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

Tag: Psychology

CBI Agent Tammy Lee on OXYGEN: “It’s worse than I thought so it must be true”

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There’s a saying by Mark Tawin:

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Let’s face it, mindfuckery is a tricky subject. It’s tricky to talk about because what you’re trying to do is convince someone their cognitive wiring might be a little wonky. And if you don’t start off this argument just right, you’re liable to lose not your argument but the suspicion may arise that you – the guy fielding the argument – might be touched in the head.

I suppose, to make this argument effectively one has to start by acknowledging – GASP – the possibility that human beings in general sometimes [often, actually] make mistakes.

So let’s take Einstein. Did one of the smartest people who ever lived ever make a thinking error?

Have we made any mistakes in our thinking about Einstein?

How about Stephen Hawking?

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And Bill Gates?Fullscreen capture 20191207 173849

The good news is when we acknowledge our mistakes, amazing things are allowed to happen. Take Steve Jobs:

Is it possible mistakes were made not just individually, but collectively in the Watts case? If so, what sort of thinking errors are we talking about? Well, here are a couple to choose from:

While a couple of these may apply, a handful look like they do.

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Let’s deal briefly with just one before we deal with the statements in the documentary more specifically. It’s this one:

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Essentially what the Appeal to Probability is saying is that because something is possible it’s probable. The law, for example, disagrees with that. In court something has to be probable, and reasonably probable absent other more or less probable possibilities, for it to be judged true.

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There are many instances where things are possible – anything, theoretically is possible. But it’s this area that explains tricky, troubling and ongoing debates around, for example, did the world evolve or did God create it? Which is possible? Which is probable? Is climate change manmade or is it a myth? Which is possible? Which is probable?

There are many, many areas we can go into, and figuring out truth from fallacy using logic is both a fascinating and very in-depth area of cognitive psychology. A lot of true crime deals with our perceptions, and what we perceive. We won’t go into that here, but it’s a subject TCRS has covered at length in the past, and will continue to expose in SILVER FOX POST TRUTH, the final book in the SILVER FOX trilogy.

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Now let’s deal with the documentary.

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Fullscreen capture 20191207 163017Fullscreen capture 20191207 161944Fullscreen capture 20191207 162244Fullscreen capture 20191207 162545Fullscreen capture 20191207 162814On the one hand, the District Attorney and the Deputy District Attorney are the authorities closest to the case, so we’d expect thought leadership and clarity from them. Basically what they believe must be true. That same appeal to authority applies to CBI agent Tammy Lee. And yet invariably all three agree with the same faulty premise. Because the second version is worse, it must true.

There’s a very obvious problem with this premise, and it’s this:

There’s a third version that’s even worse than the second. Does that mean that premise is true? The DA and the agent – and the documentary – don’t even mention Watts’ version to Cadle.

We can also see how in Watts First Confession, where he said Shan’ann killed the kids and so he killed Shan’annn [a false idea deliberately offered to Watts by the investigators themselves] was a step closer to the truth, but also not true. It was true Watts had killed Shan’ann, but not true that she’d killed the children. And yet this same psychology of deception holds for how the interrogators got their pound of truth from Watts. They tempted him to give a little bit of truth by giving him “permission” to lie about – to minimize – his involvement. Stay with me here because it gets a little convoluted here. Watts is incentivized to take the bait because he is at least let off the hook of the child murders. But in taking the bait, he also admits the truth – the worse truth – that he killed Shan’ann.

If the psychology of “worse version trumps all” holds, then surely the worst version of all in terms of a global view of this case would be Shan’ann killing her own children, and then Watts killing her.

We must also bear in mind the same methodology of the First Confession was also used in the Second, which was to lead people-pleaser-Watts down the Yellow Brick Road of the confession. Coder – not interviewed here – did that.

What happened next, did this happen or that. That? Okay, what about this. Oh…

Significantly Watts didn’t volunteer his confession in either case [except he did in the Third Confession to Cadle] he was led to it. And he gave the version he thought his interrogators believed anyway. He gave the version, worse than the previous version, but still the minimal version he could get away with telling. What did he get in exchange? He was let off the hook in having to talk about it, first in terms of an even longer interrogation, then a trial, then more interrogation.

