True Crime In Colorado: Promising New Lines of Inquiry into Nichol Kessinger

The undiscovered country of true crime is undoubtedly social media. Ordinary people leave digital breadcrumbs of themselves online, willy-nilly, randomly, arbitrarily but also authentically. These are off-the-cuff but more important, timestamped and related to a key inner circle of people. These hidden networks reveal plenty about the true social dynamics of the key role players.

Once a crime happens, typically attempts are made to scrub compromising online activity. Kessinger did an impressive job in destroying her virtual identity, but as is typically the case, she wasn’t able to scrub everything.


The True Crime in Colorado channel has done some good work recently in developing the Kessinger narrative in a meaningful way [as opposed to the ongoing conjecture that has been mostly baseless].

They’ve followed a few leads using Venmo notifications,* and trying to connect these to the discovery as well as timeline-related texts sent between Watts and Kessinger. Fleshing out the timeline is integral to cogent True Crime Rocket Science, which is why there seems to be some – not a lot, but some – new insight here.

The bottom-line with these possible connections to Trent Bolte, Danielle and others, is it provides the cursory apparatus to interrogate the beginnings of “dark things” Watts suggested in his letters to Cheryln Cadle. Were these dark things sexual?

*Note: Venmo is a mobile payment service app owned by PayPal.

Here’s everything you’ve ever wondered about the payment app Venmo – Daily Dot

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Latest Conspiracy: “Nichol Kessinger’s truck spotted on August 15 [exclamation mark]”

YouTubers are really scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to come up with new Chris Watts-related stuff. It wouldn’t even be fair to call this stuff “tenuous links” to the case. It’s linked to the case in the same sense that the sky above the house, and gravity under it are also linked to the rest of the neighborhood. Correlation doesn’t not imply causation, they say, but even these images aren’t correlated to actual people involved, that’s how poor the standard of true crime application is by these folks.

The latest tail-chase is car spotting, preferably red or white vehicles, using the Bodycam footage. In YouTubeLand the standard to meet is weak visual coincidences and an audience that wants to stay in Wonderland.

Spot the differences:

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#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

#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!]

#32 August 4th, 2018: For Over Two Hours, Nichol Kessinger searches for Wedding Dresses in the Wee Hours of Saturday Morning #1yearagotodayCW

August 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Phone Data Review [Chris Watts’ first three days in North Carolina with his family] stand out as islands of nothingness. They’re an anomaly. For the entire month of July, there’s not a single instance of just one entry on a particular day. Now, in August, at a time when a lot was happening emotionally, the Data Review goes blank. Not only for one day, but for three consecutive days. Was that because nothing was happening? Was there a kind of emotional doldrum going on?

Far from it.

Before we get to August 4th, I want to emphasize this point some more.

To appreciate the unusualness of the skeletal entries on August 1st, 2nd and 3rd, one has to glance forward in time as well. Starting on August 4th, and ending two days after the murders [when the Phone Review concludes], each individual date is thick with entries. A lot was happening.

So why is nothing happening on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd?

The data on the dates just preceding Watts trip to North Carolina is also packed with information. The Phone Data Review for July 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st are approximately one page each.

So why is nothing happening on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd?

The absence of evidence is evidence.

We would expect to see a lot of interaction between Watts and Shan’ann, and for that matter, Watts and Kessinger, in those first three days in North Carolina.

On August 4th, we’re provided with a sizable window into what’s been brewing, and what’s come out the night before, August 3rd. Let’s take a look.

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So, a couple of things. The fact that Kessinger was Googling wedding dresses for two hours in the wee hours of the morning, suggests that things with Watts were ticking up a gear. Things were getting serious. It’s possible Kessinger was simply fantasizing, since her friend Charlotte Nelson was engaged at the time, and so perhaps Kessinger was looking at dresses with her, or to advise her. Since this occurred early on a Saturday morning, it stands to reason Kessinger was either out with her friends, or on her own. But in terms of the greater scheme of things, the broader timing is also significant.

