#48 Sunday August 26th, 2018: The Headline that never made Headlines Anywhere, Ever: PLEA DEAL OFFERED LESS THAN 1 WEEK AFTER FORMAL CHARGES WERE LODGED AGAINST CHRIS WATTS #1yearagotodayCW

Who is – or was – the mysterious entity that contrived the plea deal in this case?

Or is there no mystery, Watts – never the sharpest tool in the shed to begin with – knew his goose was cooked, agreed to a plea deal and signed away his life.

Which is it?

This is truly astonishing, without doubt the most astonishing aspect of this entire case. It’s not the crime itself that’s shocking, it’s the decision not to prosecute it. It’s the decision, seemingly by everyone, not even to go to trial – because who cares about answers?

to recap, on Tuesday, August 21st, formal charges were filed in court against Chris Watts. It was his second of what would ultimately be only four court appearances. By Sunday, just three work days after the charges were announced, a plea deal was on the cards. Take a moment to absorb that.

The plea offer was sent via email on Sunday, August 26th, at 11:58 [or possibly 11:56] from Watts’ defense lawyer John Walsch to Deputy District Attorney Steve Wrenn.

Just ten days after endless hours vigorously denying that he’d a) had an affair, b) harmed his wife, or c) killed his children, but then d) finally blaming Shan’ann for murdering them instead, Watts was apparently ready to throw in the towel. It had taken him four-and-a-half days not just to have the idea fielded, but to make a decision on it.


The email reads:

To: Steve Wrenn

Subject: Chris Watts

Dear Detective Wrenn

The defendant, Christopher Watts, is willing to agree to waive his right to be indicted and to plead guilty to all charges of first degree murder charges if our office is willing to remove the possibility of the death penalty.


John Walsch


Sometimes True Crime Rocket Science isn’t about seeing what no one else is seeing. It’s about seeing what is in plain sight – seeing what everyone is seeing – from the right perspective. Pretty straightforward. But what is “the right perspective”? Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it?

Are you an aficionado of the Chris Watts case? You know pretty much all there is, read all the books, studied all the blogs, watched all the videos, and a year later there’s not really anything new to you at this point? In other words, you might be a guru or rocket scientist? But you could also be a cup that’s already full, and no one can fill a cup that’s already full.

Let’s test how full your Rocket Science cup is on the plea deal score.


Simple question:

Whose idea was the plea deal?

Take a moment to think about that and leave your answer in the comments. Do it now. Then read further, and if you feel moved to do so, leave a second comment.

Let’s run through 8 yes/no questions, but really they’re all about one question:

Whose idea was the plea deal?

Last chance to definitively commit to an answer before we go down the list.


  1.  Yes or no: was the plea deal John Walsch’s idea? [See Exhibit A above, the email offering the plea deal.]
  2. Yes or no: was the plea deal Chris Watts’ idea?
  3. Yes or no: was the plea deal Chris Watts’ family’s idea?
  4. Yes or no: was the plea deal Steve Wrenn’s idea, or anyone else on the prosecution side of the equation?
  5. Yes or no: was the plea deal the Rzuceks’ idea?
  6. Yes or no: was the plea deal Nichol Kessinger’s idea, or suggestion?
  7. Yes or no: was the plea deal to avoid the death penalty?
  8. Have we missed anyone on this list? What was the purpose of the plea deal, and if the answers to #1-7 are “no” whose idea was it?

Whatever your answer, this was the media narrative after the fact, courtesy of the arch spinners of true crime yarns, People [November 19th, 2018]:

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Who persuaded Watts to plead, but more importantly, why not take the case to trial if you weren’t Chris Watts?

#38 August 10th, 2018: Happy Anniversary! #1yearagotodayCW

Why did Chris Watts take off work on Friday, August 10th? Because Shan’ann left first thing in the morning. Did he want to take off work? Being away from work meant being away from Nichol Kessinger. He’d been away for a week, then back at work for a day. On Friday he was away from her again, and back to babysitting. This was a sample of what custody might be like. Basically being with his kids meant he couldn’t be with her.

But putting up his hand to look after Bella and Ceecee was contingent on Shan’ann going ahead with her business trip. If there was going to be a chance of seeing Kessinger that weekend, he’d at least have a chance if he only had the kids on his hands. If Shan’ann was around, there’d be no chance of that.  So he played nice, reassured her, and off she went.

Watts must have felt like he was getting pretty good at spinning plates. He was on a roll.

The tone of Shan’ann’s “all is well” text to him that morning exemplifies this.

Good morning honey! Sorry to make you wake up early twice today. I didn’t want alarm going off…your letter is on the counter…have a great time with the kiddos. They truly missed you. Love you baby. Send me pics. 

Why does Shana’nn tell him now, that his children missed him when he was away? It’s because he expressed to her that that when they saw their father, they didn’t act like they missed him. They didn’t act like they needed him either. We also saw in the video at Myrtle Beach Watts repeatedly holding out his hand to guide Bella into the sea [her first time] and Bella refusing his help. Ordinarily this might not have bothered him, but he’d been away from his children for 5 weeks, and this was a big moment, made worse because Shan’ann was filming it.

23 minutes later, Shan’ann’s “all is well” facade has already started to slip.

“I don’t know why I feel really weak standing…”

This was probably a form of gestational diabetes, which is normal given her condition, but given the timing of it, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that Watts may have tried to poison Shan’ann. The basement was chock-full of medicines and she was always taking pills and powders. While sleeping in the basement, these potions were staring at him, gleaming at him through their transparent containers. The lights of the router were ticking and blinking, tempting him.

Do it.

Do it.

At 07:51 Jeremy Lindstrom congratulates Watts on the baby boy. This sets the tone for the whole day, and the weekend. Watts has to absolutely make sure the news doesn’t reach Kessinger. He has to start formulating his plan. He asks Jeremy when the birthday party starts on Sunday. 13:00. Shan’ann will be arriving back ten hours later the same evening. When will he be able to talk to Kessinger?

It’s significant that the Happy Anniversary messages between Watts and his wife aren’t on his phone. Watts must have known the cops would seize his phone, and this message above all would prove that he’d been lying about intending to separate or divorce his wife, as well as the notion that she intended to leave him [or had had a child with someone else]. It’s also worth noting that Shan’ann didn’t post any message regarding their anniversary on Facebook. Had he asked her not to do that too?

As early as 09:24 Watts had already decided how Saturday night was going to play out. He had a babysitter organized, and importantly, it was one of his friends, not Nickole Atkinson, not one of Shan’ann’s pals, who’d be in the house.

By 11:57 he was moving onto dealing with the house. Bear in mind, during his confessions he mentioned talking about selling the house on the morning of Shan’ann’s death. Well, they’d spoken about it before, as early as Thursday, and probably prior to that too.

Shan’ann sends him a link to their realtor, Ann Meadows. Why does Watts need it? And why then? Why ask for it on Friday morning? He needed it because he was taking back his house. Once she was dead, it was going to be much harder to make arrangements and find their original contacts.

Watts had also taken care of the insurance of the Lexus, but it’s unclear whether that was at his own initiative or an instruction from Shan’ann. The research into various car models at this time [he Googled Audi Q7 the previous night] also suggests he was thinking of coming into some money, and would need a chariot for his mistress. Once Shan’ann was dead the Lexus would have to go, and he couldn’t use his work truck.

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This reinforces the possibility that Watts was terrible with money.

At this point, the final three days leading into the disappearance, the Phone Data Review explodes. The reviewer intrudes here, breaking in with his own observations, noting how Shan’ann was “upbeat and optimistic” for the first time in weeks.

