FREDERICK, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities say they are certain they have found the body of missing pregnant Frederick woman Shanann Watts. Her husband Chris Watts faces murder charges in the case. The bodies of the two girls were found in close proximity to their mother’s body. Police are still working to recover them.
“We have strong reason to believe that we know where the bodies of the children are and recovery efforts are in process on that,” said Colorado Bureau of Investigation director John Camper in a Thursday morning news conference.
On Thursday evening, Frederick police said the bodies of the girls were found in close proximity to their mother on property that belongs to Anadarko Petroleum.
Shanann Watts disappeared with their two daughters on Monday sometime before 2 p.m. Chris Watts was arrested Wednesday evening and taken to Weld County Jail just after 11:30 p.m.
Court documents are sealed in the case at least until Monday and so far police haven’t revealed what motive there might have been for the murders. They also aren’t saying so far how the woman and the children were killed but prosecutors say they believe that Watts killed them in their home.
“This is absolutely the worst possible outcome that we could possibly imagine. And I think our hearts are broken for the town of Frederick as much as anybody’s,” said Camper.
Watts is tentatively facing six charges, three for first-degree murder and three for tampering with evidence.
Watts made his initial appearance in court at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday where a judge denied bond. Judge Marcelo Kopcow told prosecutors to file formal charges by Monday and set a Tuesday 10 a.m. hearing to review the charges with Watts.
Watts didn’t speak as he was escorted into the courtroom. He looked down for much of the hearing but made eye contact as the judge reviewed his rights.
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said his office is working to determine what formal charges will be filed in the case.
Shanann’s family provided a statement to CBS4 overnight, saying “It is with deep hurt, confusion and anger to confirm our beautiful cousin Shanann Watts, her unborn child, and her two angelic daughters, Bella (4), Celeste (3) were viciously murdered by husband Chris Watts; who confessed to the killings. Please keep Shanann’s parents and brother in your prayers.”
Frederick police Sgt. Ian Albert said this case has been difficult for his department as well as the community.
“It has been earth shattering. Our small department, with 20 plus officers, we’ve been working around the clock on this,” he said. “It’s been nonstop.”
A man who says he is Shanann’s brother called Chris Watts a “heartless psychopath” in a Facebook post.
After they disappeared, Chris Watts told police he was under the impression his wife and children had gone to visit friends. One of Shanann’s friends posted on Facebook saying she left her phone, purse, car seats and children’s medicine at home early Monday morning.
On Tuesday, the CBI issued an Endangered Missing Alert for them. Police passed out flyers with pictures of the family to passing drivers on Wednesday afternoon in hopes of getting more information from the public.
Sources told CBS4 that after police arrested him, Chris Watts confessed to the killings, though law enforcement wouldn’t confirm that on Thursday.
Chris Watts was an employee of Anadarko until Wednesday, Aug. 15. The company issued a statement saying “We are heartbroken by this, and our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones and friends of the Watts family. We will continue to support law enforcement in its investigation.” A company spokesperson didn’t reveal at what point he no longer became employed by them.
A search of court records show that both Chris and Shanann Watts were due in court on Aug. 24. They were both issued summons for an allegedly unpaid HOA fee. The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2015.