STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Colorado Man Charged with Murder, Says Wife Killed Daughters

Christopher Watts says that he killed his pregnant wife 'in a rage' when he discovered she had strangled their two daughters.

Posted: Aug 20, 2018 5:58 PM

By JAMES ANDERSON and KATHLEEN FOODY , Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado man told police that he killed his pregnant wife in "a rage" when he discovered she had strangled their two daughters after he sought a separation, according to an arrest affidavit released on Monday shortly after prosecutors charged the man with his family's murders.

According to the affidavit, Christopher Watts told his wife, Shanann, that he wanted to separate when she returned from a business trip early on the morning of Aug. 13.

Watts told police that he walked downstairs after the conversation.

When he returned to the couple's bedroom, Watts said he checked a baby monitor on Shanann's nightstand and saw his wife strangling their youngest daughter while their oldest daughter sprawled on her bed, looking blue.

Watts, 33, said he then "went into a rage" and strangled his wife.

He told police that he loaded all three bodies into his work truck, and then he buried his wife at an oil work site and dumped the remains of 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste inside oil tanks.

A judge on Friday denied a request by defense lawyer James Merson to require the coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the children.

Autopsies have been completed but not released.

The arrest affidavit was sealed at prosecutors' request until Monday. After nine felony charges were filed against Watts, a judge granted prosecutors' request to unseal it.

Watts faces three first-degree murder charges, two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

The charges come a week after a friend reported Shanann Watts, 34, and the girls missing.

Before his arrest last week, Christopher Watts lamented in interviews with local television stations about missing his wife and daughters. He spoke in front of their home in Frederick, a small town on the grassy plains north of Denver where fast-growing subdivisions intermingle with drilling rigs and oil wells.

The bodies were found on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of Colorado's largest oil and gas drillers, where Watts had worked as an operator. Court documents filed by Merson said the girls had been submerged in crude oil for four days.

The affidavit says Watts gave police an aerial photograph of the area and identified three areas where he placed the bodies. Investigators used a drone to search the area and spotted a bed sheet that matched other linens found in the family home, along with fresh dirt.

Watts is being held without bail and will next appear in court Tuesday.

Family and friends said they were shocked by the slayings, saying the family seemed happy and Christopher Watts appeared to be a good father. The social media accounts for Shanann Watts, who was from North Carolina, are filled with photos of the family smiling and playing and posts praising her husband and expressing excitement about the couple expecting their third child.

But a June 2015 bankruptcy filing captured a picture of a family dealing with financial strain.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 12170

Reported Deaths: 234
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah288872
Marion185953
Washington184721
Umatilla10137
Clackamas98727
Malheur3732
Union3692
Lincoln3615
Lane3053
Deschutes2680
Yamhill1989
Linn18110
Jackson1790
Polk17712
Jefferson1680
Morrow1451
Klamath1371
Wasco1171
Benton1146
Hood River1050
Douglas640
Josephine571
Clatsop550
Coos530
Columbia480
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa140
Baker120
Curry90
Sherman50
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 324543

Reported Deaths: 7051
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1335493809
Riverside24765537
Orange24715423
San Diego19371422
San Bernardino19043306
Fresno828288
Imperial7827135
Alameda7731148
Kern650297
Santa Clara6298166
San Joaquin627968
Tulare5678152
Sacramento548983
Stanislaus473251
Contra Costa466190
San Francisco452250
Ventura424653
San Mateo3949112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin343430
Kings291839
Monterey268218
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma170316
Placer107711
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8938
Yolo88428
Santa Cruz5693
Napa4774
Sutter3884
San Benito3622
Butte3384
Lassen3370
El Dorado3070
Shasta1956
Yuba1923
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Colusa1130
Mendocino1130
Lake1081
Tehama1071
Tuolumne730
Calaveras670
Del Norte600
Mono511
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo351
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 60°
Brookings
Few Clouds
51° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 51°
Crater Lake
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 47°
Grants Pass
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 57°
Klamath Falls
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 47°
Sunny & seasonal Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events