Shan’ann did feel they had turned a corner, but that’s because Watts had. Shan’ann’s emotional style was expressive and obvious whereas Watts was subtle, understated and introverted. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel what he felt less keenly than she did. Introverts, if anything, feel their emotions more keenly than others, and because they fear being overwhelmed by their emotions [as Watts was] they try to stifle and suppress their “inappropriate” emotions.

Let’s stop there. We’re venturing into deep psychological analysis covered in the TWO FACE series.

Getting back to the timeline, we see there’s a lot of detail right here that’s missing from the rest of the Phone Data Review. For example, we’re starting to see when Watts’ phone connects to the router. We’ll also see Vivint alerts. The forensic analysis highlights these because almost everything becomes relevant in the last few days. But because it’s excised from earlier in the timeline, we can’t see what the precedents were. We don’t get a sense of Watts’ habitual movements or the digital ecosystem, all the blinking light and notifications he was accustomed to on a daily basis.

Now, I’m not going to deal with Watts meeting with his Anadarko co-worker Troy McCoy in the Safeway parking lot, what that means and how that played into premeditation. I’m not even going to touch on Troy McCoy’s version of that meeting in the Discovery Documents, even though it’s of critical importance. Why not? We’re venturing into territory now covered in detail by the books, especially TWO FACE RAPE OF CASSANDRA and TWO FACE DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY

At this point, however, things are rapidly gaining momentum; thing are really starting to move. Between several texts from Shan’ann issuing instructions, Watts’ father contacts him at 13:50. [Remember the observations made in the previous post about “missing messages from parents”?]. Watts tells his father he’s liberated himself by deleting his Facebook. That’s what this weekend is all about – liberating himself – and by the end of it, he will try to liberate himself from his wife and children too.

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It’s telling that on this day, a week after their trip to the Sand Dunes, Watts was still replaying the video Kessinger had made thanking him for their trip. It was this video at the end of the evening, when the kids were in bed, that convinced him a fairy tale with his forever girl wasn’t just possible, it was happening. It was up to him to make sure nothing and no one got in the way.


#37 August 9th, 2018: U-Turn and “He’s not that stupid” #1yearagotodayCW

We’ll start this recap with a broader recap of the contextual aspects, and then we’ll drill into the Phone Data Review timeline for August 9th?

Worth playing for?


Despite the drama on August 8th, Shan’ann gave a glowing report of herself to the Thrive huns haunting Facebook. This selfie would be her second last post before her death.

Look closely at this final self-portrait:


It’s Shan’ann in her kitchen, healthy, happy to be back home again. She’s Thrivin’! But the picture – we know now – was another lie. The smile is a fake smile. Look at her slightly watery eyes. Look at what the point of the picture is all about? Her varnished nails point to the Thrive patch below her neck.

They say a picture says a thousand words. If Shan’ann wasn’t so distracted and preoccupied with the magical thinking, the whole MLM malestrom, would this tragedy have happened? If she was an authentic person living an authentic life, and pursuing an authentic fairy tale, would this have happened? If her finger – and her focus – was pointing somewhere else, anywhere else, would this have happened?

Let’s refer to the substance of her second last post visible on her public profile.

Once again, this was a precedent for what happened on the morning of her murder, now barely 4 days away:

-Went to bed at 2am, up at 5:15am
-2 loads of laundry 
-dusted whole house
-cleaned out fridge and pantry and restocked
-2 grocery stores with kids 🙌🏽
-Celeste Doctor appointment 👨‍⚕️
-emptied 7 suitcases/3 backpacks and put away
-fed kids a million times
-we all showered (we know this is a win)
-went through 6 weeks of mail 🤪
-washed kitchen floor
-cleaned up kids disaster 
-repacked my suitcase for Arizona this Friday 

They literally said, “we’re going to bed!” And put themselves to bed! Rain machines on and all. They are obviously exhausted from traveling and playing. I’m over here knocking everything out and it’s only noon! The old me would live out of a suit case for 1-2 weeks till it was empty again. 

All while 4 months preggo! Love my Thrive Experience! 


But while Shan’ann’s loving her Thrive experience, she’s actually facing a growing catastrophe at home. Her husband wants an abortion, she think he’s cheating on her [he is], he won’t have sex with her, and they’re up to their eyeballs in serious debt. The last thing she can afford is to be doing is travelling anywhere else.

It may be that when Shan’ann went through the six weeks of mail she saw [or remembered] the summons from Wyndham Hill Housing Estate, and also reassessed reality – that there was no way she was going to survive as a single parent with three children in Colorado. She needed to find a way to ease Watts back into the idea of being a dad, father and most important, provider for her and the kids.

It may also be that Watts was reassured that Shan’ann was at last seeing the light, in terms of their finances, and now was prepared to listen to the idea at least, of moving and downsizing. Clearly August 9th in the timeline feels like there is some mutual reassurance, but is it real? Was it sustainable?

This reassurance prompted a U-turn, possibly, in her attitude and his attitude. It was temporary, but both seemed to have second thoughts about everything. It was time, she realized, to make an effort to get her husband back and just sort everything out.  It was also time to renew her efforts and commitment to Thrive!  Shan’ann was so confident in getting him back on board, that the next day, she was onto her next priority, the business trip to Arizona.

She felt justified that she’d done enough, and flew to Arizona as scheduled, anyway. But this was a fatal miscalculation. If Shan’ann thought a renewed focus on Thrive was going to get them out of their financial mess, she was literally dead wrong. Shan’ann didn’t know that this was the worst possible decision under the circumstances, because:

  1. It wouldn’t solve their financial woes, but the opposite. In fact while she was away Watts would treat himself and his girlfriend to a fancy meal, while paying for a babysitter.
  2. It wouldn’t solve her marital woes, but the opposite. While away, Watts would have the opportunity for a final foray with his mistress, which possibly coalesced the premeditation already brewing in his mind.
  3. Further, by leaving when she did, she would leave her children vulnerable. This despite a previous post undertaking to do “everything in her power” to protect her youngest daughter.
  4. While Shan’ann was away her husband had the opportunity to murder their children. This should be seen in the context that he’d already indicated he was prepared to abort their third child, told her he wanted a divorce and she’d told him she felt unsafe around him.
  5. By leaving when she did, she made herself vulnerable. And when she returned home – very late – from that trip, she was the most vulnerable she’d ever been.


Moving onto August 9th, rather than having an ideal pregnancy and tons of energy, Shan’ann was up before 03:00 gabbing about her marriage with Sara Nudd. The gender reveal appeared to have been scheduled for the night of August 8th [the day after their return to Frederick]. Shan’ann was really chomping at the bit, insisting on telling the world [all her followers on social media] the gender of her child, regardless of the situation with her husband. Somehow Watts got her to change her mind, but only enough to postpone the gender reveal. Even so, it’s what Shan’ann’s talking about privately to her pals.

There is a tug of war going on here, where Shan’ann probably thought if she announced the news on social media, her husband would be done with his shit. He’d have to come to the party. If he was in an affair, well, he’d just have to get out of it. It was her way of regaining control.

For his part, Watts had reasons – not necessarily good – for not wanting a gender reveal. He didn’t want to be coerced into a marriage he didn’t want to be in, and he didn’t want to lose Kessinger.

Now, the Phone Data Review gets screwy on page 27. It refers to Watts taking the day off work [he didn’t, that was the next day], Shan’ann flying to Arizona [she didn’t, that was the next day] and Shan’ann going to the Ultrasound [that was the previous day].