There is a worse version than the Second Version, by the way. The Second Version – an almost random, impulsive killing at the well site – is worse than the first, but it’s also better than the second. Why? Because the second version strips away the premeditation. A premeditated murder is an aggravated crime, it is criminal intent with deliberation. When this occurs a sentence is often the maximum sentence – as it was in this case.

Watts agreed in his plea deal to charges that included the words with deliberation [including of both children]. And yet his Second Confession, the one the prosecutors and agent now seem to say they accept, walks back that deliberation.

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TCRS has exhaustively covered – and ridiculed – Watts bogus notions in the Second Confession that he alternatively “just snapped” and that he committed the crime “in a rage” without thinking. In fact TCRS predicted the “just snapped” minimization months before Watts came up with it.

“Chris Watts Just Snapped” – October 4th, 2018

The DA accepted his version of a cold, calculated murder and so did Watts. That’s why he signed the plea deal and didn’t object to this version mentioned during the sentencing on November 19th, 2018. Watts – in his last version [written in April 2019 and published in October 2019] – has also admitted he’d premeditated the murder for weeks, and made one or more attempts to poison Shan’ann to bring about a miscarriage.

So why would the DA and CBI Agent Tammy Lee go back on their own version, the one fielded in court?

To soothe popular opinion?

To engage popular opinion?

Maybe. Maybe one. Maybe both. Or maybe there is an even simpler meat-and-potatoes mindfuckery going on. It’s known as the appeal to ignorance, a very powerful and successful way of bullshitting the mainstream in the modern era. A bunch of YouTube channels thrive on this run-of-the-mill fallacy, as do MLMs. Evil, deception and dishonesty thrives in a culture of ignorance. And like or or not, in spite of or perhaps because of the information era, we live in a culture of ignorance.

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Further Reading:

Chris Watts describes the reason he killed Shan’ann Watts: “I just snapped” [AUDIO Part 1+2] – March 2019

Chris Watts explains what made him snap – June 2019

“Like, he snapped” – Chris Watts Special Coming Soon on HLN – July, 2019

If there’s an innocent reason the authorities closest to this case believe what they do [and I’m not convinced there is, but who knows] it may be due to their being so close to the case that they’ve become emotionally compromised. We know that’s happened to the lead detective. Has it happened to anyone else. Have you been so afflicted by it you haven’t been able to think logically or scientifically about it?

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Original Article:

Chris Watts case investigators are still reeling: ‘How does this happen?’ – NBC

Now, remember that saying by Twain?

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

It’s also been attributed to Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, Ann Landers and others. The quote itself isn’t even authentic, but derived from something similar written by Jonathan Swift [Irish poet, and author of Gulliver’s Travels]:

Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it.

Perhaps that’s why there are so many ums and TCRS is accused of being slow to get to the point. The truth takes time, it’s subtle, and complicated, and sensitive to distortions, misreadings and derivations. But coming back to Watts, think about the psychology of his storytelling. This idea that if something is worse it must be true, and we should accept it.

Now connect that psychology to the psychopathology of this crime. Connect that psychology of fear to the psychology of the introvert who wants to be well thought of, including in the context of a crime, including by his interrogators.

Chris Watts committed murder because he believed the pregnancy and divorce was “worse than I thought committing murders would be”, so I’d rather do that.

Makes sense now, doesn’t it?

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“I think he’s a sociopath with absolutely no remorse.”- Catherine Townsend, Private Investigator and Investigation Discovery Expert

Sometimes – especially on social media – I encounter members of the public all saying the same thing at the same time. Sometimes they’ll be saying with absolute confidence that Chris Watts is a monster, then it’s that he’s a narcissist, then a sociopath.

Typically this follows a Dr. Phil Show, a documentary, or when some expert appears on HLN. If everyone is saying the same thing, and thinking the same thing, and repeating the same thing, it’s no wonder the mainstream never figures out so many of these cases.

Can anyone say why this crime happened? Can anyone reconcile the evidence to the psychology to the family dynamics, forwards and backwards, cross-ways, making sure everything lines up?

Because the sociopathic, monster and narcissism labels only fit the crime itself. What about the rest?

While in the clip below Townsend is broadly correct, there are clear sociopathic traits in the aftermath of this crime, were they present before? If Watts was a despicable, heartless narcissist, why did everyone like him up until the moment of the crime? And if he’s a sociopath with no remorse, why did he start acting cold to Shan’ann and the kids. Why did they pick up on him being distant and standoffish?

