The Plunder YouTube Channel [see video below] has provided some useful coverage of the Dr. Oz interview with Letters from Christopher author Cherlyn Cadle.
Thus far TCRS has refrained from commenting on Cadle’s book, or on Cadle herself. Cadle has certainly been able to court a fair amount of publicity, and as a result her book has already been reviewed about 200 times.
Via Dr. Oz we learn that it’s not only the Watts family that have felt duped in some way, but the Rzuceks too. There was an impression that the Watts book was going to be quite a spiritual book; a book about Watts having some sort of Damascus Moment. Although there are elements of this in the book, the main thrust of the spiritual side of things comes from the claim that Watts was demon possessed. That’s why he committed this crime.
What does Dr. Oz make of this contention?
1. Demon Possession = Plausible Motive?
Cadle’s book highlights some paranormal activity in the Watts home. Mysterious lights that burn late into the night, and a disembodied child’s voice giggling, scaring the bejesus out of a cadaver dog. The dog handler had “a very odd feeling” as a result of this.
Taking PLUNDER’s word for it, Dr. Oz seemed to view Cadle’s frankly ridiculous contention that Watts killed his family because he was possessed by a demon as “plausible. ” Plausible? Based on what? Based on Watts simply saying so!
The word demon doesn’t appear once in the discovery, not in the First Confession, nor in the Second. The word appears 11 times in Cadle’s book, however, though half of those references have nothing to do with Watts, but are instead general references to the concept. Like this:
There you have it. Certain cases can be explained in no other way than demon possession.
It makes sense that Watts would be amenable to the idea of an author susceptible to the idea of demon possession taking on his story of demon possession like a hand inside a glove. His story is essentially letting himself off the hook entirely for the crime. It has nothing to do with him, or the circumstances, or the actual people involved. What happened is an evil force swooped in through the window while he was yawning and jumped into his mouth. The next thing he realized he woke up and he’d killed his family. Blaming what he did on some dark magical entity is another way of not being accountable for his crimes. It’s part of the ongoing circus that is the aftermath of a criminal case not going to trial. This is the result.
And this entity arrived on the scene – surprise, surprise – just when Watts met Kessinger. And of course Kessinger herself is vaguely associated with evil as well.
This time Watts became “darker” doesn’t quite jibe with what he said to Coder on August 15th, does it?
Watts has quite a simple explanation – in Cadle’s book – not only for why he committed the crime [“I realized I had a demon inside of me…” – page 222] but also for why he should be absolved [“I knew the demon had come out of me and I had been forgiven”].
In her conclusion, at the end of her book, Cadle – who had written this book to address Watts’ deliverance – suddenly pulls a U-turn. Now, at the very end, she professes to not know much about demon possession. Instead she signs off saying Watts was convinced he was possessed weeks before the murders, but Cadle washes her hands from assessing his statement one way or another. She doesn’t know much about it.But she doesn’t doubt it either. She recommends he seeks professional help [which of course he doesn’t do, because a professional would come to quite a different conclusion]. And so everything is left nicely in the air for everyone to pick and choose whichever level of this story suits them. Maybe a little demon possessed, maybe a lot. Maybe demon possessed, maybe not.
Cadle also provides a handy explanation at the end of her book for WHY [in all caps, and bold] Watts did what he did. She says she’s afraid the answer is easy. And then she provides the answer. Well, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with demon possession.
2. Dr. Oz Verdict on Demon Possession = Inconclusive
Despite Cadle’s 11 references to demonic possession in her 267 word tome, and in spite of Dr. Oz’s apparent endorsement of the theory, Dr. Oz’s panel are unsure. Hmmmm. What can the expert panel really say about Watts being possessed by a demon [what kind of demon was it?], and then killing three members of his family. Why did the demon want to kill his family? What did they ever do to him [the demon?]
So they – like Cadle – can’t quite commit to the idea either, but they can’t seem to commit to calling it ludicrous either. Their assessment is essentially a shrug. An expert shrug, mind you.
So much for experts weighing in on mental illness, psychology and motive.
3. Fresh Content = Groundbreaking Analysis?
A fair amount of Cadle’s book is a regurgitation of the discovery. Some of that spilled over into this interview with Dr. Oz.
Now, during the Second Confession in February, Watts referred on three occasions to not being able to let go once he had his hands around Shan’ann’s neck. Here they are:
a) At the sentencing he heard the prosecutor said it takes 2-4 minutes to strangle someone to death, so “Why couldn’t I just let go?”…He believes SHANANN may have been praying.
b) “I feel like in the back of my head…that was gonna happen…and just like, at the end of the conversation, it was just like, that’s what happened…I just wished I could’ve let go.”
c) Time seemed to stand still and he saw his life disappearing before his eyes but he couldn’t let go.
So it seems Watts was demon possessed 5 times. Twice when he attempted to strangle his children. Once when he strangled Shan’ann. And twice more when the children revived and he was possessed again, and strangled them again. It’s not clear whether the demon drove him to work, and whether the demon walked him up to the oil tanks, or whether the demon dug Shan’ann’s grave. We’re also not 100% sure if the demon took the plea deal, or whether Chris Watts did.
Now, if you don’t mind, let’s open the curtain a tad on this freak show, and let some TCRS into the room. Just for a moment.
There’s actually a pretty simple reason Watts couldn’t take his hands off his wife’s neck. Had he done so, had he hesitated halfway through murdering his wife, she would have fought back, and that would have been the end of him, his affair and his glittering happily ever after.
If Nut Gate was bad, had Watts let go right then, he would have experienced House Gate. She would take the house, get full custody and make sure the world knew what a rotten, abusive, philandering swine he was. But long before any of that happened, had Watts let go, the first thing Shan’ann would have done before punching him in the face – she would have screamed. And that scream would have spoken volumes. It would have woken the kids and the neighbors, and Deeter, and it wouldn’t have stopped until Watts had packed his bags and left with his tail between his legs.
4. “Deeter didn’t like Watts…”
This might be the #1 insight from the Dr. Oz show. I’m not sure it’s true, but it’s certainly better than #1, #2 and #3. I seem to recall Sandi Rzucek or some family friend or neighbor saying how Watts “loved that dog”. Hold on, let’s check and make sure. Ah, here it is:
If Deeter didn’t like Watts, why did Watts like the dog?
If the dog didn’t like Watts why did he spare Deeter’s life?
If the dog didn’t like Watts, why was Watts concerned about the dog when he was at the well site?
Interestingly, Cadle spells the dog’s name Deeter and Dieter in her book. Who knows. If Deeter really didn’t like Watts, perhaps that’s why Deeter Gate happened. Deeter wanted Kessinger to see Watts’ family, and wanted to get him into trouble, and so he did on July 14th when Deeter led her upstairs.
Was Deeter demon possessed…?
Maybe Deeter was demon possessed too, and that’s why Deeter Gate happened. Maybe that’s why everything happened.
5. Is there a doctor in the house?
The biggest insight into the show isn’t an insight, it’s the absence of an insight. The biggest insight is you have a doctor who doesn’t say anything about the THRIVE patches that are an idiosyncrasy in this case. He says nothing about lupus or the significant narrative surrounding the health – or sickliness – of Shan’ann and the children. Not a peep about Oxycodone either.
“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.”