#49 Wednesday August 29th, 2018: Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent texts Nichol Kessinger if she’s read *THIS* blog #1yearagotodayCW

Between 09:45 and 10:09 on the morning of August 29th, 2018, a Wednesday, Nichol Kessinger sends Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Kevin Koback the following text:


This is in reference to news circulating in the media about Watts possibly being involved with another man [Trent Bolte], and which I was covered in a post the day prior on Shakedown.

Was Chris Watts having an affair with another man? UPDATED [August 28th, 2018]

Koback answers that yes, he is aware of the news, and asks Kessinger if Watts ever mentioned anything “about that?”

KESSINGER: Not at all. I don’t know if I believe this yet but he fooled me into thinking he was a much different person than he is, so anything is possible.

As an afterthought, Kessinger added that she might have some reinforcing information.

KESSINGER: But I do have some dates for things he said that I think [are] in line with some things that other man [Trent Bolte] claimed. I already had them on my list to talk to you about.

Koback answers with a single word.


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And then Koback sends Kessinger a follow-up question with a link to a blog post I authored on Shakedown, dated August 23rd, 2018. This link:


I posted that blog two days after Watts appeared in court for the second time, based on information presented [and later removed/redacted] from the Warrantless Arrest Affidavit.

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Since the affidavit explicitly mentioned Watts was actively having an affair with a co-worker, it didn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out who she was. All one had to do was go through the list of female names on the affidavit, exclude those involved in law enforcement, and cross-reference those affiliated with the oil industry. More likely than not the likely candidate would be reasonably attractive and probably, though not necessarily, close to Watts’ age or slightly younger.

In the end there was only one name, one likely candidate that stood out. A certain Nichol Kessinger was one of a handful of names listed as “address pending”. The others included Frank Rzucek Junior, Nickole Utoft Atkinson [spelled incorrectly], Jeremy Lindstrom [spelled incorrectly], Cristina Meacham [spelled incorrectly], Addy Molony [spelled incorrectly] and Sam Paisley. None of these individuals had connections to the oil industry, and half of the women weren’t even resident in Colorado.

There was also another compelling reason why it probably was Kessinger. Because there was almost no evidence of her online. By as early as August 23rd, Kessinger had scrubbed virtually all traces of herself online, but not everything. This photo, for example, came up.


Google cache still had a reference to Kessinger working for Halliburton, a company associated with the oil industry.


And with a little digging, it turned out Kessinger’s father lived in Arvada and was also affiliated with the oil industry.


Arvada, incidentally, is where Kessinger and her father [and her dog] had their very first interview with the FBI at around midday on August 15th, 2018.  It was the same day Watts failed his polygraph and by the end of it, he’s partially confessed to the crime.

Kessinger’s response to Koback’s text asking her, “Have you seen this?” and the link to the Shakedown post Is SHE Chris Watts’s Mystery Mistress? was yeah, she had seen it.


KESSINGER: Yeah I saw that. Those people are grasping at straws. That picture is very very old and they don’t have my last few employers or my correct address. Or even my last few addresses for that matter. I’m really doing my best to stay under the radar as long as possible. Do they release more information about his case at his hearing on November 19?

But “those people” weren’t grasping at straws. It turned out it was Kessinger all along, and while the media only disclosed her identity in an “exclusive” published by the Denver Post on November 16, three days before the final sentencing hearing, the real scoop had been published by me almost three months earlier, as early as August 23rd, just ten days after the incident.

In late August, Kessinger was right about one thing. People were grasping at straws because tight control was being managed around the information in this case. Some of the less intuitive argued in the months that followed that Kessinger wasn’t necessarily the mystery mistress, because there wasn’t absolute proof that she worked at Anadarko.

The media remained strangely silent on the matter while going crazy about Trent Bolte as well as another dubious mistress Watts supposedly met on Tinder. In hindsight, both of these charlatans appeared to be either random attempts by individuals to hog the limelight, or someone was purposefully and strategically trying to misdirect attention and speculation away from Kessinger [and Anadarko] in the run up to the trial in November. 

Did they succeed?

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More:  More Photos of Chris Watts’ Mystery Mistress [Updated] [October 17, 2018]

Text Messages Between Nichol Kessinger and CBI Agent Kevin Koback – includes a reference by Koback and Kessinger to #SHAKEDOWN

You haven’t seen these photos of Shan’ann and Chris Watts

#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?

#47 Tuesday August 21st, 2018: Chris Watts formally charged with the murders of his wife and two daughters #1yearagotodayCW

Over the weekend, a weekend that was supposed to be spent celebrating a gender reveal, before changing that to a romantic marriage-saving break in Aspen, instead a candlelight vigil was held outside 2825 Saratoga Trail. This vigil was held to remember Shan’ann, Bella and Ceecee, whose bodies had been recovered at an Anadarko well site earlier in the week. They had been missing since Monday morning.

Hundreds gathered on the lawn of the big brown house as the sun was setting on Saturday afternoon.

Whatever Watts’ plans for his mistress, he spent his weekend in jail, while Nichol Kessinger enjoyed her final weekend of anonymity. No one knew then that Watts even had a mistress.

By Monday, when the warrantless arrest affidavit revealed as much, her goose was cooked.  [She would have a few additional days grace before her name began to blitz through social media].

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Weld County and Watts’ defense counsel also worked feverishly over the weekend. By Monday they had prepared 63 motions between them.

Fullscreen capture 20190820 141336 It should be noted when Watts appeared in court [this would be his second of a total of only four appearances], he denied killing his children, but was charged with their murders regardless. This must have seemed like a cruel blow to Watts, who may have believed – until a certain point – that Coder and Lee had believed his lies.

In any event, the arrest affidavit and the charges made it clear what the authorities actually believed. Briefly, they accused Watts of the premeditated murder [acting after deliberation] of his wife and children, and accused him of committing all three crimes at his home  before transporting their bodies to the oil site. The affidavit suggested that the crimes were committed in one or several of the bedrooms upstairs.

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Once the preliminary hearing was concluded on Tuesday morning, in the Division 5 court, the Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke introduced himself to the media and held a brief press conference. Shan’ann’s father, who’s grief was written over his face throughout the hearing, made a short statement to the media as well, reading from a small scrap of yellow paper [possibly taken from a legal pad].

By the end of the day the Chris Watts case was the highest-profile true crime case in America, and the community believed a criminal trial [possibly involving a death penalty] was a foregone conclusion. Shan’ann’s younger brother’s angry rants on social media also seemed to confirm the likelihood of a criminal trial as a foregone conclusion.

More: Christopher Watts blames his wife for daughters’ killings, court documents say – CBS

Chris Watts case: Read the full arrest affidavit compiled by Colorado investigators, FBI – ABC Action News

Chris Watts case: What we learned from unsealed affidavit – CNN

Chris Watts charged with murder, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in deaths of wife, daughters – The Denver Channel

18CR2003 The People of the State of Colorado v. Christopher Lee Watts – Courts.State.co.us

Warrantless Arrest Affidavit – Courts.State.co.us

#46 Sunday August 19th, 2018: Nichol Kessinger searches “Amber Frey Book Deal, Net Worth” on Google #1yearagotodayCW

The final entry in the 50 page Phone Data Review is this one, on August 19th.


Did people hate Amber Frey?

Do people hate Nichol Kessinger?

If the answer to these questions are different, why are they different?

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Amber Frey emerged as a hero in the Scott Peterson trial. She played a key role in his arrest and an even more prominent role in his conviction. Many of the circumstances of the Watts case are similar to the Peterson case. Laci Peterson was 8 months pregnant, Scott Peterson was cheating on her with Amber, there were serious financial problems and Scott and Laci were also seen by the community and their families as the perfect couple.

