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

Tag: cause of death

Bella and Celeste Watts: how were they murdered?

We now know Chris Watts killed both his daughters. How did he do it? The cause of death will be clarified by the autopsy reports next week, around 24 hours after the sentencing hearing.

The true test of Rocket Science lies in the ability to join dots with insufficient information. So let’s do it. What’s our theory on the murders, what do we say caused the death of Bella and Celeste a week before the autopsy reports come out?

In his bogus confession Watts claimed Shan’ann strangled Ceecee, and implies Bella was murdered in the same way. Does that mean Watts strangled both girls to death as well? I’m not sure it does.

Complex Psychology

One way of figuring out what happened to the children is to look at what supposedly happened to their mother, but the psychology can be quite complex.

Watts may indeed have strangled Shan’ann. At 02:00 [or 04:00 or 05:00] in a subdivision of closely packed houses a silent murder would have been necessary. And in the schema of his version, it may have sounded right and appropriate if he saw Shan’ann strangling one of the children, because then he was “entitled” to lose his temper and do the same to her.

Maybe Watts felt this version was his best chance of beating the charges against him.

One thing we know for sure is that Shan’ann was buried in a different way to the children, and in my opinion, killed at a different time to the children. So why would the cause of death not be different too?

So what really happened?

If Watts had reason [in his mind, not ours] to murder Shan’ann, it’s difficult to see the same level of malice and intentionality towards his children. If he strangled Shan’ann it doesn’t necessarily mean he did the same to his children. The main difference, logistically, was that he had a lot of time to “put the children down” [permanently], whereas the moment Shan’ann arrived home, in a premeditated murder scenario he was hours behind schedule [in my opinion].

If the murders of the little girls was premeditated, and if he knew he had the whole weekend to do it, then he’d have the means and the opportunity to do it in a way that suited him best.

Fullscreen capture 20181022 145514

I believe the autopsy will show that the Watts children ate dinner, or some sort of snack in the late afternoon/early evening after they returned home from the birthday party. I believe the snack likely contained sedative or painkiller type medication, or both, intended to put the children to sleep. To render them unconscious. They could then be painlessly killed – asphyxiated – in their sleep.

An overdose of Amoxicillin [mentioned in the video] can cause loss of consciousness and trouble breathing. An overdose of the common household painkiller Tylenol [also mentioned in the video] can kill.

Oxycodone and morphine are painkillers typically associated with paintreatment by lupus sufferers. Both have a sedative effect at high doses. According to WebMD an overdose of Oxycodone causes slow/shallow breathing, slow heartbeat and coma.

According to

In 2014, the rate of overdose deaths caused by natural and semi-synthetic opioids like morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone was 3.8 per 100,000.

One of the typical side-effects of morphine is a bluish or purplish hue to the skin…

Fullscreen capture 20181112 160301

Other overdose symptoms of morphine include extreme sleepiness and loss of consciousness.

After rendering the children unconscious, it’s possible Watts tried one method on the one child, and another on the other. So, for example, one child may have been drowned in the bath [while unconscious], and the other strangled or smothered with a shirt, sheet or pillow.

Fullscreen capture 20181010 090709

What supports the psychology of a chemical component to the murders? 

1. The whole Thrive lifestyle is based on the ingestion of protein-bars, shakes, powders and chemical and vitamin laced patches that are placed onto the skin. In the same way that these chemicals were symbolically associated [and branded] with healthiness, if Watts’ personal [and financial] association with Thrive was negative, he may have seen the utility of chemicals in the opposite way: a murder weapon as opposed to a tool for wellness. I’m not suggesting Thrive products were used, but rather that Watts was used to the idea of chemicals being placed into and onto the bodies of his family, as well as himself.

If he wanted a lethal supply of chemicals/drugs/medication, or a supply sufficient to knock out a small child, he simply had to dig into Shan’ann’s enormous medicine stash, used to treat her lupus. This would have included a reservoir of adult-strength painkillers.

In the Christmas video above, at about 1:50  Shan’ann refers to giving both children “lots of Tylenol” while Chris Watts is standing beside her in shorts, holding Ceecee.

2. Watts himself worked with chemicals on a daily basis. As a mechanic he was well aware of fuels, lubricants, cleaning agents etc. As an operator for Anadarko he would have been well aware not only of the potentially dizzying impact of petrochemicals on his own safety, but the damage these chemicals can cause to human tissue.  The oil industry also uses strong chemicals to clean their complex distribution systems, including hydrochloric acid.