How can you become cold and distant if you weren’t warm and affectionate to begin with? So a more complete picture is that as Watts became more ensconced in an affair, he began to act less affectionate. But that’s not sociopathy, that’s normal!

Now I want to briefly illustrate why this kind of labeling is simplistic and reductionist, and how it actually prevents us from figuring out cases like this, rather than helping us.

Before we get to that, watch this clip.

So in the clip Townsend plucks the low-hanging fruit and on the face of it it seems pretty straightforward.

Watts just wanted out of his marriage, he wanted to be single, and he just saw his family as things he wanted to get rid of…

But under that face, under the sur-face – which is why we talk of the TWO FACE-dness of Chris Watts – it’s not nearly so simple. He didn’t just want to be single, he wanted to be with Kessinger. He didn’t want to be on his own because he spent every night – when his family was away – with Kessinger.

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So the narrative you’re getting from these experts, and these episodes, is derived from the truth, but how much time have these experts really spent studying the case? Is it the only case on their desk, or is it one of many, and is this one of many appearances on one of many shows?

The notion that Watts just saw his family as things he wanted to get rid of is a tempting thought. It makes absolute sense retrospectively, but as soon as we park the wheelbarrow beside the retrospective aspect of true crime, all there is to excavate is the dirt from the crime scene and the aftermath. Believe it or not there is another side – another face – to this story, it’s the long backstory and run up that leads to the crime itself. How long was this phase? Moments? Seconds? Minutes? Months? Or a lifetime in the making?

Chris Watts didn’t treat his wife or his kids, or anyone, as things, prior to the murders. So does the crime make him a sociopath retrospectively, or was he always one, he was simply hiding it?

And it’s because we’re hitching the wagon to a pair of horses named Sociopath and Saw his family as Things, that we’re prevented from seeing how this crime actually played out. Because in reality, Watts didn’t see his family as things, he loved them, and then he didn’t love them, and then yes he did want to get rid of them. The story is that he did so violently and heartlessly. The position of TCRS is that the murders of the children weren’t violent, and even Shan’ann’s murder – though more violent and physical – isn’t the way it’s been portrayed.

I know what you’re thinking. How do you commit a murder without aggression, without violence? But there are ways. We see it in true crime all the time. And if we weren’t focused on labels and making things so simple, we might see how things are more subtle.

“I don’t think I’m a cold-hearted person. I just don’t show emotion as much as other people do. I process it differently.” – Chris Watts, February 18th interview

It makes sense, the argument that Chris Watts is a heartless monster, that he’s psychopathic or sociopathic.  That he doesn’t feel the way many of us do. To our minds, it doesn’t make any sense if he murdered his family and he acted like he didn’t care, that he did care, and that he does have feelings.

But the temptation is to put Watts in a neat little box and call him a heartless monster. It’s comforting to say that because it separates him from us.

It’s the position of TCRS that this aspect is true, but at the same time, he’s not an empty vessel devoid of emotion.

It’s this aspect of true crime that makes it both fascinating and terrifying – the notion that Watts cared for his wife and children but killed them anyway. The notion that he felt bad about what he did, but tried to act innocent and nonchalant, and wasn’t particularly convincing.

In the final half hour of the Second Confession, Chris Watts speaks frankly about his emotions. Although we have to be careful taking anything he says as gospel, it’s worth reviewing how he sees his emotions, and the words he uses to describe his own inner world.

WATTS: It’s just weird how emotions process for me than for everybody else.

LEE: Hmmhmm.

WATTS: Like you said, like um—you lost your kids at a grocery store for five seconds, you’d be a mess, and then like…you know…for me…I-I-d be panicked, but I wouldn’t cry.  I’d be looking around trying to find them. But it’s just like, I just process it differently. I never knew why. Never know why. [Long pause]. I don’t think I’m a cold-hearted person, it’s just a matter of…I just don’t show it…show the emotions as much as other people do. 

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LEE: Your family doesn’t show emotion like that?

WATTS: Yeah, like you know…my dad couldn’t really speak at the sentencing hearing, because he said was kinda like…he said he was gonna lose it. Like that really hit me. Like, I’d never seen him like that.