Kessinger is looking at wedding dresses halfway through Watts trip to North Carolina. It’s as if she’s gotten the message that not only does he love her [and she’s told him she loves him], but he wants to marry her [and he is leaving his wife]. Isn’t that why he was looking at jewelry?

This news, if true, would be both thrilling but also disconcerting for Kessinger. It’s disconcerting because her beau – despite his love – is somewhere else, day by day, with his family. So she is going need reassurance, and he is probably going to provide it. Perhaps bold declarations of making a life together with her helps to settle the situation.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Shan’ann’s not happy. He’d like nothing more than to get away and avoid a confrontation. Maybe if he can go and see his family [it’s okay if she doesn’t come along].

If Watts hadn’t thought of killing his family until this point, and it’s possible he hadn’t, then it’s almost inconceivable that after reading Shan’ann’s rant on August 4th, he wasn’t triggered several times in several ways. Just look at the language and psychology:

I won’t change a thing.

My daughter’s life is way more important…

I wanted to say more than I did., but I was being the bigger person and protecting Bella. 

Consider the import of these messages from Watts’ perspective, and in lieu of his mistress:

I won’t change a thing.

My daughter’s mistresses’ life [or my life with my mistress] is way more important…

I wanted to say more than I did., but I was being the bigger person and protecting Bella my mistress.

There’s also shifting blame.

I didn’t block your family on FB.

Myself and your kids have nothing to say to them.

They owe your kids their life.

Your parent’s home isn’t a safe zone.

Your mom isn’t safe.

Shan’ann neglects to mention that it was her venting on Facebook about them that caused them to shut her out online. It’s incredible how Shan’ann appropriates the children’s lives, saying not only on behalf of herself, but on behalf of a 3 and 4-year-old, they have nothing to say to his parents. This reduces Watts to a negligible entity, a sideshow in the drama. Shan’ann and the kids are a unit, his parents are a unit and he…well, he’s in a secret alliance with someone else, and – he must be thinking – it’s just as well given how the family was blowing up.

Consider these statements from Shan’ann from the perspective of Watts’ psychology:

They owe [me/my mistress] their life [lives].

Your parent’s home isn’t a safe zone. [The idea of a parent’s home not being safe, in fact being mortally dangerous for children].

Your mom Shan’ann isn’t safe. [Shan’ann is dangerous to your “safety”].

When we take the transactional tone of these statements, it’s all about a kind of social assassination of other people. Because someone did X, one is warranted to do Y to protect oneself.

The terms that might trigger certain thoughts in Watts’ mind are numerous:

I’m sorry I killed your kid because I was stupid.

That would kill me.

I shouldn’t have to protect…evil family.

We can lose this baby…

I’m not going to worry about family. I will just remove it.

This long, dramatic, emotionally charged diatribe from Shan’ann comes through at 03:36, meaning she’s not sleeping in the middle of the night, and more than likely, neither is he. Both are in separate rooms, she’s crying and gritting her teeth, he’s trying to avoid the situation and trying to calm her down. All this, he must be thinking, just because I want to see my folks. How the hell do I deal with the real issues?

Shan’ann goes on, justifying her position, entrenching it:

There’s nothing wrong with me and I’m not crazy. I just love my kids way too much. 

Bear in mind, this flouting intransigence is before Shan’ann has any inkling about Watts feelings towards her, or the baby. Shan’ann is used to being in control, and calling the shots. She’s used to disregarding him and refusing to budge on her own position. She’s in control, she has the power and they both know it.

A week from now, of course, her tone will be decidedly different; unsure, tearful. She’ll also be wondering what it is she’s done wrong to make her husband fall out of love with her. Well, it’s this.

No matter whose side one is on, and regardless of who is right or wrong, imagine if Shan’ann had simply made peace about Nut Gate for just the last few days of their vacation, just so it would be a happy time for the rest of the family? In other words, imagine if the Thrive Shan’ann had stepped forward and chosen to be strong, and happy, and emotionally resilient.

They’d be returning to Colorado anyway, and it would mean a lot to her husband. In theory, a portrait of his whole family happy together may have made him feel his affair with Kessinger was untenable. Or, he may have felt obligated to his family to take care of them, even if the marriage was over.

