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Debunk: Armchair Detective still trying to link Nichol Kessinger directly as an accessory to the triple murders of the Watts Family [UPDATE]

In a recent episode, a YouTube creator presents what appears to be a very elaborate and technical spreadsheet of timeline data. It appears, at face value, to be accurate.

During the episode, the creator and another party discuss evidence which they both agree would stand up in a court of law. The entire 66 minute spiel is predicated on a single moment at 22:52 when the Vivint sensor is activated.

Fullscreen capture 20200202 075913

This Vivint signal means, according to the creator and his fellow-commentator, that Nichol Kessinger entered the house. It’s also their hypothesis that Kessinger spent the night at the house, and left about half an hour after Watts did the following morning, making her an accessory to the entire crime as they see it.

It’s an interesting theory except at 23:20, 28 minutes after this alert, Watts and Kessinger were still talking on the phone. So were the couple standing together in his home talking to one another on the phone?

This Vivint alert, like the dodgy shadows story, is manufactured to have only a single explanation, and for this creator it’s always the same – it’s how Nichol Kessinger had to have been there, because she had to be an accessory to a triple murder.

While this creator seems very confident in his assessment, repeatedly asserting in this video that “law enforcement know this”, the title of the video shows he knows better than that too. He uses the words “seem to prove” and a question mark as a sort of disclaimer, and he never refers to Nichol Kessinger as Nichol Kessinger, but as NK, knowing that to do so would get him into a world of trouble. The content of the video says something else, however.

This is one of the most unambiguous episodes I’ve ever seen from this creator where he tries to link an innocent person to a crime, while emphasizing how unshakeably true and defensible his “evidence” is.

Of course, there could be numerous innocent explanations for the Vivint alert, one of them being letting the dog out, or letting some air in. Armchair Detective’s stock and trade is trying to figure out how innocent explanations may not be, and his audience, who are addicted to being titillated by this tabloid-style of one sensational claim after another, love it.

One aspect I found useful in the analysis of the timeline, was the router data showing Watts’ activity [as his phone or other device connects to the router] between 01:53 and 03:00 while Vivint shows no activity. While this doesn’t necessarily mean Watts himself was moving and thus the source of these connections, because devices make connections for a host of reasons as various apps automatically update etc., it does correspond to the TCRS theory that Watts never went to bed that night, and Shan’ann was murdered shortly after stepping in the door.

Another useful titbit was Shan’ann’s iWatch connecting to the router when Watts arrived home from the well site, suggesting he removed it prior to burial.

In general though, the confirmation bias in this particular video isn’t just alarming, it’s infuriating. Be careful, wherever you are, that your shadow doesn’t tear itself loose and get you into trouble.

Postscript: In the video below, at 19:50 the creator suggests – without naming names – that “some people might be friends with Nichol Kessinger…” This appears to be a slur to undermine arguments such as this one and others posted on CrimeRocket. A counterargument against a conspiracy isn’t valid, so their argument goes, not because it’s lunacy and illogical, but because of some relationship or agenda with Nichol Kessinger [in other words, it’s a conspiracy within a conspiracy]. Of course it was this site and via posts on Shakedown that first identified Kessinger to the world, before the mainstream media did or even Kessinger herself. Try to figure that one out.

According to REDDIT there’s now a conspiracy around me too. No surprises there.

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Don’t believe everything you read on REDDIT, or believe what you hear on YouTube. I have a new book coming out this week on Chris Watts, and books take a lot of time to write, research and edit.

I’m constantly loading my own content onto Patreon and to some extent onto YouTube, so I really don’t have time or the inclination – or the pettiness – to set up or “be behind” so-called hate channels. That some are convinced I do says more, I think, about you and type of person you are.

The protocols of this site applies in this regard: argue the case, not with each other. When people get banned on my platforms it’s invariably because they can’t understand, and won’t abide by this simple premise .

argue the case, not with each other

If you argue, try to do it using the ordinary lexicon we have, without expletives, slurs, exclamation marks, all caps and all the rest. Try not to be about drama and triggering and reaction; try to think cooly and calmly for a change. Many can’t, won’t or do not want to do that, and I don’t want those sorts of people associated with TCRS.