The personalities of Laci and Shan’ann and Scott and Chris are also broadly similar. The wives seemed to be in charge of their husbands, wearing the pants and holding the purse strings in the marriage. The husbands were handsome, not particularly successful in the career sense, and somewhat introverted. There’s even the notion of stealing the murdered wife’s jewelry and pawning it for much-needed pocket-money in both cases.

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Nichol Kessinger’s statements played a key role in the ultimate arrest and arguably, swift prosecution of Watts. Had she supported him to the end, even through a trial, things could have been very different.

It’s certainly possible that his version that Shan’ann murdered the children could have succeeded in a criminal court if he’d had her support and backing. The fact that Kessinger went to the police as soon as she did is the reason that never happened.

It should also be pointed out Kessinger went to the police within two days of finding out about the family’s disappearance. It’s not clear when Amber Frey went to the police, some reports say she went too the cops on December 30th, which was six days after Laci’s disappearance.

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But we do know the circumstances were different because Laci’s parents and friends maintained their faith in Scott’s innocence while the Rzuceks and Shan’ann’s friends did not. So in Amber’s case, the police didn’t want it immediately known when they knew about Amber. This also allowed Amber to secretly record many conversations with Scott for three weeks after Laci’s disappearance.

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This is another big difference in the two mistresses. Kessinger broke off her relationship almost immediately while Amber Frey didn’t. Amber finally came forward publicly on January 17th, around 4 weeks after Laci’s disappearance.

The public have since praised Amber for double-crossing Scott despite her – a single mother – having an affair. Amber also knew Scott was married but assumed he was separated, or that his wife was dead, it’s not clear which.

Read the Rocket Science trilogy on the Scott Peterson case at this link.

More: Demystifying Kessinger’s “Amber Frey Moment”

Chris Watts: Inside the Mind of His Mistress

The Murder of Laci Peterson – Dr. Oz

Amber Frey unravels Scott Peterson’s Lies – NBC

Profile of Amber Frey, Ex-Mistress of Murderer Scott Peterson – Thought Co

What Is Amber Frey Doing In 2017? Scott Peterson’s Ex-Girlfriend Has Moved On From The Case – Bustle

#45 Friday August 17th, 2018: “Mr. Watts, why did you kill your wife and two children?” #1yearagotodayCW

The bodies of both little girls were retrieved in the mid to late afternoon on Thursday. Bear in mind the children were murdered Sunday night, but even if we accept they were murdered Monday morning, it took until Thursday afternoon to simply retrieve their bodies. For those thinking this was an easy or simple case to investigate, prosecute or just figure out, think again.

Watts’ exit strategy may have been seriously flawed and poorly conceived, but his execution was far from the worst of the dozen or so high-profile cases True Crime Rocket Science has analyzed over the past few years.

Moving on to Friday, August 17th. It doesn’t appear at all in the Phone Data Review. One reason for this is that Watts’ phone had been confiscated at this point. [Kessinger was still using hers, however]. August 17th is the first day since July 4th where a day is missing from the timeline. June 17th is nevertheless a very significant day.

Just one day after Watt’s arrest, he’s already assembled [or one has been assembled for him] a sizable legal team. On the same day but prior to his court appearance on August 17th, several members of his defense team are actively working inside his home; boxing evidence, taking photos, scribbling notes and making observations.


Watts’ neighbor, possibly Nate Trinastich, calls in a burglary next door. Then, this happens.


I deal with the details of the cops entering the scene in book six of the TWO FACE series. One detail worth noting here is the camera equipment set up below the stairs.



Chris Watts appears shackled in court as bodies of missing pregnant wife and two daughters, 3 and 4, are found – The Mirror

It should be noted that as early as August 17th the media was reporting on the fact that prosecutors believed the crime scene [where all three murders took place] was inside the Watts home.

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When Watts emerges for his “perp walk” wearing his orange outfit for the first time, a local reporter calls out:

“Mr. Watts, why did you kill your wife and two children?”

During the court session, the bald fellow [James Edward Merson] that had been in Watts’ home gathering evidence can be seen seated at Watts’ right hand. Nothing ever came of the “defense case” that day, nor ever since.

Read the most highly rated and reviewed book in the definitive TWO FACE series.

#44 Thursday August 16th, 2018: “He fooled us” #1yearagotodayCW

Shan’ann Watts’ body was exhumed at 23:00 on August 15th, about the same time Watts was arrested and taken into custody.

From the station in Frederick Watts was taken to Weld County Jail by Officer James. The same officer had taken Watts’ father earlier in the evening to local hotels on Firestone Boulevard.

He didn’t know it just then, but that night was to be the first night of the rest of Watts’ new life – not surfing sand dunes but wiling away his life, reading the bible and tattered prison paperbacks all within an incarcerated state. So much for keeping his home, his girlfriend and people’s good impression of him – within three days of the murder he’d lost all of that, as well as his freedom for the rest of his life.

The Phone Data Review has one fairly nondescript entry for Thursday the 16th.

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It’s easy to forget this aspect one year later, but immediately after Watts’ arrest, the Thayer couple did a series of interviews with the media. Some following this case may recall that Nick and Amanda had let Watts sleep over in their home on Tuesday night, August 14th, following a few hours of questioning by the FBI. Nick [a professional photographer] and Watts were jogging pals. Nick Thayer had taken the now famous Watts Family Photos and also likely photographed Shan’ann’s spread for a Thrive magazine promotion.


Shan’ann and Amanda [an education director] were friends and fellow Thrivers.


The couple had copped a lot of flack online for harboring a man suspected of killing his family. Many who had watched the Sermon on the Porch reckoned Watts story didn’t add up, but the Thayers seemed to feel differently. They’d actually stood beside him, off camera, while he addressed the media.

Prior to his arrest the Thayers defended their decision to on social media, and defended Watts. But on Thursday and Friday they did damage control, doing back to back interviews, apologizing to the public – as well as their own daughter – for their mistake.

Although Watts is often criticized, not without justification, the Thayers were among those duped by his explanations. Watts may not have had much game, but it’s not like he didn’t have any game.

More: ‘He fooled us’: Friends of man who allegedly killed pregnant wife, daughters speak out after shocking arrest – ABC

Couple who defended Chris Watts ‘had no idea’ – 9News

The interview on Thursday following the arrest of her former boyfriend was the second Kessinger had given to law enforcement, but it was the first time Kessinger and CBI agent Greg Zentner sat down together.

Zentner was easygoing, sometimes he seemed too easy going, just as Coder seemed perhaps too friendly to Watts in the beginning. But don’t be fooled, Zentner’s no slouch, he’d already interviewed another Nickole [Atkinson] at length at her work place. He knew what was going on and he knew to approach these people carefully and in a friendly, somewhat firm and open manner.

The other question to ask is if you’d sent naked pictures of yourself, would you want the world to see all that, even within the context of a crime? The point is, it doesn’t matter what you or I would do, Kessinger didn’t want to do that. And on this point, she was questioned by Zentner.

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The interrogation above, recorded in camera, was Kessinger’s third meeting with law enforcement, from August 17th at Thornton Police Department. Discovery Documents page 568 onwards. Her second meeting with law enforcement occurred on August 16th, the day after Watts’ arrest.

Kessinger’s reason to Zentner isn’t the full story of course. She had other reasons to delete their affair, principally the fact that she wanted to keep her job. It’s important to draw a distinction between the interrogation with Watts and the interviews with Kessinger. If Watts lies, he’s covering up the premeditated murder of his own family. If Kessinger’s economical with the truth, she’s covering aspects of an affair she considers private and not necessarily relevant. There’s a tradeoff here between her and law enforcement. If they don’t go after everything, she’ll co-operate.

