Chris Watts had to be up early on July 31st, a Tuesday morning, to catch his 05:00 flight with Southwest Airlines [WN 656] from Denver International Airport to Raleigh, North Carolina. It wouldn’t be a direct flight either. He flew via Atlanta. Including the stopover, he’d be at airports, in transit and in the air for around five hours, plenty of time to get some shut eye, or to contemplate his lot in life.
Since Watts had the use of the Lexus [something he elected to do either out of ignorance or in spite of Shan’ann’s wishes], he spent the night at Kessinger’s, and close to 03:00 drove direct from her place to the airport.
Kessinger’s apartment was on the way to the airport anyway, five minutes closer than driving from Frederick. Once again, the dodgy garage sensor not going off that morning came in real handy. It provided him with yet another alibi.
Kessinger’s home was 15.7 miles south of the Watts residence.
The fact that Watts took a photo of the parking sign suggests that Shan’ann did want Watts to take the car to the airport. They could all use it when they flew back. The setup at Denver parking is such that rates vary from $120 a day, to #33 a day, $25 a day, $16 a day and $8 a day.
Watts chose the second cheapest option, which triggered a fuming response from Shan’ann. We’ll deal with that in more detail in a moment.
We can clearly see Watts’ headspace even early on a Tuesday morning. While he’s trying to follow his wife’s orders, he’s also trying to hide away evidence of his mistress. At 04:08 he hurriedly transfers around 50 images to the Secret Calculator.
Once done with that it’s back to keeping the peace with Shan’ann. At 04:46 he lets her know he’s boarding and tells her he loves her. This is Watts trying to manipulate her with terms of endearment. But it doesn’t work.
The instructions Shan’ann sends to him at 04:53 for how to schedule a ride with Uber suggests Shan’ann didn’t authorize her husband to use the car, and didn’t want him to use airport parking whatsoever. We know even on her short trip to Arizona, Shan’ann caught a ride with Nickole, and possibly shared the parking fee.
Regardless whether Watts was in the wrong, or whether Shan’ann was justified in being stung by another unnecessary expense, Watts rendezvous with his wife was off to a pretty sobering start. Where he’d been footloose and fancy free surfing the sand dunes and romping with his girlfriend over the weekend, now he was reduced to photographing parking signs and being reprimanded for “not listening”.
If Watts took and sent the parking photo on his own initiative, then we see signs of a more Machiavellian nature. Then the “cheap parking” image is a distraction from the real reason he wanted the car – so he could transit at Kessinger’s place for a final few hours before catching his flight.
Watts continued to give Shan’ann regular updates. This too was in stark contrast to his behavior over the weekend, and in fact over the past several weeks. Shan’ann continued to give orders.
When he arrives, she’s to let him know so she can record the girls’ reactions. [It doesn’t matter that he hates being in these videos, and that all of them end up being posted on social media].
But Watts tries to be as casual and forthcoming as he possibly can. He tells her:
He’s using the affectionate term often to imply that there’s absolutely nothing amiss from his side of the relationship, even though there are serious problems. Watts just doesn’t want a confrontation.
But there is a confrontation – of sorts. Watts has to face his children on camera, and sure enough, it doesn’t go well.
“When Chris Watts caught up to her, Bella was screaming at the top of her lungs…” [Discovery Documents, page 681]
If Shan’ann’s father’s account is accurate, then the reunion had to be filmed twice. Why would Bella be terrified of her father, or be acting in a strange way towards him? One possibility is that the little girl may have overheard her mother talking with her father on the phone, and possibly crying or appearing distressed afterwards. Another possibility is that Shan’ann may have implied to Bella that Watts’ mother had tried to kill her sister, or almost killed her. Either way, having spent 5 weeks [at this point] only in the care of her mother, it’s possible her emotional bond with her father had been refashioned into a kind of terror. Ironically, this “intuition” was correct, but it may also be that if Watts felt his girls had turned against them in some significant way, he may have seen their lives as “taken” by Shan’ann, and “lost” to him.
