Chris Watts slept in the basement on the last night he and Shan’ann were still together. And in North Carolina they slept apart for the entire week that he was there. In the latest book on Watts, he says he was read the riot act by Kessinger, and that although she said she wanted him to have a chance to sort things out with his family, when it came down it, she didn’t want him getting back together with Shan’ann while he was away.
If we accept this scenario, then it raises the question: when Shan’ann arrived back from Arizona, why would he sleep in bed upstairs? When he called Kessinger for 111 minutes, wouldn’t she have wanted to know the sleeping arrangements? What would he have told told her to reassure her?
At 23:52 in the video clip, Chris Watts is asked about the bed in the basement. Who is sleeping there? He stumbles over whether it was two or three nights ago. Given his spiel, that they were separating, and he was supposedly sleeping in the basement, why would he – on the night of the murders [the disappearance in his story] – sleep upstairs?
It actually makes sense given Shan’ann’s late arrival. All things being equal, had he not intended to murder her, and had they really been in the process of separating, then he’d have slept in the basement and neither of them would have seen each other the next morning. She would not have woken him up [and he wouldn’t have wanted to be woken up], and he would not have woken her up when he left [and she would not want to be woken after sleeping for two hours].
When we go through the Phone Data Review, we can see that the idea of separating, moving and selling the house had been broached before, which is why the spiel is so unlikely that he was desperate to talk to her then, at 04:00, about something she already knew. The reason he’s doing it, and the reason he’s not in his right mind [and why the whole thing doesn’t make sense], is because through this manufactured drama, he’s confirming to Kessinger that:
They are separated [at the moment they’re reunited].
He is moving [at the moment she’s back in Colorado for the long term].
Nothing has changed [at the moment everything has changed, meaning now that the family are back to together, they’re not and he can still see her].
Through this Watts is essentially waving a wand and granting Kessinger [and himself] wish fulfillment, which makes total sense to him and her, but makes no sense to anyone else.
At 22:41 in the clip below, the officer asks about the children’s medications. Watts says Ceecee takes Singular every night for her allergies. Then there’s a minor slip.
OFFICER: She had the kids last night?
WATTS [Appearing very smug, his lower jaw hanging open in a dopey-sort of way]: Yes.
OFFICER: Or you had the kids?
WATTS: Oh, I had the kids.
At 30:27 in the clip below, after the officer asks Watts if he has any questions [he doesn’t, but he mentions calling hospitals], he follows up asking about Shan’ann’s medical history. Did someone say she was diabetic, the officer asks.
In response Watts does a nervous lip snarl, and then starts off saying “she had” [past tense], then corrects himself. There is a lot to say here about Shan’ann health, including her pregnancy, but he doesn’t.
While researching ANNIHILATION[published on April 8th, 2019], I stumbled across a few additional insights in the Chris Watts case.
Officer Coonrod and Detective Baumhover were in a unique situation when they arrived at 2825 Saratoga Trail on that fateful Monday in August. They had a witness there who had been with Shan’ann hours before she disappeared. Not Chris Watts, Nickole Atkinson.
Although they turned to Watts as the most reliable source on the whereabouts of his wife and children, they ought to have focused more on Nickole especially when Watts started behaving strangely.
It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but just for the sake of arguments, let’s see what happens when we do.
1. Search the house for Shan’ann’s Clothing
Firstly, the cops could have asked Nickole what clothes Shan’ann was wearing when Nickole dropped her off at 01:48. Nickole could have given them an exact description of Shan’ann’s jeans and shirt.
One of Watts’ earlier versions was that Shan’ann left in the evening. In any event, by locating these items the cops would be able to ascertain if Shan’ann had changed, if she had slept that night and the location and state of the clothing could have told them something about her last movements. They may also have been able to find evidence on the clothing of a struggle. The shirt itself may have been ripped, and may have had traces of sweat, blood and touch DNA on it.
It’s not clear what happened to Shan’ann’s shirt. It appears the jeans she wore were removed, washed and placed into the laundry basket.
When Officer Coonrod did his check early in the afternoon at the Watts home, Watts made no mention of jeans or the laundry basket, even though he walked past that area and into the walk-in closet several times.
The laundry basket or a portion of it appears to be visible at 39:19 in the clip below.
At 2:01 in the clip below, taken on Tuesday morning when the K9 unit was looking for items to scent, Watts of his own accord picked up Shan’ann’s jeans [out of the basket]. This was an interesting move because the K9 handlers had specifically asked Watts which items they could scent off that Watts had not touched. So Watts lifting the jeans out of the basket was almost a way for him to say, “Look, see, I’m touching her jeans. Gee, so I guess you can’t use these…”
The question is, had they been washed earlier, immediately after the murder and prior to Watts heading off to work? It seems unlikely. It seems more likely that he would wash Monday night and then place them in the laundry basket to make it seem as if Shan’ann had changed [slept] and put them there herself.