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And Kessinger does provide law enforcement with a lot to go on. She tells them about her two visits to the Watts home. We still haven’t seen security footage of this, either from the neighbor of potentially from Watts’ doorbell camera.

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Something else we still haven’t seen are those dozens of naked and semi-naked images sent by Kessinger to Watts, and that is as it should be. Fact is, while it would be tabloid gold, it’s not in the public interest in the conventional sense that true crime is meant to be. Even so, Weld County have released some images that give one a sense of the relationship between the two Anadarko co-workers. It’s sufficient.

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What does come through quite strongly in Kessinger’s interviews is even though by August 16th it’s clear Watts probably murdered his wife [her body was recovered from a well site he visited, and her death was reported in the media], it doesn’t seem to really register with Kessinger. She seems to be in a dreamworld, and Agent Zentner would – from time to time – have to remind her that she was talking him about her former boyfriend not for fun, not for tiddlywinks, but as part of a murder investigation.

#43 Wednesday August 15th, 2018: “If you did have something to do with the disappearance, it would be really stupid for you to come in and take a Polygraph Today.” #1yearagotodayCW

If Chris Watts and Nichol Kessinger were lovebirds waiting in the wings on Sunday night, and even Monday night, by Wednesday it was all over. Not only weren’t they talking to each other, and likely haven’t since, both were on a mission to extinguish all digital traces of the other, Kessinger in particular.

The advantage of a narrative that’s broken down into a series, and each book into parts, and parts into chapters, and chapters systematically going through all the versions and perspectives, is it’s the only way to thoroughly account for everything. A television documentary is woefully too short to do due diligence to these details, and God – and the devil – reside exactly here: in the details. Even documentary series like the Paradise Lost trilogy [West Memphis Three], the Making a Murderer series [comprising twenty hour-long episodes] and recently The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann series [eight parts] can’t do the sort of painstaking analysis that a finely crafted narrative can. Documentaries have their place of course. A picture, and a simple soundbite from a guilty suspect, can say a thousand words, and in true crime, often several thousand words of court transcripts.

To illustrate what I mean, consider the tattered remains of the Phone Data Review. Just 5 timestamps. It doesn’t seem like much is really happening, does it? Even if we sit in on all seven hours of Watts with Agent Tammy Lee and the FBI, we’re likely to get bored and bleary eyed pretty quickly. Skip to the highlights right?

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What surprised me even as a seasoned true crime investigator, as I analyzed and transcribed these tapes in TWO FACE RAPE OF CASSANDRA and TWO FACE DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY, was the strategic mindfuckery the interrogators were using on Watts. It’s not Rocket Science. You sit him down and get him talking. You keep him there, but don’t make him feel like he’s being kept there against his will. While he’s sitting there, you have someone taking notes, recording details, setting up a list of additional questions. You’re already pulling phone records and getting intel from his employers, friends and other witnesses. You collate and cross reference that data. You have at least two people taking turns, questioning him, wearing him down. One steps out, takes a break, gets more intel, steps back in. It looks like one against one, one criminal mind versus one law enforcement mind at a time, but it’s not. That’s an illusion. It’s one mind stuck in a cubicle while a machine is working behind the scenes.

Very quickly a profile set up and a dossier decided upon by a team of cops, prosecutors and agents – on how to go after this guy, and this case. If it all seems rather dull in that little interview room, well, it’s because it’s supposed to look that way.

Part of the magic that’s not to easy to brew is how law enforcement needs to be face to face with the suspect. How long do you let him talk? What boundaries do you set? At what point do you stop playing his friend and Mr. Nice Guy and start interrupting him [and thus raising his own alarm bells], and saying, “Hey, this doesn’t make sense?” This is a dance law enforcement need to do with criminals and they’re experienced at it, but it takes a while to find the right rhymn. And while they’re finding out who he is, he’s finding out what they know [and what he can get away with].

Even the Discovery Documents don’t reveal what law enforcement thought of the situation at the time. It simply records, glosses over, their superficial first drafts of intelligence gathering. We only get a sense of their insight in the affidavit, during sentencing and on the few occasions when the District Attorney addressed the media, and even then they’ve kept their cards close to their chests.

By going systematically through the actual timeline, minute by minute, hour after hour, we start to piece together how the cops got Watts to where he needed to go. We also see that while Watts was being interrogated, so was Kessinger. Let’s start with her.


We won’t go into much detail here, just touching on the broad strokes. At around 14:00 Kessinger and her father met with two FBI Agents and to discuss the nature of her affair with her co-worker. The meeting took place in Arvada.

Also worth bearing in mind as an overarching context:

The amount of resources dedicated to this case almost instantly was dizzying. [Behind the scenes, Anadarko was likely doing the same, battening down the hatches].

Now, getting back to Kessinger, it should be noted that the very last image of Kessinger moved to Watt’s Secret Calculator app was transferred on Tuesday morning at 09:29. The deleting of text messages off Kessinger’s phone started [as far as we know] on Tuesday afternoon at 17:00.

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By Tuesday afternoon, Watts’ Sermon on the Porch had aired, Kessinger had seen it, everyone had seen it, and after work that day Kessinger got rid of a lot of evidence on her phone. On the one hand one could argue it was obstruction of justice, on the other, Kessinger was just taking her of herself. Which was it? Bear in mind when Kessinger started deleting her messages Watts hadn’t been charged with anything yet.

There’s a final aspect to mention that I didn’t really deal with in yesterday’s analysis. We see Kessinger very actively Googling and deleting her search history throughout Tuesday. What this shows is Kessinger was pretty capable and sophisticated at navigating the online space – just as many of us are. It also suggests if she wanted information [say, on Watts’ wife], she could get it, and she knew where and how to get it. If we see Kessinger very quickly appraising herself of the news online after the fact, doesn’t this suggest she was also just as capable of snooping on Shan’ann before the fact?

Now let’s gloss through the interrogation with Watts.


Imagine the mindbending mindfuckery loaded into this scenario.

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It might seem straightforward. Just don’t take the lie-detector test, right? It’s not that straightforward. If Watts lets on that he’s reluctant, or resistant or anxious to take the test, he knows this will immediately cast suspicion on him. He’s trying to avoid that. True to type, he’s trying to play it cool and fly casual.

Had Watts been of sound mind, and taken legal advice, he could easily have stalled and said he’s prepared to do the lie detector, but wants to focus on his family first, and if the police suspect him, he thinks he should get a lawyer.

The other side of the equation is Watts’ brazen arrogance. Just as he committed the crime imagining he could get away with it with a sneak here and a sly move there [just as he had gotten away with the affair for 5.5 weeks], he thought he might get away with the polygraph.

But Tammy Lee outfoxed him here as well. The polygraph went on for hours. Some of it was really mindmelting stuff. Imagine being in his position. You’re guilty, pretending not to be. Lying, pretending to tell the truth. Now the polygrapher, pre-test, tells you:

“Okay I want you to purposely lie now. I just want to get a reading on that.”

So what does he do? How does he think about that?

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It wasn’t just a ten minute test either, and in carefully controlled instances where suspects have legal representation, these examinations are kept as brief as possible. It does take a prescribed period to get what is known as a “baseline”, and from there the lie detector is conducted, often with just three questions to “test” against these baseline measurements.

The FBI are typically extremely rigorous when conducting these kinds of tests, which is why lawyers, like the Ramsey lawyers, wanted their clients tested casually in a much more limited setting.