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At 10:06 Shan’ann shared an ultrasound image of Niko with Sara Nudd. This image came from the previous evening when Shan’ann and her husband went to the doctor. Although Watts said he wanted to be there, it’s likely the reality of the situation he was in dawned on him in full technicolor.

It’s also tremendously ironic that this image on Shan’ann’s phone, of burgeoning new life,  was followed by one of a doll wrapped in plastic, symbolizing death [and we know the symbology played out]. Looking on Shan’ann’s Facebook, it was posted with the same message on August 9th. It was also the last photo Shan’ann posted on Facebook.

Was this a veiled threat from her husband, a warning earlier in the day that if she persisted this would happen to her, or to the kids? If it was, Shan’ann didn’t know what to think of the message, or if she did, she made sure social media got to see it.

Occasionally the Phone Data Review jumbles the chronology of various timestamps, not so much on August 9th, but on other, more critical days. What’s also missing from the review are messages from their respective parents, unless the parents communicated directly or otherwise exclusively through social media. If so, where are those interactions?

We also see confirmation of the level of access and control Shan’ann had to Watts’ world. If she thought she had Watts’ under her thumb, she also badly misjudged him. Shan’ann admits to Addy here that she’s asked about the affair but knows he’s “not that stupid” [he is].

Shan’ann naively didn’t check his phone, perhaps she was afraid of what she’d find if she did, perhaps she was in denial. But she seemed to be aware her husband was deleting messages. Where they really messages from his father? We know from what Shan’ann said to Cassie that Shan’ann decided not to push Watts.Fullscreen capture 20190806 005941-001

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Well, he decided to play his own game too, didn’t he? He decided not to push her too. In the same way she gave him 5 weeks space to play by not pushing him, by her not pushing him and him not pushing her too hard, he gained a little extra room to manoevre.

It may be when Shan’ann caught him deleting something, he said it was a message from his father. In any event, if he was deleting messages from his father, the Phone Data Review makes no attempt to explain what they were. Another flaw in the investigation methodology.

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Either way, Watts and his wife seemed to be in a psychological wrestling match. Shan’ann took the time to pen a love letter to him.  For the full text of this letter, visit this link.]

If we compare the tone of her letter to him, to his declarations to Kessinger [or Kessinger’s to him], Shan’ann’s is the least charming. She refers to the “hardest pain” she’s feeling. It’s as if when it comes to love letters, Shan’ann has no game herself. She tells him she misses his morning breath, and seeing him naked. She says she misses having him around when she’s alone and upset.  After making some effort in the first paragraph, the next is prickly again.

She refers back to Nut Gate and says she deserves an apology. Then she refers to her daughter’s life…

But Watts appears to do a U-Turn, of sorts. It seems they strike a bargain. She’ll lay off the gender reveal until Monday if he agrees to go with her on a romantic weekend to Aspen. He agrees. What he wins is a postponement, what she wins is the promise that there’s still a ray of hope for their marriage. He knows there isn’t, but he lets her think this so she’ll get off his back.

At 13:44 Shan’ann realizes Watts has cancelled his Facebook account. She asks why and he doesn’t answer. Because Shan’ann is in “don’t push him mode” she lets the significant move by Watts slide. Another fatal error.

Incidentally Cassie and the discovery are mistaken about Watts deleting his Facebook account while they were in North Carolina. It happened on the second day of their return.

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Although Watts said in his confession he deleted his Facebook because Kessinger had told her friends about him, it’s more likely Watts was terrified Shan’ann, or someone else, would share or post a message about his new baby.

We can see Watts was all about damage control, and making sure the “wrong” information about him didn’t come out. The only way he could control Shan’ann was to manipulate her into thinking he was prepared to give her a chance, in exchange for her toeing the line – being discreet about the baby, not mentioning it on social media until Monday.

Watts knew the game he was playing with his wife and Kessinger was almost up.

It’s all in my head.

I’m scared to death.

I will fix this.

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We also see Watts electing to take off work but also meet a work colleague the next day.  This is unusual behavior for him, on both counts. Bear in mind this happens just as the crushing reality of his situation dawns on him.

If the flower of premeditation hadn’t fully bloomed before August 9th, well, it was blooming now. He had his deadline – by Monday he had to have everything fixed. Deleting Facebook was his first in a series of cover ups.

While he was plotting the demise of his family, Shana’nn was planning its reconstruction. She ordered a book for him on Amazon the day [one that would go straight to the trash bin once he got it the next day].

On Thursday evening Shan’ann and her husband had a “good” talk. He’s still distant, but there’s been a sudden change. He’s kinda being the old Chris again. They decide on a name for their little boy, and Watts also tells Shan’ann he wants to – they have to – move to Brighton. When the police interrogate him Watts will offer this conversation as a proxy for the one he doesn’t have prior to murdering Shan’ann. It’s likely that when Watts spoke to Shan’ann, now pretending to be okay and going along with the idea of their third child, the second face of Chris Watts separated and broke off completely. He realized it was an impossible, irreconcilable situation. There was no way he could trust Shan’ann, or her him, and no way he could control her. He didn’t want to lose control, not now. He realized he was going to have take control. He would need to become someone else to pull this off.

Watts told Shan’ann he loved her, and found this was his only recourse in steering things where they needed to go. He’d have to pretend. But now he was at an impasse with Monday set as the deadline.

Only one reality would exist after that date, and it was up to him to choose which one he wanted. His life with Shan’ann and the kids? Well he knew he didn’t want that. His life with Kessinger? In order to have that life he was going to have to get rid of his family. But how? He didn’t know what to do. All he knew was they had to go, he had to get rid of her – them – somehow.

At the end of the evening Watts went to sleep in the basement. He looked up at the wooden beams above his bed. He thought of where he was, in a basement, below ground, below the house. Then he transferred more semi-nude images of Kessinger into his Secret Calculator app.

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No one has been able to say why – until now.

Buy the 9-part book series at this link.

#36 August 8th, 2018: “I kicked his sorry ass out of bed” #1yearagotodayCW

Shan’ann Watts wastes no time alerting everyone about her debacle. She starts off Wednesday morning venting almost hysterically about her situation. She tells Sara Nudd she tried to have sex with her husband [presumably after they arrived home from the airport], and Watts rejected her. Again, this event will later play into the psychology of his fictional versions after-the-fact. It’s also a major blunder of the cops that they didn’t question Watts at length on exactly what happened when he arrived home with Shan’ann on the night of August 7th, in order to set a general precedent.

Shan’ann’s admission that she’s not “cried this hard ever” provides perspective on just how emotionally compromised she was, and who wouldn’t be, given the stakes: drowning in debt, battling her in laws, pregnant, sick, husband possibly cheating and he doesn’t want the third baby, and two temperamental young children to look after…

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The tantrums aren’t pleasant either. Shan’ann has fought back by reviewing her own phone data and holding this up as evidence; interrogating him, asking him to explain it. This too is going to turn the lights in his cockpit red.

Shan’ann refers to 12 separate texts where she begged him to talk to her but instead he was “asleep” at 19:00 or 20:00.  In fact, he wasn’t asleep, he was at Kessinger’s home throughout the month of July.

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Shan’ann sending him “evidence” off her phone would also have vividly alerted Watts to a narrative – about him – that he had very little control over. And this was the thing he was becoming increasingly anxious about – how to make sure he stayed on top of his narrative. It was important his mistress didn’t get a different impression of him, especially not from his pregnant wife.

