#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.

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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.

Best

John Walsch

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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.

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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.

Ready?

  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?


#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.

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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.

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#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.

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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?

#28 July 31st, 2018: When Chris Watts arrives at the airport in North Carolina, an alarm can be heard sounding in the background #1yearagotodayCW

Chris Watts had to be up early on July 31st, a Tuesday morning, to catch his 05:00 flight with Southwest Airlines [WN 656] from Denver International Airport to Raleigh, North Carolina. It wouldn’t be a direct flight either. He flew via Atlanta. Including the stopover, he’d be at airports, in transit and in the air for around five hours, plenty of time to get some shut eye, or to contemplate his lot in life.

Since Watts had the use of the Lexus [something he elected to do either out of ignorance or in spite of Shan’ann’s wishes], he spent the night at Kessinger’s, and close to 03:00 drove direct from her place to the airport.

Kessinger’s apartment was on the way to the airport anyway, five minutes closer than driving from Frederick. Once again, the dodgy garage sensor not going off that morning came in real handy. It provided him with yet another alibi.

Kessinger’s home was 15.7 miles south of the Watts residence.

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The fact that Watts took a photo of the parking sign suggests that Shan’ann did want Watts to take the car to the airport. They could all use it when they flew back. The setup at Denver parking is such that rates vary from $120 a day, to #33 a day, $25 a day, $16 a day and $8 a day.

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Watts chose the second cheapest option, which triggered a fuming response from Shan’ann. We’ll deal with that in more detail in a moment.

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We can clearly see Watts’ headspace even early on a Tuesday morning. While he’s trying to follow his wife’s orders, he’s also trying to hide away evidence of his mistress. At 04:08 he hurriedly transfers around 50 images to the Secret Calculator.

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Once done with that it’s back to keeping the peace with Shan’ann. At 04:46 he lets her know he’s boarding and tells her he loves her. This is Watts trying to manipulate her with terms of endearment. But it doesn’t work.

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The instructions Shan’ann sends to him at 04:53 for how to schedule a ride with Uber suggests Shan’ann didn’t authorize her husband to use the car, and didn’t want him to use airport parking whatsoever. We know even on her short trip to Arizona, Shan’ann caught a ride with Nickole, and possibly shared the parking fee.

Regardless whether Watts was in the wrong, or whether Shan’ann was justified in being stung by another unnecessary expense, Watts rendezvous with his wife was off to a pretty sobering start. Where he’d been footloose and fancy free surfing the sand dunes and romping with his girlfriend over the weekend, now he was reduced to photographing parking signs and being reprimanded for “not listening”.

If Watts took and sent the parking photo on his own initiative, then we see signs of a more  Machiavellian nature. Then the “cheap parking” image is a distraction from the real reason he wanted the car – so he could transit at Kessinger’s place for a final few hours before catching his flight.

Watts continued to give Shan’ann regular updates. This too was in stark contrast to his behavior over the weekend, and in fact over the past several weeks. Shan’ann continued to give orders.

When he arrives, she’s to let him know so she can record the girls’ reactions. [It doesn’t matter that he hates being in these videos, and that all of them end up being posted on social media].

But Watts tries to be as casual and forthcoming as he possibly can. He tells her:

Ok Boo.

He’s using the affectionate term often to imply that there’s absolutely nothing amiss from his side of the relationship, even though there are serious problems. Watts just doesn’t want a confrontation.

But there is a confrontation – of sorts. Watts has to face his children on camera, and sure enough, it doesn’t go well.

“When Chris Watts caught up to her, Bella was screaming at the top of her lungs…” [Discovery Documents, page 681]

If Shan’ann’s father’s account is accurate, then the reunion had to be filmed twice. Why would Bella be terrified of her father, or be acting in a strange way towards him? One possibility is that the little girl may have overheard her mother talking with her father on the phone, and possibly crying or appearing distressed afterwards. Another possibility is that Shan’ann may have implied to Bella that Watts’ mother had tried to kill her sister, or almost killed her. Either way, having spent 5 weeks [at this point] only in the care of her mother, it’s possible her emotional bond with her father had been refashioned into a kind of terror. Ironically, this “intuition” was correct, but it may also be that if Watts felt his girls had turned against them in some significant way, he may have seen their lives as “taken” by Shan’ann, and “lost” to him.