More: Ramseys Decline to Take Polygraph – The Washington Post


Polygraph results released – Boulder Daily Camera

Ramseys Say They Passed Polygraph Test – LA Times

Ramseys Pass Private Polygraphs – CBS

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The third question asked was:

Are you lying about the last time you saw Shan’ann?

Watts answered “No”, to all three. He lied in all three answers.

A polygraph test is often [but not always] inadmissible in court. It’s not sufficient to prove the guilt of a suspect in court, but it’s an excellent way to gauge just how “off baseline” a stranger might be in terms of a particular case and set of circumstances.

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During the Sermon on the Porch the world saw what a terrible liar Watts was. The polygraph test confirmed the same. Shan’ann said the same herself:

He has no game.

He was starting to think he did, which is why he committed the crimes to begin with. He wanted to be a new guy with a new game.

For those who still think Watts is a heartless psychopath, true psychopaths can pass polygraphs. Not all of them will necessarily pass a test, but some can and do. Why? Because they don’t register emotions the way most of us do. Just because Watts looks like he’s showing emotion, it doesn’t mean he’s not feeling it – that’s it’s not registering – underneath. That’s an introvert for you. But don’t confuse introversion for psychopathy. It might look similar in some ways, but the wiring is different.

It’s also a different argument to say whether Watts had no remorse for what he did. Probably he did have some remorse, far less than we’d expect. But in a premeditated murder he’s obvious made up his mind what he wants, and it’s taken him a few days or weeks to prepare himself emotionally. This affect right here is the result of weeks of emotional and mental gearing.

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It’s probably not true that when Watts walked into the room on Wednesday morning that “he knew he wasn’t walking out”. By going step-by-step through the interrogation as I do in RAPE OF CASSANDRA, he clearly backs himself for hours. Probably there was a point during the interrogation when he suspected his goose was cooked. Even then he imagined the cops weren’t going to let him go, but in that scenario it was still Shan’ann taking the rap for half of what had happened. He’d still left himself with a loophole.

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Before the end of the day Watts writes on a printout where the three bodies of his family are lying, and a search warrant is urgently issued to go and recover them.

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To get the full story, the only definitive narrative on the Watts case, read the TWO FACE series, available exclusively on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

“Why are your books only available on Kindle – and how do I get one? Can I read your books if I don’t have a Kindle?” [Yes you can!]

#42 Tuesday August 14th, 2018: A Whole New Take on the Sermon on the Porch #1yearagotodayCW

It’s my job to shed new light and to wrest new insights, and original lines of inquiry into this case. Many who are familiar with the Watts case know the events that follow all too well, at least, we think we do, don’t we?

But most of the time we’re only looking at this case from one perspective, our own. What we’re going to do on #42 is going to feel a little strange at first, but trust me, it puts the whole case [and Watts in particular], in a whole new light.

What we’re going to do as we review Tuesday is think about the events not through our eyes, or even Chris Watts’ eyes, but through the heart of Nichole Kessinger, and through the eyes of Shan’ann’s mother.

Worth playing for? 

Those who demonize Nichole Kessinger also dehumanize her, and by doing that they miss a vital opportunity to understand the emotional dynamics running through this case. She was in love with him, and had her hopes set on him, to a point. And so did he. It’s easy to be dismissive of this, or to imagine knowing this in the back of our minds is intellectually sufficient. It’s not. In order to intuit what really happened, we have to step into the hearts and minds of these people, even if for just an evening here, or a telephone call there.

So let’s do that.


When we do a cursory read-through of the Phone Data Review, every interaction refers to some dynamic between two people. Understandably, Nichol Kessinger is Googling Shan’ann Watts late at night. If something has happened to her, Kessinger knows something is wrong with him. She really hopes and wishes that’s not the case. She’s hoping what Watts has told her is true; that they’ve been arguing, and Shan’ann’s no longer interested in staying in the marriage. If this is true, it’s good news for her, good news for them. But is it true?

When the discovery refers to a conversation on the night of August 13th, it was actually a  series of conversations that went on from about 21:00 until 02:00 the next morning. During this time Watts also FaceTimed with Kessinger.

One of the things that came up in the conversation was Watts telling his mistress that Shan’ann had removed her ring [he had removed it from her dead finger] and left it on her bedside table. What did this mean? Of course, Watts was manipulating her and manipulating the scene, trying to send a message, appropriating her ring in order to create the contrivance of a scorned wife. Of course, Watts also needed and wanted the ring, because he needed cash. We shouldn’t judge Kessinger too harshly for suggesting that Watts pawn it. She didn’t know then what the true state of affairs was. It does reveal what a sly, sneaky bastard Watts was.

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On Monday night/Tuesday morning, Kessinger is starting to pick up mixed feelings and red flags. Some of what Watts is saying is okay, but some of it doesn’t gibe. Now he’s saying he wants the separation, when all along he’d said Shan’ann wanted to leave the marriage. Perhaps the biggest red flag – for her – was Watts saying Shan’ann was okay with the divorce. Under the circumstances, her storming off without a word, taking the kids, to decompress somewhere [without telling her], well, it just didn’t jibe.Fullscreen capture 20190808 141213

Of course, from Watts’ point of view, it made complete sense to feel that Shan’ann was huffy under the circumstances and had left to decompress. It felt like the right thing to express. And in terms of what he said to Kessinger it felt like the right thing to say that she was okay with the new status quo. That was the point of the murder, to make things okay. To force Shan’ann to be okay with him seeing Kessinger, and to facilitate her being okay with him. Does that make sense?

For both Watts and Kessinger, the week of August 13th was supposed to be about the two of them looking for a new apartment for him. She’d apparently found one, and told him so in the week prior after he returned from North Carolina. It seems he postponed looking for apartments with her perhaps because he had the kids to look after, and also because the urgency arose in him to get rid of his family permanently.

To Watts, Kessinger’s willingness and initiative to help him find a new place to live must have felt like a tremendous vote of confidence. As if she was truly communicating the potential for a long term commitment. And he wanted that. He wanted to accept that and give her that. All of this was in the offing leading up to the weekend, and then going into Monday. Wasn’t it fortuitous that just when they were supposed to find a place, Shan’ann and the kids conveniently stepped out of the picture. Just as they returned to Colorado [to fuck things up] they vanished again.

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It also didn’t make sense that Shan’ann would call a realtor just like that. Watts had dragged his feet, she said. Why the the slow pace and then, a sudden haste?

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We know that during his drive back to the crime scene on Monday midday, Watts seemed to be thinking bigger than “an apartment”. He was thinking a three-car garage. Watts wasn’t just getting greedy about getting Kessinger and getting rid of his family, he wanted it all, didn’t he?

There is obviously a lot more to unpack, especially in terms of the crime scene, and what Watts might have been trying to do by telling Kessinger there were “smelly sheets” in the house. We know there were, were know some sheets had feces on them. We also know that by Tuesday, Watts had basically cleaned or contaminated the entire house, including making all upstairs beds.

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We also see Watts seemingly dodging the calls of the cops [at 01:58] while he’s trying to chat to his girlfriend. This alone should show to what extent his head was in the clouds.

Now let’s dead with Shan’ann’s mother’s reaction to the unfolding tragedy.


Sandi and Shan’ann are similar. Similar domineering, strong, emotional personalities. Sandi’s near absence from the timeline on August 13th should be borne in mind. Sandi knew about the separation, so much so she told her colleagues at Hair Jazz. Sandi knew Watts had been cold, distant and standoffish. Sandi knew Shan’ann was pregant, and that the gender reveal was about to happen. So why wasn’t Sandi more involved on Monday? Why was Nickole the hero of the day and not Sandi?