Interestingly, as Watts is asked by Officer Lines on Tuesday, August 14th, if there are any other items of clothing they can scent off, Watts leads her to the laundry. She asks if he has touched the clothing and he smiles wryly, answering:
I may have.
2. Watts Should Have Been Arrested Based on Trinastich Surveillance Video
Was there probable cause to arrest Watts based on the video of him backing up his driveway and loading unknown objects at 05:18? Everyone who knew Watts said he never backed his truck into the driveway. Trinastich never saw him do it, and the Rzuceks, when they lived with the family for over a year never saw him do it either. So him doing it on that night of all nights was suspicious.
It turns out now there was probable cause, but an argument can be made that even based on what we know now the video was simply not clear enough to establish anything. One might argue there was possible cause, but not probable cause.
We also know the prosecution referred to the video, saying Watts went back three times to collect each body, but the prosecution were sort of bluffing, implying they knew more from the video than they actually did. The prosecution and the cops have to observe strict protocols in terms of evidence, and executing arrests. Often, if these protocols are exceeded or violated, a defense can argue that an arrest was procedural illegal and that there was a “rush to judgement”.
In the Casey Anthony case, Casey was arrested when her explanations didn’t make sense and the nanny stuff didn’t add up. On that occasion the little girl had been gone for a month, and Casey’s car smelled of cadaver odor. Even then, Casey wasn’t arrested and taken into custody until the next morning. It may be that during these additional hours prior to her arrest someone deleted her browser history on the family computer. Interestingly, in the Anthony case she was also seen backing her car into the garage…
Like Casey, Watts would have had time to do similar polishing of the crime scene during his extra night of freedom, especially after the scare of cops trampling through his house, looking for something but of course only Watts would have known what was potentially incriminating. That night he would have ample opportunity to take care of those things.
But what sort of behavior counts as strange, and what qualifies as probable cause? This is a tough one. In hindsight we know Watts’ behavior was odd because he was guilty, but at the time it could simply have been because Watts had argued with his wife [and not necessarily done anything].
At 1:08:52 in the clip below Coonrod asks Watts if he has any idea where Shan’ann is. Watts pulls a face, shakes his head and attempts a convincing answer.
WATTS: All the friends that I know…that I know…if there’s other…
And then Watts gives up answering, pretending to be on his phone.
WATTS: That’s the only ones that I know of….Th-there could be people that I don’t know of…
And then, standing directly opposite Coonrod, Watts does his swaying thing.
But the mosaic of evidence – including the fact that Shan’ann’s phone was phone, her car, and the medication – probably did add up to probable cause. Nickole could have impressed this upon the cops then and there, rather than talking to Sandi the whole time on the phone. Nickole could have let them know Shan’ann would absolutely not have left home without her phone, because it was what she used to do her work and was always on it. Although this was mentioned to Coonrod, it wasn’t emphasized. Watts also interferred with what the cops were thinking and checking by suggesting other possibilities – that Shan’ann may have left through the back entrance, and may have simply gone to a friend. The going to the friend narrative, which he said he told her, took a long time to disprove. And how does one disprove a negative?
It’s also worth mentioning one YouTuber who seems to have identified the second blue nitrile glove, lying under the pillow on the bedroom floor, and possibly a Yankee blanket tossed into the corner.
None of these observations are certain. And in keeping with uncertain observations, here’s mine. Is that Oxycodone on the counter in Shan’ann’s office?
The Daily Mailhas released a preview clip of Monday’s Dr. Phil, part two in the show dealing with the Watts Family Murders. Part of the factual findings of the show [not the show’s strength it has to be said] is a medical report proving Chris Watts was the father of the unborn child. Not that that was ever in dispute, but in a case as fluid as this one, where reality seems to shift almost on a whim, it’s good to get certainty. Brick by brick we’re building a solid scenario for this case.
Curiously, what the victims are going through seems to be a parallel universe to Chris Watts’ experience in jail. The Rzuceks are also finding comfort in God, and according to Sandi, she has feelings of hopelessness that sound troublingly close to suicidal thoughts. That’s exactly what Watts has been saying about how he’s handling things as well.
Of course going onto Dr. Phil and telling the nation is the worst way to deal with grief, or to get closure, if that’s the goal.
While the Rzuceks deserve every support and sympathy, and probably will benefit financially from this interview – and significantly – it is not the purview of true crime to hand the fates or the souls of criminals [or their victims] to God. In common with the law, law enforcement and the justice system as a whole, it is also not the business of true crime to be sentimental about criminal matters relating to life and death, though a no-nonsense approach shouldn’t be confused with a lack of compassion or humanity in the face of genuine human tragedies and catastrophes.