Everyone who knows true crime knows how hard it is to keep the discussions clean and sensible.  When we do though, we learn knew things, and we can actually start to see through all the noise and find out something new. I set a high standard, and one I acknowledge puts most people off. CrimeRocket and TCRS isn’t meant for most people, it’s meant for a more educated, more disciplined and more discerning audience. People who read. People who think. People who’re able to spell and modulate their own behavior. People who are honest and care about the material.

If we’re here to talk about true cime, let’s talk about true crime, not about ourselves or someone else. Once we understand the case, sure, then we can reflect on how it impacts society or certain individuals, but typically that’s a very private and personal matter, and it’s different for everyone. Almost two years after the incident, we are – sadly – still very, very far from understanding this case, or ourselves, much better than before the Chris Watts case.

And so, as soon as true crime devolves into pundits bickering with each other, or about one another, it’s no longer true crime. It’s me-me-me, and it’s little more than a cynical popularity circus. When that happens the leading edge of what we come, and still can learn about these true crime cases floats out the window. It’s for this reason TCRS only reluctantly wades into conspiracies, not to attack those behind it, but to counter, debunk and fight for the authentic narrative. That has been and always will be the position of TCRS.

For the record, I agree 100% with Christina Randall’s position on Nichol Kessinger as communicated at 10:10 and here, at 10:57 in this video review of the latest TV coverage:


Sinister Signals from the Router in the Watts Family Murders – and what it might mean

Understanding the Vivint Technology System installed at 2825 Saratoga Trail


  1. Juliew

    There’s a sort of psychological thing that makes sense to me and it’s this. To kill those people the killer had to have an emotional link with them – clearly gone toxic, but still an emotional link which caused them to loom larger and larger as an omnipotent threat to his future happiness. To the degree where it seemed to them that murder was the only option in their disordered mind. That’s chris. Now as a young woman not directly emotionally connected to them, why in God’s name would nicole decide that risking life imprisonment, even death penalty, was in any way an option, or the only option, for her and Chris to be together in the future? It just doesn’t make sense. I’m sure she would have thought about shannan – what did she look like, what was she like etc etc, and if she seriously wanted Chris for herself going forward – would have thought about whether he was going to finalize a break up. But I cannot believe she would have come to the same conclusion as him (i.e. they’ll all have to die)…rather than just say leave them chris, we’ll set up in a different town and get some sort of job transfer. You had to have a direct emotional investment in the victims I think in order to decide that murder as an option made sense.

    • nickvdl

      Precisely that is illustrated in the Patrick Frazee case where we know Krystal Kenney is involved, and we know she was so involved with Frazee [over 12 years] that she fell pregnant with his child, had an abortion and left her husband because he asked her to.
      What I don’t understand is you have a particularly sadistic murder there, the mistress coming over in a hazmat suit to clean up the bloodbath, she’s there when the body is incinerated, there’s CCTV footage of her hundreds of miles from home close to Berreth’s home, there’s GPS data from her phone confirming her movements with Berreth’s phone and Frazee’s, she takes investigators through the crime scene on camera, she testifies in court admitting to her involvement – and Kessinger, without any evidence, is still the bigger villain in the story.
      Is it because Kessinger is more sexually threatening to most women?
      It also shows the propensity to *want *to believe the more horrible alternative which is a major theme in the Watts case.

  2. CBH

    “This Vivint signal means, according to the creator and his fellow-commentator, that Nichol Kessinger entered the house. It’s also their hypothesis that Kessinger spent the night at the house, and left about half an hour after Watts did the following morning, making her an accessory to the entire crime as they see it.

    It’s an interesting theory except at 23:20, 28 minutes after this alert, Watts and Kessinger were still talking on the phone. So were the couple standing together in his home talking to one another on the phone?

    This Vivint alert, like the dodgy shadows story, is manufactured to have only a single explanation, and for this creator it’s always the same – it’s how Nichol Kessinger had to have been there, because she had to be an accessory to a triple murder.”

