By Danielle Chavira

FREDERICK, Colo. (CBS4) – A Netflix documentary covering the 2018 Watts murder case in Frederick launched on Wednesday. The murders of Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts gained international attention immediately after they disappeared.

Chris Watts, husband of Shanann and the girls’ father, was ultimately charged and convicted in their murders. Shanann was pregnant with a boy.

Bella, Celeste and Shanann Watts (credit: CBS)

The unnarrated documentary chronicles the tragedy starting the day the victims disappeared through Watts’ trial. Various moments pore over Shanann’s social media, including Shanann and the girls visiting family in North Carolina.

Days after the victims returned to Colorado from North Carolina, Shanann went on a business trip in Arizona with her friend Nickole. She returned and Nickole dropped her off at home at around 2 a.m. That was the last time anyone saw her.

“I miss and love you so much. I am still in shock we are having a little boy! I’m so excited and happy!” Shanann texted Watts while in Arizona. “Thank you for letting me hold you this morning, it felt good!”

Shanann left a letter on the counter for Watts sharing how much she missed him while in North Carolina.

Viewers saw new police body camera video from the initial 911 call from Shanann’s friend the day after she returned, the initial moments when Watts came home after police called him asking to get into the home and more video of Watts being interrogated and given a polygraph test days after the victims disappeared.

Chris Watts (credit: Weld County/CBS)

Watts initially denied involvement in the disappearance of his wife and children, and expressed concern about their well-being to Denver news media.

Watts worked for Anadarko, an oil and gas company, at the time.

After police officials told Watts he failed his polygraph test, they asked him to come clean adding they knew he was lying. He then asked to talk with his father, whom he later told Shanann smothered the children, so he killed her out of “rage.”

“She smothered them,” Watts told his father.

“She smothered them?” the father asked.

“Or choked them.”

“Did she kill them?”

“They were blue,” Watts said.

Investigators later re-entered the interrogation room and say to Watts, “You did the hard part. All you have left is to tell us where they’re at.”

“They’re gone. There’s no bringing them back,” Watts said tearfully.

He then told investigators the bodies were “at that first location I went to that day.”

Investigators found Shanann’s body in a shallow grave on the oil and gas company’s property. The bodies of Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, were found in oil tanks on the same property in Weld County.

(credit: CBS)

“What it looks like is that you got a new life, and the only way to get that new life was to get rid of the old life. And I think that you killed these girls before their mom came home and then killed Shanann,” an investigator told Watts during his interrogation. “It just doesn’t add up.”

The documentary also shed light on Watts’ love affair with Nichol Kessinger, whom he worked with at Anadarko. Video showed the two together at the Great Sand Dunes and in various picturesque areas of Colorado.

As Watts spent time with Kessinger, Shanann and the girls were spending time with both of their families in North Carolina. Shanann texted multiple friends during her trip sharing her frustration and dismay with her relationship with Watts.

“So, either you’re this monster. So, I just want this young, hot girlfriend, so I’m going to kill everyone and hope it works out… or something,” the investigator told Watts.

Kessinger told investigators she did not know Shanann was pregnant, but knew about the girls and says Watts told her he was separating from his wife.

Nichol Kessinger with Chris Watts (credit: Weld County DA)

Watts later confessed to murdering his wife at their home, and smothering their children at the oil site.

He was charged with murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. He pleaded guilty, and Shanann’s family did not want prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

“This is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen,” said Judge Marcelo Kopcow. “And anything less than the maximum sentence would depreciate the seriousness of this offense.

(credit: CBS)

Watts was sentenced Watts to three consecutive life sentences, along with two other life sentences to be carried out concurrently, in addition to 48 years for unlawful termination of pregnancy for the death of the unborn child, and 12 years each for three counts of tampering with a deceased body.

Danielle Chavira

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