The arguing between the two also doesn’t sound as mild as it was in North Carolina, when they shared their living quarters with her folks. With them out of the way, Shan’ann is free to let rip on Watts, and she does:

“I tried talking to him after rejection last night, and me crying alone for an hour on the couch – he slept. I kicked his sorry ass out of bed and I refuse to sleep on the couch anymore this week. Told him to not come home today if he can’t tell me the damn truth on what the hell is wrong!”

Make no mistake, this is Shan’ann no holds barred, passive [crying] aggressive [threatening], putting her foot down, laying down the law. It’s unclear where Watts was sleeping in bed, whether it was the basement or in her bed. If he was in the basement why would she be on the couch?

Consider the irony of her telling him “not to come home if he can’t tell me the damn truth” and what he elected to do with her. He made her disappear, not come home, so that she couldn’t tell anyone the truth.

Also, consider the irony of Watts – for five weeks prior – having the run of “his house”, and the first night back his wife bullies him, threatens him, kicks him out of bed, all the while wishing he could be with Kessinger, but knowing he can’t because she’s around. In these emotionally fraught moment, the thought has to be clanging in his head:

I just wish I could get rid of her. 

Shan’ann also acknowledges for the first time that it’s not just a case that Watts doesn’t want the baby, he’d be prepared to kill the child – through an abortion.

At 08:06 we get a peek on Shan’ann’s intuition regarding the affair. It’s on her mind, but she’s not certain. One of the reasons for this is a pretty good reason Watts offers in his defense:

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And hence, Shan’ann also told Amanda Thayer she wasn’t too concerned about an affair, because she knew, and he knew, “he had no game”. But this was a critical error on her part. It was also a neat psychological manipulation from him to goad her towards her own familiar contempt for him.

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When Josh Rosenberg [Cassie’s husband] contacted Watts to ask about the baby’s gender, Watts must have felt his ears burning. Clearly, Shan’ann was waking up the neighborhood talking about them, and the baby.

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Cassie would later tell the cops that Shan’ann only texted her because she didn’t want Watts to hear her talking about him. She knew she wasn’t supposed to be discussing their problems with others. More than likely, Watts have been clear that he didn’t want her to air their dirty laundry in public, especially after what happened during Nut Gate with his folks. Shan’ann agreed, but then went behind his back and communicated anyway. Josh asking him about the baby proved that Shan’ann had broken her word to him, and this made him vulnerable in his affair.

This…I have to put a stop to this. How do I put a stop to this?

At 15:11 Watts made a change to Shan’ann’s contact details, perhaps to prevent Kessinger from seeing anything on his phone. Given what was happening, there was likely to be a flurry of histrionic traffic between him and his wife.

At 19:25, Kessinger Googles “marrying your mistress”. This day was also a rendezvous with her at the office, and a break at long last from the loveless drama and bitter feuding after the last week. Watts also apparently told her then – immediately after arriving back – we’re getting a divorce. At this point, he had told Shan’ann that they were incompatible and didn’t want the baby. It’s also on this day that she tells Nickole Atkinson and Cassie Rosenberg she will fight for full custody. August 8th is thus the first time he mentions divorce, but also tells her he’s not in a hurry. 

In the Phone Data Review cursory remarks are made about a critical conversation Shan’ann has with Nickole and Cassie at 22:19 on August 8th, littered with expletives. Part of this conversation includes Shan’ann asking for the pregnancy reveal Taylor Welsch is organizing, to be cancelled – as per Watts’ instructions. This is obviously an issue for him. Shan’ann also asks her friends not to post anything on Facebook. [This is the day prior to Watts scrubbing his Facebook profile].

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I have mentioned in the past that if Watts saw this particular exchange, where both Shan’ann and Cassie say “fuck him” and conspire to take his house, this more than anything else would have prompted him to take the gloves off. It’s also possible he did see it if they had shared access to the iCloud, as many couples do. From the discovery we know that at a certain point they did share access.


It’s unfortunate that Shan’ann was indiscreet about the private issues of their marriage. Watts had only just confided in her, and he did so reluctantly and with difficulty. She could be discreet about certain issues when she wanted to be, such as their money troubles. If it suited her, Shan’ann could keep secrets. But even if her husband asked her to do so Shan’ann didn’t seem to have any qualms about going behind his back, after all, fuck him,  she wore the pants, she was the one in control.  Below is a sample of some of the actual text messages sent between Shan’ann, Nickole and Cassie on August 8th.


After a long day of venting and whatnot, by the end of it Shan’ann seemed to have a change of heart. She realized she didn’t have a choice in the matter. She couldn’t afford to be a single mother without his full salary, and three kids to raise in Colorado. The in Colorado bit is especially telling. It suggests she’d considered living with the kids elsewhere, where it was cheaper.

Presumably that night Watts slept in the bed in the basement. Bear in mind Shan’ann had told him earlier that day not to bother to come home unless he told her the truth that night. Well he had. He wanted a divorce. Didn’t want the baby. And didn’t want her to do a baby reveal, or talk about it on social media. They also discussed the house and their financial constraints. Maybe Shan’ann provided a sticky solution. If the Rosenbergs moved in, they didn’t need to move out, did they?

Probably that same day  at work [and later that night, from the bed in the basement] he let Kessinger know how serious he still was about her. How serious was he? He was getting a divorce and loved her, and wanted to marry her. Shan’ann – he told her – had already called the realtor. It’s happening. For her part, Kessinger elected to help find him an apartment to facilitate the separation/divorce. 

Page 570 of the Discovery Documents appears to refer to this aspect of the timeline – August 8th. Kessinger started looking for apartments from this day, the day after his return from North Carolina.

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At 23:08, a few hours after returning from the Ultrasound, Shan’ann is alone in bed, looking for reading material for her husband. He just needs therapy, and some counselling.


More: “Fuck him!” “Fuck you and fuck you and fuck you.”

Was Custody a Factor in the Watts Case?

“When he got back from North Carolina, that’s when he officially told me we’re getting a divorce and we’re gonna put the house up for sale.” – Nichol Kessinger

Shan’ann had a plan to deal with the debt situation – but Chris Watts wasn’t going to like it, not one bit

#35 August 7th, 2018: “Scared to death…I really don’t want to leave here” #1yearagotodayCW

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

b). Anadarko

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.

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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.

#34 August 6th, 2018: “This has been the worst week of my life” #1yearagotodayCW

We’re at page 23, more-or-less halfway through the 50-page Phone Data Review. Despite the doldrums on August 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the timeline, August 4th and August 6th are two huge milestones in the review. Up to this point, August 6th is arguably the day when the most traffic passes between Shan’ann’s phone and Watts’ phone. And there’s a good reason for it. Watts eventually drops the bomb he’s been carrying for weeks.

This is going to be a long one so make yourself a cup of coffee, turn off the TV, strap yourself in and let’s get focused.

We begin our analysis of August 6th by observing the basics:

  1. It was the last full day of the Watts family reunion/vacation in North Carolina. [The next day at 17:00 they flew back to Denver, Colorado].
  2. Watts waited [or was forced to wait] until the very last day of his week-long trip to see his family. For the rest of the time he was with Shan’ann, and it wasn’t pleasant. While she was bickering, he withdrew. [Initially this pattern seemed to fit the basic mold of their marriage, but as the days wore on, and as Shan’ann grew more aggravated and he withdrew even more, she sensed something was seriously off].
  3. When Watts went to see his family on that last day, he went alone – without Shan’ann, and without the kids. This was massively symbolic, and hugely significant. [I’ll explain further down precisely why].

