At around ten minutes into “Sesh 16” Jay & Kay discuss information from an anonymous source close to the investigation. The remains of Bella and Celeste were so saturated with oil, according to the source, they had to be flown separately to North Carolina for burial because they were considered combustible. This suggests the remains were significantly chemically degraded by the time investigators retrieved them. Whoever the source is, it sounds like they’ve had access to the autopsy reports.

To get an idea just how toxic petrochemicals can be to human tissue, consider this comment posted on social media. Someone who works in the industry was saying simply walking around a gas site gave them nosebleeds.

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Also that the temperature in those tanks is extremely high, which would accelerate the breakdown of human tissues, boiling the remains, dissolving them to nothing within days.

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At about 12:20 in “Sesh 16” Jay & Kay discuss “the condition of Shan’ann’s body” according to their source. Shan’ann’s body was in “really, really, really bad shape. Lots of bruising. Lots of contusions. Lots of defensive wounds. The defensive wounds are indicative of a brutal struggle. And it is…uh…was readily apparent that she was strangled with bare hands…she struggled very hard for her life.”

Jay & Kay then go to some length speculating on why the murder wasn’t a stealthy “ninja attack”. I’m not sure one can draw inferences like that. Once Chris Watts started strangling her, the fight was on. But let’s move on.

What the extensive tissue trauma suggests, if the source is accurate, is the rage – the hatred in fact – that was brought to bear by Chris Watts on Shan’ann when she was murdered. He was determined to snuff out her life. A strangling is a silent crime, but asphyxiation as a manner of death is the slowest and most agonizing death of all. It’s a death that’s usually slower than being stabbed, and much slower than being shot. One literally has the breath, the life, the fight, slowly, steadily, squeezed out of one’s body.

Murder Rap Sesh have done some amazing work, but not all the commentary is entirely accurate. Jay & Kay mention that the couple never fought, for example, but there’s at least one eye witness account where they did as recently as the summer of 2018.

On the whole, however, the point Jay & Kay raise is valid, Chris Watts seemed like a mild-mannered, calm, quiet, reserved guy. So what drove him to break the mold of his own identity? It’s a question worth asking, but it’s also one worth pausing on and making an effort to answer.

What drove him to break the mold of his own identity?

What drove him to break the mold of his own identity – and to commit triple murder?

I think people have it the wrong way round. They keep looking to Chris Watts for signs of abuse, for domestic violence, for bad behavior and violence. They don’t want to entertain a mechanism for this crime; it simply erupted out of thin air as evil does. Why does there have to be a reason?

Nobody likes to entertain the idea that Shan’ann was the pushy, controlling, coercing personality in the house, and Chris Watts – for eight years – did as he was told.

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And the rage simmered. And the rage eventually boiled over.

People don’t like that dynamic because it sounds like Shan’ann is to blame, or is being blamed. So they prefer the idea of Chris Watts and Shan’ann as one-dimensional cardboard cutouts, where he is an evil monster, and she is an innocent victim. People like this cartoon because it’s comfortable. But the reality is, no one is all good or all bad, not you, not me, not murderers, and not their victims.

The bottom-line isn’t that Shan’ann deserved to die, or that Chris Watts was justified in killing her. That’s not what’s being argued, certainly not here. What is being argued is that there was a real dynamic going on, just as all marriages and relationships involved idiosyncratic dynamics, so did this one.

Eventually, that dynamic got so rough and raw and chafing it was like a tangible thing. It was becoming unbearable. And that dynamic, that conveyor, is what drove someone who seemed nice on the outside, and who started off nice on the inside – to commit a holocaust against his own flesh and blood.