To her credit, Sandi did call Primrose school to find out if the kids were there, and she was in constant contact with Nickole, including while she and her son were traipsing through the crime scene.

But the fact remains that by the end of Monday, Watts had basically led everyone to believe Shan’ann and the kids were out there somewhere, and probably would return home that evening, or the next morning. This was classic delaying tactics by Watts. We’ve seen it time and time again from him. The best way to avoid a confrontation is to delay it again and again and again. He did that with Shan’ann, the pregnancy, with Kessinger [in terms of the divorce and apartment hunting] and now he was doing it with the cops.

Officer Ed Goodman was working the late shift that night. He was the one trying to get hold on Watts. He’d actually been to the the Wyndham Hill Estate searching late at night through the empty homes still under construction. Goodman had some difficulty contacting Watts, possibly because Watts was FaceTiming at the time. Watts eventually called Goodman back [at 02:05] from his work phone.

August 14 02:00 call between Officer Ed Goodman and Chris Watts [46th Tranche]

I don’t want to deal with this aspect in any more detail, because I want to get to Sandi’s involvement, but perhaps due to the lateness of the hour, or because he’d just been talking casually and fairly openly with Kessinger moments earlier, Watts is very casual as he runs through the vital statistics of his family. As a result Goodman notes:

It should be mentioned that once I had made contact with Christopher, he did not ask me if I had been calling because I had any information concerning his missing wife and daughters, or if I was calling because they had been found.

About two-and-a-half hours later, Sandi calls Officer Goodman. If Watts sounds casual, Sandi sounds distraught. She’s convinced [rightly] that Watts is involved, believes there’s been foul play [correctly] and suspects Watts is “going to pour oil on the bodies to dispose of them” [100% right].

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According to the Phone Data Review Sandi called the cops first [at 04:38] and then called Watts at 04:58. This might be an error, because Sandi reported to the police that Watts didn’t sound emotional [just as he didn’t sound at all concerned to Officer Goodman].

In any event, it’s unfortunate Sandi didn’t communicate her concerns/intuitions earlier. The remains might have been found much earlier. In a situation like this emotions and confusion tend to muddle everything. It’s important for those involved to simply stick to the facts. What behavior specifically adds up to a particular potentiality? Also, what are the key dynamics going on that others might not be aware of, that are pulling the individuals in particular direction? It’s easy to say in hindsight, but the finances, Shan’ann’s concern about an affair, the pregnancy, the extended time apart, the expressed intention to separate, Shan’ann’s feelings on the matter, the imminent gender reveal and Watts newfound vanity all formed part of a lethal and toxic mix. Unfortunately it took everyone weeks, if not months to tie all of these threads together [and we’re still doing so].

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I won’t be dealing with the remainder of the entries here. We know that by mid-morning Watts gave his now infamous Sermon on the Porch, and once that happened, his goose was cooked.

What I want you to do now is watch the interview again, but watch it as Nichol Kessinger, who is in love with Watts, and wants to believe him. Instead she finds, like the rest of us, that she can’t. What she sees is another face, a second face, to Chris Watts. In essence, a TWO FACE.


During the entire seven minutes of the interview, Watts carefully avoids saying one word, the most important word: pregnant. This really cuts to the heart of the reason why he killed her, and in typical Watts’ fashion, he avoids telling the media this. It’s unfortunate they didn’t bring it up.

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In any event, it’s also the Sermon on the Porch that led to Kessinger finally making up her mind about Watts. She tells her father and they resolve to go to the police, but judging from what we know, not the same day. Like Sandi, they seemed to need the rest of the day to sleep on it.

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More: Hold up, is that a SCRATCH on Chris Watts’ neck?

Lie Spotting: Test your true crime lie detector nous with the Chris Watts case

The scent of death: Police dogs and the Chris Watts investigation – kdvr

The #1 Word Missing from the Sermon on the Porch, #1 Document Missing from the Discovery Documents and the #1 Evidence Photos We Still Haven’t Seen

The Story Behind the T-Shirt Chris Watts was wearing during his Sermon on the Porch

Who are Chris Watts’ friends Nick and Amanda?

A Red-Brown Stain on the Central Porch Cushion – and why we need to take a closer look at those Weatherproof Outdoor Cushions

It’s Time to Get to Grips with Chris Watts’ Tells when he Lies

Officer Matthew James’ Call to Chris Watts on the night of August 13th at 21:12 + Handwritten Notes on Yellow Pad Up Close [40th Tranche]

Nichol Kessinger’s statement to the Denver Post regarding when she knew about Shan’ann Watts’ pregnancy may not be entirely accurate

Nichol Kessinger told the cops Chris Watts told her the baby wasn’t his

“The child was not his…” Nichol Kessinger FBI Statement [21st Tranche]


#41 Monday August 13th, 2018: “She’s on a play date. I’m at work” #1yearagotodayCW

Whatever we say about Chris Watts’ version of events, or what he did under the cover of night and on the morning of August 13th, the fact is, by the end of that day, everyone gave him the benefit of the doubt. In spite of everything, the cops, her parents, her friends, his friends, and even Kessinger believed Shan’ann may have taken the kids somewhere to cool off, or as he put it, “decompressing“.

Ultimately, at the end of day one, the cops and everyone else did buy his story.

On Tuesday, however, it was a different story. No one except the Thayers, his parents and a few others still believed him. Even then, he wasn’t arrested. 

If you’ve ever watched the British series Sherlock, you’ll have seen how it’s possible to join the dots in an instant, or very quickly. Wasn’t that possible here? Theoretically yes, but it required someone not so much to see into the crime scene at a glance, but to see into the family dynamics at a glance. To the public’s credit, and the medias, when we saw the Sermon on the Porch we knew something was wrong. So did Kessinger. But again, we had no idea how deep the rabbit hole went. TCRS shows how we could have known, and how – if we learn the subtle lessons in this case – we might know next time.

Incidentally a case is playing out right now – the Nora Quoirin “disappearance”/abduction – which is an opportunity to apply precisely these lessons.

We’ll get to the Phone Data Review in a moment, but first, think about that word. Decompressing. It;s an unusual word, isn’t it? When last did you use it? It appears eight times in the discovery. It means “to release pressure”, and it’s more a technical term than one we might associate with people trying to relax or let off steam. It’s also a technique often used in the oil industry, and specifically by operators like Watts. It’s used to bring chemical reactions into a safe spectrum. It’s about safety.


When Watts referred to his wife and children decompressing, through this flowery language he leaks special insight into where they really were, where he knew they were. Gruesome as this sounds, his children inside the gas tanks were decompressing. Their bodies were in a speeded-up process of being converted from tissue into black liquid. Given enough time, that’s what would have happened to them. Shan’ann, too, was decompressing in the soil. Decomposing.

If we take this word into the psychology of the case, it was precisely what Watts felt he needed. He needed to calm things down. He needed to take control. He needed for the fraught, pressurized situation he was in to become more manageable. For that to happen he felt the easy solution was to make his family disappear. His audience was specifically one person, but he also had to make sure their disappearance was basically plausible to everyone else. What he needed to achieve through this was for certain inevitable contingencies to disappear – the fact of the pregnancy, the imminent danger of a gender reveal [which would reveal their marriage was still on track, and confirm to Kessinger if she was watching that he was the father] and the ongoing debt burden.

While almost everyone at the scene felt something was off, they couldn’t quite put their finger on what it was exactly. When the cops arrived, certain things didn’t make sense, but nothing really stood out as seriously wrong either. There was no blood, no sign of a confrontation. The worst “evidence” they found was a stripped bed. Even when the FBI and CBI got involved, although they knew Watts wasn’t being truthful, they couldn’t be sure why, or what he was hiding. Was he hiding the affair or more than that? How much was he hiding? A year later, we still don’t have absolute certainty where any of the crimes happened, or how they happened. Unless we take Watts’ word for it.

