Family annihilators have a particularly eerie quality to them. Those people who murder their entire family and don’t show any remorse. They’re all equally scary and horrible, from the Amityville killings to the Van Breda murders. Isn’t it true that you’re expected to love and trust your family? What kind of person would murder their family like that? Without a second’s hesitation?
The Watts family killings are the most well-known example of familicide in recent memory. Chris Watts brutally murdered his pregnant wife and two kids in 2018. The community of Frederick, Colorado, and the rest of the United States were astonished and appalled by the aftermath. Watts did it for a reason. What type of justification did he have for murdering his entire family? Here’s everything about it.
Chris Watts sent letters from jail that disclose terrible information about his murders of his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and their kids that were kept out of the Netflix documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door. Cheryln Cadle’s book Letters From Christopher: The Tragic Confessions of the Watts Family Murders reveals many details about the murders, including Watts’ mental state at the time. Please be aware that the details included in the following Chris Watts confession letters are unsettling and potentially upsetting.
Chris Watts, what happened to him?
Shannan Watts arrived home from a business trip to Arizona at 2 a.m. on August 13, 2018. Shannan and her two girls were reported missing by her friend and coworker Nickole Utoft Atkinson later that day when Shannan failed to respond to texts and skipped a doctor’s appointment. Chris first told officials he didn’t know where his wife and girls were. He stated the last time he saw Shannan was on Aug. 13 at 5:15 a.m. when he departed for work. He also gave interviews, pleading for his family’s return.
After Chris failed a polygraph (lie detector) exam on Aug. 15, 2018, it became evident that something was very wrong. Chris finally admitted to his father that he killed Shanann, but claimed that Shanann was the one who killed their kids. Shanann, Bella, and Celeste’s bodies were discovered where Chris said they would be: Anadarko Petroleum Company workers on the job. Shanann was buried in a “shallow grave” while the other girls were trapped inside oil tanks.
On Aug. 21, 2018, Chris Watts was charged with killing Shanann and their daughters. Chris admitted to killing Shanann, Bella, and Celeste in November of that year. He was charged with five counts of first-degree murder (one for each person he killed, plus two extra counts for Bella and Celeste’s deaths because they were under the age of 12), one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.
Chris was sentenced to five life terms for the murders, as well as another 48 years for illegally terminating a pregnancy and another 36 years for messing with his wife and children’s bodies. Chris told authorities about the killings after he was already in prison: He and Shanann had an altercation when he claimed he wanted to divorce and seek a new relationship with Nichol Kessinger, and he strangled Shanann. When his daughters saw Chris bringing his mother’s corpse down the stairs, they awoke to ask him what was wrong and to take her to the hospital. He transported Bella, Celeste, and their mother’s body to the oil site, where he suffocated Bella and Celeste and then left their bodies in oil tanks and buried Shanann’s corpse.
What are the contents of Chris Watts’ confession letters?
Chris Watts’ confession letters reveal a different tale than what he told detectives at the time. For one thing, Watts told authorities that he killed Shanann in a fit of passion, yet in his letters, he acknowledges that he planned the killings for weeks. “I walked away and said, ‘That’s the last time I’m going to be tucking my babies,'” he wrote of the night before the killings. I had foreseen what would happen the day before and did nothing to prevent it. I was deafening to the whole world.
For what reason did Chris Watts place his girls in oil?
Watts claimed in his confession letters that he tried to smother his girls at home before strangling Shanann, but that he didn’t finish the job. The girls awoke after he murdered Shanann. “Knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their life at the spot makes the deed that much worse,” he wrote, referring to the oil site where he suffocated them with a blanket in his van and stuffed their bodies into oil drums before burying Shanann.
Why Chris Watts killed his wife?
Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife Shanann Watts in order to pursue his budding connection with coworker Nichol Kessinger and to avoid having another child with her. “I believed it would be simpler to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn’t pregnant,” Chris wrote. “I knew if I pulled my hands off of her, she would still keep me from Nikki,” he wrote of the murder. Chris Watts confessed to drugging Shanann with Oxycodone in order to end her pregnancy, according to his confession letters.
Watts’ motive for murdering his entire family was an affair. Initially, he claimed that he merely murdered Shannan. Watts requested a divorce from Shannan, who then strangled their daughters in a fit of wrath, according to the evidence. Watts said he murdered his wife and took the bodies to a remote oil storage plant where he worked in a similar rage.