Why does he go downstairs “for a moment”, and then return? We’ve looked at this particular area before in: Think You Know the Chris Watts Case? In Which ROOM Does HE Say The Murders Took Place?
The U-turn is a recurring theme in the schema surrounding the Watts family murders. On the night/morning of the crime, Shan’ann was returning home from a trip to Arizona. She went, she returned. Chris Watts backs his truck into the driveway [a kind of U-turn in itself], before he heads out.
When Nickole Utoft Atkinson called the cops, Chris Watts had to return from the work site, but Nickole herself was also returning to the house after dropping Shan’ann off only hours later.
The whole Thrive business is based around the idea of making a u-turn in your life, or put otherwise, turning [or re-turning] your life around.
In his affidavit he says he spoke to Shan’ann not once, but twice. He talks to her, goes downstairs then returns [up the stairs] to talk to her again. But it’s important to note this is the version he gives during his “partial” confession.
His first version is that he woke up at 05:00, had a conversation about marital separation. He wanted to initiate it. It was a civil conversation and they weren’t arguing.
But Officer Coonrod isn’t convinced by Watts story. In the affidavit, Officer Coonrod calls for assistance, and Detective Baumhover responds. Baumhover begins by conducting a thorough search of the house. It’s during this search that he finds Shan’ann’s cell phone, not out in the open, but hidden between two cushions on a sofa in the loft area. The fact that it was hidden indicates he wasn’t supposed to find it right then, but he did.
So the cops look at Shan’ann’s phone, still on the scene, and something on the phone [or not on the phone] convinces them that Chris Watts’ story – the timing of it – isn’t right. And so they return to the question about when he was awake. Let’s face it, WhatsApp and other social media log online activity. So it may have been possible for the police to quickly establish that Shan’ann’s phone either showed activity after 02:00 or even shortly before 05:00.
In any event, after finding her phone, Chris Watts is asked to return to his story [still on the scene], and this time he moves his timeline back by an hour. From waking up at 05:00 to informing her 04:00 [which implies that’s when he woke up]..
On November 1, I published a post on the slip-of-the-tongue that we all missed. This was the slip where he repeats the word “barely” three times:
REPORTER: And then, the day she was back, I mean…?
He starts answering with a stutter.
WATTS [Shaking his head, a slight flash of teeth as he smiles]: I lef-I left wor-for work [glances left] early that morning like 05:15, 05:30 so like [holds out his hand]…she [shrugs]… barely let me in [glances up], she barely got… barely gotten [blinks] into bed pretty much.
No wonder he was so nervous on Tuesday morning, the cops had returned, this time with dogs, and he already had to get his story straight with the media, based on fine-tuning it with the cops the day before.
Hudson is also referred to twice in the affidavit, that he “drove off to a work site near Hudson” and that he went to “a job site near Hudson to check it.”
Hudson isn’t really giving the cops anything to work with. It’s 20 miles from CERVI 319, whereas Roggen is less than 3.
The checking of the job site sounds like he had to go there because of an anomaly. He’s checking. So the dumping of the bodies could both be explained 1) by the anomaly he went to check on, and b) the dumping of the bodies causing the anomaly. One body in each tank would suggest [and could possibly be explained] by some coincidental change in product coming out of the ground.
As the operator tasked with maintaining the remote site, he could – essentially – come up with any story he wished. Maybe the thief hatch had come loose, maybe the product had gotten super-heated over the weekend, baking in the summer sun and causing a gas discharge.
And then, of course, there is the plea deal, which is a U-turn on the confession. All of it reinforces the U-turn that Chris Watts was trying to effect in his life. He was trying to get out the marriage. He’d changed jobs after a lifetime of being a mechanic [just like his dad], he’d turned around his weight, and he’d already found someone else. Niko, though, was threatening to ruin the U-turn, the return to the man Chris Watts wanted to be. So Niko figured he’d U-turn Niko, which meant U-turning Shan’ann, and his daughters had no place in the aftermath, so they had to be U-turned as well.
A U-turn is by definition a course correction, so that one is going back to where you originally started from. That’s what he wanted. Ironically, the plea deal did just that. Chris Watts swapped the jail he was in [for the rest of his life] at #2825 Saratoga Trail, for prison, for the rest of his natural life.