Should we?

A year later, many who have reviewed the case in some detail, remain unconvinced that this was a premeditated crime. The mainstream media seem to have adopted this narrative as well, even if that’s not what the District Attorney said they believed during the sentencing hearing. This is the area that’s worth looking into – how do we find certainty when there are so many layers of information, and so many different versions? How do we decide what information is valid, and what isn’t? It’s a challenge facing society as a whole today. What is truth? Who can we trust?

Ultimately the cops and everyone did buy his story.

Of course by Tuesday morning, when a phalanx of media were gathered on his porch, and then cadaver dogs, it was basically game over. Tuesday was also the day Kessinger started to really doubt Watts, and by Wednesday midday, she wasn’t at work. Two FBI agents were talking to her and her father down in Arvada, while Kessinger’s dog looked on. Within hours of that meeting, Watts “confessed” and was finally arrested just before midnight.


The Phone Data Review dealing with August 13th is immense, about ten pages. When we start to integrate the various versions dealing with specifically this aspect of the timeline – Nickole’s version, her son’s version, Kessinger’s versions, Watts’ coworkers’ versions – not to mention Watts’ own changing versions, well, there’s enough material for a series of books.

Some enterprising souls have published the entire discovery on Amazon, but reading 1960 pages of discovery is mostly about separating the wheat from the chaff. Even once that’s done, what does the wheat actually mean, and how do we make bushels and bread out of it? That’s the trick, isn’t it? Not everyone can do it.

As we deal with the review I’m going to be skipping through a few of the questions I’ve addressed in the books. So let’s get started.


In the TWO FACE series one of the questions I posed was the sort of thing you simply won’t find in the media or on YouTube. It’s the question about how Anadarko might have reacted when they realized one of their employees had a “domestic situation”. They knew the police had been called to the Watts home too. They knew he had left the well site to attend to an emergency with his family. They knew enough to tell Watts not to come into work the next day. I won’t deal with that aspect of the narrative here, but we ought to take cognizance of the fact that a corporate MegaMachine has its own intelligence and security operations, just as law enforcement has the FBI, CBI and the cops. And if Anadarko had its own intelligence, they probably knew what Watts [and Kessinger] had been up to before anyone else did.

The fact that two Anadarko employees engaged in illicit activities using Anadarko equipment and infrastructure, was [and remains] of significant public interest. It presents a clear and present safety issue. In any event, at the time of writing, Aadarko has just been purchased by Oxydental Petroleum in a $38 billion deal. Merger talks were in the offing for Anadarko this time last year, and several months before that. At the same time the Watts case went radio silent, so did merger talks. Shortly after the Second Confession in February, the whole process was greenlighted and on August 8th, the merger was finally completed. The last thing Anadarko, or the entire oil and gas industry could afford was a high-profile trial, one that would necessarily want to highlight the safety of their operations. It was something Weld County couldn’t afford either, when most of its income comes from this sector.


If it’s difficult to keep track of Shan’ann and the girls, and Chris Watts, on the morning of the murders, it’s not as difficult keeping track of what they were wearing. In Shan’ann’s case, she arrived at home tired after her delayed flight, at 01:48, dressed in jeans, a grey t-shirt [with the word LOVE emblazoned across the front in pink], a black sweater, and brown sandals.


Shan’ann was holding her suitcase in her right hand, and her phone in the other. Her handbag also weighed down her left arm. It looks as if she was either communicating on the phone, or using the phone to access the home security system. It may be that she intended to use her phone to illuminate her path through the darkened house, assuming everyone was asleep. She would not have wanted to awaken the children.

Shan’ann entered the door, the latch was not on, closed it, and kicked off her sandals. Whatever she did next was likely a carbon copy of what they did when they arrived back from North Carolina a few days earlier. It’s hard to imagine Shan’ann would have left her suitcase under the stairs, and yet, that’s where they were found later that day.

If we imagine Shan’ann walking up the stairs, in the same way she approached the front door, imagine how vulnerable she would be to sneak attack from behind. Her right hand and arm is weighed down with a heavy bag. Her left is hold a phone, and the arm is also weighed down by another, lighter bag. But notice how exposed her neck area is. If she was attacked from behind, and brought to ground quickly, her arms could quickly be pinned down because of the bags she was holding.

When Shan’ann’s body was finally recovered she was wearing this light grey t-shirt [see below]. We can’t be sure if the underwear she was wearing then was changed. If it wasn’t changed it likely contained excrement traces. If the underwear was tested, and if it was soiled, it could exclude the possibility that the couple had sexual relations that night.


The initial response to many of those who saw the doorbell footage was that this proved Shan’ann arrived home and “had time to change”.  To them this proved that Shan’ann had gone upstairs, gone into the bedroom, and gone to bed. It also suggested what Watts had said was true all along, that the two had encountered one another and probably had a conversation.


Anyone who thought that had completely missed the type of person Watts was, and Shan’ann as well. I won’t deal with the psychology here, although I think the #yearagotodayCW timeline speaks for itself. Watts didn’t want to talk to Shan’ann, and he wasn’t about to reveal his affair. He knew if he did it would be Nut Gate all over again, but this time with a scorched Earth around him. He’d probably lose the kids, the house, and Kessinger. As for Shan’ann, there’s no way she would return from the trip and simply get into bed either in the clothes she was wearing, or still wearing make-up. That’s not what she did when they returned from North Carolina either.

In any event, in a scenario where Watts attacked Shan’ann, he would also have time to change her clothing, and this would be important because in a tussle, whatever he was wearing would leave traces on whatever she was wearing. This is why the jeans are removed, and the shirt.

If this seems far-fetched, Jodi Arias did the same thing with Travis Alexander. She placed him in his shower and washed traces of herself from his dead body. In the Amanda Knox case, the victim Meredith Kercher’s body was re-positioned, and her clothing removing after the fact [her bra was splattered with blood, indicating that she was wearing it when murdered.] JonBenet Ramsey’s clothing was also changed. In the Scott Peterson case, Peterson also did the laundry and cleaned the house shortly after his pregnant wife “disappeared”.

We know that Watts did the children’s laundry on Monday night, and also had fresh sheets on the main bed. He also made both the children’s beds, something Shan’ann normally did.

All of this is really a distraction from the key question. What happened to the shirt Shan’ann was wearing when she arrived home?


BREAKING: Last Photo/Footage of Shan’ann Watts Alive [August 13, 2018/01:48]


For those who believe the children were murdered at the well site, isn’t it strange Watts didn’t bother to dress either of the girls. Wouldn’t they need shoes if they were going to be outdoors? If premeditation isn’t a factor in a murder, premeditation is necessary if one intends for someone – especially children – to be taken care of. One premeditates their care in terms of dressing them, and feeding them. Watts did neither.

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Chris Watts didn’t snap. There was a long period of anxiety and tension which drove him to “fix” the situation in his mind, and plan how it would play out afterwards. Before he killed his family he already knew where their graves would be, when and how he would get rid of their bodies.

The mainstream media, and perhaps the majority of people following this case, believe he did snap. Why? Because that’s what he told us.

We all know what it feels like when we’re pushed to a breaking point and then we unexpectedly snap. We’re dislocated. We’re unsure. That’s not what happened here. There’s no symptom of residual emotion from Watts. When we snap it’s an emotion we regret, and when we have regret there is genuine grief. We may be confused about why we acted the way we did.