In any event it’s probably a mistake to ask whether Watts’ behavior caused his children to feel alienated, or the other way round. It was likely a bit of both.

If the video clip below is the second take of the reunion at the airport, we notice a few things weird about it.

  1. Neither of the children seem to have any kind of obvious limp or injury to their ankles of feet. [Shan’ann also says, “Don’t run” over the sound of an airport alarm.]
  2. Watts appears awkward, and despite his Boos and loves yous over text, makes little effort to even greet or acknowledge Shan’ann on camera. [If he does, and Shan’ann posts is, and Kessinger sees it, he’ll have to answer to her too].
  3. Sure enough, Shan’ann posts the fake reunion online, which is how and why we’re able to see it today.
  4. Shan’ann recording the reunion and sharing it online was her way of caging her husband, by continually portraying him against his will in the role of a loving father, and husband, but really, trying to coerce him into staying in the marriage. She knew as well as he did that things weren’t going well in their marriage, and with their family in general.
  5. Finally, Watts hugs and kisses Shan’ann [off-camera], but the way he does this sets off the alarm bells for Shan’ann. [A few days later she is still commenting on how she practically had to ask him for a kiss at the airport].Fullscreen capture 20190731 133033

Bear in mind, Watts’ official version [and apparently the accepted version] is that on the morning of the murders, he had sex with Shan’ann and then they had a conversation where they discussed getting rid of the house. Even then, even in this fictional spiel, Watts didn’t see himself admitting to the affair. He couldn’t.

It’s important to emphasize Watts’ use of terms of endearments to soothe his wife while his feelings for her and how he acts towards her aren’t affectionate either. It’s also worth noting that Shan’ann is also guilty of the same two-faced approach, scornful in her messages and instructions, but the perfect all-is-well mother on social media.

On July 31st he got into a shitload of trouble over a parking disagreement. Imagine what would have happened if he asked his pregnant wife for a divorce while he was having an affair, and while she was still in nuclear meltdown with his parents over nuts in ice cream.

This dilemma would be on his mind for the next week, while his wife and children milled around him, and while his mistress sent him regular images of herself in various states of undress.

 

#27 July 30th, 2018: Resetting Settings + Writing Love Letters #1yearagotodayCW

On Monday it was back to work for Watts. This day was arguably the last normal work day for Watts, because when he returned from North Carolina, the premeditation was likely locked in.

As was her usual habit, Shan’ann called Watts first thing in the morning before he left for work. She may have given him a brief list of instructions that included sorting out her car insurance and getting the damned defective Vivint sensor fixed.

At 09:18 Shan’ann sent Watts three images of a serious injury to one of their children. Watts observed that the ankle appeared dislocated. It’s possible the visual of this injury fed into the mental preparation that was psychologically primed and already in place. How did he feel about his family getting hurt? Bear in mind, what he did to his children’s bodies [stuffing them through thief hatches] wasn’t just an effort to hide their bodies, but to destroy their limbs, to dissolve them into nothing.

It’s unknown which child was injured but it would be no surprise to learn that it was Ceecee. This injury should also be seen in the context of Shan’ann’s earlier fear that Watts’ mother had tried to kill her child. Now we have a serious injury, the circumstances of which aren’t even mentioned. Who was supervising the child when the injury happened? Were they trying to kill the child? Obviously not, but doesn’t it reveal a double standard at best, hypocrisy at worst?

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At 16:44 Kessinger called and left her second voicemail with a creepy, schoolgirl-like giggle. Background noise suggests the call was made while driving. The couple were very much in love at this point, as evidenced by the effort Watts made into researching lovey-dovey lyrics and love letters.  [Five days earlier he’d researched “when to say I love you” online].

Watts likely called Kessinger back shortly after receiving her message, but this call is also deleted from Watts’ device.

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It’s noteworthy that the last order of business for Watts before he decamped from Colorado, was dealing with Vivint and crafting his love letters to Kessinger. On July 30th, his final day in Colorado without his wife and children, what’s he doing specifically?

1. VIVINT

Watts is working, “…resetting settings and sensitivity…and [monitoring]”of the home security system. This is necessary because he’ll be away all week, and also because the system needs to be programmed so that Deeter doesn’t set it off.

