses to say where he got the Oxycodone and that he’ll take that information to his grave. Why does he choose to withhold *that* information, of all things? They had bottles of it lying around since she took it for her lupus, I thought?

  8. Sabi

    Probably he got it from his sister

  9. Sideaffected

    When did this come out? How did I miss this? Why is he talking to this woman?

    Why isn’t he admitting he’d been thinking of killing them for weeks now? Why didn’t SW test + for oxy? I have so many questions

  10. Sarah

    I don’t buy this at all, too many inconsistencies

  11. Juliew

    I don’t buy it either. However it may leak an acknowledgement that the children had 2 actions done to them. So I still think the most likely scenario is that he drugged them earlier on – possibly while barbecuing so he didn’t have to confront what he was doing . It might then have been necessary to finish the job by suffocation when they were deeply unconscious – at some point in the following hours. Or was maybe something he did to ‘make sure’ even if they were already dead.Opiates would kill or near kill by depressing breathing so the description of purple around bellas eyes and them looking as if they’d undergone some trauma before suffocation may be partly truthful. But him popping into their rooms to do it before killing shannan and them then rising again and needing to be driven to cervi is I think unlikely (and ghastly actually – his ‘confessions ‘ always put him in a worse light than before which I’m not sure he intends when making them!).

    • nickvdl

      Great minds think alike.

    • Kaye

      Yes it doesn’t make sense that the girls would just calmly sleep in their beds while he suffocated them. They would have thrashed and made sounds, especially as everyone said they were extremely light sleepers. I believe that he must have drugged them somehow. If they didn’t die from that, then they could have woken up later unexpectedly. Or maybe Cece didn’t wake up but Bella did. I still think there is a reason why Cece is so “quiet” in all the confessions.

      I think he is trying to get attention and drum up more interest to try to get NK to contact him (or verify that she has contacted him). He is probably desperate to talk to her again. I’m sure that is all he thinks about. These crazy confessions won’t end until he has word from her.

  12. richard

    Am I correct in thinking the Colorado police may re-open the case as CW has said he was supplied the Oxycodone but when asked who by, he said he would take that to the grave ?

    The person that supplied the medicine to CW would be an accomplice to the murder.
    Feel sorry for the Rzuecks, I bet they are mad at this.
    I bet the two police officers that went to the jail back in March are mad as well

    • JC

      @Richard I believe the supplier would only be considered an accomplice if they knew the intended use for the Oxycodone to be murder. That would be hard to prove and no rational person would take his word for it at this point.

      • Janie

        That’s what I thought too. The drug provider may be looked at as accomplice. Someone refresh my memory. I thought they already had this drug in their home before the murders, along with many other drugs for all their health issues. Might Chris have bought the Oxy from a “seedy” dealer and didn’t want to expose that person out of fear? Either way you’re correct, he can’t be trusted to speak the truth.

        • JC

          My initial thought when reading in the discovery that he googled 80mg Oxy, was that 80mg was the sum total of what he was able to find in the house. He needed to see how much damage that amount could do. If he got additional Oxy elsewhere, then the only source we’ll ever hear it from is him. If anyone supplied it to him any time before the murders, they’re likely relieved to see in this letter that “he’s taking it to the grave”.

          • nickvdl

            I honestly don’t understand people talking about the “where Watts got the Oxy from…” It suggests people who know very little about this case and have very little knowledge of the crime scene footage.

          • JC

            It’s just very difficult for individuals to stockpile much of this particular drug with the heavy handed CO laws and accountability surrounding this particular drug; doctors discouraged to prescribe, paper prescriptions not accepted, only extremely small amounts dispersed, usually a week’s worth with no refills, This has been the norm for about 4 years in CO. That’s why I think the 80mg amount googled is significant. He may have had either 80 or 240mg (80 x 3 people) to work with. Other people will chime in and tell you how much they were prescribed for Lupus or a surgery, but was it in the Denver area within the last few years?

            Here’s why I actually doubt that his intention was to cause miscarriage: Plan B is an over the counter drug, easily bought at any pharmacy, no sig required, that is a surefire way to cause a miscarriage. There’s a doctor currently serving 2 years for giving it to his girlfriend when she was 17 weeks pregnant. The reason CW didn’t go that route is likely because an abortion wasn’t his end game.

            Does my thought process make sense? I hope so, because I’m the one living with it…I don’t see my theories echoed very often except here in the blogs.

            I guess I should clarify that I don’t think he likely started asking people to find him Oxy – it doesn’t add up and too risky, but so many people seem to be leaning into that belief b/c Jaime supposedly knew he didn’t want this child.Although I understand the thought process there, I’d say that’s a leap in over thinking.

          • JC

            About the crime scene footage: the clear storage containers in the basement make it apparent that a lot of health related medications were partially used and then stored. IIRC, there was also a prescribed medication clearly visible in the office footage. If Oxy were available in a common prescription amount of 10mg, a stockpile of 8 tabs (or up to 24) is a decent amount to sedate an adult, or easily cause fatal overdose to a small child.