When something is premeditated, there’s no confusion. Watts doesn’t appear confused. He’s already resigned to an outcome emotionally, but so he’s forced to justify himself. While he’s doing it, he plays the role not only of someone who doesn’t know how something happened, but he’s pretending not to feel justified about why we did what we did.

Someone who has just snapped does so out anger or fear. Those emotions don’t disappear afterwards. The one thing someone is not afterwards is cool, and unemotional. But that’s just who Watts was before and after.

At 07:55, Watts is at the well site having just buried the bodies of his wife and two children. He tells a colleague:

“I got it handled. Thanks though.”

Just an hour after murdering Shan’ann, Watts interactions with his work mates is 100% casual, and 100% normal. It’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to look like just another perfectly average work day. This makes sense if it was premeditated. If it wasn’t premeditated, we’d expect erratic feedback or no feedback from Watts. We’d expect excuses and distracting language. Instead, he’s steady and in control. This is more terrifying and sketches a portrait of greater evil than a man who was simply pushed to breaking point, and snapped. It means Watts has been lying to everyone.

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You won’t find any information in the Phone Data Review about Watts stirring the tanks at CERVI 319. You won’t find information in the Phone Data Review that Watts typically sent messages via Group Me to alert the whole team when he was out in the field. That day, his coworker Melissa Parrish wasn’t alerted.


You won’t find any information in the review about his coworker Melissa Parrish arriving on site and seeing Watts holding a shovel, digging a hole beside the tanks that according to her was “approximately a foot wide and six to eight inches deep…”

The hole Watts was digging wasn’t Shan’ann’s grave, but the fact that he was carrying a shovel seemed plausible given what he was doing. Parrish didn’t think Watts looked tired or different in any way.

He told her at the site that he’d been to a Rockies game and described the game. He also told her he’d gotten a babysitter to look after his kids.

The one thing that stood out to Parrish was when Watts stirred the tanks, using the Pressure Release Valve [PRV]. According to page 357 of the Discovery Documents:

During the course of repairing the equipment [at CERVI 319], Watts released the pressure release valve which caused some oil to spit out. Parrish had observed Watts to be meticulous with cleanliness, but on this occasion, he did not clean the spill.

Why would someone meticulous with cleanliness clean up the crime scene in his home, but at the well site, leave things messy? One reason is the process of forcing the bodies of his children through the thief hatch would certainly cause clothing fibers, skin traces and DNA to dislodge. We know Ceecee’s hair was found on the edge of the east hatch. The pressure release was done purposefully to blast away evidence, not only of them, but of him as well.

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When I started researching the Watts case, it seemed odd and out of place that Nickole went to so much trouble for her friend that morning. She texted, she went to the house, knocked on the door, called out. She even maneuvered her vehicle closer to the garage so her son could jump onto the trunk and peer through the windows. She went to the clinic to find out if Shan’ann had pitched up there. She drove back, tried to open the door, her son ran around to the back garden, then she called the cops. Many may say she was simply a good friend, or that she knew what Shan’ann was going through, and so had reason to worry. It’s part of the answer.

One of my first theories was that Nickole was going to go car shopping with Shan’ann that day. I actually contacted Nickole on Facebook and asked if she’d gotten the new car and she said she hadn’t. Remember, in San Diego in late June, Shan’ann had announced on Facebook that Nickole had won her car bonus beside the swimming pool.

Nickole said at the time if her husband had his way they’d get a Tesla. Nickole also complained of her car being damaged in a hailstorm. Since Shan’ann had been away for six weeks straight, that Monday was her first day back on the job. Possibly in the car on the way home they made arrangements to get the new ride.

But after further research, another explanation seemed more plausible. Nickole had babysat Deeter the previous week with her son, and as a result, had had the run of the house. On Monday when Shan’ann didn’t answer, Nickole assumed she would simply go over, enter the security code and go inside. Ironically if this had happened, if the door hadn’t been latched, Watts may have won himself a defense loophole – that she had contaminated/compromised the crime scene. Nickole could even have been portrayed – or framed – as a suspect.


The 72-page interview with Nickole Atkinson is oddly not part of the original discovery. In it, Nickole provides interesting insight into what Watts told her right in the beginning, and how and why she started to smell a rat.

Nickole was up early, driving through Longmont looking at a house on behalf of Cassie Rosenberg. Cassie and her husband were about to move to Colorado, and were meaning to purchase a home nearby. Prior to that there was talk that they might live with the Watts family until they found a sweet deal for themselves. Obviously, this wouldn’t have suited Watts’ affair.

Below is a basic summary of what Nickole told CBI agent Greg Zentner:

Um, I called him at 12:27. And I called him twice. He didn’t answer, and then I called again. And then that – I mean, we had that conversation, and he was… She was on a play date. And I was, like – but I was, like, “Okay. But, like, if they’re on a play date, how’d she get them there?” Cause they’re both in car seats. 

“I don’t know.” He’s, like, “I’m busy, and I’m at work.” He’s, like – and, because I was messing with the door, I set off the alarm system. So they called him at work, and he’s, like, “Are you messing with the door?” I said, “Yeah, I tried to get in your house, ‘cause I’m worried about your wife.” And he was, like, “She’s,” he’s, like, “She’s on a play date, (Nicky). I don’t know what to tell you. I’m at work.” He’s, like, “I’ll try and contact her.” And he hung up. 

More than likely Vivint didn’t contact Watts at work, he simply received an automatic alert. In other words, even from Work Watts could basically monitor the situation at home remotely. Conversely, one could argue, by burying and disposing of the bodies where he did, he also had some sort of remote control over the grave site.

So then I went and locked the front door, and my son was messin’ with the garage door, and I told him to stop it. And he set the alarm off again, and then (Chris) called again and said, “Are you still at my house?” And I told him, “No,” ‘cause we were leaving, but, um, we left. Because I’m like, “Okay. Well, let’s go see if she went to her doctor’s appointment.” ‘Cause I was trying to, like – like, maybe – I don’t know. Maybe she did go on a playdate. Who knows? Um, so I drove to the doctor’s office, ‘cause I doctor there, too. I know they’re not supposed to give out personal – and they didn’t give out personal information. Like, I – I’m a CNA. I know the whole HIPAA laws and all of that. I just alked up to him and I said, “I know you’re not supposed to tell me this. I get it. I don’t need other information. I just need to know if Shannan Watts showed up for her doctor’s appointment?” And the lady looked at me and I was, like, “Please? I just need to know if I need to be concerned, and if she didn’t show up for that appointment, I know I need to be concerned.” And she told me she didn’t show up for the appointment.

So then, after I left the doctor’s office, I was, like, “Okay. Something’s seriously wrong.” So – ‘cause I’d been in contact with (Cassie) and (Christina) all morning, ‘cause these are people that would normally talk to her every day.

Um, I called them. I’m like, “What do I do? (Chris) said she’s with a friend.” And they both were, like, “Go back to the house and call the cops.” So then I did. I drove back to the house, and I called (Chris) again. I said, “I’m going back” – well, I texted Shannan again. Um, I don’t mean to jump around.

The fact that Shan’ann had been telling her buddies throughout about her concerns with her husband is one reason they were all alerted as soon as they were. It’s likely that Watts asked, or even instructed Shan’ann not to talk to others about their private affairs, and as far as he was aware, she wasn’t doing this on Facebook, and their families weren’t aware. Watts figured he may have some room to play with. Well, not nearly as much as he imagined.

At 12:47. I text Shan’ann. I said, “I’ve been to your house. You won’t open the door. Your alarm’s set. Your shoes are sitting inside. Your car’s home. I’m very concerned about you right now. I need you to text me or call. I just want to know you’re okay. If you don’t want to talk to nobody, you don’t want to be around anybody, I get it. It’s fine. I just need to know you’re okay.” And she didn’t respond.