LEE: Like, vulnerable?

WATTS: Mmhmm. I don’t think anybody’s seen me that way either.

The emotional aspect is a crucial aspect in true crime, and critical to understand this case. We can’t have it both ways. In the one scenario, Watts impulsively and spontaneously kills his wife and children, Shan’ann in a rage and his children seemingly for no reason at all. In this version Watts loses control over his emotions when he kills wife, and simply isn’t thinking afterwards. It’s not entirely unconvincing, because Watts seems capable of acting rashly and stupidly. His confessions to the cops also reinforce this impression.

In the other scenario, all the murders are premeditated. The premeditation scenario as a whole is an effort to hide not only the crime but the emotions, including the affair and the pregnancy.

One way to resolve the question of premeditation is to look at Watts’ behavior and psychology prior to the crimes and just after. After the crimes he has a checklist of things he needs to do and wastes no time doing it, even though he’s at work. He cancels his kids’ classes at Primrose, he calls the realtor, he even calls his bank.

The way he disposed of all three bodies also doesn’t speak of someone not in control, or not thinking. But the hiding of the bodies and the effort to make them disappear while sickening is also his effort to conceal feelings – like shame. He knows what he’s done is shameful and so he’s driven to dig holes and – taking a substantial risk – force the bodies of his children into the tanks to make them dissolve and disappear. He uses the word vanish immediately after the crime – that’s exactly what he wanted to happen. Fullscreen capture 20190609 155125

There’s emotion there, in that effort to hide away his disgraceful deeds. There are many crimes out there that are executed with blood and brutality, and the bodies are left in the open.

Counter-intuitively these speak of emotion but are probably more psychopathic than a crime committed in secret and hidden away.

Coming Soon! – Book 8 in the TWO FACE series…



Is the Criticism Against TWO FACE Valid?

The latest review of TWO FACE describes it as being 50% accurate “at best”. And the rest goes downhill from there:

Wildly inaccurate, a total work of fiction. This case is less than 2 months old and there’s extremely limited knowledge made public. Even the sample is at best 50% accurate. There were no cadaver dogs, they were search & tracking dogs. Cadavar dogs do not bark to alert their handlers either. The story the book tells is pure speculation, which [you] can read for free in any facebook group + copy & paste from news reports.
They’re not even cold in the ground yet and people are already trying to turn a profit and writing books based off of wild imaginations.

The main points in the review are summarized below:

  1. Wildly inaccurate, a total work of fiction. The main gripe in the review appears to be about accuracy.
  2. This inaccuracy claim is reinforced with the notion that the knowledge about the case is currently “extremely limited”, and thus any narrative about it [let alone two] has to be extremely limited also.
  3. As an example of the gross inaccuracy, the use of cadaver dogs [as highlighted in TWO FACE] is criticized.
  4. And to bolster the notion that cadaver dogs weren’t used, the reviewer notes that “cadaver dogs do not bark to alert”.
  5. You can read all you need to know about the Watts case on Facebook, for free.
  6. The book was written too soon in a cynical effort to make money.
  7. The idea of the book was to spin an imaginative yarn, and steal money from the public by deceiving them with speculations dressed-up as facts.

Now let’s deal with these 7 claims individually.

  1. The first section in TWO FACE deals with the timeline of events. A timeline is by default a factual narrative that’s anchored in time. In other words, at what time did Nickole Utoft Atkinson raise the alarm? When the police get the call and what time did they arrive at the Watts home? Where was Chris Watts at that time? What time did he return home? While he was out, and on his way, did he provide the cops with the garage key code? Had he really forgotten it? What happened during the initial wal-through? Which detectives were there? What happened afterwards? What was going on during the Sermon on the Porch? And so on. The narrative drills deep in the facts as they played out between Sunday August 12th and the end of that remarkable week, Friday August 13th. By placing the entire timeline in context and in chronological order, we suddenly see the events just as they are with a much deeper perspective. To argue that the timeline is either inaccurate or fictitious is a malicious claim.
  2. One of the reasons I wrote TWO FACE before the trial was to prove how much information and insight can be gained by paying attention to the case, and by simple investigation. One could argue the best, the most authentic data can only be gotten firsthand, by interviewing people directly, and by sniffing around the physical area.  What the narrative is really aiming towards is omniscience, but we don’t need to go to #2825 Saratoga Trail to be omniscient about Vass Road, or CERVI 319. We have modern tools for that – like Google, and Google Earth. The current archive of the Watts case – which is updated on a daily basis – provides more than 200 facts and hundreds more photos, maps, graphs, insights from the Watts’ social media and other relevant information. Although TWO FACE is a relatively short narrative at 30 000 words, I think most people have been surprised at just how much information it does reveal besides and beyond public knowledge.
  3. In the review the reviewer can’t even get the spelling of the word cadaver right. Cadaver dogs weren’t used? Actually, they were, and what’s more, the cadaver dogs probably provided the cops with their most important clue in the investigation.