    I suppose they would say the talking on the phone was a deliberate ruse.

    Their theory does appear to fall apart, though.

    Perhaps their insistence that Kessinger had to be an accessory stems from the strong need and desire to punish her for having been the “cause” of the murders.

    • nickvdl

      I find it hard to believe that they genuinely believe it. It’s a clickbait goldmine as long as you come up with tantalizing titbits to reinforce your story. I also reckon these Conspiracy Creators are on the defensive now that the Lifetime dramatization has completely invalidated their outllandish ideas by dramatizing what happened as all Chris Watts’ doing. To Julie’s point above, one can only imagine someone who was totally obsessed with Watts to conspire in such a heinous crime. Well if she was so obsessed, why was everything over by Tuesday. No more texts between them, no letters, no support, and when she appeared in the media she had nothing good to say about him.
      Conversely, if she was an accessory, why – with Watts rotting in Dodge and aware of her role in outing him about the affair – why wouldn’t he out her? He has nothing to lose, and if she set him up, why wouldn’t he want to get revenge?

      • CBH

        I agree, there’s nothing to support NK being in any way connected with the murders, for all the reasons you state. And I agree that Armchair Detective likely doesn’t believe that NK was involved, and is merely using that theory to reel subscribers in.

        HOWEVER: I do think that his subscribers— overwhelmingly women —do believe it. They keep asking when she’ll be arrested.

        • Juliew

          It’s a matter of time before someone has a video purporting to show the hair growing out of the giant wart on her nose! Hints of salem.

  3. Sylvester

    In order to debunk the shadows theory – that it was Bella walking toward Watts, and he bends to pick her up and take her in the truck with him – the driveway experiment has to be done. You’ll need a cooperative neighbor who has a surveillance camera, train it on their own driveway and capture part of the next door neighbor’s driveway, a garage, a truck, back it in before day break, and account for every one of those shadows. AD’s theory that Kessinger was there has no merit – but I’d like to know more about why the second shadow, other than Watts, appears to be moving toward him. He based his second or third confession on it. If you wait until August the house will be sold or demolished so I would do the experiment right there in South Africa if you can.

    • nickvdl

      Or you can just watch this video:
      The fact that the shadow is seen while Chris Watts is bending down, means he is connected to the shadow, which says a lot. The reason it doesn’t look like he is making the shadow is because your eye is going from the top right to the bottom left and it doesn’t seem to make sense that a shadow would “move” to the right if he was moving to the left. It does if he’s bending over and putting his arms on the ground, and then lifting something off it. Then a light source from the left would give the appearance of movement to the right.
      You can try this using the torch function of your own cell phone. Shine to the right. Place a pen on a flat surface in front of it, and then lift the pen vertically. What happens? The shadow “moves” from left to right when the object is simply being raised off the ground. And we know for a fact Watts was loading objects onto both sides of his truck that night.

      • Sylvester

        Now I get it. Because I saw a shot of the officers at his driveway and see that there are 3 lights positioned next to the garage doors. I also watched a long boring video about how light refracts. I looked at everyone’s videos multiple times. And your point which you made several times earlier that we don’t see the shadow walking toward Watts until he walks toward “it” sunk in. I also think it has to do with that there are three lights on the outside of the house by the garage doors. Whatever. Logic tells me the children were not alive when he left for work, and an object cannot move on it’s own. Only The Shadow knows.

        • LogicPlease

          Very logical deduction. I always felt his last confession was iffy. He seems to tailor his accounts based on what internet theories are flying around at the time. Why? That’s also led people to speculate someone else had to be involved since he’s so determined to explain every social media theory about the case that’s gained traction. But when you consider Watt’s confessions, you have to consider the man himself. Spineless, easily bending to the wills of the women in his life … is this more Chris conformity? He said he didn’t remember certain events of that night — is he filling in blanks as he goes? I don’t know but how much credibility does a criminal who’s lied multiple times have? You can’t make out anything with the shadows in the video. All the people on AD’s videos go nuts, “Why did LE do anything about this?!” About what exactly? It’s not evidence of another person being alive and present — you can’t make out any features!!

