By Dillon Thomas, Ben Warwick and Lindsey Schwartz
DENVER (CBS4) – Newly-released audio recordings in the Chris Watts case paint a clearer picture of the night he murdered his wife, Shanann, and their two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.
The confession happened in a recorded jailhouse interview at a prison in Wisconsin last month.
Warning: some of the contents of these recordings are disturbing.
The first topic of discussion between Watts and investigators with the FBI, CBI, and Frederick Police is Trent Bolte, a man who claimed to have had an affair with Watts. The investigators asked about the relationship between Watts and Bolte. Watts categorically denied any knowledge of the man, saying “I’ve never met the guy. I’ve never even been to Wyoming, let alone been up there to see somebody.” Watts continued by explaining that Bolte found him on the messaging app WhatsApp, and Watts said he didn’t have the app and hadn’t even heard of it.
Watts tells the FBI that he has pictures of his wife and children in his prison cell. “I have pictures of my wife and kids in my cell, and every morning and every night, I talk to them. I have this book I used to read for CeCe, and I remember that book, I read it to her every night.”
Watts later told investigators about the night he murdered his wife and children.
Watts said he had intercourse with his pregnant wife after she woke him up in the middle of the night. He said Shanann went back to sleep, while he made his breakfast. Moments later, he went upstairs to the bedroom and sat on top of her.
He believed she, at first, thought he was initiating sex again. However, instead, he told her he was no longer in love. He said she started to cry, asked him if he was having an affair, and then threatened to never let him see his kids again.
While sitting on top of her, he strangled her. He told investigators the time seemed to pass quickly.
“I was getting the sheet off the bed, and (Bella) walked in. She had her little pink blanket with her. She was like, ‘What is wrong with Mommy?’” Watts recalled. “I said, ‘She doesn’t feel good.’ And, that is when I started to carry her downstairs. I attempted to pick her up, but lost grip. I just had to pull.”
Watts said Bella watched, as he moved his wife’s lifeless body downstairs. He believed CeCe woke up to the sound of commotion at that time.
“(Bella) started crying a little bit. She said, ‘What is wrong with Mommy?’”
Watts, sniffling as he confessed to the investigators, said he loaded his wife’s body into his truck, as his kids stayed in the house.
“They were just walking around the house. I put my lunch box and stuff in the truck, and the kids,” Watts said.
Watts started to cry, as he told investigators about the moment he killed his children.
He said his oldest daughter, Bella, sat in the truck as he disposed of his wife’s body. She also watched, as he smothered his youngest daughter, CeCe, with her own blanket. Watts said CeCe did not struggle.
Watts once again started to cry, as he recalled returning to the truck to kill his daughter, Bella.
“She said, ‘What happened to CeCe?’ She said, ‘is the exact same thing going to happen to me, as CeCe?” Watts recalled.
Watts said he couldn’t recall if he answered before he killed his daughter.
“I don’t know if I said yes, like a horrible person. Or, if I just put the blanket over her, and did the same thing,” Watts said. “I hear it every day (in prison), when Bella was talking to me.”
Watts said “Daddy, no” were the final words of Bella’s life.
“I wasn’t thinking. If I was thinking, none of this would have happened,” Watts said. “With any partial hint of what I feel for those girls, and, what I feel for my wife, none of this would have happened. I wasn’t thinking.”
CBS4 has a team reviewing the latest recordings. This story will be updated throughout the morning.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.