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4. “Cadaver dogs do not bark to alert.” Some do, some don’t. Here’s an example of a cadaver dog barking to alert:

5. “You can read all you need to know about the Watts case on Facebook, for free.” If it’s free coverage you’re after, True Crime Rocket Science has already posted over 20 articles, and an ongoing archive updated daily. They’re free to whoever wants to read them, and at least one new article is posted daily. Free.

The twitter profile associated with True Crime Rocket Science also highlights important news updates and ongoing insights about the Watts case – free as well.

There’s likely to be a lot more free coverage to come too.

There’s also an additional free resource of Watts case-related articles viewed – at last count – over 250 000 times on

What the narratives provide that go well beyond the somewhat fragmented analysis  of individual posts and tweets, is that it builds a much deeper, wider and larger case for what we know, and it builds something new that doesn’t exist in the mainstream or on social media: a cogent scenario [a theory] for what we don’t know based on meticulously incorporating everything we do know. That’s where the real Rocket Science lies, in the authentic narrative.

The narrative requires greater care and consideration not only to write, but to read. It’s a more concentrated analysis, and so it requires proper investments of time and thought.

A lot of the insight and research that goes into the narratives is only touched on very lightly in these blog posts, and the best insights are withheld in order to make the narratives stand apart as valuable in their own right. The blog posts are designed to be a quick study, a stone bouncing quickly and lightly on the surface of the case. The narrative’s long form chapters provide a much deeper, darker and richer view of all the information, typically within a particular theme and framework.

6. “The book was written too soon in a cynical effort to make money.” How soon is too soon? One of the factors that inspired the writing of Chris Watts were the initial reports by “experts” that his Sermon on the Porch was convincing. Fullscreen capture 20181014 123425

It was this obvious heresy recycled by the mainstream media that I first attempted to counter in my first post on the Watts case, on August 18th. From then on, I felt the analysis by the media and on social media was far below par, with dozens of people making the same claims: From the misleading: “He just snapped”, “He’s a monster/psychopath/narcissist”, “If he just wanted his freedom, why didn’t he just get a divorce?” to the indignant by not particularly helpful “GUILTY!!!!!!!”

So instead of having these misperceptions misshape the narrative and perhaps control it, I hoped to control the narrative by being the first to put the most authentic narrative out there. In terms of the money motive, I write books for a living. How many people do you know who work for no pay, or wish to work for nothing?

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7. Is the point of True Crime Rocket Science to be exploitative in the way tabloids purposefully manufacture clickbait [that they know is false]? It’s the opposite. But if that were the case, if the point were to make a nice profit, my narratives on Steven Avery for example would stick to the popular “innocent victim” theory held by the majority of the public. Selling the Avery is innocent narrative would sell more books. If that were the sole purpose, to would make sense to also steer clear of “controversial” true crime cases such as Amanda Knox, where a significant number of Americans still believe in her innocence. Instead, two trilogies have been written on Knox with two more narratives left to go. These books weren’t written expressly to make money; the mission was to address the false myths about the Knox case, a case which is a classic in how PR has been used to successfully mold public opinion around a true crime suspect.Fullscreen capture 20181014 132356

Do the two TWO FACE narratives out there add nothing to what is being said almost daily on HLN and Facebook? It would be good to get the views of those who’ve read and enjoyed the first narrative, so if you have, please do make your voice heard in the comments below.

In the reddit screengrab the accusation is made that the language and tone is tabloidy and thus exploitative. You mean like CNN:

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This is the way modern journalism looks and sounds today, my friend. As a narrator you either get with your readers, or you get left behind.

