Chris Watts, from Colorado confessed to killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters, mere days after he appeared on TV pleading for help finding his wife and kids. Watts made his first court appearance Thursday in connection to their deaths.
Shanann Watts, 34, disappeared with her 3- and 4-year-old daughters, Bella and Celeste, from their home in Frederick, Colorado, on Monday, and they had been considered “endangered.” The case gained nationwide attention after their disappearance was reported.
He appeared in Weld County court for a 2:30 p.m. bond hearing, shackled and wearing an orange jumpsuit. You can watch the full court appearance here:
Chris Watts was arrested late Wednesday night and is being held on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with physical evidence, according to the Weld County Jail in Colorado. Prosecutors have until Monday to formally charge Watts.
Shanann Watt’s body was was found on Anadarko Petroleum Corporation property, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director John Camper. A motive for the killings of Shanann and her daughters has not been released, and police have not revealed the cause and manner of their deaths as of Thursday evening.
“At this point we have been able to recover a body that we’re quite certain is Shanann Watts’ body,” Camper said Thursday at a news conference. “We have strong reason to believe that we know where the bodies of the children are and recovery efforts are in process on that.”
Watts gave an emotional interview to local and national news outlets before confessing to killing her. He said he had an “emotional conversation” with Shanann before she disappeared, told the new outlet “I just want them back. I just want them to come back.”
Watts tried to keep up the facade, telling the “Today” show, “I don’t feel like this is even real right now. It’s like a nightmare I can’t wake up from. Knowing they could be in trouble, it’s earth-shattering.”
He told KMGH-TV, “When I came home and then walked in the house, nothing. Vanished. Nothing was here. My kids are my life. I mean, those smiles light up my life.”
Prior to his confession, Watts told Fox News, “It’s not something I could ever, ever fathom would happen in my lifetime, and I have no inclination of where she is. She said she was going to a friend’s house with the kids and that’s the last thing I heard, and that was it. It was very vague.” He also told 9News that the situation has been traumatizing.
A judge ordered Watts to be held without bail and told prosecutors to file charges by Monday afternoon, with a Tuesday hearing to review the case.
As Watts was escorted into the courtroom, he did not speak, avoiding a reporter who asked him why he killed his wife and children. He looked down for most of the hearing but made eye contact as the judge reviewed his rights.
“The judge approved a request by Watts’ attorney that police preserve all written notes and notify the defense team before performing any autopsies,” according to The Coloradoan.
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