Shan’ann Watts’ body was exhumed at 23:00 on August 15th, about the same time Watts was arrested and taken into custody.
From the station in Frederick Watts was taken to Weld County Jail by Officer James. The same officer had taken Watts’ father earlier in the evening to local hotels on Firestone Boulevard.
He didn’t know it just then, but that night was to be the first night of the rest of Watts’ new life – not surfing sand dunes but wiling away his life, reading the bible and tattered prison paperbacks all within an incarcerated state. So much for keeping his home, his girlfriend and people’s good impression of him – within three days of the murder he’d lost all of that, as well as his freedom for the rest of his life.
The Phone Data Review has one fairly nondescript entry for Thursday the 16th.
It’s easy to forget this aspect one year later, but immediately after Watts’ arrest, the Thayer couple did a series of interviews with the media. Some following this case may recall that Nick and Amanda had let Watts sleep over in their home on Tuesday night, August 14th, following a few hours of questioning by the FBI. Nick [a professional photographer] and Watts were jogging pals. Nick Thayer had taken the now famous Watts Family Photos and also likely photographed Shan’ann’s spread for a Thrive magazine promotion.
Shan’ann and Amanda [an education director] were friends and fellow Thrivers.
The couple had copped a lot of flack online for harboring a man suspected of killing his family. Many who had watched the Sermon on the Porch reckoned Watts story didn’t add up, but the Thayers seemed to feel differently. They’d actually stood beside him, off camera, while he addressed the media.
Prior to his arrest the Thayers defended their decision to on social media, and defended Watts. But on Thursday and Friday they did damage control, doing back to back interviews, apologizing to the public – as well as their own daughter – for their mistake.
Although Watts is often criticized, not without justification, the Thayers were among those duped by his explanations. Watts may not have had much game, but it’s not like he didn’t have any game.
The interview on Thursday following the arrest of her former boyfriend was the second Kessinger had given to law enforcement, but it was the first time Kessinger and CBI agent Greg Zentner sat down together.
Zentner was easygoing, sometimes he seemed too easy going, just as Coder seemed perhaps too friendly to Watts in the beginning. But don’t be fooled, Zentner’s no slouch, he’d already interviewed another Nickole [Atkinson] at length at her work place. He knew what was going on and he knew to approach these people carefully and in a friendly, somewhat firm and open manner.
The other question to ask is if you’d sent naked pictures of yourself, would you want the world to see all that, even within the context of a crime? The point is, it doesn’t matter what you or I would do, Kessinger didn’t want to do that. And on this point, she was questioned by Zentner.
The interrogation above, recorded in camera, was Kessinger’s third meeting with law enforcement, from August 17th at Thornton Police Department. Discovery Documents page 568 onwards. Her second meeting with law enforcement occurred on August 16th, the day after Watts’ arrest.
Kessinger’s reason to Zentner isn’t the full story of course. She had other reasons to delete their affair, principally the fact that she wanted to keep her job. It’s important to draw a distinction between the interrogation with Watts and the interviews with Kessinger. If Watts lies, he’s covering up the premeditated murder of his own family. If Kessinger’s economical with the truth, she’s covering aspects of an affair she considers private and not necessarily relevant. There’s a tradeoff here between her and law enforcement. If they don’t go after everything, she’ll co-operate.
And Kessinger does provide law enforcement with a lot to go on. She tells them about her two visits to the Watts home. We still haven’t seen security footage of this, either from the neighbor of potentially from Watts’ doorbell camera.
Something else we still haven’t seen are those dozens of naked and semi-naked images sent by Kessinger to Watts, and that is as it should be. Fact is, while it would be tabloid gold, it’s not in the public interest in the conventional sense that true crime is meant to be. Even so, Weld County have released some images that give one a sense of the relationship between the two Anadarko co-workers. It’s sufficient.
What does come through quite strongly in Kessinger’s interviews is even though by August 16th it’s clear Watts probably murdered his wife [her body was recovered from a well site he visited, and her death was reported in the media], it doesn’t seem to really register with Kessinger. She seems to be in a dreamworld, and Agent Zentner would – from time to time – have to remind her that she was talking him about her former boyfriend not for fun, not for tiddlywinks, but as part of a murder investigation.