It’s the express mandate of this site, and this author, to provide an authentic narrative where none exists.  Where the media narrative is not up to scratch, True Crime Rocket Science aims to address it. Besides this, the dozens of true crime books already out there proves how much can be exposed and understood simply by taking a long, hard, honest look in the world of true crime. Part of the special power in these many narratives is how the criminal psychology in one case translates [or indeed, doesn’t] from criminal to criminal and case to case.

It’s my belief, for example, that the criminal psychology in the Casey Anthony case applies to the Watts case much more than has been appreciated, imagined or acknowledged thus far.

The ambit of Rocket Science is to explore true crime far beyond the factual or narrative spaces of anyone else.And so on that note, there’s a third TWO FACE underway that focuses entirely on the dynamic of the two murdered Watts daughters.


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What made Chris Watts STOP loving his kids?

He seemed more of loving father than a loving husband. So what changed? Why did the children have to die?

On September 10th I analyzed the day Shan’ann told Chris Watts she was pregnant for the third time. This was a significant date in the Watts timeline, and if it plays directly or indirectly into motive, it’s vital that we know when the motive began to manifest.

A number of followers of this blog were critical of the idea that Shan’ann knew exactly when she fell pregnant, and were perhaps doubtful that she knew she was pregnant close to or immediately after conception.

It’s important to emphasize in this respect that Shan’ann’s her own person. Shan’ann’s Shan’ann and you’re you. Her pregnancy, her attitude to life, her personality etc is unique to her. In order to fathom the authentic interiority here, one has to look inside the developments not through our eyes but through her eyes. That’s not easy because it requires us to spend some time actually figuring out who she is.

That’s really the business of true crime over all, isn’t it? To figure out who people really are, and through that, to figure out ourselves and the agendas of those around us.

That’s also what True Crime Rocket Science is all about. #tcrs specializes in this most difficult area of all, human nature, and the unique natures of various identities in various cases.

When Shan’ann’s friend Nickole Utoft Atkinson described her as OCD, we get it. We know what OCD means, and we think that explains what sort of person Shan’ann was. But does it?

What does it means to be OCD about one’s pregnancy?

Shan’ann found out she was pregnant with Bella, her firstborn, on April 16th 2003. Bella was born on December 17th, 2013. The span of time between those dates is 246 days, or eight months and two days.

Another important aspect Shan’ann had to deal with in terms of her pregnancy was lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own organs. Lupus is an important factor antagonizing against pregnancy: it can lead to miscarriage and premature delivery in the mother, and heart problems in the fetus.

So pregnancy was a far bigger deal with Shan’ann than it would be for most first-time mothers. It wasn’t just about the anxiety of getting pregnant, but the ongoing tension of managing the monitoring the pregnancy in terms of her own health and the health of the baby. The OCD in terms of controlling the pregnancy was also evident everywhere else in Shan’ann’s life. This need to control while rooted at the surface in health concerns was really about controlling the fear of death.

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It’s not clear whether Bella was born prematurely, but what is clear is that Shan’ann knew very, very early on in her first pregnancy when she fell pregnant. At most she became aware of it less than 4 weeks after the fact. If Bella was born prematurely, which is likely where the mother is a lupus sufferer, then Shan’ann may have been aware even sooner, within days.

It’s likely Shan’ann’s OCD/vigilance would have been even greater during her second pregnancy, and greater still during the third pregnancy.

The idea that Shan’ann was very aware of the timing of the pregnancy is enhanced by the blogs she kept in 2013. Not only does it show her meticulous record keeping, it also shows Chris Watts as an attentive and caring father. In 2013 he appeared to be just as caught up in the fairy tale they were embarking on as Shan’ann was.

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The blog involves careful documenting of each moment and milestone. This also sets the tone for Shan’ann controlling effectively her husband’s role in her narrative. She’s the active voice, he’s simply a bit player in her spiel.

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Chris Watts also makes his contributions to the blog, probably at Shan’ann’s prompting. Because it’s his first child, he’s happy to be part of her dairy. But how might these feel and play out for a parent a second time, and then a third?

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So what made Chris Watts STOP loving his kids?

There are perhaps two broad answers to this question. Firstly, in any family, the more people added to it, the more love is lost or redistributed simply as a matter of logistics. Each new person on the scene requires resources: attention, love, time and money. Each new person on the scene means fewer resources for everyone else: attention, love, time and money.

