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“And then, did you see her before she went to work?” – Watch and listen to Chris Watts’ Reaction

At 5:30 in Oxygen’s clip, Officer Matthew James [the same officer who ultimately arrested Watts late on Wednesday night] asked Watts a series of questions. Oxygen did a great job here in Season 3, Episode 1 of Criminal Confessions, by providing two bodycam perspectives during this line of questioning, along with subtitles to the conversation.

JAMES: And what was the conversation this morning you guys had?

WATTS [Swaying]: It was about us selling the house and the separation.

Again, the priority in that answer is telling. First they talked about the house, then the separation. It’s the same exact way he expressed it to Coonrod on the loft landing.

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JAMES: And how’d she take that?

WATTS [Still swaying, Officer Coonrod glances down at his phone beside Watts]: We were both very emotional. And…still crying.

Remember what Watts said during the Sermon on the Porch…

“It wasn’t like an argument, but we had an emotional conversation, let’s leave it at that.”

JAMES: And then, did you see her before you went to work?

WATTS: Mm-mmm?

JAMES: Did you say anything to her?

WATTS [Stuttering]: Uh…she went back…like, uh…she told me she was going to a friend’s house…[flaps out his hand]. 

This correction mid-sentence indicates Watts is giving a rehearsed answer. He was going to say she went back to bed, but decides on the latter version – going to a friend’s house – being more appropriate. The friend story line is supposed to deflect attention – investigative and otherwise – off him.

WATTS [Muttering]: …and…be with the kids. Take the kids over there. 

This is another slip, another self-correction. Be with the kids makes no sense, and he corrects it because it’s uncomfortably close to the truth – that he wanted Shan’ann to be with the kids, away, in a grave. And that’s where she is.

Think of the sequence and the subconscious psychology in “be with the kids” versus Shan’ann “taking the kids over there” which she didn’t do. He took them over there.

JAMES: Oh, she told you she’s taking the kids to a friend’s house?

WATTS: Yeah. 

JAMES: She didn’t say who though? 

WATTS: Yeah. Oh, no. No. [Shakes his head]. No, but she was still in bed when that happened. 

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This hand gesture, with his hand in a sort of claw, matches his original role-playing gesture in the cubicle at 18:04:56.

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Officer Matthew James’ Call to Chris Watts on the night of August 13th at 21:12 + Handwritten Notes on Yellow Pad Up Close [40th Tranche]


  1. Boomtown Cat

    This is an amazing find. I looked up the cubicle interview for that exact moment at 18:04:56. Graham had just asked him whether Shanann was yelling or scratching him as he strangled her. He said he was so angry he didn’t notice anything. Now back to the bodycam, he made the same claw-like gesture with his hand as he said “She was still in bed when *that* happened”, i.e. she was in bed when he strangled her.

  2. Ralph Oscar

    What do you make of the “claw” hand gesture?

  3. Galley One

    Claw gesture is an interesting find. There’s also yet ANOTHER tell tale incident…when he’s being interviewed on the front porch….he was asked by the reporter “what happened”. For a few seconds he’s silent and stares blankly at the reporter, looking like he was caught. Almost like CW is saying with his eyes “how did you know”. That was the biggest telltale sign for me that he was 100% guilty.

  4. Sylvester

    If you slow Officer Coonrod’s bodycam footage from 8/13 down to the lowest speed possible it’s really a thing to behold.

    One of the most interesting little clips is when he’s sort of cornered in the walk in closet by Coonrod where he must answer questions again about “the separation.” It looks as though he’s standing in front of the United Nations headquarters with all of the colorful flags (his Tshirts) on display behind him. Giving a presser. And the one empty hanger next to a bright neon orange shirt is glaringly bare. Could he have had two bright neon orange shirts? Why not.

    In the closet his little speech looks choreographed, by him. Coonrod asks “did she tell you anything about moving out?” And now, lights – camera – action “not moving out, I mean last we talked she said she was going to take the kids to a friend’s house”, with lots of gesturing as if he’s the conductor of a major symphony orchestra. His facial expression from the bridge of his nose up (his eyes) look like they’ve been backlit, his forehead is glowing but his eyes are dead. His mouth tells a different story. He’s chewing on the cud of a story. The mouth is lying because of course she didn’t tell him anything that morning.

  5. Sylvester

    What about the hundreds of hairs found in Watt’s truck? Ashleigh Banfield reported on this. Were they not analyzed? I would think if they were, they would show whether or not the hairs came from people who were deceased or alive. Also hair analysis would tell whether someone had drugs in their system. It could have been fake news, but nothing else was said about it.

    • Sheis

      Sylvester, I am always asking about that. People have answered that they were Shanann’s and he must have pulled her by her hair to get her positioned into the truck. That’s certainly possible, but I don’t know how they got that information.

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