In any event it’s probably a mistake to ask whether Watts’ behavior caused his children to feel alienated, or the other way round. It was likely a bit of both.
If the video clip below is the second take of the reunion at the airport, we notice a few things weird about it.
- Neither of the children seem to have any kind of obvious limp or injury to their ankles of feet. [Shan’ann also says, “Don’t run” over the sound of an airport alarm.]
- Watts appears awkward, and despite his Boos and loves yous over text, makes little effort to even greet or acknowledge Shan’ann on camera. [If he does, and Shan’ann posts is, and Kessinger sees it, he’ll have to answer to her too].
- Sure enough, Shan’ann posts the fake reunion online, which is how and why we’re able to see it today.
- Shan’ann recording the reunion and sharing it online was her way of caging her husband, by continually portraying him against his will in the role of a loving father, and husband, but really, trying to coerce him into staying in the marriage. She knew as well as he did that things weren’t going well in their marriage, and with their family in general.
- Finally, Watts hugs and kisses Shan’ann [off-camera], but the way he does this sets off the alarm bells for Shan’ann. [A few days later she is still commenting on how she practically had to ask him for a kiss at the airport].
Bear in mind, Watts’ official version [and apparently the accepted version] is that on the morning of the murders, he had sex with Shan’ann and then they had a conversation where they discussed getting rid of the house. Even then, even in this fictional spiel, Watts didn’t see himself admitting to the affair. He couldn’t.
It’s important to emphasize Watts’ use of terms of endearments to soothe his wife while his feelings for her and how he acts towards her aren’t affectionate either. It’s also worth noting that Shan’ann is also guilty of the same two-faced approach, scornful in her messages and instructions, but the perfect all-is-well mother on social media.
On July 31st he got into a shitload of trouble over a parking disagreement. Imagine what would have happened if he asked his pregnant wife for a divorce while he was having an affair, and while she was still in nuclear meltdown with his parents over nuts in ice cream.
This dilemma would be on his mind for the next week, while his wife and children milled around him, and while his mistress sent him regular images of herself in various states of undress.
19 thoughts on “#28 July 31st, 2018: When Chris Watts arrives at the airport in North Carolina, an alarm can be heard sounding in the background #1yearagotodayCW”
The parking sign photo, or rather the requirement to take one, is troubling. Not normal that someone would be required to take a photo as proof for their other half or even think that such documentary evidence might be expected even if they haven’t been specifically asked. The retaking of the airport reunion video seems symbolic of their wider situation i.e. It doesn’t matter what’s really happening, what’s important is what is conveyed for the camera and published and that everything is happy and positive. Hard to disentangle how much of that is because it was just her job and how much for psychological reasons or a bit of self delusion. I like this site because it doesn’t indulge in the more fantastic theories (a demon made him do it!) Or any of the unpleasant victim blaming that pops up elsewhere. However if I’m honest the relentless happy thrive stuff and intrusive cameras would be my personal idea of hell and I can pity him for that. Especially as he seems to be a natural introvert. That bottom picture of shannan though…my God that’s a woman under strain who isn’t sleeping much.
I know- thought same thing about that pic. It doesn’t look anything like the normal selfies. I would’ve deleted that pic-not post it. wTH? Bad pic…
She never posted that pic. It was texted to a friend, not posted on social media.
Very insightful Nick, as always a great read. It’s interesting, in today’s age of 3rd wave feminism and social activism that very few people recognize he was in an abusive relationship. If roles were reversed, I wonder if Shan’Ann would be in jail as the news prints headlines of “Abused wife kills family”. I’m not excusing what Chris did in the slightest, but people often forget that men can be abused in a relationship by a woman just as easily as the other way around.
