“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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.