Police meticulously collected crime scene evidence in the murder of Shanann Watts and her two daughters, Celeste and Bella. Videos were released throughout the investigation in the case of Chris Watts, a triple-murder that horrified the nation.
You can watch one of those videos here or later in this post, but be forewarned that it may be disturbing to some viewers.
Shanann, Celeste and Bella Watts were murdered August 13, 2018, along with Shanann’s unborn son, who she planned to name Nico Lee. Chris Watts, Shanann’s husband and the father of her children, pleaded guilty in the murders November 6, 2018, and was sentenced to life in prison. The Netflix documentary about the case, American Murder: The Family Next Door tells the story of the murder through Shanann’s Facebook videos, text messages and police footage. The documentary aired Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Footage Shows an Officer Unwrapping Shanann Watts’ Blooding Clothing
Police footage published by the Daily Mail shows an officer carefully unfolding the clothing Shanann Watts was found wearing after she was found murdered by her husband. Her white clothing is stained with blood and covered in dirt.
Chris Watts buried Shanann’s body on a work site, and put the bodies of his two daughters in an oil tank nearby. He directed investigators to their bodies following a confession he gave his father, and then repeated to police. He claimed he did not know where they were until he failed a polygraph test August 15, 2018, the documentary shows. Initially, he claimed he killed his wife because she smothered their daughters. On November 6, 2018, he pleaded guilty to all three murders and avoided the death penalty.
On the video, the officer takes the clothing from an evidence envelope and meticulously lays it out on an evidence table. A second officer stands by to help.
“This was gonna be the worst one,” he said.
He arranges the cloth on the table to gather the dirt without compromising the evidence on the clothing.
“I didn’t know there was so much dirt on it,” he said.
The officer scoops the dirt with gloved hands into the evidence envelope.
Shannan Watts Documented Her Seemingly Happy Life on Facebook Videos, But Their Marriage Was Unraveling
Chris Watts, 34, and wife Shannan Watts, 33, were expecting a son to join their family in the summer of 2018. They lived in Fredrick, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, with their 4-year-old daughter, Bella, and 3-year-old daughter, Celeste, or “Cece.”
Shanann and Chris were married November 3, 2012, according to Biography. Shanann had gone through a divorce and wasn’t planning on dating at the time, but she accepted a friend request from Chris on Facebook, she said in a video on the Netflix documentary. They began talking and fell in love. She said Chris was a person who loved her when she was at her worst.
But their relationship quickly unraveled. Chris Watts began an affair with his coworker, Nichol Kessinger. Kessinger told police on American Murder Watts claimed he was in the process of separating from his wife. She did not know the wife was 15-weeks pregnant, and she was shocked by the murders, believing Shanann left to regroup because she was upset, she said in a police interview.
The couple also experienced financial hardships in the years leading up to the triple-murder, CBS News reported. They filed for bankruptcy in June, 2015, filing a claim that said their $3,000 mortgage and $600 car payment was not affordable with a $90,000 combined income.
A family obituary, written by Shanann’s parents, expressed the heartbreak of the family’s loss.
“She was our pride and joy, a true gift from God,” the obituary said. “We were so blessed to have such a joyful and wonderful daughter whose beauty was that of a doll.”
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