3. The fact that the girl’s bodies were dumped into chemical tanks, also suggests he had the psychology of chemicals in his mind when committing the murders. In his mind he wanted to reduce his children’s bodies to oil and his wife’s corpse to dust. On September 14 I posted an extended version of the same theory, and on October 3 reiterated that the bodies were “processed” in some way post mortem. This processing could have amounted to something as simple as shaving the hair off the girl’s heads. Watts often cut the girl’s hair, so this wasn’t new to him. Given his knowledge about chemicals, he may have treated the girl’s remains overnight in a chemical bath, or even an acid bath.

The release of the autopsy reports will soon provide clarity on these questions.

Bella and Celeste Watts: What if the cause of death WASN’T strangulation?

“A mother kills a child somewhere in the US once every three days.” – Cheryl Meyer,  psychologist at Wright State University in Ohio

On Monday we’ll know whether the autopsy reports will be made available to the media and the public or not. In the meantime, a rather disturbing possibility has emerged.

Fullscreen capture 20181013 083047

What if the cause of the little girls’ deaths wasn’t strangulation? The only reason we already know the cause of all three deaths is because that’s the version Chris Watts has given. Should we believe him?

Fullscreen capture 20181013 083947

The prosecution and the defense are in agreement that Chris Watts killed Shan’ann, although the defense will probable argue that her murder was a justifiable homicide. They may argue that Chris Watts, in an effort to subdue Shan’ann while she was strangling Celeste, strangled her. In other words, her murder was contingent on her murdering Celeste and was thus justifiable – Chris Watts was trying to save Celeste because he knew what Shan’ann had just done to Bella.JUSTIFIABLE+HOMICIDE+A+killing+without+evil+or+criminal+intent,+for+which+there+can+be+no+blame,+such+as+self-defense+to+protect+oneself+or.

At this point I don’t want to debate who murdered who. I do want to raise the possibility that the children weren’t killed by manual strangulation. But before dealing with the manner of death, let’s get real about what happened to the Watts children. It’s not nearly as uncommon as Americans imagine.

According to research conducted by Dr. Kimberly D. Dodson, an Associate Professor and Criminology Program Director  at the University of Houston:

Filicide is a serious problem in the United States. For example, from 1976 to 2007, 94,146 homicides were classified as filicides (or approximately 15 percent). Arrest data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Reports indicate that an average of 2,942 filicides occurred annually from 1976 to 2007. There was a peak in filicides between 1991 and 1995, with an average of 3,233 filicides each year. The yearly average of filicides declined between 2001 and 2005 to 2,668. Among developed countries, the United States ranks as one of the highest in rates of filicide (Ferguson, Miller-Stratton, Heinrich, Fritz, and Smith, 2007).

Fullscreen capture 20181013 085230Fullscreen capture 20181013 085237Fullscreen capture 20181013 085241Fullscreen capture 20181013 085252

At this point it’s no more than a hunch that the Watts children weren’t killed by strangulation. They may have been, and the autopsy reports might confirm this.

Strangling is a very personal crime, and one needs to be very invested in it to carry out, let alone more than once. If it’s traumatic for the victim, the length of the time required to choke the life out of the person exacts a degree of trauma on the perpetrator too, in this case the parents.

Fullscreen capture 20180904 072221

One would expect in certain circumstances that a parent might wish to spare themselves – and perhaps their offspring – from this unnecessary trauma. In the Casey Anthony case, was Caylee drowned, strangled, suffocated with duct tape, or sedated not using Xanax but Chloroform?

If Caylee was sedated, then her exit out of this world may have been peaceful, if that’s the right word. This may have been the point, and in a premeditated scenario, although the parent wants their child dead, they don’t want to hurt the child. They also don’t want to be haunted by what they’ve done. It’s also the nature of child-rearing that children are often put to sleep, and this allows the parents freedom to get back to their own lives.

Fullscreen capture 20180929 202349

In a premeditated murder scenario, the harmless and habitual “putting to sleep” scenario is simply extended to a permanent sleep. The drowning is another extension of that, where the children are drowned/suffocated in oil. But this isn’t to kill them, but to make them disappear.

True Crime Rocket Science believes – prior to the release of the autopsy report – there is strong reason to suspect the children were sedated. The Watts family were caught up in the use of chemicals [from Shan’ann’s Lupus medication, to Thrive patches stuck onto the body to oil and gas rigs].

If the children were often sedated to get them to sleep, then the temptation to sedate them permanently may have been too great.

On Monday we may know for sure.