As we go through the timeline of the Phone Data Review, I want to bring in some of the statements from the Discovery Documents. Just to contextualize what we’re looking at, and the way Watts and Shan’ann’s friends describe elements of the timeline. These descriptions aren’t going to be 100% reliable, but they will provide us with some guidance.

Worth playing for?

So on page 453 of the Discovery Documents we have Cristina Meacham providing a broad recap. One of the more interesting artifacts in her statement is this:

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This rings true, that in the middle of an argument, Watts timed out and left to sleep on the couch. Bear in mind that on Day 1 Shan’ann slept on the couch; now he is. We know they were constantly texting one another, which reinforces the notion that especially at night, although they slept in the same house, they didn’t share a room or a bed once during that week.

Although Cristina is right about them arguing about the baby, this aspect only came up on the last day, August 6th. Shan’ann seemed to want [or suggest] “sexual relations” with him for the first time on August 5th. According to Watts, the last time he had sex with Shan’ann was when she fell pregnant in late April, early May. Make of that what you will.

Now, let’s drill into the review itself.

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Watts Googling the distance from the moon to the earth seems to be research for another love letter to his mistress. That’s where his head’s at.

Shan’ann doesn’t realize how close she is to figuring out the situation when she tells Watts at 06:20 that morning:

“I can’t handle this and you are ok with it.”

Watts is okay with splitting up from his family, and we know why, but she doesn’t. Although Shan’ann keeps at him, one wonders how or why she couldn’t – or wouldn’t – join the dots. It’s as if she expects him to say something, and only once the words are spoken can reality be acknowledged. Conversely, as long as he doesn’t say something, maybe there’s hope? Maybe he still loves her? Maybe she can still manoevre him? But this time she’s fooling herself.

At 06:22 Watts tries to rationalize his position, even though virtually none of it will be true in six days time.

“I’m not just staying because of the kids [he is]. They are my light and that will not change [it did]. I didn’t fall out of love in 5 weeks [he did, if he was in love with her then to begin with], that’s impossible [apparently not]. I don’t want to erase 8 years just like that. [But on second thoughts, that’s exactly what he ends up doing].”

In his final sentence of that text, Watts reveals what’s been playing out of late between them:

“I’m not sure what’s in my head. I don’t know if it’s my parents, the third pregnancy, if I’m just scared or what. I didn’t use you.”

All of this is likely true, from a certain point of view. He’s trying to be as honest as he can be, and he’s not sure what to do. It’s true that he doesn’t know how he’s feeling, or what he’s going to do about it. He mentions his parents, the third pregnancy and feeling scared. Or what is a kind of self disclosure, referring to Kessinger.

This is his first hint that he’s having doubts about the third child. It happens on the last day of their North Carolina trip.

Shan’ann’s accusation that he used her to have a third child doesn’t resonate at all. If anything, Shan’ann’s been using him all along:

A). …as a prop for her Thrive spiels,

B)…as a sperm donor so she could realize her dream [of being a mom] and,

C)…very clearly, she’s been using him as an ATM. 

As Shan’ann goes on and on, with text after text, Watts feels a gnawing sense of dread.

“This has been the worst week of my life.”

Watts must have looked at that, shaken his head privately, and thought: “It’s so much worse! You have no idea.”

The key here is that in terms of Shan’ann, Watts is scared. He feels guilty and scared. He doesn’t know what to do. With Shan’ann’s hair trigger temper, anything can happen. He wants to keep things under control. He’s not sure what to do. He’s terrified that if he’s honest, if he tells her he wants to leave her, there will be a nuclear explosion. And he doesn’t know what that’s going to look like. What’s Kessinger going to think? That’s his dilemma. That’s what he’s afraid of.

We have confirmation of this on page 599 of the Discovery Documents, where Watts explains his misgivings about how to go about the separation while at the same time admitting he was completely infatuated, intoxicated by Kessinger.

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This is Cassie Rosenberg’s version of the last week in North Carolina. [Discovery Documents, page 627].

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None of this has happened yet, mind you. But it is going to play out today. On their last full day in North Carolina he’s going to tell her he doesn’t want the third baby, and he’s not in love with her. These are two huge bombshells, but on the morning of August 6th, the day he’s supposed to see his folks, they haven’t dropped yet.

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On the last day, it seems Kessinger’s still sending Watts pictures of herself.  [This is despite whatever she saw on Shan’ann’s public Facebook profile].

We can’t be sure exactly when Watts went to see his folks, or how he got there. Presumably they came to pick him up very early in the morning without waking the kids. This might explain the 06:00 texts. Watts may have answered them from the car.

In any event, he visits his family without Shan’ann and without the kids. This provides him with involuntary mental preparation. By being with his wife and kids for a week [described by Shan’ann as the worst week of her life] and then the relief to be away from her, Watts has an opportunity to imagine not just not being with his family, but further exploring the notion of getting rid of them.

What would that look like?

One thing was certain. If he did it the right way, Shan’ann would seize control and leave a scorched Earth around her. The introvert’s head was in overdrive – thinking, plotting. How can I fix this? If he did it his way, maybe…maybe things could work out, for him, for them.

It’s difficult to imagine Watts carrying out his annihilation six days later if it wasn’t for Shan’ann – symbolically at least – annihilating herself and the kids from the equation on August 6th. It’s this moment right here, where Watts goes to see his family, and Shan’ann refuses to let him take the kids, and she also cuts herself out of the equation.

At the end of the day, Watts lets Shan’ann know in his own craven way that he’d like to sleep at his folk’s house, if that’s okay. His folks would prefer for there not to be a scene. But Shan’ann’s not interested. Should she come pick him up?

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Watts tries to explain that his father is prepared to drive him the next morning – is that okay? No. It’s not. Shan’ann puts her foot down:

“We fucking leave tomorrow. I need help.”

She elects to drive to them regardless, and regardless of her earlier declarations that she’s spotting and doesn’t want to risk walking into them. But Watts inverts the situation, and tells her they’ll bring him home anyway.

This was a precious time for Watts. It was good to be home. He felt himself dreading going back to her. Probably he had some kind of heart to heart with his parents, confiding to them about some of his feelings. His mother might have convinced him, or influenced him, to just tell her. And isn’t that what they spoke about that evening, perhaps while on the drive back to Aberdeen, when it was just him and his folks in the car, driving reluctantly back to her?

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At 21:39 Watts is apparently back at the Rzuceks, and the arguing is still non-stop. He’s finally told Shan’ann how he feels. He’s not in love with her any more. She demands to be hugged. She bristles, adding:

“Make me feel like everything is going to be ok.”

With each successive text, things are getting worse and worse. How can he regain control of this precarious situation?

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Now we’re at the very end of their last night in North Carolina, and it’s getting ugly. The expletives are coming out [from Shan’ann’s side]. She feels like he’s dropped a bomb on her, and she’s more indignant than ever.

How many times do I have to ask you to hold me?”

Shan’ann despairs more and more, but Watts can’t hold her or hug her. It’s becoming clearer he must find a way to fix this, a workable way out, and as Shan’ann becomes more emotional, he becomes less so.

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At 22:33 Shan’ann’s had some time to reflect. She’s realized there’s been a pattern from him for weeks. She remembers it’s been happening for a while – him falling asleep at 7 or 8. She’s so close to figuring it out! She’s already guessed [and guessed right], but unusually for her, now she puts the ball passively into his court.

“You’re not telling me something.”


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“You’re not telling me something.”

This is definitely going to set the alarm bells in his head.