Someone at recently left a comment describing Shan’ann as a loving mother and upbeat. Maybe she was. Maybe that’s who she really was. But she was also this person: capricious,  controlling, neurotic, dogmatic.

In Shan’ann’s defense, she was worn out by a few things. She was pregnant, working, battling her in-laws [she elected to do so, but it was nevertheless in play] and not getting emotional support from her husband.

In the middle of lambasting his parents, and declaring that she’s right and won’t change, Shan’ann then turns her finger of accusation at him.

From the day I left you never said ‘I missed you’ before I said it. Something changed when I left. 

Shan’ann’s right here, and her insight serves her well. But how does she handle her sixth sense? With contempt:

You may be happier alone and that’s fine. You can be alone! 

This is Shan’ann giving notice that if he intends to leave her, he should. She’s daring him. Taunting him. She couches it to sound like it will be water off a ducks back [and presumably the kids’ backs too].

Then she bristles about his attitude to the pregnancy.

This pregnancy you’ve failed to acknowledge it, or to acknowledge how I’m feeling…

She’s right, but Shan’ann’s been pretty clear all along how she’s feeling. It may seem unfair to say, but Shan’ann’s also not acknowledging what he’s feeling. Not only does she have no idea, she doesn’t seem to care. It doesn’t seem to matter, as long as she gets what she wants.

His feelings in terms of his parents are totally expendable to her. This is, unfortunately, something of a double standard from Shan’ann. As a pregnant woman her needs do trump whatever dalliances her husband was engaged in, but when a husband and father no longer wishes to play these roles, then pushing him out of them is a decision a woman must also take responsibility for. It may be a case of pushing the father out of the family, expelling him, but at the same time also taking his home and demanding half his income – and calling that fair. Maybe it is fair. But how many fathers in that situation think it’s fair? How many fathers would want to avoid this scenario if they could?

I’m not going to be treated this way for having the balls to protect our family and kids. I should get a gold fucking medal for handling it the way I did, because I had a lot of choice words I wanted to say to her and your dad for his stupidity. 

Here Shan’ann’s also confirming what’s already abundantly clear. If Watts admits his affair, there will be a scorched earth policy from Shan’ann. There will be a lot of “choice words” posted online, no doubt.

At 05:13 Shan’ann seems to reflect a little on what he’s said to her, and bristles at the idea that she’s controlling.

I also don’t control what you do. If you want to hang out with your parents today, by all means do so, but without us [her and the girls]. Don’t put on me where you can’t go. You are your own person.

This is a cynical explanation from Shan’ann. She is controlling the situation, telling her husband she will not let their children go to see his parents. Shan’ann’s holding a grudge with them, wanting to punish them for a slight against her, but she’s playing it like Watts has no reason to feel impinged by this.

Indirectly, Shan’ann is reading him the riot act; she’s letting him know in no uncertain terms if he leaves her, he will lose everything. This drama is about ice cream. Imagine the drama over an affair [and Watts is right, the triple murder was an extremely dramatic way of dealing with the issue, but the idea was to minimize inevitable drama with Shan’ann, drama that could damage his social and economic standing, and damage his relationship with Kessinger].

At 07:26 Watts responds. It’s shocking not for how reactionary he is, but for his craven, no balls response.

Yes, my mom truly screwed up in a huge way, more than a huge way…I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting, it’s just been in my head and I haven’t been right at all.

What we see here is Chris Watts refusing to engage Shan’ann directly. he’s not going to joust with her – he’ll lose. He’s not going to confront her. He says what he thinks will soothe Shan’ann, as he’s always done [and even though it’s lies]:

I don’t know what I would’ve done if something happened to Ceecee.

But he did know. He’d be able to live happily ever after.

Despite Watts’ conciliatory message, Shan’ann remains on the warpath.

I protected our daughter from their stupidity. They created that and you belong with them thinking otherwise.

Shan’ann seems to be twisting in the dagger here. She’s right, everybody’s wrong, including her husband. She’s expecting alot. She’s expecting her husband to turn his back on his own parents. But this expectation isn’t so far, or so alien, from murdering your own family. The one is extermination in a social sense, the other is a physical killing.

