13 thoughts on “The 10 Biggest WTF Moments in the Chris Watts Case [UPDATED/COMPLETE]

  1. Quite a few WTF moments. There were three refrigerators in the Watt’s home – two in the basement, plus the high end double door stainless steel appliance in the kitchen. Do we know which refrigerator thermometer Watts took a picture of? I somehow don’t think it had to do with freezing or refrigerating a body. But moving on to the K9 search of the basement the trauma dog only gave a slight whine – more like a tugging at the leash – when the black refrigerator was opened. None at the white refrigerator – which might be a freezer but if so it’s a stand up freezer, not a horizontal freezer and I suspect is just another refrigerator Shan’ann was unable to part with. Since the snapshot was taken close to the time Watts was grilling his chicken breasts 8/12 isn’t it more likely it was the upstairs appliance – and not related to, sorry, freezing or refrigerating children. If we knew what the thermometer read, it would be helpful. Refrigerators should be no higher than 40 degrees F, Freezers at 0 degrees F. The water dispenser on a refrigerator door is usually a digital readout of 38 degrees.

    Back to the basement – the K9 dog was very interested, as we all remember, under the basement stairs. But where and at what. Re-watching the video the area of most interest was when the dog handler opened the metal cabinet doors under the stairs. What was in there? A can of Raid, and old paint containers too difficult to read. Also a roll of duct tape. But opening the cabinet doors produced several agitated sharp barks. The second place was the coolers under the stairs. There are several coolers. Could Bella and Celeste have been placed in the coolers in the basement around time of death – certainly before Shan’ann arrived home. That might have been the cause of Bella’s bruising and abrasions – sooner after death rather than later. Watts also wouldn’t answer Baumhover’s question, why did you go into the basement.

    The coolers were open when the dog was barking. On page 554 of the documents as uniformed officers were performing a neighborhood canvas for the missing family “Commander Egan received information that a uniformed officer observed Chris packing up what appeared to be blankets and a cooler inside the white Lexus in the garage.” Shortly after that he closed the garage, and the Thayers arrived at the house and went inside. I do not think Watts was planning a picnic. I think there were still some items he had not disposed of. A date isn’t given, but I’m assuming this was 8/14 – the date of the neighborhood canvas? May have been late afternoon 8/13.

    In any event taking a picture of the refrigerator thermometer just suggests to me Watts was perfectly capable of planning murder or executing murder, while at the same time going about other business, perhaps marinating chicken, checking on the temperature, grilling chicken, and casually doing the dishes and cleaning up afterwards.


  2. I’m wondering a few things in regard to the poisoning/overdosing of the children. If Watts had one vial of Oxycodone and had used it previously on Shan’ann just how much would he have had left to give to the children. Crushing could have sped up death – but I”m not sure if that only applies to snorting or injecting. At any rate we’re dealing with small children (I saw a medical report of an accidental oxycodone overdose on a 7 year old child), are there any nurses in the TCRS family who might know the quantity Watts may have used on his children to cause death? Thank you –


  3. Thanks Nick. The study I read was from a 7 year old female who was accidentally given 1.5 (7.5mL) teaspoon of liquid Roxicet (another brand name for Oxycodone) by misreading the label after her child had had a tonsillectomy a few days prior. The child weighed slightly more than 41.88 pounds. A four year old weighs about 40 pounds. A 3 year old even less. She rushed her child to emergency and she was saved. Since an Oxycodone overdose can cause suppression of the respiratory system and CeCe already had breathing problems it likely wouldn’t have taken much.


  4. If one looks at Watt’s multiple confessions not from the point of view that he’s a pathological liar but from the point of view that he’s a silver fox, the confessions take on a whole new meaning, don’t they?

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  5. I have to wonder what Watts would have done had Sha’nann called from the airport and said they were all just too tired to wait for the midnight flight out of Arizona and would be spending the night there at a hotel and would fly in the next day. She would ask Watts to go ahead and take the kids to school and she would be home midday on the 13th. What would he do? How could he possibly explain how his children vanished in his care? What possible story could he concoct?

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  6. Here’s his story had Shan’ann returned the next day. He backs his truck into the driveway, as he did, put the children in the truck, drive them to Cervi and into the oil tanks, then he leaves town. Sends a message to Luke Epple “sorry man, my dad had a heart attack. I’m on the next plane to North Carolina.”

    His story, if he’s tracked down (and he would be) is that he assumed Shan’ann returned that night. He was asleep. Heck, he thought she came home around midnight as she said she would. If she messaged him saying she was staying in Arizona, he would delete it from his phone. He assumed she was returning around midnight when she said she was previously. Or he just didn’t get the message, he was asleep. He was sleeping in the basement – he didn’t check to see if she was home (I know he would say, that looks like bad parenting) and someone must have abducted the children sometime after 5:30 a.m., he really doesn’t know as he thought Shan’ann was home and he had to get to work. A pedophile abduction of course! Nathan T’s camera would show about as much as it does anyway, Watts moving along his truck, loading it up with “containers for work, cogs, and his bookbag.”