When we revert back to Cassie’s statement in the discovery, we see that Shan’ann begins to act counterintuively right here.


Shan’ann decided not to push Chris on the matter.

From Shan’ann’s perspective, this was a fatal mistake.

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There’s a final aspect to deal with regarding August 6th. During the hours Watts was alone with his parents, what did they talk about? Bear in mind, Cindy had been “hesitant” about Shan’ann from the get go, and Ronnie couldn’t have been too happy about how he’d been treated either – he’d taken a week off work to babysit his grandchildren. It couldn’t have sat well with any of them for Watts to have seen his folks only once, and  only on the very last day of the trip.

So, with Shan’ann not being there, and the kids not being there, there was an opportunity for the three of them to talk openly about Shan’ann. They would have chuckled derisively about her temper, but also been scornful of her attempts to control everyone and everything.

“I don’t see it…I don’t see what you see in her.”

Perhaps Watts confided in his father then that he was having an affair. We don’t know when his parents found out, but we know it was no surprise to Ronnie Watts when his son mentioned the affair during the First Confession. Watts may have felt more comfortable letting his father in on his secret, because his father may have had an affair as well, at least, Cindy had suspected as much.Fullscreen capture 20190806 003559

Whether he told one parent or both parents, one thing was certain; at the time he was having serious issues with Shan’ann, they were having serious issues with her too. It would have been easy, and perhaps a comforting relief, and even validating, for him to offload.

He could share his misgivings about the marriage, and vice versa. His father and mother may even have expressed their solidarity to their son in terms of his predicament, while at the same time warning him about the perils of divorce.

The penny must have dropped for Watts right then that if something happened not just to Shan’ann but the kids as well, well, his parents had already resigned themselves not to seeing her, and the die had been cast in terms of them never seeing the kids again. And since they’d blocked Shan’ann on Facebook, Watts may have imagined they’d be in the dark about what happened to her going forward.

In other words, if Shan’ann and the kids disappeared, how would they know, and if they did know, would they really care?Fullscreen capture 20190818 135123

If you’re finding these blogs drilling into the Phone Data Review useful and insightful, there’s far more analysis and insight regarding this aspect of the narrative in TWO FACE DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY. Book 5 in the TWO FACE series is also the most highly reviewed and rated of the 9 books [4.3 out of 5 stars].


#33 August 5th, 2018: “I don’t want to lose the kids” #1yearagotodayCW

Towards the end of the weekend, on Sunday afternoon, Shan’ann texts her husband, asking him if he wants to visit his grandmother on Monday [August 6th]. Bear in mind, up to this point Watts had been in North Carolina almost a week, and spent almost all of that time with Shan’ann, the kids and her parents.

According to Sandi Rzucek’s typed statement, Frank was with the couple while they were in Myrtle Beach, and a day and a half later Sandi joined them too. So here we are, with two days left of his vacation, and by the end of the first weekend Shan’ann suggests to her husband he might want to go and see his grandmother? Does he want to do that tomorrow?

Watts said yes, he did want to see his Maw Maw, and was hoping to see his folks too.

Notice the craven language he uses.

“I was hoping both. If not that’s ok too. I wanted to see Maw Maw in the morning if possible.”

Shan’ann will decide who her husband sees, and if and when that happens. But she also lays down the law. He must go and see his family alone. She’s not going, and neither are the kids.

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In this simple act Shan’ann is demonstrating early warning about her attitude to custody. It’s also 100% accurate because later in the timeline she tells her pals she will fight for full custody if it comes to that.

About ten minutes later Watts pitches the idea of taking the girls to see his grandmother. But he’s also considerate, saying he doesn’t want to leave them without a car.

Shan’ann’s having none of it. She puts him in his place for having the temerity to even ask her such a thing. Her health is suffering because of this stress. She’s not kidding! She instructs him [and indirectly his parents] when to pick him up – when the kids are asleep, after dark. In other words, she’s perfectly happy to leave him seeing his folks until the end of the day.

Five minutes later Watts is insistent but also carefully obedient. He tells Shan’ann he really wants the kids to see Maw MAw, and promises to make sure there will be zero chance anyone will see them. These words have an ominous ring to them, given the events of exactly week later, Sunday night in Colorado.

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At 20:28 Shan’ann tries to corral her husband with a convenient quote. It’s about husbands protecting their wives. Watts is advised to always take his wife’s side. Given that Watts was embroiled in an affair at this point, this quotation likely didn’t have the sort of impact that an ordinary conversation could have. But it seems later that evening that was on the cards regardless.

Between talking Shan’ann sends more long texts to her husband. Bear in mind they’re in the same time zone, the same town, the same house, probably not the same room though.

At 22:24 [the quote having failed apparently to solicit the right response], Shan’ann tries guilting him. The kids don’t deserve a broken family. [Later she will ask him if he would stay with her if they didn’t have kids]. Late on Sunday night, the penny is dropping that Watts isn’t just unhappy about his dad, or about Nut Gate, or about the situation with the children not seeing his parents, he’s not happy about her. Five days into his trip and Shan’ann’s finally figured out that Watts isn’t in love with her, and she can’t figure out why?

“I don’t know how you fell out of love with me…”

At this point it’s probably worth noting comments made both by Watts’ mother Cindy and Shan’ann’s mother Sandi. Early on during their relationship, Cindy observed how Watts and Shan’ann interacted. Whatever she saw prompted her to say to Sandi:

“I just don’t see it.”

Meaning, she couldn’t see how Shan’ann loved her son.

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Sandi was livid at this observation, but what we can clearly see in the events of August 5th is a sort of passive-aggressive attitude – on Shan’ann’s part. She wears the pants, she calls the shots, it’s her way or the highway. When she finally figures out how much her controlling, domineering attitude has stung her husband, she has absolutely no idea why.

She then borrows strength out of the fact that husbands in general ought to do X, and because of the children, he ought to do Y. Shan’ann not only doesn’t listen to him, she doesn’t grant him the opportunity to be himself. When he does, then she’s not kidding about her problems and another imminent tantrum. It never seems to occur to Shan’ann that he might be unhappy about certain decisions because he wants to see his family just as much as she wants to see hers.

Shan’ann also provides a little insight here into something that’s been niggling at her all week.

“I practically had to ask for a kiss at the airport.”

Since she’s been badgering him and bullying him all week [over Nut Gate], she now wants a genuine explanation for what’s wrong. But whenever he genuinely asks something [like whether he can take the kids to see his parents], she jumps all over him. Is he really going to be so foolish to talk to her about something really serious, like their finances, or an affair?

On the subject of “finances”, it’s probably worth mentioning that Shan’ann confided to her mother about the extent of debt they were in. According to Sandi, a big reason for the debt they were in was due to the kids’ medical bills. [Not because of her health, because of the kids’ poor health].  This medical debt may have prompted the Rzuceks to move in with the Watts family for 15 months to help out. But imagine that – Watts spent over a year-and-a-half with his in-laws living with him, essentially dealing with two Shan’anns over that period.

When he’s back in North Carolina he’s staying with them, while being told when he might be able to see his parents, and under what conditions. A slightly unfair equation?

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“I don’t know how you fell out of love with me…”

“I just don’t see it.”

“I practically had to ask for a kiss at the airport.”

At 22:34 Shan’ann has a change of heart, and tries another, gentler approach. She tells her husband she didn’t really miss his help these last few weeks, because though exhausting, she can handle that [it’s not quite the same message in her Thrive spiels though is it?].