This also begs the question, when Watts was away on the camping trip, and sleeping over at Kessinger, where was Deeter? We know Nicolas Atkinson and Nickole were roped in to babysit the dog during the first week of August, and were briefed on the security system and front door code, but what happened before that? Did Watts leave the animal “caged” in the basement the entire time he was sleeping over at Kessinger’s? 

Did this control of the animal while he was getting his kicks also form part of him hardening his heart, and developing the necessary mental preparation to commit triple murder?

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And there’s something else. It may be that during the next week, while sulking, and pining away for Kessinger, he started plotting, and saw the loopholes in the home security system as the key to pulling off his scheme.

2. LOVE LETTERS

At 18:38, presumably while still at home, Watts Googled “love letters”. About an hour-and-a-half later he was likely done, and ready to leave him. Instead he told Shan’ann:

“Letting Dieter out and going to bed Boo. Love you.” 

But he no longer loved her.  He loved someone else, really loved her. That night he didn’t go to bed early, and didn’t sleep in his own bed. It’s likely he didn’t go to sleep at all.

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#25 July 28th, 2018: “So Damn Sexy!” #1yearagotodayCW

Based on the sheer amount of photos Chris Watts took during the two-day camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes, it’s clear the adventure with Nichol Kessinger meant a lot to him. It was exciting, fun, and he was intoxicated by her [and she by him].

They used Kessinger’s vehicle to travel to the Great Sand Dunes, and by 12:53 they’d already pitched a yellow tent [Kessinger’s].

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This song was playing in the background when the campsite was briefly recorded on video:

It looks like these images below [above cloud level] were taken with the campsite slightly in the background, to the left.

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Between 14:29 and 18:55 Watts took dozens of photos and video, of the landscape, but also of his mistress sandboarding, and several selfies of himself with her. Kessinger was dressed provocatively for the outing in a tight, sleeveless teal t-shirt, and very short shorts. Watts was more understated in a grey shirt, black shorts and black cap.

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Even without make-up, Kessinger was hitting the right buttons with Watts, causing him to voiceover a video of her skiing down to the bottom of a dune:

“So damn sexy!”

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She thought he was too.

We know that shortly after the trip ended, on July 30th, Watts wrote several love letters on colored paper.

Whatever he felt, it appeared to be mutual. In a self-recorded video that first afternoon, Kessinger breathlessly thanked Watts for coming out with her, and said she was glad he was having a blast.

View this post on Instagram

#ChrisWatts

A post shared by Nick van der Leek (@nickvdleek) on

Both Watts and his mistress knew they had to make this last weekend count. It was the last chance, at the end of their long, hot, summer romance, to punch the ticket and stay on the roller-coaster for one final series of giddy swoops and turns.  After that, it would be back to intermittent cuddles and random, stolen intimacies.

Kessinger still had the idea then that when Shan’ann and the kids returned, her access to her beau would be seriously reduced. Watts was even more painfully aware that once Shan’ann and the kids were back, the roller-coaster ride was going to be over, perhaps forever.

That night they made a campfire and then bedded down together under the whispering trees and twinkling stars.

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It’s also worth noting that on July 28th Shan’ann never got hold of Watts, and he never got hold of her. If they had spoken at any time that day, perhaps this would have interrupted the spell, broken “the leash” Kessinger was placing on her man.

This was the first day in weeks, perhaps years, that they had not spoken for a full day, and perhaps that was all that was needed to put his family completely out of his mind. On the 28th he was experiencing what it felt like not be be married, not to be a husband, not to be a father, not to be obligated to them. He didn’t need to think about them or do anything he didn’t want to do. And he liked loved it. This was the life he wanted.

The Great Sand Dunes made an indelible impression on Watts and, based on Kessinger’s texts to her friend Charlotte Nelson two weeks later, seemed to seal the deal for her too.

