FREDERICK, Colo. (CBS4) – One year after Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife and two young daughters, lawyers in Weld County are working to negotiate the future of the family home in which Shanann Watts was killed. CBS4’s Dillon Thomas learned the Grant & Hoffman Law Firm in Greeley, which represents Shanann’s parents Frank and Sandy Rzucek, is communicating with JPMorgan Chase Bank to potentially use the property to benefit the community in Shanann, Bella, Celeste and Niko’s honor.
“(The Grant & Hoffman Law Firm) is in discussions with the mortgage lender regarding the marital residence, in the hopes of working something out wherein the home could be used for … the good of the public,” lawyer Steven Lambert wrote CBS4.
Lambert said the family hoped the future of the property could one day help battered women, or possibly become a park for the community to gather at. The family did not wish to financially benefit from a potential sale, Lambert said.
Lambert said the family also had a passion for supporting the Lupus Foundation, in honor of Shanann.
As CBS4 first reported in January, the home at 2825 Saratoga Trail in Frederick was foreclosed on and scheduled for auction in May. The auction was later postponed to July, and then to the current scheduled date in mid-September.
Watts confessed to murdering his pregnant wife in the home’s master bedroom in the early hours of Aug. 13, 2018, and later suffocating his young daughters Bella and Celeste at a remote oil drilling site.
Lambert said his firm contacted the lender, JPMorgan Chase Bank, hoping to discuss the future of the property. Since Watts confessed to the murders, and was sent to prison in Wisconsin to serve multiple life sentences, the family home has remained vacant.
Stickers on the door notify the public of the property’s pending auction. Locks have been changed, and the interior has been emptied of belongings, repainted and cleaned. Stuffed animals, candles and balloons are continuously placed at the doorstep of the home as a memorial.
Records obtained by CBS4 show Chris and Shanann Watts still owed nearly $350,000 on their five-bedroom home. Neighbors in the Frederick community suggested the home be scraped, with the land being developed in to a memorial park. CBS4 was told by city officials, and realtors, the chances of that happening were unlikely at this time due to zoning concerns.
As of the time this article was posted, the home was still scheduled to be auctioned in Weld County in September.
Colorado state law prohibits realtors from notifying potential buyers of murders, deaths and other psychological concerns that may impact the sale or valuation of the home. Jon Holsten of Windermere Real Estate in Fort Collins said the details of the murder in the Watts Family home wouldn’t legally be disclosed to interested buyers, unless prior consent was given by the sellers.
Currently, the homeowner is still listed as convicted murderer Chris Watts.
“With psychological stigmatizing of the property, you cannot disclose that unless given permission by the seller,” Holsten said.
However, due to the high publicity of the Watts murders, simply typing the address in to a search engine online would reveal the Frederick home’s past.
Recently, Frank Rzucek invited CBS4 back to the Watts family home, where he discussed the overwhelming trauma his family is experiencing from online trolls and bullies. Even a year after the murders, he said his family continues to receive threats and hate mail from fans of Watts globally.
The Rzucek’s asked the public to stop attacking their family, or their late-daughter’s character. They said they hoped the bullying would stop, and the public would remember their daughter for the intelligent and loving person she was.