If any of these resources [especially love and money] are becoming thin to begin with, then an additional child could cause the credit in these accounts to run out completely.

Secondly, if the third child wasn’t part of his plan, if it was her plan – her scheme – then we can see how the fairy tale could begin to darken, and then unravel.

If Shan’ann was a particularly OCD and controlling sort of person, then Chris Watts may have felt that not only was the third child not his idea, but everything was starting to feel overwhelming. Shan’ann’s control over his life had become total, and thus oppressive and off-putting.

When everything was starting to feel foisted upon him, and he was merely a sperm donor, a pawn and a prop in Shan’ann’s fairy tale, where’s the fun in that? When he felt like he was drowning in her fairy tale, maybe that’s when his fairy tale ended. Maybe his love for his children changed not because of them, but because of her.


Chris Watts: The Psychology of Bisexuality

Psychology is the real Rocket Science behind True Crime Crime Rocket Science. So let’s put the money where it matters. The key enigma in the Chris Watts case is his mysterious sexuality. Unlock that and the real face of Chris Watts is revealed. So let’s do that.

The first step in true crime science is to acknowledge when we don’t know something. Unless you’re bisexual, the odds are you can’t begin to know who or what you’re dealing with. So we begin by admitting that what we want to know we don’t know, and what’s more, we’re wholly unfamiliar with it.

The next step is to study, research and find out what we don’t know. A great guide to begin this journey into criminal psychology is via cultural anthropologist, and Pulitzer prizewinner, Ernest Becker.

In Becker’s The Birth and Death of Meaning he refers in a chapter dealing with The Inner World to “all objects [having] interiority, even trees.” Objects with the least interiority, Becker states, are rocks.

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Is it a coincidence that Shan’ann used precisely this term in ALL CAPS, with an exclamation mark, to refer to Chris Watts and her love for him on May 5th?

As Becker puts it:

…probably they [rocks] would have no more inner life than the idling of their atomic structures, but in these, as physicists have taught us, there is anything but repose…

The timing of Shan’ann’s ROCK! comment is worth noting in context. It came 2-3 days prior to her boosting him with #helovesme on Facebook, with a shot of him at work mowing the front lawn. Interestingly, he’s not even looking at her when she snaps the photo.

I’ve previously gone to some length to explain why May 7/8 is an incredibly significant moment in the Watts story. It’s the day – I believe – Shan’ann set up her pregnant video + t-shirt reveal. She posted it more than a month later on June 11th, but I believe the video itself was shot within days, almost immediately after conception.

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In the collage below one sees the location of the mowing lawn image in relation to the “my ROCK!” ego stroke. Thrown in the middle is a nod to World Lupus day and a call to “hustle”.

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What does Shan’ann’s pregnancy, and whether Chris Watts was really her rock or not got to do with the psychology of bisexuality? Well, everything potentially.

If you have a partner with a different sexual appetite to yours, then in particular circumstances it may be necessary to secure or anchor him [or her] into a particular role. How do you do that? Well, by giving him [in this case] a role. By giving him a t-shirt to wear, and by recording him in various role plays, by getting him to dance to your tune.

Like this:

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Recorded on June 11th, here [ABOVE] Shan’ann has her husband posed in a “Super Dad” shirt, demonstrating a patch on his arm, and advertising Thrive to promote her business. How is he being advertized? As a man eager to do housework. He vacuums, he mops, he does whatever Shan’ann tells him to do [although that’s no acknowledged here, even though it’s implicit].

In another instance 9 days later, Chris Watts is dressed again in a shirt given to him to wear and pose with. The shirt defines not just who he is, but his role: he’s a proud dad, not just that but a dad of two awesome daughters. It’s a message to her flock but it’s also a reminder, and perhaps an admonition, to Chris Watts directly.

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Think about how these messages might play in the minds of a mistress, male and female? He’s someone else’s rock. He’s a proud dad? He’s doing his domestic duties at home?

If he has another life, if he wants another life, these broadcasts are potentially the death knell to them. Well, wasn’t that their purpose in the first place, to send a few messages in one, to hit the bisexual birds out there with one stone?