She goes on to tell him how much she’s missed him – his smell, his holding her and touching her. On Day 5 into their holiday, it’s a little late for that, and what happened to her warning a few hours earlier, about not dealing with or not being able to handle the pregnancy? It’s as if a switch flicks in Shan’ann’s mind right here and she suddenly remembers that her husband is a person. Her first thought is to engage him animalistically – sexually.

Clearly, given what is happening at the time, and because of his mistress, this is the last thing on Watts’ mind.

Amazingly, in the midst of telling her husband how much she misses him, she also reverts back to the tough guy, telling him in the same text if he’s not interested, if he’s done, he must tell her. She seems to be offering herself to be touched etc. but if that’s not what he wants, he must tell her.

“I NEED you to tell me!”

He knows exactly what will happen if he does tell her. If his world is radioactive now, it will be melted down to nothing if he reveals any more than the absolute minimum.

So what does he do? Watts doesn’t respond besides telling her [we find out the next morning] that he doesn’t want to lose the kids. This is how he feels. This is probably how he responds to her question [at 23:00]:

“Would you stay with me if we didn’t have kids?”

“I don’t want to lose the kids.”

It’s a loaded question that really means: have you stopped loving me – or the kids? Or more bluntly – do you still love me? He doesn’t. If he possibly can, he wants to come out of this with his daughters. But that’s not going to happen. He knows that’s not going to happen.

The biggest warning of all to Shan’ann is this moment right here: though Shan’ann’s trying to engage him in every conceivable way, Watts is sort of okay just staying in his room, letting her rage one moment, beg and plead the next. He’s made up his mind. He’s already engaging with, dreaming – secretly – of someone else.

At 23:09 Shan’ann’s still at it, but Watts is done, and likely in more ways than one.


#31 August 3rd, 2018: “You created a dagger between me and my father” #1yearagotodayCW

The absence of evidence is evidence. On August 3rd, a Friday, Watts finally communicates some of what’s bothering him. The truth comes out, or part of it. Watts tells Shan’ann directly how he feels about what’s happened between her and his folks.

It’s the right decision, right, to communicate honestly with his wife about how he feels about something? It’s in the same ballpark as “why didn’t he just ask for a divorce?” But there’s a difference between the right thing and what people tend to do.

Probably the deal with his parents is bothering him some, but it’s not the real kernel of the problem, is it? Still, it’s a useful way to test the waters with her.

But you wouldn’t think any of this by looking at the single, apparently harmless entry on August 3rd.

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Late at night what’s the Silver Fox up to? Secreting another image of Kessinger into his Secret Calculator app. This must mean he has some space in the evening to look at the image and move it. [Perhaps to receive it too and comment on it]. This also reinforces the notion that Watts and his wife didn’t sleep in the same bed that night, or any night during the course of his stay in North Carolina. This also suggests that each night once the children were in bed there must have been drama and tears.

August 3rd is different to August 1st and 2nd for the simple reason that Watts finally plays [and thus reveals] a card. It’s a big moment for him, and an unusual one. He tells Shan’ann how he feels about something. To repeat, this is also a test of sorts. How will she react to the card he plays [revealing how he really feels about something, and thus how he feels about her].

Watts probably doesn’t confront Shan’ann as much as she pushes, she prods and she pokes him to get him to talk to her about what’s bugging him. Watts eventually takes the bait and tells Shan’ann that something that’s bothering him has to do with her. It should be emphasized that of the five issues facing Watts then and there, Nut Gate is the lowest priority.

In order of priority, what’s bugging Watts is:

#1 The reality that he is having an affair and he’s still stuck in a marriage.

#2 The pregnancy, making the feeling of “stuckness” worse, and complicating things in terms of his mistress.

#3 Specifically the big house they can no longer afford.

#4 Generally the state of the finances, and what to do about them.

#5 Nut Gate.

When Watts is pushed to the brink by Shan’ann interrogating him [just as Coder and Lee did], he stalls, he diverts, he denies, he tries not to give anything away [because that will get him into trouble]. Finally, when he’s cornered, he admits to the least important thing.

He doesn’t like the fact that he’s in North Carolina and there’s this ill will going on with his parents, especially his father. Perhaps on a Friday the thought has come up to go see his parents over the weekend [he’s already seen hers, and in fact Shan’ann’s father Frank has been with them the whole time]. But Shan’ann has no intention of seeing her in laws, and what’s more, her children are not to be allowed to see his parents either.

The critical aspect here isn’t what they’re arguing about, but how they’re arguing. He’s trying to avoid a confrontation, and we’re about to see why.

How does she react to him bringing up his parents?

How does Shan’ann react to criticism?

And how does her reaction inform what happens next?


#30 August 2nd, 2018: Nude Photos #1yearagotodayCW

On the one hand, Watts was taking photos and video of his children, on the other, he was receiving nude images from his mistress. He had to pick a side. He had to pick who and what he wanted on his phone [and in his life].

Watts seemed to be so smitten he took an image of a necklace he likely intended to buy for Kessinger while hanging out with his family at Myrtle Beach.  Her images kept him on a psychological leash – tethered to her – while his photo of a necklace indicated to her where his loyalties lay. With her.

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But Shan’ann couldn’t know about it. So Watts busily secreted away his stash of images in his Secret Calculator app. As quickly as they came in he hid them away. Even if Shan’ann took his phone she’d be none the wiser, just as if Shan’ann asked him what was going on, he would make sure Shan’ann was none the wiser.


But he did concede one thing that was bothering him. He didn’t volunteer anything about the affair, or even about money [apparently]. The third pregnancy was now [suddenly] an issue for the first time. At 13 weeks Watts suddenly seemed to realize he was in something of a bind. The question was, what to do about it. He started by telling Shan’ann. She didn’t take it well. Who would?

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Obviously telling his wife he didn’t want another child would have felt like an immense betrayal for Shan’ann. Besides that, she would have felt alienated and have difficulty trusting her husband. What lay behind this change of heart? According to Watts, Shan’ann was very emotional and there was a lot of crying.

So how come when the Rzuceks were asked about this, why didn’t they say anything [go to  1:17]?

Incidentally, the word “nude” appears just 8 times in the Discovery Documents, all in reference to Kessinger sending Watts images of herself. These references occur on the following dates:

July 18

July 20

July 24

July 26

July 29 [full nude]

August 2

August 9

August 14

Now we don’t know exactly when Watts let on to his wife that he was having second thoughts about the baby. It’s likely he played it cool for the first three days. This estimate is based on Shan’ann’s lack of response until the dam burst on August 4th. August 2nd was the halfway point between not saying anything and communicating his thoughts about the pregnancy. At the same time he was simply thinking, feeling, listening. He was wondering how Shan’ann was going to react, and then wondering what to do about it.

With each passing hour he felt a greater sense not only of certainty, but urgency. He didn’t want this. Each day here was more asphyxiating. Each successive nude image from Kessinger was a carrot, tempting him to come out of his shell.


#29 August 1st, 2018: “If you are not happy, it’s up to you to change that! Everyone have an amazing day and absolutely fantastic month!” #1yearagotodayCW

Going by the Phone Data Review, nothing much happens on August 1st. After entire pages filled with mischievous activity preceding his reunion with his family, on the day he’s with his family there’s almost nothing. Watts takes some photos of his kids at The Pavilion Park in Myrtle Beach in the evening and then its on to the next day.

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Okay then, moving right along to #30, August 2nd-

Whoah whoah whoah.  Not so fast.


