The summer of 2018 should have been a joyous one for the watts family. Husband chris Watts, then 33, and wife Shan’ann, 34, just uncovered out they to be expecting a child to join 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste in their suburban house of Frederick, Colorado, around 27 miles north that Denver.

As the family well balanced Chris’ job as one operator at Anadarko Petroleum and also Shan’ann’s frequent service travels for the nutrition supplement company Le-Vel, their lives centered roughly their daughters, as presented in Shan’ann’s frequent Facebook posts.


From the outside, they appeared to be a happy suburban family, yet Shan’ann’s friends had actually recently started hearing about trouble in paradise. Still, no one might have ever before guessed the chillingly brutal murders the were around to put an end to your happily ever after. Here’s how it unfolded:

*Warning: some details in this story might be uncovered disturbing

Beyond the Headlines: The Watts family members Tragedy on A&E Crime Central.>

2010: The couple meet when Chris sends Shan’ann a on facebook friend request

Shan’ann calls Passaic, new Jersey her hometown top top Facebook, but later relocated to phibìc Carolina wherein she and also Chris fulfill through social media. “I acquired a girlfriend request from chris on Facebook,” she says in the Facebook video clip that was later on released. “I was like, ‘What the heck? I’m never ever going to satisfy him.’ Accept. One thing resulted in another and also eight years later, we have actually two kids, we live in Colorado and he’s the finest thing that’s ever happened come me.”


November 3, 2012: Shan’ann and Chris marry

The couple tie the knot in Charlotte, phibìc Carolina. 

December 17, 2013: first child Bella is born

The couple’s an initial child, daughter Bella Marie Watts, is born in Colorado. “Shan’ann was so excited to have actually her an initial baby girl. She invested every minute thanking God and taking treatment of her valuable gift that the Lord had actually blessed she with,” your obituary reads. “How she loved and also cherished her.”

July 17, 2015: 2nd daughter Celeste is born

Nicknamed “Cece,” younger daughter Celeste Cathryn watt is a summer baby, additionally born in Colorado. “Oh exactly how Shan’ann was so excited to have the ability to have an additional child due to the fact that of her battle with Lupus,” the family obituary reads. “She was identified to stay healthy and also with her love for her Celeste, every minute with her was a blessing.”


June 2015: The Watts documents for bankruptcy

With a an unified income of $90,000 in 2014, in addition to credit transaction card debt, college student loans and also medical bills, the couple file for bankruptcy in June 2015, stating the their $3,000 mortgage and $600 vehicle payments take it up many of your $4,900 in monthly expenses. Additionally, your homeowner’s combination sues them for unpaid HOA fees.

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May 5, 2018: Shan’ann posts a sweet facebook Live video clip

In a 31:13-long facebook Live video, Shan’ann muses about family life, saying, “I love waking up currently on Saturdays and being may be to gain my family,” and talking around being excited around the upcoming summer in Colorado. “I believe that everything in life happens because that a reason, and I likewise believe human being are placed in our life for a reason,” she likewise says. Chris can be seen playing v the girls in the video.

June 11, 2018: Shan’ann surprises Chris with the news they’re expecting

In a video clip later exit by 9News, Shan’ann wears a shirt the says, “Oops… us did that again” and surprises Chris through the news of their pregnancy. He reaction saying, “That’s awesome.”

June 17, 2018: Shan’ann posts a Father’s Day article to kris on Facebook

“Chris, we are so incredibly blessed to have you," the post says. You carry out so much everyday for us and also take such an excellent care that us. You are the factor I was brave enough to agree come number 3! from Laundry to kids showers! You are incredible and we room so lucky to have you in ours life! Happy Father’s Day!”

June 2018: kris starts talking to Nichol Kessinger

Nichol Kessinger works in Anadarko Petroleum’s environmental department and would see the operators, including Chris, ~ above the way to the fridge. Chris came by her office and also struck increase a conversation one day. They have actually their very first meeting exterior of the office later on in the month.


July 2018: kris starts a physical relationship with Kessigner

According come The Denver Post, chris sees Kessinger around four or 5 times a week and they start a physical partnership in beforehand July. He tells her that he's nearly divorced. Later on that month, when Shan’ann and the girls space out of town in north Carolina, he tells Kessinger the divorce is final. 

Insider reports that Kessinger goes to Chris’ home for the first time top top July 4 and also they have actually their first phone contact on record on July 7. They also go top top a date to Shelby American Collection auto museum on July 14 and also spend the night at good Sand Dunes national Park on July 28, every while his family is away. ~ above July 30, he gives her a love note prior to joining his household on vacation.


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July 31: Chris flies to phibìc Carolina to sign up with his family

Despite it being a household vacation, texts that Shan’ann forward to a friend display signs the trouble between the couple. Further messages additionally show the there to be tension in between her and Chris’ parents.

August 4, 2018: Kessinger shops because that wedding costume online

Just weeks after they started talking, Kessinger’s mobile data mirrors she looked at wedding dresses digital for two hours.

August 9, 2018: Shan’ann pipeline on business to Arizona

After confiding to friends around her troubles through Chris, she messages a friend that she and Chris had their “best talk yet” prior to she pipeline on her trip. She even drafts a handwritten letter come him.


August 11, 2018: kris hires a babysitter and goes out v Kessinger

While Shan’ann is away, kris gets a babysitter, saying that he’s going come a baseball game with coworkers, however goes to a bar v Kessinger.

August 13, 2018, 1:48 a.m.: Shan’ann returns from her business trip

In the wee hours approximately 2 a.m., friend Nickole Atkinson offers Shan’ann a ride come her residence on the 2800 block that Saratoga Trail after ~ she return from the business trip.

