August 7th, 2018 was a Tuesday, the last Tuesday Shan’ann or the girls would ever live through. It would also be the last time the Rzuceks would see their daughter [and sister] and granddaughters [and nieces].
One piece missing from the timeline puzzle is the family haircut at Hair Jazz. Although the media has reported on it, it’s not mentioned by anyone else. It’s also not mentioned whatsoever in the 1960 page Discovery Documents.
The family haircut likely happened on the morning of their last day in North Carolina. This is a guess, of course, but it’s based on the fact that the family decamped almost immediately after arriving, to Myrtle Beach, and spent a few days there. It’s also assumed the haircut didn’t happen over the weekend, or on the Monday when Watts was out of town on his own, visiting his family. So Tuesday seems to be a likely candi-date.
During this haircut on Tuesday morning, Sandi’s co-workers at Hair Jazz also noticed Watts appearing to be standoffish, while Shan’ann was excited about her pregnancy. Watts may have been annoyed by being double-timed, in the sense that several women would be twittering about their baby, meanwhile Shan’ann knew full well his feelings on the subject.
This was another instance where he would have felt pressured, or even coerced. Shan’ann, in her giddy excitement, may also have mentioned not being able to wait for the gender reveal with her pals back in Colorado, perhaps promising to share the details on Facebook so her folks and them [at Hair Jazz] could see as well. This too would have set off the alarm bells in Watts’ mind.
So on Tuesday morning, Sandi cut her son-in-law’s hair, as well as the girls’. Probably she cut, trimmed or colored Shan’ann’s as well, but we don’t know that for sure. We have no idea whether this played in Watt’s mental preparation, or if it did, how much. But consider the mental picture of each family member, one-by-one, being “processed”. Each one is covered in a black shawl while someone stands behind them with a sharp, silver object. And gradually, snip-snip-snip, pieces of the body fall to the ground and are swept away.
One thing is certain, cutting the hair shorter of everyone involved helped Watts limit the evidence trail. Remember, the only traces of anyone found at either crime scene was a blonde hair on the east thief hatch [Ceecee’s], and hair fragments in the rear of the pick-up.
Strangely there is no mention of hair fragments in the discovery either, even though this appears in the media narrative.
Now let’s drill down into the Phone Data Review.
The colorful description is worth noting here. Watts wasn’t just anxious, he was “scared to death”. And he really was. The conundrum he found himself in ultimately drove him to commit triple murder. The operative emotion therefore was fear of what Shan’ann would do or say within the overarching drama of wanting to preserve his love affair with Kessinger.
We also have confirmation here that Watts wasn’t intimate with Shan’ann “all week”, and the change in his demeanor was such that Shan’ann said she no longer recognized him, and even “no longer [felt] safe with him.” This was all useful intuition from Shan’ann, but instead of acting on it, she decided to ignore what her head was telling her and go with her heart.
At 16:26, about half an hour prior to their flight, Shan’ann needles Watts for more information.
“Something else is wrong that you’re not saying…”
She suspects he’s cheating on her, but is hoping he isn’t. Even if he is, if he can’t tell her then perhaps that’s because he still loves her. [This assumption was a critical, and fatal error].
Just before 23:00 Watts arrives home with Shan’ann and the kids, the latter likely already sound asleep. There is certainly context for psychological preparation here. In effect Watts is sharing Shan’ann’s journey from the airport to their home before it actually played out in the wee hours of Monday morning, August 13th – just 5 days away at this point.
Watts would have seen how tired Shan’ann was, and also how she would have entered the house, when she would have gone upstairs, and with what.
In a more general sense, Watts was happy to be home. It meant he’d see Kessinger again at work the next morning, and at work he’d be free of the shackles of home. Watts had told Kessinger he’d tried to save his marriage in North Carolina, but that Shan’ann wasn’t interested. I’m speculating on this point, but if Kessinger found out about the pregnancy, Watts may have said then he wasn’t the father, and for that reason Shan’ann didn’t want to stay in the marriage [implying she was leaving him for the father].
In any event, Watts was inverting the reality. He wanted to leave his wife for Kessinger, but he knew Kessinger would feel guilty to be the one breaking up the party, so to speak. And she was. So Watts pretended it was Shan’ann who wanted out, but for that to work, he needed Shan’ann to shut up about him, and the baby, especially on social media.
Two additional aspects we ought to bear in mind relate to a broader context. The first has to do with Vivint, and the second with Anadarko.
While Watts was away in North Carolina, Nickole Atkinson and her son Nicolas dogsat. They were looking after Deeter. During this time Watts would have been in-tune to how the home security system could keep him up to date on their movements. This was also mental preparation in the sense that he had an idea how the security system could track comings and goings, and what that looked like. At the same time, given his secret daily dalliance with Kessinger, he knew the loopholes in the security.
We have no idea what Kessinger and Watts discussed when they spoke on the phone, and there are virtually no text messages between Watts and Kessinger that weren’t scrubbed.
In the photo taken at Myrtle Beach where Watts is “standoffish”, he’s on his phone, and we know a lot of that activity included the regular transfer of images – specifically of Kessinger. What we don’t know, as mentioned, is the substance of their communications besides the pictures. Aside from the lovey dovey stuff, and perhaps plans for the future, and aside from how Watts was framing what was going on with him and his wife in North Carolina, Kessinger may have casually communicated work issues from time to time.
She may have mentioned leaks or safety issues at several sites, and what the operators were doing, and where. Perhaps CERVI 319, and/or other well sites came up during these conversations.
In conclusion, on page 588 of the Discovery Documents, we see Watts told Agent Lee he wasn’t sure whether Shan’ann told anyone about their possible separation. We know she told her mother, and her mother told her colleagues at Hair Jazz. We don’t know when that happened however. We don’t know whether, when the couple went out the door, whether Sandi confided with her colleagues in a gossipy kind of way, that her daughter and son-in-law were arguing, and that he told her he wanted a separation. It’s difficult to imagine Shan’ann not telling her family immediately, and Watts had to have anticipated this too.
Trouble was, Shan’ann was in a bind with Thrive. How to play a Thriving divorce while pregnant? Wouldn’t it be smarter to keep up the pretense that they were married and Thriving to keep the income they desperately needed, rolling in? And this was perhaps Watts’ critical mistake. He didn’t know what it would look like, how it would play out or who Shan’ann would tell. As it turned out, Shan’ann told everyone about her pregnancy regardless. The next step for Shan’ann was broadcasting the happy news on Facebook.
For more insight into the discovery narrative, read TWO FACE DRILLING INTO DISCOVERY, the most highly-rated and best reviewed book in the TWO FACE series.