          On the psych angle — there’s a theory about Chris that really matches. Explains a lot of his behavior and desire to match wishes of those around him … until he snaps. It’s a Communal Narcissist. A subtype of narcissism (I know, people throw the term narcissist around these days, but we can’t throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak).

          • nickvdl

            I don’t think he’s communal or a narcissist. Communal suggests he wanted be part of some much wider collective. Which community would that be? Narcissist suggests he had some grandiose view of himself, was selfish and self-centered. Why, if he’s a self-loving narcissist, wouldn’t he have loved the idea of the attention of a trial? Why did he confess he was so selfishly thinking only of himself? If he was such an objectionable character, why was he doing his wife’s laundry, along with a laundry list of other chores?

  4. Recovering Baptist

    Check out the video I did on Armchair Detective. It’s titled “$72,000 Thou$and Reasons Why Armchair Detective Won’t Stop Making Chris Watts Videos.” I looked him up on, and found out how much moola he’s making off this. He’s a typical shyster.

  5. Suzanne Dickson

    AD is deluded and just a conman creating ludicrous content for those he is fooling! He ACTUALLY THINKS he is a DETECTIVE and says DA ROURKE etc watch his content for clues! He is a braindead clown.

  6. Sylvester

    This is for AD. Maybe he can offer viewers The Shadow Magic Ring.

  7. Psych-Illogical

    Thanks for the shoutout! 🙂 I’m still learning about the IT stuff as I go through all the information – so if you have any insight to help go through the massive amount of information, I’m open to it. Sorry if my theory doesn’t align with yours completely – but I’m glad you found something useful. I will say, though, your posts have been very thorough and useful, especially in the very beginning of the case. So, no hate from me! Thanks 🙂

  8. Sylvester

    I think women dislike Nichole Kessinger not because of any kind of jealousy, or because they think she’s more attractive than Shan’ann Watts, or because they might even go so far as to think she could have been in on the murders, but because she should have known better to continue her affair with a married man. Yes, we’ve all made mistakes, ho hum. Only in this case the other woman ends up dead. He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring when he began a flirtation with her, so what. He lied and said he was separating from his wife, so what. She knew he was still married, she had a good look around his house on two different occasions and could surely surmise a separation was not in progress. And yet she went full speed ahead. I can believe she did not know about the pregnancy. Once you are hooked on someone you don’t go poking around on the internet unless they have wronged you. You don’t want to know, your head is in the sand intentionally. She also sent him regular updates of herself in various stages of undress in order to keep him in line, persuading him that she was still there, and hoping he would really actually split from his wife and children and choose her. She was running her own form of manipulation. She did not participate in the murders. Of course not. But she did participate in the destruction of his marriage. And she exercised poor judgement, thinking she had finally found her strong silent type when in essence she picked a weak cowardly man with little to no self-esteem. She”ll never be liked by the female population, and I found it a bit disingenuous that Lifetime Movie painted her as a poor crying victim once she finally got who he was and what he had done, as if she deserved sympathy. I have none.

    • nickvdl

      think women dislike Nichole Kessinger not because of any kind of jealousy… because she should have known better to continue her affair with a married man. >>>I’m not sure I agree Sylvester. Amber Frey emerged from her affair a hero. I suppose you can argue that Amber didn’t know Scott was married, and played an integral role in “playing” Scott on behalf of the cops, but Kessinger also played a key role by coming forward as soon as she did. She came forward far sooner, for example, than Krystal Kenney did. Amber Frey’s affair was also way back in 2002. Affairs are far more common today, and morals have sunk a great since as well. Just look at the Impeachment trial/acquittal.

    • LogicPlease

      Yes!! I like your opinion on Kessinger. It’s the rational one. A home wrecker does not a murderer make. I’ve always thought people wanted to see her punished BECAUSE she’s a home wrecker. Doesn’t mean she knew about the murders though. She lied provably in her interviews. But those lies can be explained by her wanting to help her reputation — shame. She mentions fear of what the public will think. People lie to protect themselves, in her case it worked against her.