It takes a thief to catch a thief, and so in true crime, we can’t catch the operant criminal psychology without trying to outfox the fox. We have to temporarily adopt the merciless mindset of the fox to catch the fox, if that makes sense.
In fact the point of true crime is to show how our humanity [or the criminal lack of it] to humanity actually plays out, and by doing so as honestly, completely and as thoroughly as we dare, perhaps we can improve our sense of self-consciousness, self-awareness, and our ability to adapt to and change for the better. Or as Thomas Hardy once put it:
If the way to the better there be,
it exacts a full look at the worst.
Perhaps by taking an unfettered view at the worst in ourselves, we can find a way to being better, to some kind of affirmative journey to authentic self-actualization.
Not to be indelicate, but it is the purview of populist tabloids and tabloid media to ingratiate and indulge in the touchy-feely aspect of crimes. This does virtually nothing to actually move our understanding forward, and despite appearances to the contrary, Watts’ Second Confession hasn’t provided truth or closure in terms of where, when or how the murders were committed. It is possible the way he killed his children is truthful, or partly truthful in terms of how, even if the where and when is not true.
With that being said, it’s probably timely to address TCRS’s position in terms of the “new information” of the Second Confession, as well the District Attorney’s recent statement that most of Watts said is credible and reliable. Has it changed?
The position of TCRS also remains that the children were sedated, overdosed or poisoned and that there was no “please Daddy” or any other kind of talking – or crying – in the home, just as there was no talking or intimacy with Shan’ann prior to her murder.
Admittedly, there is no chemical or autopsy evidence to prove the contention of sedation, besides the fact that the basement had containers – floor to ceiling – filled with powerful sedative medication, and that Shan’ann and her husband both worked in jobs on a daily basis that had to do with chemicals, arguably toxic in both cases.
We also have the tiniest thread indicating Watts searched Oxycodone 80mg and subsequently deleted this search, so we can’t be sure when he searched. What we can be sure of is that Oxycodone can also be used as a murder weapon, and far more effectively than a blanket because it is a silent and “soft” kill.
OxyContin [another name for Oxycodone] kills 200 Americans daily, so to use it as a murder weapon would make sense, especially if its already in the home.
If there is negligible forensic evidence to prove the TCRS theory, then neither is there evidence [fibers or otherwise] to prove Watts’ contention of in situ random, impulsive smothering at CERVI 319. The blanket as imputed murder weapon for both children has also disappeared so it’s impossible to verify Watts’ claims. And that’s the point – there is no evidence to confirm his scenario so we have to make up our own minds what makes sense and how it lines up with his introverted, cowardly, sly, two face and face saving personality. One thing we know with certainty is Watts Googled Oxycodone prior to the murders. We don’t whether whether he Googled “smothering”. So which has more objective proof behind it?
….harrowing details emerged this week for the first time since Watts was taken into custody.
‘It’s worse than we ever thought. We thought we’d heard the worst already, we had no idea it was worse than this,’ Shanann’s brother Frankie said. Her mother cried at points in the interview and said the only thing keeping her alive was her faith.
‘Those were my grandchildren. I loved them. They were mine. I cry all the time. ‘There’s many times that I just feel like giving up. If it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be here,’ she said.
Frank, Shanann’s father, recounted the disturbing details of the murders to Dr. Phil who replied: ‘I am so, so sorry.’
The word “delete” or “deleted” appears 65 times in the Discovery Documents. Some of these are multiple references to Chris Watts “deleting” his Facebook page. Interestingly, we have the exact context for when that happened: half an hour after agreeing to go away with Shan’ann for the weekend to Aspen, he deleted his Facebook account.
When Shan’ann found out, she was shocked and asked him why.
There are also many references to Nichol Kessinger deleting all information related to Chris Watts from her phone. Imagine if she hadn’t, and she’d instead come forward to shed maximum light on this case [including bravely shining it on herself], imagine how much more we would know.
On page 575 of the Discovery Documents Kessinger is quoted asking Watts to delete his text messages “to keep their relationship secret from his friends”. She asked her pal Charlotte Nelson to do the same thing. What Kessinger seemingly didn’t know was that Watts was already “on it”, in terms of his Secret Calculator app.
In fact, Watts was probably more effective at covering his digital trail than Kessinger, which is quite something given that he was directly or indirectly on social media [on multiple platforms] while she, for the most part, was not.
We get a clear idea of the scale of deleted data [on Watts’ personal phone] by comparing the storage used on his iPhone 7 and iPhone 5 [his work phone] compared to that used by Shan’ann and Kessinger.
The month of July 2018, arguably the most active month for Kessinger and Watts on their phone respectively, only held three messages in the device’s archive [personal phone], and all from one day – July 29th.
