On Sunday morning, Chris Watts awoke in a yellow tent at the Zapata Falls campsite. Probably the firewood and ice they’d bought at the Oasis gas station the previous day was already burned through, and melted.
But it was a night well spent, and the start of a beautiful new day in Colorado. That morning, the lovebirds left their perch beneath the trees and above the clouds, and headed to the falls.
By 09:22, relatively late, Watts started taking photos. If the previous afternoon had been cloudy, and and about sand, dunes, surfing and leaving footprints in the sand, Sunday morning was about a slower, gentler pace, with the sound of gurgling water, and a whooshing waterfall in the background.
The power and beauty of the natural setting was relaxing and refreshing. That day Watts changed his grey shirt for a shirt with a grey front, and charcoal black shoulders and sleeves. Kessinger changed her bright outfit for a softer grey too.
At 10:38 Watts transferred a fully nude selfie of Kessinger to his secret calculator app. Was it taken that night?
At 10:55 Watts consulted his phone again and noted with dismay what he expected to find: a bunch of missed calls from his wife. He felt the resistance rising in him as he reported to her that the hike was “finished”, and that they were heading back. He purposefully didn’t call. He didn’t want to talk to her. He didn’t want to go back.
In the image above, taken by Kessinger, notice there’s a slight edge to Watts’ smile. It’s slightly forced.
Between 12:46 and 14:21 Shan’ann made four more unanswered calls to her husband. Kessinger’s friend Charlotte Nelson also called her, and invited her to a Renaissance Festival. But the “hike” wasn’t quite over.
When returning home from the Great Sand Dunes, NICHOL’s friend CHAROLETTE asked her to go to the Renaissance Festival. NICHOL made an excuse why she could not go as she was with CHRIS and did not want CHAROLETTE to know. NICHOL said she and CHRIS stopped in Colorado Springs at “BJ’s”. They sat to the right of the doors and CHRIS paid for their meals with a gift card. BJ’s Restaurant is located at 5150 North Nevada Ave Colorado Springs, Colorado. – Discovery Documents, page 648
We see that on July 30th it was still important for Watts to keep his expenditures off Shan’ann’s radar. That’s what the gift card and the mypredpaidcenter visits were all about.
It’s a four-hour drive from the Great Sand Dunes back to Frederick, via the BJ’s restaurant in Colorado Springs and through Denver. Watts knew Shan’ann wanted to talk to him and would be pissed when he did, so he elected to postpone the inevitable confrontation.
Watts finally called Shan’ann and spoke briefly to her at 14:25. He’d been incommunicado in terms of direct two-way communication since Friday afternoon at 16:44 [assuming the Phone Data Review is accurate]. It’s likely this call on Sunday afternoon was made with Kessinger still sitting beside him in the car, possibly driving.
On the other hand, maybe Watts was driving since he didn’t respond to a series of work-related texts throughout the day either. Watts only reported in to them at 18:20.
By 17:30 Shan’ann was starting to losing it. She made more unanswered calls to him, then texted him again at 17:49. Watts used the bit of intel he had to fashion a credible lie. He knew about the Renaissance Festival. He used a plausible event to conceal and divert from his little adventure further south.
Shan’ann finally got hold of her errant husband at 19:24, when they held a fourteen minute conversation. Shan’ann clearly bought his bullshit, but then wanted to have a conversation with her husband. But he didn’t want to. The weekend [as far as he was concerned], still wasn’t over.
Shan’ann wanted to talk about her weekend, and especially her Sunday.
This is what she’d been up to while Watts was sandboarding with his girlfriend.
But even though Shan’ann was trying to guilt him into talking to her, her sarcasm didn’t work. He told her he was sorry she had a hard weekend, and he’d make it up to her. Well, he wasn’t sorry, otherwise he would have stuck around to talk to her. And he wasn’t going to make it up to her, he just needed her to get off his back ASAP so he could back to her.
Shan’ann followed this up with a few more barbs until she finally gave up, telling him she was done begging him to talk to her. But Shan’ann’s right. He was out of it – their marriage – from playing. And if Shan’ann was done, it just made his life so much easier.
Watts’ mind, meanwhile, was on how to pay for the events of that evening and July 31st, his very last day with the new love of his life before he was torn back to North Carolina.