August 13, 2018: chris kills Shan’ann and also their daughters

Chris wakes Shan’ann as he’s acquiring ready to go to work and also wants come talk around their marriage and future, follow to his later on confession. In spite of Shan’ann carrying their unborn son, who they had already named Nico Lee, he tells her about his affair and also that their marriage won't last.

Shan’ann replies that chris won't check out the kids again — and also he strangles her to death. Bella, who was 4, come in and asks what was wrong with mom and also Chris wraps Shan’ann in a blanket and carries she to his truck. He puts the two children in the backseat and drives come his work-related site. He climate smothers Celeste in the backseat and also puts she body in one oil tank and also does the very same with Bella in one more tank. Chris likewise buries his wife’s human body in the soil nearby, together he later confessed native prison.


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A picture of Shan'ann Watts and also her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, in a sea of mementos exterior the Watts' Colorado home

Photo: AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File


August 13, 2018, 5:15 a.m.: Chris cases he left because that work

Chris later on tells Denver alphabet affiliate, “I left because that work beforehand that morning, choose 5:15 come 5:30,” admitting the he and Shan’ann had actually an “emotional conversation.”

August 13, 2018, 1:40 p.m.: Atkinson grow concerned and contacts neighborhood police

Later that day, Atkinson becomes worried when she doesn't hear native Shan’ann. “I dubbed her and texted her several times,” she says. “I knew she had actually a doctor's appointment that morning since she’s pregnant. She didn’t show up because that it … and I to be even more concerned.” Shan'ann is reported missing at approximately 1:40 p.m.

Atkinson phone call the police who perform a welfare check. Shan’ann’s phone, keys and also purse are uncovered at the house. According to the news stations, husband chris says, “She stated she to be going to a friend's residence with the kids and that’s the last thing I heard, and also that was it. That was very vague.”

August 14, 2018: chris pleads for his family’s return on the regional news

As the Colorado bureau of Investigation concerns an Endangered missing Alert, Chris talks come Denver’s alphabet affiliate and also pleads for their return: “Shan’ann, Bella, Celeste, if you’re the end there, just come back, choose if somebody has her, just please carry her back, I must see everybody, I should see everybody, again, this home is not finish without anyone here. Please carry them back.”

August 15, 2018: Chris fails a polygraph test and admits to death wife, falsely blaming her for smothering daughters

The FBI join the find for the lacking mother and daughters. Chris fails a polygraph test and also confesses to his dad Ronnie — and also then officials — the he killed Shan’ann, but falsely claims that the factor for his killing was since she had actually smothered their daughters.


August 16, 2018: Shan'ann, Bella and also Celeste's bodies room found

The three murdered bodies are recovered at Chris’ worksite. The very same day, chris appears in Weld ar court because that a bond hearing. He is denied.

Also ~ above this day, Kessinger speak to police, saying, “I legitimately think his cheese to be sliding off his cracker long before he met me."


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A memorial because that Shan'ann, Bella and also Celeste Watts outside the family members home on august 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colorado

Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver short article via Getty Images


August 21, 2018: chris is charged with first-degree murder

A main after the pleaded for their for sure return, kris is charged with three counts that first-degree murder, add to two added first-degree charges because that victims being 12 or younger.

Additionally, that faces another counting for the unlawful discontinuation of a pregnancy, plus three counts the tampering through a body – a total of ripe charges.

September 1, 2018: Funeral is hosted for Shan’ann and also daughters in north Carolina

Shan’ann, Bella and also Celeste space remembered at your funeral in ~ the sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinehurst, phibìc Carolina. Throughout the 90-minute ceremony, which started with a singing of “Amazing Grace,” chris is never ever mentioned.

The priest reads a statement native Shan’ann father’s candid Rzucek: “You are nothing yet pure love, always caring for everyone. Girlfriend will constantly be daddy’s small girl.”


November 6, 2018: chris pleads guilty to all nine counts

Chris appears in court, pleading guilty to all nine criminal accounts. Shan’ann’s household requests the the fatality penalty not be sought.

November 19, 2018: chris is sentenced to life imprisonment

Judge Marcelo Kopcow calls the murder spree “perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime I have handled out of the thousands of instances that I have seen," issuing five life sentences without the opportunity of parole, consisting of 48 years because that unlawful discontinuation of Shan’ann’s pregnancy and also 36 year for getting rid of of the bodies of his family.


Also ~ above this day, Shan’ann’s parents file for wrongful death against Chris.

December 3, 2018: chris is transferred to a Wisconsin correctional facility

Due to safety and security concerns, kris is moved from Colorado to evade Correctional facility in Waupun, Wisconsin.

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February 18, 2019: kris confesses to death his daughters in a in-depth explanation

In a five-hour interview indigenous prison, chris recounts the harrowing details that his young daughters’ last moments and confesses to death them and also disposing of their bodies. “This was choose the epitome of gift angry, the epitome of showing a rage, the epitome of losing your mind,” he said, even admitting that older daughter Bella asked if he was going to perform the very same thing he did to his sister — and that the 4-year-old tried come fight back.

November 18, 2019: chris is bespeak to pay Shan’ann’s parents $6 million

Almost a year ~ Shan’ann’s parental filed the civil suit, Weld County judge Todd Taylor rules that kris owes Shan’ann’s parents $6 million. That’s $3 million for each death and also $3 million for “emotional pain.” The amount will thrive with eight percent interest.


While they’ll unlikely get any of the money, it avoids Chris from profiting native the murders in any way.