      • LogicPlease

        And I say home wrecker meaning full sense of the word, knowing he was married, yet full steam ahead. It’s also probable she knew about the pregnancy given her searches online. But still, knowing all that, knowing how people are in new relationships, it’s possible she just lied to herself. Denial. Let Chris talk her round and sallied forth. Nothing nefarious.

        (PS — People do tend to give Frey a pass because of her cooperation with police bagging Scott, and the fact it truly looks like she didn’t know he was married).

  9. Sylvester

    Just look at the Superbowl halftime show – Shakira and her rope, J Lo rides a stripper pole and all of the women dancers behind her well, if you saw it you know 🙂

  10. Sylvester

    First of all congratulations on the debut of another book – with all you are doing, this is truly exciting to have a new book and I’m looking forward to reading it. Last night I watched a video posted by Plunder where the Frederick police responded to a call, I’m guessing from the neighbor Nate, 9/22/2018. Nate thought someone might be inside the Watts house. It’s an interesting video of the bodycam footage of the police with weapons drawn and flashlights illuminating the interior of the Watts home. Only after a room was cleared did they turn on a light. The house was so eerily dark. One can imagine Shan’ann arriving home at 1:48 a.m. with only her phone to light her way and not have seen her husband at all. Also the house was a testament to how well Watts had cleaned before his arrest. The family room off the kitchen, where I suspect the girls had floated into unconsciousness and death, was stripped of the toys and pink couches. But they are still there. They can be seen in the room between the formal livingroom and the kitchen. They look as if they have been thrown against the wall to the right of the painting. Also there is a rumpled gray blanket on the family room couch. Could Watts have slept there on the night his family “disappeared” – too spooked to sleep upstairs?

    It also looks as if Shan’ann’s sandals, or flip flops, have been relocated to the hallway by the inside door to the garage. I would have thought the police would have bagged up her shoes, but I’ll have to check other bodycam footage to see if a second pair of shoes were there to begin with.

    Oddly there is an indoor/outdoor vacuum cleaner against the garage doors, near where the Lexus would have been parked. I understand Watts was vacuuming and possibly cleaning his carpet but why would he have used an indoor/outdoor vacuum cleaner? Might he have vacuumed out his truck?

    There is also a shoe rack just as you walk into the garage from the inside of the house. I don’t remember seeing that there before. I looked to see if maybe Watts had ditched his light colored shoes he’s seen wearing as he begins to load up his truck the morning of Aug. 13.

    • nickvdl

      Some great observations Sylvester. Can you leave a link to the video you watched?

  11. Sylvester

    actions starts around 55:22

  12. Sylvester

    I wanted to say something about and to “CM” – the person who rushed to write a negative review of the new book the second it was released, and didn’t bother to buy it and read it. I feel sorry for you CM. At first I felt anger. But then I thought how lonely it must be for you, to harbor a grudge, to have so much resentment in your heart for what you think was said or done to you that you have to write such negative things about a book you haven’t even read in hopes of influencing others when by now people know whether you call yourself CM or CT or CC that you really aren’t reaching anyone with your anger. Nick will keep writing books, we will keep buying them and enjoying them and in the end what will you have?

  13. Susan White

    I don’t mind seeing all views, opinions, observations, and facts that podcasters present. The reader can check out facts and observations for him/herself. But I do have some questions.
    1. Why did NK send a text to CW telling him to “prove it” that he had been to Cervi 19? Is that true?
    2. Why did NK ask CW to look up the lyrics to Metallica’s “Battery” just as he was leaving Cervi 19?
    3. Is it true that the morning of the murders was the only time NK used the route by Frederick, CO?
    4. Was CW a liar all the time or just about an affair and murder? Do most people say “yeah, I’m having an affair” or” yeah, I murdered someone “. A pathological liar lies always and about nothing significant and not to get out of trouble. They lie
    about anything and everything.
    I didn’t know this was going to evolve into an argument between podcasters. That is not why I have looked at all podcasts.

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