            But some will take his letter’s content as possibly factual, leading to speculation. Still, he leaves things open-ended so he can provide details and embellish at a later time. His comments are vague implications and a foreshadowing of his intent. The possibility that he will implicate someone else in his crimes (truthfully or not) remains on the table.

  13. Julie Wilkes

    Ps at least he’s dropped the story of shannan lying there cooperatively and reciting the lords prayer while he killed her. I think the description of her last moments above may be fairly accurate including how he describes her being unable to fight back – presumably due to the position of him having his body weight on her arms. Although as he describes her eyes it suggests she was facing him rather than him behind her – I think many of us think he was more likely behind using his weight to contain her.

    The account shows a level of hatred for all three. I think he’s trying to demonstrate it as mad temporary rage – a freak event carried out in moments of rage – but it is more suggestive of deep seated hatred.

  14. Janie

    I thought he was the most accurate this time in how he killed and disposed of Shanann. But not so with the girls. His description of his anger during the process is chilling! He’s angry that the girls weren’t dead yet? How can you even botch not only one, but two smotherings?! Then so angry at Shanann that he didn’t bother repositioning her body in her grave? How evil.

  15. Mystery Maniac

    Some facts to keep in mind in light of this new “confession:”

    The ME ruled the girls died from smothering.

    The ME ruled Shannan died from manual strangulation. The autopsy indicates bruising of the right sternocleidomastoid muscle as well as the surface of the right side of the thyroid cartilage, which suggests a choke-hold type of strangulation from behind, with the right side of Shannan’s neck in the crook of Chris’s right arm.

    On 7/30 mistress Nichol talked to Chris for 8 minutes, then immediately following that call, spoke to Hazleton Sober Living for 22 minutes. Chris left for North Carolina the following day 7/31.

    Shannan became very ill the day Chris arrived in N.C. He did not see his family until the end of that trip.

    Make of that what you will.

  16. J.

    I think his “plan A” was to make it look like she first had killed the kids (oxy overdose), then killed herself (oxy overdose), because he wanted to leave her. But the plane was late and also the children “woke up”.

    • JC

      Has anyone, ever, just asked him how much Oxy they had in the house? The missed opportunity was the jailhouse interview last winter. If Tammy of the CBI was reading this blog (and I’m certain she was), she knew how highly likely a scenario similar to yours would be. The discussion of Shanann’s health issues, and the basement totes full of prescription pain killers, was addressed at length here on Crimerocket very early on after the murders.

      I think the exact amount of it in the house is a crucial question. Additionally, that author of “Letters” let him allude, or right out state, that someone else provided it to him. I doubt she had studied the case enough to ask him directly, What a shame, and a detriment to the truth.

  17. sunnie23

    I definitely think “Plan A” was to OD Shannan. It was a much more believable scenario, with her past use of painkillers and her current mental distress regarding the state of her marriage. I tend to believe the amount of Oxy he was working with was limited, hence the move to “Plan B.”

    • nickvdl

      What was Plan B?

      • sunnie23

        Strangulation & smothering.

      • J.

        I think Shan’ann checked the kids and noticed something was wrong. Maybe she tried to wake the children, CW saw Shan’ann on top of CeCe from the monitor so he ran into the room and pulled her down and strangled her. The children have woken up. He drove to Cervi with the sedated children and Shan’ann. They still got the oxy-coctail and he dumped them unconsious.

        Plan B was making oxy-traces of children unprovable.

  18. Mystery Maniac

    Interestingly enough, the police video/stills of the Oxy in the plastic bin in the basement have disappeared, to my knowledge.

    • Juliew

      Hmm. And the further interesting thing about that is the current sensitivities politically and with pharmaceutical companies in the USA in relation to opiates (which has gone too far in my opinion when doctors are scared to prescribe for people in pain, but that’s for another forum i guess). Makes you wonder if their association with such a notorious crime has been downplayed a little. You’d think the house searches during discovery would have listed all prescription drugs/narcotics in the house as a matter of course – as if nothing else, use of them could have affected the behaviour of anyone in the house . I’ve just tried to wordsearch some of the discovery docs but haven’t got anything ye t.

  19. Sarah

    What if he did take the Oxy out of the bin in the basement but it wasn’t just to take to nc, in his prison confession he did something in the basement that he won’t talk about, did he get it out of the bin that night incase he needed to give it to the girls if he failed again 🤔

  20. Anna Neller

    I actually believe he administered the oxy to subdue her for his killing . That’s why she didn’t fight back. If he was planning on killing her for weeks, a miscarriage wouldn’t be needed in his twisted mind.

    Nichole gave him the oxycodone. She had a hand in planning these murders.

    Now, I do believe he attempted to kill the girls first. It actually explains why he invested so much time in walking up a huge flight of stairs twice to throw the bodies. The sick weirdo wanted to ensure they were really dead and if they were alive by chance they couldn’t be with each other in an oil tank to comfort one another.

    There’s a special place in hell for him.

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