Aug. 17–A day after bodies believed to be those of his missing wife and children were found in Colorado, Christopher Watts is being held without bail. He is expected to be formally charged by Monday of three counts of murder and three counts of tampering with evidence.
Here is what is known of the case:
The family: Christopher Watts, 33, and Shanann Watts, 34, had been married since 2012 and had two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Shanann (pronounced “sha-NAN”) was 15 weeks pregnant, reportedly with a boy. Her brother, Frankie Rzucek, said on his Facebook page that she had chosen the name Nico for the unborn child.
Their home: The couple had lived since 2013 at 2825 Saratoga Trail in Frederick, a bedroom community of 12,000 people along Interstate 25 about 20 miles north of Denver. Property records indicate they paid $400,000 for the five-bedroom, 4,177-square-foot house, which was new at the time.
Their jobs: Chris Watts had been working since 2015 for the oil and gas drilling company Anadarko; paystubs indicate his annual salary was about $61,500, the Associated Press reports. Shanann Watts worked as a distributor for Le-Vel, a multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional supplements, a Facebook post from that company confirmed Thursday. Until a little more than a year ago, she had worked at a call center for Children’s Hospital Colorado, making an hourly wage of about $18.
Financial trouble: The couple filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in June 2015. The filing indicated they had a combined income of $90,000 in 2014, the Associated Press said. They had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, along with student loans and medical bills. They estimated $4,900 in monthly expenses, nearly $3,000 of that for mortgage payments.
Around 2 a.m. Monday: Shanann Watts, who had been on a business trip to Arizona, is dropped off at her home by a friend. Her flight back had reportedly been delayed.
Early hours Monday: Chris and Shanann Watts have a discussion. Responding later to a television reporter’s question about whether they had fought before her disappearance, Chris Watts said: “We had an emotional conversation. I’ll leave it at that.”
Around 5:15 a.m. Monday: Chris Watts leaves the family home. He told authorities he went to work. Their next-door neighbor, Bette Marcoux, was leaving for the gym at 5:15, which she does at that time every weekday, and she noticed Watts’ truck was idling in his driveway, she told the Longmont Times-Call. She said she hadn’t before seen him leaving home that early.
Frankie Rzucek told the TV station Denver7 that he was told the truck was backed into the garage.
Shortly after noon Monday: Chris Watts returns home around the time a friend of Shanann’s shows up, having been unable to contact her. Police say the woman apparently knew that Shanann had missed a doctor’s appointment. It is unclear whether this is the same friend who had dropped Shanann off early that morning and said they planned to see each other on Monday.
1:40 p.m. Monday: Police come to the Wattses’ home, having been called by the friend. Chris Watts said he hadn’t seen or heard from his wife since he left the house more than eight hours earlier. Her purse and keys were in the house and her car was in the garage.
Monday and Tuesday: After his wife is reported missing, Chris Watts stays with his friends Nick and Amanda Thayer, and he schedules media interviews through them. After his arrest, Amanda Thayer told Denver7 that Shanann last week had revealed to her suspicions that Chris was unfaithful. “She said that it came to her mind that possibly he could be cheating but at the same time, she was, like, you know, he has no game,” Thayer said.
Wednesday: Chris Watts is fired by his employer, the petroleum company Anadarko.
11:30 p.m. Wednesday: Chris Watts is taken to Weld County jail after he was detained for questioning.
Thursday morning: A body believed to be that of Shanann Watts is found on property belonging to Anadarko.
Thursday, late afternoon: Two bodies believed to be those of the couple’s daughters are found near where the woman’s body had been. They were inside petroleum tanks “that were mostly full,” Denver7 reported. The TV station’s sources suggested the hiding place had been chosen to disguise the smell of decomposition.
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