At 07:48 Watts is still trying to build bridges.

Yes you protected our daughter and I thank you for that a million times a million. They should have swallowed what they needed to and [come] to Ceecee’s Birthday party.

This is another wildly ironic statement. Shan’ann could also swallow what she needs to and go with her husband and the kids to see Ronnie and Cindy. Watts is extremely accommodating to Shan’ann, but then he says this:

I’m not [used] to not having a relationship with my dad. I should’ve just called him before it got to this point where it got in my head. I didn’t and that’s my fault. 

What makes this so bizarre is Watts [the man 9 days away from committing triple murder] seems genuinely contrite. He’s upset about losing touch with his father, and blames himself. But what he’s also acknowledging here, and touched on a moment earlier, is that something has gotten into his head. The seed of that something is Kessinger, but the vegetative mass coming out of it in his mind is an idea how to fix his problem. Including, how to fix Shan’ann.

At 08:03 Shan’ann provides another trigger:

Why should you beg them to be in their life.

And then:

You are just like them…I had more balls [than you]…my bad for thinking you deserved better.

This is an incredible statement under the circumstances. Because that’s precisely what Watts is thinking, imagining, hoping for – that he deserves someone better than Shan’ann, better than this situation with the kids…

In effect, in these texts, Shan’ann is handing him all the psychological tools to commit the murder. If someone doesn’t suit you, if you’re in a raw deal that doesn’t work for you, you’re completely justified in removing it. Just get rid of it. It’s right if you’re doing it to protect someone you love.

At 11:53 the meltdown continues:

I will never trust your parents alone with our kids. EVER! They ruin everything special. I won’t forgive you, or them, for that. I’m tired of it. 

Watts is being instructed that because of Nut Gate, his wife’s relationship with his parents is permanently scarred. It’s also permanently distorted his relationship with his own children.

I won’t forgive you for that.


I’m not asking you to choose who to be with…You are not happy, then you know where to go…Worst summer ever.

Shan’ann lets him go to see his parents alone. In this moment, symbolically at least, she murders herself and the children. She severs herself from the equation, and severs the children.

You are not happy, then you know where to go…

Watts must have communicated to Kessinger that it was World War III in Myrtle Beach. At 14:10, just two hours after these highly-charged messages between the couple, Kessinger jumped online and searched for Watts’ and Shan’ann’s Facebook accounts. Their unstable relationship could get out of hand, and what if that effected her. What if they reconciled? What if they didn’t? What was happening? Kessinger knew where to go to find out.

For the remainder of the afternoon, Watts and his wife chaperoned the kids jumping on the trampolines at The Pavilion Park.

You are not happy, then you know where to go…

Meanwhile, Shan’ann shot another warning shot over the social media bow in case her feelings weren’t known far and wide by now.

The older she gets the more scared I am to let her out into the real world. The world of evil, the world of hate, the world of bullying! [This is a reference to her grandparents]

I was reading a post the other day where a kid was being bullied at school because of his nut allergies and a kid put a peanut in his drink as a joke! He could of died! [This is a reference to her grandparents]

The world is a scary place. I will do everything in my power to teach her right and to protect her, advocate, stand up for her and defend her! I pray everyday that she never feels any less than the rest of the world. I pray that she’s protected when I’m not around to protect her! Nothing or no one will stop me! 

This posting would also be a reminder that when Shan’ann was on the warpath, the world got to hear about it. Watch out – she was more than happy justifying herself in public, on social media. Who knows, since we know Kessinger Googled Shan’ann’s Facebook that day, maybe Kessinger saw this particular post on August 4th and asked Watts about it, and then the alarm bells really went off in his head.

We can only wonder what thoughts went through Watts’ mind on his drive – alone – to see his parents and grandmother. Although he wanted to go that day it appears he didn’t. Nor did he go to visit them the next day, Sunday, August 5th. He was a mechanic presented with serious engine trouble in his marriage. Meanwhile, a brand new car was waiting in the wings. But what to do about his broken marriage?