I talked to (Cassie) and she said that she had talked to (Chris) and he was supposed to be at his house, and be there in 30 minutes. And I was, like, “Well, I’m on my way back.” So I called, uh, (Chris) at 12:41. I did talk to him at 1:31, because he wasn’t home yet, and he should’ve been there if it was only gonna take him 30 minutes. So – and by that time, I called the – um, I called the Frederick Police Department at 1:31, ‘cause I called (Chris) at 1:00- or 1:31, I called (Chris) and said, “(Chris), where are you? You said you were gonna be here in 30 minutes.” He’s, like, “I’m on my way. I’m on – on 70. I’m 45 minutes out.” I 
said, “Well, I’m calling the police.” (Unintelligible) check. And I honestly couldn’t tell you at that point what he said or didn’t say.

Even in terms of dealing with his wife’s murder, Watts wanted to avoid a confrontation, and waited until the last possible moment to head home. He finally arrived after 14:00, and when he did, he quickly shook hands with Officer Coonrod before scooting off through the garage. He just didn’t want to face the cops, or Nickole.


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TCRS has come up with a term that, as far as I know, is unique to true crime. I call it “post-meditation”. It’s basically the same as premeditation, but it involves all the same strategic thinking that happens after the incident. Postmeditation is only relevant if it can “hold hands” with the psychology of the incident, and what was playing out prior to it. So the sale of the house fits into that.

We see intricately woven through Watts journey back home, his mind is on selling the house and looking for a new one. It’s as if he’s on the clock, but not the crime clock, he’s on a relationship clock – with Kessinger. He wants to get this sorted – for her. On the way home Watts disposes of his own clothing and probably the kids blankets. Perhaps Shan’ann’s shirt, as well. This is at 6507 Black Mesa.

At 13:14 Watts tells the realtor he’s looking for a 3-car garage. And indeed, he does drive via 6508 Black Mesa on the way to his rendezvous with the cops. 

More: On the Night of the Murders What Was Chris Watts Doing?

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I’m not going to go into this area, it’s dealt with in detail in the last narrative of the series. But Watts can clearly be seen not wearing boots when he first emerged on the driveway. And there’s an important reason for this too.

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It’s highly unlikely Watts didn’t have access to his bank account. More likely is that he didn’t want the cops to know just how critically compromised their finances were, nor did he want Kessinger to find out. If they did know, it would speak to motive.

A stickier question is whether Watts knew the password to Shan’ann’s phone.

But coming back to the money aspect: the true state of the Watts finances, and especially Shan’ann’s true income, remains a critical hole in what we know about this family.

Worth noting in terms of money and motive, Monday was the day Primrose took payment when children were enrolled for the week. So if there was any day for the kids to miss school, if money was on Watts’ mind, it was Monday. Tuesday was the day Shan’ann was paid by Le-Vel.

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That’s ten, that’s enough. Take note, Monday ends the same way Sunday ended, with a long phone call between Watts and Kessinger. Once again another phone call [also 50 minutes] between Watts and Kessinger is missing [see second last red arrow from the bottom in the image below]. Isn’t it odd that this incoming call to Watts was retrieved from the phone logs, but the 111 minute call from Watts to Kessinger was not?


In any event, the day ends with almost everyone giving Watts the benefit of the doubt.

To read the most definitive series of narratives on the Chris Watts case, purchase the book series.



#39 August 11th, 2018: Addicted #1yearagotodayCW

The second last day of her life starts off uncharacteristically upbeat for Shan’ann.

“Good morning baby! Are the girls up?”

Watts answers politely. The girls are watching cartoons in bed. Shan’ann asks her husband if he wants an NFL package for the fall. Here Watts shows how seriously their moneylessness has affected him, but not only that, his entrepreneurial attitude to sorting it out. He’s going to use Troy McCoy’s firestick to stream the games.

It seems football is on everyone’s mind, because Jeremy Lindstrom also texts him [the chronology is out of whack right here in the timeline]. Watts lies to Jeremy, saying he can’t join him because he has a “work function” that he can’t miss.  It’s getting easier to lie to everyone now, isn’t it?

At 11:18 Watts Googles trials and hot springs in the Aspen area. He’s not doing that for Shan’ann’s benefit. Shan’ann has no interest in hiking. Watts intends to take his girlfriend there, and perhaps enjoy a part two to the memorable outdoorsy experience they enjoyed in the sand dunes. It goes without saying that in Watts’ fantasy world, he’ll be able to take Kessinger to Aspen after Shan’ann and the kids are dead. She won’t know that, of course. [Or so he imagines. In fact by this time next weekend, not only will she know, all of Colorado and America will know what’s happened].

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Watts was clearly addicted to Kessinger, and the regular dispatch of naked and semi-nude selfies kept Watts’ on a leash, kept his addiction burning. Saturday night would be their first chance in over a week of being apart to quench their lust. Kessinger spent 45 minutes searching online about preparing for anal sex, as well as browsing other porn sites.Fullscreen capture 20190810 113600

McKenna Lindstrom’s observations while babysitting the kids, and what Bella said to her when she couldn’t sleep, are another extremely critical area of the timeline. Since I’ve dealt with this aspect exhaustively in the books, I won’t be repeating any of that analysis here.

After dinner Watts stopped at a gas station to draw money to pay McKenna. Then, exhilarated and happy, but disappointed the evening had ended so prematurely, he headed home. Once home Shan’ann would briefly interrogate him on where he was, and why he spent so much money. We’ll come back to that in a second.


As soon as Kessinger arrived home, she Googled “Chris Watts” “Shanann Watts”, “Ronnie Watts” and “2825 Saratoga Trail”. She would also be disappointed not to have him spend the night as he had so often in July. But he would have reassured her that despite Shan’ann being out of town, and despite him not staying with her that night, significant changes were afoot on the home front. Ironically, there were ominous changes brewing, they just weren’t as mature or as well thought out as Watts was making out they were. Maybe Kessinger suspected as much.

To come home and then SNAP, want to sell their house just like that? When would Shan’ann have had the time to do that, especially when he last post was recap of her entire day…

In terms of her online searches that night, when he dropped her off at home fairly early Saturday night, then left her alone to go to his home, it’s difficult to imagine Kessinger’s interest at this stage of the game wasn’t strategic in any way.

Her search for Ronnie Watts suggests Watts let on something about Nut Gate and his parents, and Kessinger wanted to snoop to see if she could see anything else that Watts wasn’t saying. The search for the house might have been to verify if he [or she] had put it on the market after all [he hadn’t, in fact a year later arguably it’s still not on the market].

This was also another opportunity for Kessinger to view Shan’ann’s Facebook profile, and even if she just spent a handful of minutes, it wouldn’t have been difficult to establish she was pregnant. Did Kessinger know? Shan’ann mentioned her pregnancy in her second last post.

[On the one hand the sheer volume of Thrive nonsense was sufficient to muddy a cursory glance, but on the other hand, which mistress would give her rival just cursory glance online?]

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We can also see by the end of Saturday, Shan’ann’s upbeat optimism was worn completely through. She was back to being suspicious, except, now she was more than suspicious. Now she was no longer giving him the benefit of the doubt.

When she called Watts late on Saturday night and instructed him to save his receipt, he knew the temporary tide of happiness he’d initiated in her was turning against him.

Saturday night was another fleeting, intoxicating roller-coaster ride with his mistress, and he wanted to keep punching that ticket. He was beyond caring about his wife or the children, who were sleeping soundly for the last time, in their beds. 67724267_10212364840470671_958323189329428480_n