    His parents could agree to say that Ronnie had a heart attack. He was needed at home ASAP. Of course he’ll be on the next plane back to town to address the sad disappearance and abduction of his children. Now there is no reason to stay with Shan’ann. She’s alive, and pregnant, but he doesn’t care about that anyway. He could stand by her long enough to take the heat off himself, or go out and fundraise like the McCann’s, and forever search for his children.


  7. I’m really enjoying the YouTube series on these Top Ten WTF aspects. The finances one is the one that I’ve played a couple times, because I believe their precarious situation in that regard holds a lot of the reason as to the “why.” (Not all, but it’s a huge contributing factor.) As Nick has stated before, had the Watts won the Colorado lottery the week prior, these murders would not have occurred. Shan’ann was really, really bad with money, and I do not believe she was making much of anything through her MLM. In fact, it probably *cost* the family money. Those “car allowances” are nonsense, especially because one is expected to lease a very pricey luxury vehicle, thus spending way more than you would normally. The biggest shock to me is the cost of the girls’ school. She could have kept them home with her, or sent them to a way less expensive and just as good preschool. My boys went to the one housed in the church we attend, and had a wonderful educational experience for just a few hundred dollars a month. The gargantuan house is another thing. How much empty space one sees in the bodycam videos!

    I can relate to experiencing money issues because one is married to a person who isn’t good with finances. Money isn’t everything, of course it’s not, but, so much stress can be avoided when one is careful with spending, budgeting, and keeping track. I had a good thing going while I was still single, (a single mom, even), and while my spouse isn’t 100% to blame for the hit my financial picture and credit rating took, getting married to him was a turning point for the downward trend. Were I to go back in time, I would insist upon a background check and credit report from anyone I wanted to date seriously. Rebuilding is harder the older one becomes.

    Thanks for the excellent series, Nick. I listen while I drive. I drive a lot, and it’s awesome to have something to think about while I’m sitting behind the wheel of my beloved Subaru.


  8. Re-watching Officer Coonrod’s body cam footage at 16:53 when he pushes the door open (but it’s latched) he yells “Shannon are you home?” Deeter starts barking. You can hear him all the way up from the basement and behind the basement door. But when he yells make yourself known, the dog has quieted down again. When Chris lets everyone in he makes a beeline for the kitchen, swirls around and opens the basement door and lets Deeter upstairs. So if Deeter was put in the basement before Shan’ann arrived home, he might have barked from the basement – especially if he heard any struggling sounds or Shan’ann coming through the front door. She might have wondered what’s Deeter doing in the basement? This leads me to just hypothesize that Deeter might have been put in his kennel or whatever their night time ritual was for Deeter, but when Watts left in the morning, the basement door alert could have been Watts putting Deeter in the basement. Since it was but a short time from the door alert to Watts backing into the driveway I don’t think he stored the girls in the basement. If he had to contend with Deeter and bodies in the basement there would have been a lot of barking just before he left to backed his truck up.


  9. Wtf10 – Chris fishing about isn’t there supposed to be a video – indicative of him resurrecting the children to match the YouTube chatter. You tell us chris!

    Have just finished silver fox and am interested in the possible storing of the children’s bodies in the basement fridges raised in the book. I ‘d wondered about this earlier and then thought the dogs would have had to alert to the fridges strongly and hadn’t appeared to. As explained about the ambiguous dog response to the presence of shamans body described above though (which we know was in the house) perhaps it is possible that did happen with the children’s bodies and wasn’t alerted to strongly due to a mixture of thorough cleaning/bodies being in storage boxes or bags/and the coldness of the fridge retarding decomposition smells.
    If they were stored in the fridge, something slightly horrific has come to mind. The innocuous but slightly odd photos: doll picture, fridge thermostat, chicken barbecuing (I’ve emptied the fridge), flowers near oilfield. Is it possible he was documenting the whole process in photos – for his own private enjoyment later on to acknowledge to himself how clever he’d been ? This has made me feel a bit sick actually.


    • Interesting observation Julie! Why not? He does seem to be in to documenting – his “dark arts.” I’m sure we could think of more. For instance when he wanted out of the first ultrasound, around Easter, and sent Shan’ann pictures of a tornado swirling around one of the Cervi locations. I’m sure if he wanted to go he would have gone. Then there were two searches about volcanoes. I always thought he did that because he was about to erupt.

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