The text below was provided to CrimeRocket verbatim by a friend of the Watts family who wishes to remain anonymous. Seven screengrabs of private text messages were also provided but CrimeRocket will not be publishing these as it constitutes a violation of privacy.
The views of the guest poster are not the views of CrimeRocket.
The trauma that innocent relatives of the victim – or indeed of the perpetrator – experience after a murder has taken place in the family is brutal, but the ways that they are exploited, and the extent to which they are exploited, are rarely talked about.
I have made some preliminary investigations into this area and I have found little insight on the topic.
Edit: The victims of high-profile crimes are often talked about in the media. For example.
Paradise found: she waited for him while he was wrongly on death row [Damien Echols, February 2018]
But when I looked closer at the experience the Watts family has had with outsiders since Chris Watts murdered his wife (Shan’ann), and his two small daughter (Bella and CeCe), it made me physically ill to read some of the correspondence. Every day, Cindy Watts (Chris Watts’s mother) receives malicious, offensive and often violent text messages from complete strangers, such as …
No pics of ur other grandkids? U know the one your physon son threw down the oil well? Figures. They should be shared memories. How can u even talk to ur son and say you forgive him? I believe in Karma and it will happen. U raised a monster. U treated Shananns babies like crap. And ur goofy husband talking shit about Shanann knowing she was already deceased. Shame on this family.
But I am going to focus here on the communications between the Watts family and Cherlyn Cadle, author of the upcoming pulp non-fiction ‘Letters from Christopher’ over the last eight months since she entered their lives, communications which basically amount to a fully-fledged grooming process on Cherlyn Cadle’s part under the guise of she and her husband running an online Christian Church and being embarked, with Chris’s wholehearted contribution, on nothing short of a holy quest.
When Cherlyn Cadle first approached the Watts, it was a mere few months after Chris’s murderous rampage, while Cindy (mother), Ronnie (father) and Jamie (sister) still so desperately wanted to believe that Chris could not possibly have committed the almost inconceivably hideous acts of which he was accused. After all, not only did Chris have no history of violence in his then thirty plus years of life, he had no history of any wrongdoing whatsoever as far as they were aware.
So what did Cherlyn Cadle do on encountering this family in its most vulnerable of states, in deep grief for the loss of three family members and in understandable denial of Chris’s culpability? She started selling them on the idea that Chris wanted to write a book about his journey toward Christ after suffering from a demon possession that drove him to murder.
Can you spot the snake-oil pitch? Unfortunately, the Watts in their psychological turmoil didn’t … initially.
Of course, this was not at all the book Cherlyn Cadle really wanted to write; she wanted to write ‘Letters from Christopher,’ the lascivious confessions of a mass murderer, explaining in stomach-churning and blood-curdling detail how he wiped out his entire immediate family early one morning after weeks of deliberate planning. Indeed, ‘Letters from Christopher’ is being published this month, whereas a book on Chris Watts’s journey toward Christ (Chris now having an ambition to become a priest, if not Jesus Christ the Redeemer Himself, according to Cherlyn) is nowhere in sight.
There’s no doubt that Christopher Watts is a monster, but who is this other monster who was willing to deceive and groom this grieving family in order to obtain their cooperation in writing her book about their son’s reconciliation with God, when in fact the whole time her real plan was to publish an exposé of Chris Watts, the family annihilator, complete with photographs of his actual letters for them to read at the exact same moment as the rest of the world.
Hurrah! Quite the reveal, she was planning.
In order to pull off this charade, Ms. Cadle befriended Chris Watts the murderer for eight solid months while drenching his family in the milk of human kindness. Cherlyn Cade can employ a very convincing empathetic tone when she wants to, and talking to her was a soothing experience for the Watts. She told them the things they wanted to hear and never appeared to be judgmental … until she ripped off the mask, or maybe until the mask was ripped off of her.
Somewhere into this cozy relationship, Cherlyn Cadle created a Facebook page to promote her book as a potential True Crime blockbuster, not as the humble, truth-seeking, religious book she had promised the Watts. Well, this caught the family by surprise, so they simply told her she did not have permission to put their words or photographs in a book of this genre. They then asked to know what was in the book as they desperately needed answers on what Chris had done, but at this point Cherlyn became cagey as well as shifty and refused to divulge any of the book’s contents as they had turned down her offer of cooperation.
She then started lashing out at the Watts with accusations of “Don’t judge me!” and “Did all of you think the book wouldn’t be marketed?”, kind of ignoring that the book she had pitched to the Watts bore no relation to the book she had been intending to write all along. And it was an equally far cry from the woman who months earlier was texting Cindy Watts claiming that she was going to write to the Warden about bringing Chris a birthday cake and a gift on her upcoming visit to Dodge Correctional Facility.
So, it has to be admitted that Ms. Cadle did a great job grooming both a murderer and his bereaved family. Maybe God Himself is clapping in admiration at her conjuring trick, but I doubt it. Indeed, I have little understanding of how a person could go to these lengths in order to profit off of two tiny lives prematurely snuffed out, not to mention Shan’ann, who may have had her faults, but who definitely did not deserve to be brutally murdered.
And if you doubt my story, here is a sample of the many, many text messages between Cherlyn Cadle and the Watts family. On top of these there are the phone conversations and visits with Chris Watts at the prison, the details of which I cannot share for obvious technical reasons. However, what is not deniable is that Cherlyn Cadle went to great lengths to take advantage of the entire situation under the guise of a fervent Christian endeavor.
What does that commandment “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” mean again?