The Murder of Shannan, Bella, Celeste, and Niko Watts: A Monster Hidden Within
“He’s the nicest thing that has ever happened to me,” remembered an emotional Shannan Watts in a Facebook video just months before her spouse Chris choked her and their two daughters to death. “Because of my health challenges and because I was so sick, I let him in.
He understood me at my worst and he accepted me.” Shannan and Christopher Watts were characterized by family and friends as the “perfect couple-” they were always holding hands and embracing one another and Shannan frequently boasted of how fortunate she was to have met him.
Despite the colorful picture Christopher painted for the outside world, he had a very alarming force driving him to commit an unspeakable act; in fact, he was so convincing in his manipulation that even those closest to him were blissfully unaware of the demon that lurked beneath the surface.
No Response From Watts Family
On August 13, 2018, Shannan’s friend informed authorities that Shannan failed to respond to her text messages or calls and missed an appointment to have an ultrasound for her 15-week old unborn kid. Initially, Christopher provided the police with little information as to what could have occurred and even went on the news to beg for the return of his family.
When authorities established a timeline of when his family vanished and associated those times with local surveillance cameras, he shortly became the main suspect. After the finding of a bed sheet in an oil field matching a set thrown in the kitchen trash in the Watts house, Christopher confessed to strangling his pregnant wife and two daughters to death.
Christopher was known for being welcoming, fascinating, and a great dad and husband. He frequently gave speeches on infidelity and relationship deterioration. In one speech, in particular, he is heard saying:
“Even at the job you might meet a new individual and it might enhance into something else and could weaken the bond you have with the partner you have. You realize that you might be better off with someone else that you’ve met- you think that you can no longer do that your partner is someone that you can’t be with…”
In 2010, Shannan started dealing with health problems that led to several medical tests being performed on her in a try to diagnose her disease. A year before, she divorced her first spouse and was emotionally weak due to the trepidation taking place in her life.
A mutual friend introduced Shannan and Christopher on Facebook, and despite being initially reluctant to get involved in a new relationship, Shannan quickly fell for the charming and charismatic Chris. On November 3, 2012, the couple got wedded in Christopher’s home state of North Carolina, and soon after they welcomed their first daughter Bella into the world. Two years later, Shannan gave birth to their second daughter, Celeste, and financial difficulties soon started.
After purchasing a home in Frederick, Colorado for 400,000 dollars in 2013, the newlyweds fell into financial difficulty after they were incapable of affording their $3,000 mortgage payment. By June of 2015, the couple filed for bankruptcy and were also being sued by their homeowner’s association for $1,500.
That exact year, Christopher landed employment at Anadarko Petroleum and their financial responsibilities soon started to lift. In May of 2018, Shannan is noticed on video surprising her husband with a shirt that said “Oops, we did it again!” announcing her third pregnancy with their unborn son, Niko. Chris is noticed smiling and holding the positive pregnancy test, repeating “Wow, if you want it to happen it will…”
At 1:48 a.m. on August 13, 2018, a pregnant Shannan is noticed being dropped off at her house by her co-worker after a business trip. She is noticed getting out of the car, wheeling her suitcase behind her, opening the door with her house key, and walking inside before closing the door.
The next day when she failed to come back texts and phone calls from the exact co-worker, authorities were notified. It was shortly discovered that Shannan, four-year-old Bella, and two-year-old Celeste were nowhere to be discovered.
When investigators checked surveillance footage from neighbors’ homes, they noticed Chris at 5:27 a.m. backing his truck out of the garage. When Chris was interviewed, he claimed that he left for work early that morning and left his wife and sleeping daughters at the house. After investigators found freshly moved dirt and a kid’s bedsheet in the oil field he was employed at, he became the main suspect and shortly started to tell another lie.
After understanding that investigators were on his trail, he offered an alternate version of why his whole family went missing. He claimed that around four and five in the morning on the night of their disappearance, he and Shannan had a highly emotional discussion about his intention for a divorce.
She allegedly stormed out of the room, and when he checked on his daughters on the baby monitor he saw his wife attacking and choking them to death. In a fit of anger, he then proceeded to choke his wife to death.
Christopher believed that his lies were tricking investigators and were totally willing to accuse his wife of the casualty of his daughters. It wasn’t until detectives discovered proof of an affair he was taking place in with a co-worker that he finally admitted to the truth.
Christopher started telling his story of the events of August 13: Shannan came back home from a business trip in the early morning hours and they made love. After Shannan rolled over to go to sleep, Chris confessed to the relationship he was having with his co-worker Nichol Kessinger before telling Shannan he was leaving her.
After she told him he would never see his kids again, he started strangling her. As he remembered his version of events to investigators, he started choking up as he remembered Shannan’s lack of fight in her final moments on earth.
“I don’t understand why she didn’t protest. She looked into my eyes and screamed, but didn’t fight.”
When inquired what he thought she was thinking in her last moments, he claimed that he thought she was praying. He soon disclosed the location of their corpses and authorities found Shannan in a shallow grave and Bella and Celeste hidden inside crude oil drums next to their mother.
On November 6, 2018, Christopher plead guilty to three counts of first-degree murder, wrongfully terminating a pregnancy, and killing a child under the age of 12. On November 19, Christopher Watts was penalized to the maximum charge for each sentence; he received three consecutive life penalizations plus 84 years for the killings of his wife, unborn kid, and two daughters.
A funeral mass was held for Shannan, Bella, Niko, and Celeste in North Carolina and they were all laid to rest in the exact cemetery plot.
At the end of the Facebook video of Shannan praising God for the life she had been given, she ended it with her most influential message:
“I want you to recall that there is an explanation for everything… even if it’s tough to understand at the time.”
Cold Case Blogger