We haven’t even attended to the science or psychology of bisexuality, but what’s immediately clear is there may be a psychology in response to it too. If your spouse, your lover, the father of your child had a sexual orientation you were unclear, confused or insecure about, wouldn’t you want to nail it down? Wouldn’t you want to be clear on his role, and more, want him and the world to be clear about it?

Is that what this is?

According to Becker “we come into contact with the world through our exteriors” yet each of us walks about carrying with us a secret self. As Becker puts it:

We are somewhat split in two, the self the body…

But what if the body, the sexuality of the body, is part of the self. Well then, the self is even more secret, and the secret even more excruciating [or perhaps intolerable] as a result.


It was while researching the Ramsey case that I developed the science to figure out unknown unknowns. Although it seemed unknowable at the time, it turned out child sexuality isn’t an unknown unknown, but rather a known unknown. Bisexuality is the same.

Bisexuality is a matter of scientific fact, according to Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist and Kinsey Institute Research Fellowwho blogs at

1.) Bisexuality is real, and it’s not the same as being gay or lesbian. A lot of people deny the existence of bisexuality and assume that everyone who identifies as bisexual is secretly gay…

2.) Women are more likely to identify as bisexual than men/men are less likely to identify themselves publicly as biseuxual.  It is also worth noting that the percentage of American men and women who identify as bisexual appears to be on the rise in recent years. This doesn’t necessarily mean that bisexuality itself is increasing; rather, it probably reflects growing comfort with acknowledging this identity.

3.) Bisexuals experience prejudice from heterosexual persons, as well as gays and lesbians. Bisexual persons are frequently the targets of prejudice, particularly bisexual men.

4.). Bisexual people do not necessarily have higher sex drives than everyone else. One of the most common stereotypes about bisexuals is that they are an extremely horny bunch.

5.) Being bisexual does not mean [being] equally attracted to both men and women. Being bisexual involves a capacity for attraction to men and women, but attraction to each sex does not necessarily have to be equally strong.


What does this mean in terms of the Watts case?

If bisexuality was a factor, it was likely not insignificant. The scale of the crime demonstrates that.

Many discussions on the Watts case repeat the same myth: he could have gotten divorced. Well, maybe you could. Chris Watts may have felt that if he’d gotten divorced Shan’ann couldn’t be trusted to keep his sexuality secret, and it was critical to him, I believe, that it be kept secret. Since their entire life was a constant soapie on Facebook, and since Shan’ann was constantly providing penetrating private insights into who he was, this threat had to be ongoing and very real to him. If he did have mistresses out there, for how much longer could they be kept in the dark if they were also on social media? And what if something leaked out from them? Their Thrive business was entirely predicated on perpetuating this happy family myth.


The other side of the equation is that Chris Watts wanted to divorce, wanted to leave, but felt locked-in. If leaving meant the whole world would find out about who he really was, then he couldn’t leave. But that didn’t mean he wanted to stay. And so, what could he do to resolve this impasse?

Remember, the oil industry is a masculine industry, one that might not so easily forgive or overlook the stereotypes of less than masculine men, let alone bisexual men. Who knows, perhaps Watts felt his boss wouldn’t like to find out his employee, and perhaps the dude his daughter was seeing, was “one of those” either.

Although the science indicates that bisexual men have normal sexual appetites, it doesn’t take into account normal human nature, or normal sexual appetites. Whether normal or not, a bisexual man in a heterosexual marriage is likely to feel one of his appetites repressed, and this may well lead to an above average drive in that area. Does that make sense?


Finally, and this I think is the key question in the Watts case, was he more attracted to women or men? If men, then the sense of impasse, of entrapment, of repression, had to be a lot more agonizing than if his was oriented to women sexually.

Since I’m not bisexual, I’ll put the question out there:

If you’re bisexual and in a marriage, and your partner isn’t “doing it for you” [as a person, as a partner, in bed, on the balance sheet etc], and if the experience is sufficiently negative, chronically off-putting, couldn’t this cause a bisexual person to gravitate more to the opposite sex of the spouse?

If this was happening in the months leading up to August 2018, and if Chris Watts’ exercise and weight loss and improvement in appearance and attractiveness fed into that, and if he was enjoying succor increasingly outside of marriage, then we can see how he would have wanted out not just as a husband, not just as a father, not just as a man, but as a bisexual man.