Think of the context here. Watts has been on an epic high, had the time of his life with his mistress for several weeks, but now he’s back in the thick of things, not only with his wife and children, but his in laws. Is there a seamless transition for him from the bachelor life back to this one? And of course now the roles are reversed. While he was with Kessinger, he was trying to keep his wife in the dark and sort of juggle his obligations to them with what he wanted to do with his mistress.

Now that he’s with his family, does he try to keep his mistress in the dark about anything, or does he persist in keeping his family in the dark. Does he try to be in two places at once – dutifully hanging out with the family in the sense of sort of just showing up, meanwhile staying in regular contact with Kessinger who must be feeling in need of reassurance.

It turns out to be a bit of both. He is keeping his mistress in the dark about something. Him and Shan’ann aren’t separated…well, not until August 1st. And the night of July 31st leading into August 1st is really the first time Shan’ann realizes something is seriously wrong. It’s only on the first night with her man that Shan’ann is alerted for the first time that he might not be [with her, that is].

At the same time Watts is also keeping Shan’ann in the dark. He won’t say why he’s feelings have changed. And he’ll take the whole week to figure out 1) how much they’ve changed 2) what that means and 3) how he intends to fix the situation.

This strategy is exactly what we’d expect from an introvert, and because of this Shan’ann at first isn’t quite sure what it means. She’s used to being in control and controlling the situation, so she sort of figures he’ll come round, and after a few pokes, jabs and barbs, she’ll get him back to jumping when she says jump, and back to dancing to her tune.

This situation starts the moment Watts arrives in Aberdeen the previous night, July 31st. You’ll notice Shan’ann texts him, asking him at 21:49 for a wake-up call at 05:00. Watts responds, “Yup, I got it. Love you.” Shan’ann texts back, “Love you, too.”

Watts probably got very little sleep the night before [at Kessinger], unless he was able to sleep on the plane. At any rate, why are Watts and his wife texting each other about wake up calls and loving each other? Why not simply say it to each other? Isn’t it obvious? Because on his first night in North Carolina they’re sleeping apart. In fact, Shan’ann is sleeping on the couch presumably in the family lounge.

If Watts was very tired, he may have used this as an excuse to go to bed early, either simply because he was tired, or to forestall a deep discussion in the bedroom and in bed, or both. It’s also possible that Shan’ann was upset by Watts’ cool response to her at the airport, and so, to demonstrate her pique, she would sleep on the couch and also make sure her family [the Rzuceks] were aware of what was happening. In other words, the real world version of coercion, but instead of using Facebook as a platform, she was using the family lounge.

If the texts don’t seem adequate proof that something was afoot that first night, then how about Shan’ann’s brother’s statement to CBI agents Matt Sailor and Traci Schwartzbauer on August 21st [Discovery Documents, page 685].

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Frankie Rzucek was also in the home, and noticed Shan’ann sleeping on the couch. Think about it. She’s pregnant, she’s in her own families’ home, and she’s sleeping on the couch. Does this seem like Shan’ann having a fit and electing to sleep there, or Watts demanding to sleep alone?

Now, we might want to dial back the melodrama and say it was a one-off. Because Frankie also says this:

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But the next night the Watts family headed to Myrtle Beach for the week, so Frankie wouldn’t know what the sleeping arrangements were after that. It’s easy to find out what they were, because Shan’ann talks to her friends about crying herself to sleep all week. We’ll get to that in due course. At this point we only want to be clear about the state of mind Watts is in when he arrives in North Carolina, and how quickly the battle lines are drawn.

Although we can’t rely on everything Watts says, on this point he lets slip that the moment he arrived in North Carolina, everything was different.

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Now, another aspect Frankie raises is that the moment Watts arrived in North Carolina, Shan’ann became sick. 

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It may be that the stress and strain of what was happening made her feel sick, or it may be that she was acting up to curry sympathy. In this context it’s even more bizarre that Shan’ann ended up sleeping on the couch.

We also need to pay urgent attention to Frankie knowing Watts was “acting standoffish” on Day 1, but “they” [presumably Frankie and his parents] did not think much about it. 

Let’s hover over this aspect for a minute. Shan’ann is sick and out of sorts, Watts arrives in town after not seeing his family for 5 weeks. His wife is 13 weeks pregnant. Their son/brother in law is sleeping under the same roof but they didn’t think much about him being standoffish to their daughter/son?

If we take this statement at face value, it suggests that the Rzuceks took Shan’ann with a pinch of salt, not only her tantrums, but her health scares. In this respect, one can say they found themselves in the same boat as Watts, and allegorically at least, let Shan’ann act out on the couch while they slept in their beds.

On this issue, let’s look at an interview with the Ruzuceks where they were asked specifically if they noticed Shan’ann wasn’t happy:

At 1:17 in the clip below, the ABC reporter mentions Shan’ann appearing to have the perfect life, and that she was happy. Both Sandi and Frank are adamant here that Shan’ann was “absolutely” happy, although Sandi seems more certain of herself than Shan’ann’s father.

It beggars belief in true crime when someone ends up dead, that the family and friends stick to a narrative that everything was perfect, it was all a wonderful fairy tale until the moment it was a nightmare. This spiel repeats itself so often in true crime it’s virtually a cliche. But the explanation is simple. The murderer is a monster who just snapped. No further context necessary. No underlying dynamics are relevant. Except they are.

On August 1st, the morning after Shan’ann’s headaches and vomiting and sleeping alone on the couch seems to have passed. She’s excited about August and Thriving again!

I’m so excited about August! Girls and I Fly home August 7th! I fly to Scottsdale Aug 10-12 for an amazing weekend with my Le-Vel family! Gender Reveal for Baby Watts #3! Our team is having lots of success, growth both personally and business, several new friends starting their Thrive Experience and lots of new Promoters who decided to change their life! Lots of excitement, Lots to be Thankful for!

You know what I love about waking up everyday…It’s a brand new day to have a fresh start, to be better than I was yesterday, To help someone feel better and happier, to make someone smile and laugh!

I am just truly blessed and love waking up thankful and happy!

If you are not happy, it’s up to you to change that!

Everyone have an amazing day and absolutely fantastic month!

On August 1st, what’s missing from this anecdote? There’s zero mention of a significant change in her life – her husband is back at her side after 5 weeks apart.

Besides that, Shan’ann seems to be in a position to counsel and provide guidance to others less fortunate than herself.

I am just truly blessed and love waking up thankful and happy! 

Now imagine if you’re Sandi, Frank and Frankie, and you know the Shan’ann on the couch, you’ve seen her, and then you see that. One reason you wouldn’t want to be too truthful about the real situation is because the above is a sales pitch. It’s how Shan’ann makes money, by trying to convince the world how happy and well they are [and subsequent to her murder, the Rzuceks inherited her sales business].

It doesn’t take a genius, an expert, an FBI agent or even a rocket scientist to gauge the level of harmony or happiness from these pictures and video.

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At 0:55 in the clip below Shan’ann is documenting on Facebook how happy she and the family are. It’s the first time the kids are at the beach and Bella is mostly terrified [and unwilling to hold her father’s hand]. Shan’ann never mentions Watts, and Watts never talks to her. Frank seems to tippy-toe in and out of the periphery. It’s a stilted scene, but with Shan’ann in control, her friends assume all is well. They assume Watts’ silence is just the same old introvert they’ve seen in other videos. But it’s not the same Chris.

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While he stands dumbly, with Shan’ann’s camera mercilessly trained on him, Watts must be wondering whether Kessinger will see this. And if Shan’ann is suspicious of an affair, she will want her [whoever it is] to see it.

The question is, did she, and if she did, what did she think?