I find it interesting that she says “$130 we can’t spend at the beach”, yet she’s been vacationing under the guise of “drumming up business” for weeks on end with no regard to money. How much did airfare cost to all those Thrive by LeVel “pep rallies”? Hotels? Food? She likes to tout that the company “gifted” it to them but if you know MLMs, they leave you on the hook for airfare and or hotels, and the only food they pay for is what is served at those conferences (hors d’oeuvres finger food type of stuff that they often run out of) and that’s if you’re lucky. Further, you can buy a cheap styrofoam cooler (or borrow one) and make sandwiches for the beach, and parking fees are usually $10 or less to park in the beach lot if they had a rental. You really don’t need much money to have a day at the beach..
It just shows you how skewed her priorities were. She initially quit the hospital call center, where she got a guaranteed pay check, to see her kids more often and work her pyramid scheme – then she sends the kids off to a daycare they can’t afford, even more so now that they only have one income. She felt entitled to a middle class/upper middle class lifestyle without working for it. She wanted to be a kept housewife and “boss babe” without actually putting in the effort and you see this attitude extended to other areas of her life. Lastly, those words “$130 we can’t spend at the beach!” must’ve rung like a loud bell throughout his head when he returned home only to be served with a lawsuit from the HOA, filed by foreclosure notices due to their mortgage being in arrears for months. He’s being pestered about money while his wife spends thousands pretending to be employed. Im not Chris, but that had to be beyond frustrating for him. Busting his behind at work, getting questioned over every little expense while she blows through what little they have and maxes out all the cards.
I’d be very surprised if she didn’t open credit cards in her children’s names. Ive seen it happen a million times when I was in interning at a firm during law school; one spouse burns through all the money and turns to maxing out credit cards. When they can no longer obtain a higher credit limit, they start opening accounts in their kids names. Parental identity theft is the most common type of identity theft in the US. Considering shanann had horrendous credit, a bankruptcy and a short sale under her belt all within the last 5 years, I very much doubt she could get a credit card that was unsecured.
I love these types of articles, Nick. You do a wonderful job reading between the lines and it really starts to paint a picture of marital discourse and the nightmare situation these people were in.
Thanks TinyTech. This why I find it crazy that YouTubers like LiveAbuseFree make this all about Watts as the narcissistic abuser. The video has been viewed 430 000 times, and virtually everyone is simply projecting their own bias onto the situation, not seeing it for what it really is. This is a real problem in society, and one not easily remedied.
NICHOL noticed on August 11, 2108 at the Lazy Dog in Erie, Colorado, CHRIS paid for their meal with a baby blue credit card. – Discovery Documents, page 647.
There have been some discussions on reddit too about credit cards in Bella’s name. We can’t be sure if it’s true; another black hole created by the failure to provide Shan’ann’s financial records.
That’s why calling him a Narcissist just doesn’t fit. If anything he put himself last for 8 years – right on up to May, maybe April. What people can’t understand or forgive is why he would also kill the children. I think we’ve come a long way in dissecting his motives here but he has yet to come clean as to why, and how.
If you consider the main scenarios statistically for parents killing their children:
1. Father killing children as an act of revenge towards mother after break up instigated by mother – sometimes followed by suicide of father and/or murder of mother
2. Mother kills children and self (or attempts to) -‘sometimes in the context of being the victim of a coercive control of other type of abusive relationship – can be interpreted as getting out herself and taking children with her rather than leaving them in the hands of the abuser
3. Inadequate parent unable to cope with the physical and emotional demands of parenting snaps and injures child, sometimes fatally – tends to be head injury or shaken baby syndrome. Can sometimes be committed by parents who were abused or neglected themselves and haven’t experienced positive parenting.
To a lesser degree there are a smaller group of people who just happen to enjoy hurting children and have access to them by virtue of being a parent. There are also a few odd ones like fabricated illness (munchausens) and others. And issues like mental health obviously can be a factor. But actually 1 to 3 are likely the main scenarios for murder of own child.