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#24 July 27th, 2018: Friday #1yearagotodayCW

July 27th was a Friday. Wine and romance seemed on the cards before leaving for their adventure in the dunes the next day. Watts told his wife he was going hiking. Plausible deniability. A small lie to hide a bigger lie. This way he could get away with not having reception on his phone for long periods.  This would be his same MO when lying to friends, family and cops. Watts may have imagined himself a good liar, but lying to a wife and mistress about minutiae is a different ball game to lying to the media and the FBI about triple murder. Fullscreen capture 20190726 102521

It’s likely a lot of data has been deleted from July 27th, including Watts’ bogus hiking bullshit to Shan’ann.

#23 July 26th, 2018: Money, Security and a “Good Mood” #1yearagotodayCW

Whose idea was it to go the Great Sand Dunes National Park that weekend? When did that idea come up?

July 26th, 2018, was the last Thursday leading up to Watts’ final weekend with Nichol Kessinger before flying down to North Carolina. They were going to need to make it count. But first, there was some admin to be done.

Unusually, the first call to Watts’ phone that morning was from Kessinger. Since he was up and running, Watts elected to call his wife afterwards. Shan’ann called him back, then again mid-morning. Their calls may have had something to do with Vivint, and the still broken garage sensor, or to do with cash, or both. Watts was going to need some if he was going to go on a camping trip with his mistress that weekend. [On July 30th we know for a fact that Shan’ann and Watts were still talking about the “sensitivity” of the Vivint settings].

After work, Watts called Chase Bank, which suggests the idea to go to Great Sand Dunes that weekend could have happened sometime that Thursday, possibly at work. Since Kessinger says in the video “thank you for coming here with me”, it appears to have been her idea.

A few minutes after calling the bank, Watts accessed Myprepaidcenter.com. It was by using this system that Watts was able to buy things for several weeks without alerting Shan’ann to his non-discretionary expenses.

After that Watts tried to sort things out with Vivint, calling Shan’ann afterwards to report  on any progress. Possibly he also took Kessinger out to the Lazy Dog restaurant near their home that evening and used his prepaid debit card to finance the meal.Fullscreen capture 20190726 102512

Meanwhile on Shan’ann’s Facebook, she and Bella were all smiles. Shan’ann gave herself a clean bill of health, as well as everyone around her.

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#21 July 24th 2018: “Man I’m having affair with says he will leave his wife” #1yearagotodayCW

July 24th was roughly halfway into Shan’ann’s 6 week adventure in North Carolina, three weeks prior to her murder and two weeks after Nut Gate. It’s clear by this milestone it wasn’t only the couple that were arguing, they seemed to be arguing with their respective in laws as well.

By July 24th Kessinger seemed to have confirmation from Watts that the man she said she loved [ she told him she loved him “a couple of times] also loved her, and planned to [somehow] make it official.

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On July 24th Shan’ann’s mother called Watts 12 different times, demonstrating that if Shan’ann could push and pressure him, so could Sandi. Sandi spoke to Watts for around 30 minutes over the course of those twelve calls [each call thus lasting roughly two to three minutes].

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We can also see how smoothly and easily Watts lies to Shan’ann about where he was, and what he was doing. Cheating in general, but conducting an affair in particular, requires planning, foresight, and knowing how to plausibly account for downtime. All of this was practice for the dark acts that were brewing in the back of his mind.

We can see that July 24th was also the first time Shan’ann truly saw beyond Nut Gate, and realized something was very wrong with him, and their marriage. She even mentions it to him “having another girl” which Watts craftily lets slide. But this was late, too late. It was already more than three weeks into his sexually active affair and he’d already committed himself to his mistress, and apparently, she to him.  Shan’ann’s suspicions at this point were a serious threat to his future now, and his future plans. What could he do about that?

In total, Shan’ann and her mother spoke to Watts for over an hour on July 24th, a new record. Visa-Exe.Black-Univ-rel

#20 July 23rd, 2018: An Average Monday #1yearagotodayCW

July 23rd, 2018, a Monday, started the same way most weekdays did during the 5 weeks Shan’ann and the kids were away. Shan’ann called him at the crack of dawn, catching him just before he went to work. Later, at work presumably, Watts transferred another image of Kessinger into his Secret Calculator app.

…it felt like she had a leash on him and she was able to tug him away from Shan’ann…[CBI Report, page 5

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Why did Watts call Nickole? Was it to do another Thrive promo, as he had with Cristina Meacham?

By the evening, it was back to wining and healthy dining with Kessinger, and sleeping over.