Shan’ann’s iPhone 7 plus had 29 796 SMS messages, and over 153 000 timeline entries. Her call log, however, was relatively sparse, at just 477. By contrast Watts had 304 SMS messages on his personal phone, and 125 messages on his work phone. His call log was 567 and 326 respectively.
Watts had more audio recordings on his work phone  compared to his personal phone , whereas Shan’ann had more than five times as many  and Kessinger almost none [only 12 audio recordings].
Kessinger’s phone had the least recorded number of calls logged out of the four phones, at just 206 entries. But Kessinger also had far more SMS messages than either of Watts’ devices, at 8 152.
In the same way that Watts’ phones show zero communication with Trent Bolte, or even his contact number, Kessinger’s handset is, to quote the Discovery Documents devoid of any calls, messages, photographs [or] videos involving Watts…nor even his number.
Interestingly, zero data extraction is recorded from Kessinger’s work phone, in fact it’s not even mentioned.
Arguably the most significant data removed from Watts’ phone was data I missed during my initial analysis, but was brought up yesterday [January 12, 2019] in the comments at this site. Strangely, when doing a filtered search for the word “delete” or “deleted”, the entry at the bottom of page 1768 doesn’t come up.
The word “Instagram” comes up seven times in the Discovery Documents, but also doesn’t pick up the deleted instance in the search term Watts’ used [Discovery Documents page 1769].
During the course of research along several lines of inquiry, I made multiple searches for various kinds of medication, including and especially Oxycodone.Oxycodone features only three times in the Discovery Documents as a compound referenced [but not found] in the autopsy reports.
I was particularly interested in this drug, because the work I was researching and concentrating on while writing the TREACHERY series [covering the chloroform aspect in the Casey Anthony case] strongly indicated a chemical/sedative as murder weapon. I refer to that work in greater detail lower down in this post.
Oxycodon [misspelled] is part of the Watts’ deleted and undated but retrieved search data. It is assumed that the search for how to delete his Instagram account occurred very close to his deleting/deactivation of his Facebook account. It’s also reasonable to infer, in my opinion, that the search for 80mg Oxycodon took place after the search for how to delete Instagram account. This is based on the chronology of the search data, and the fact that the deleted search history as recovered may have been recovered in chronological order and reproduced as such onto the retrieved and reconstructed timeline.
Like Chloroform, if there is an intent to murder [without causing excessive suffering], then Oxycodone is a conventional and very powerful [and potentially lethal] sedative that Watts probably had access to.
Was Oxycodone in the Watts home prior to the murders? A complete archive of prescriptions and medical records would easily verify this. It’s also possible that we may see a prescription bottle in some of the bodycam footage eventually, unless Watts got rid of all of them [which one can imagine, he would have tried to get rid of, wouldn’t he?]
But if Oxycodone was used, wouldn’t it have turned up in the autopsy?
You’d think so, wouldn’t you?
Once again it’s revealing how difficult and how hidden this particular item of evidence is in the Discovery Documents, perhaps partly because the perpetrator hid/deleted/destroyed/concealed information. But potentially also because it was part of an agreement not to disclose this information to the public.
A genuine True Crime Rocket Scientist has to know a case, and the characters in them, forwards and backwards, back to front, inside and out. He [or she] has to know all the information, and have played all the inferences and scenarios in his [or her] mind. And it all has to come together into something resembling God-like omniscience.
Omniscience is hard. It takes time and effort, and requires repetition. And an open mind. Even with all these elements in play, applying them logically and intuitively is a challenge.
A sculptor will tell you that the sculpture was always there inside the block of granite. It takes multiple sweeps to carve away the obstructions, and eventually what lies beneath is brought to the surface.
That’s what we’re trying to do here at True Crime Rocket Science. We believe there are answers, and we believe we can find most of them if we look hard enough, and keep looking. Some answers are right in front of us. Some are right there, not exactly hidden, but easy to miss. The more of us that search, the more secrets will eventually come to light.
Thanks again to those who brought these deleted search terms to my attention. You know who you are.
In POST TRUTH, the 100th True Crime Rocket Science [TCRS] title, the world’s most prolific true crime author Nick van der Leek demonstrates how much we still don’t know in the Watts case. In the final chapter of the SILVER FOX trilogy the author provides a sly twist in a tale that has spanned 12 TCRS books to date. The result may shock or leave you with even more questions.
SILVER FOX III available now in paperback!
“If you are at all curious about what really happened in the Watts case, then buy this book, buy every one he has written and you will get as close as humanly possible to understanding the killer and his victims.”- Kathleen Hewtson. Purchase the very highly rated and reviewed SILVER TRILOGY – POST TRUTH COMING SOON.
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“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.”