If we consider whether the controlling behaviour in the house was of a degree to constitute legal definitions of coercive behaviour (in a domestic abuse context) – and I can see hints of that -it is indeed still hard to see where killing the children came into it – other than either a getting rid of witnesses or just wanting a shiny new start.way, which puts a colder more hard faced slant to it than an abused spouse snapping. If only there’d been a trial!
I think the wanted pregnancy becoming an unwanted pregnancy started it. Remember, it’s a situation of wanting a child and then realizing wow I really don’t want this child, and then conflating that change of heart to Shan’ann and everyone else. And the debt situation was the end of it. Ultimately though there’s no redeeming aspect. The 5 weeks spent away from his kids was apparently long enough to fill his heart with someone else, sufficient to push them out of it. Maybe he simply saw them as expenses he couldn’t afford [if he wanted to afford being with NK long term].
It takes two! Maybe Chris should have thought about that
as a responsible adult in that creation of the pregnancy.
I see your points in Shan’ann’s part in this, some of her behaviors.
I also look at all sides to this situation.
I’d like to ask this question…
Can anyone answer how they would respond during this cycle of
betrayal, pregnancy, crazy making bs, of being consistently lied to,
running a business, and possibly, knowing your whole world is
about to fall down, trying to grasp at straws, because there’s an
affair going on and this one led to murder, not only of a wife and
mother, but two innocent children, because Chris wanted a new life.
I’m interested in how any of you would respond, or behave if you were
in her shoes. We’ve looked at it from Chris’s views, now how about
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I’m interested in how any of you would respond, or behave if you were in her shoes. We’ve looked at it from Chris’s views, now how about
Shan’ann’s? >>>I’m not sure why you think there’s any mystery about how Shan’ann would respond. We have hundreds of Facebook posts and reams of texts from Shan’ann. We have more information on her, by far, than on anyone else. We have dozens of videos of Shan’ann recording herself talking into the camera and sharing her feelings. The only thing we don’t have are her financial statements, and arguably official diagnosis for her claimed medical condition/s.
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Yes, if it all comes down to money – 3 kids to support – then he made a cold calculated decision. I just wonder when he made that decision. I don’t think it was in North Carolina. I’ll be patient though, we have more days to go. It’s fun doing this day by day. You know if we’re all honest with ourselves we have some pretty despicable evil shit in our own minds from time to time.
Nick, please do one of these day by day x years ago for the Ramsey case at Xmas and the McCann case in May next year. It’s an excellent way of analysing the details of a crime and behaviours leading up to it. I know I’ve thought things i hadn’t before during this one even though I followed it last year. Please, please?
I have – in the three trilogies dedicated to the JonBenet Ramsey case and the DOUBT trilogy.
I was actually in Praia da Luz in May this year, and retraced the imputed abductor’s route just before 22:00 on May 3rd.
The #20yearsagoJonBenet was done at this link:
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Hi , yes have read all your books on the links above and greatly enjoyed them and the Knox ones. Will check out the articles in the lower links as hadnt seen the praia de luz one. I do like the hosted group discussions as a format. Thanks for responding.
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Ps and will consider finally joining Twitter to check out the jbr one. A big step for a confirmed witter refusenik, but it may be time!
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When Frank Sr. described the girls screaming at the airport, he was talking about when he flew with Shan’ann and the girls to North Carolina. He watched the girls for Chris and Shan’anns trip. When they returned, he flew with her and the girls to NC, for their 6 week trip. That’s when he described them screaming. And they were screaming at Frank, not Chris. What you’re referencing, is when she picked up Chris from the airport when he arrived in NC, which was a completely different time all together. Frank clearly described when the screaming fit happened, and it wasn’t when they picked Chris up. Now he did say they behaved like that to Chris as well, but that was when he finally got to NC.
So many different observations about crimes..’Thought’ i was pretty clued up..’Clever’ folks on here…Bet most of you are fairly empath…Very interesting read.