Chris Watts’ Letters From Prison Reveal He Plotted In Advance To Kill His Wife And Daughters

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Photo credit: Shanann Watts/Netflix/2020 – Netflix

Netflix’s latest true crime documentary, American Murder: The Family Next Door, is full of more than an hour’s worth of previously unseen police footage, security tapes, and social media posts to explore the 2018 murders of Shan’ann Watts and her young daughters. Despite all the concrete evidence, however, the documentary fails to provide a definitive answer to the biggest question of all: Why did Chris Watts kill his pregnant wife and two daughters?

After initially denying any involvement in the disappearance of his family, Watts eventually confessed to murdering them. After hours of interrogation and failing a polygraph, Watts ended up admitting (somewhat) to his father, that he killed his family and disposed of the bodies. He began by claiming that he had killed Shan’ann as revenge after she had smothered to death 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, but eventually admitted that he had killed all three, then hidden their bodies at the oil storage facility where he worked.

Oil drums where Chris Watts disposed of his children’s bodies.

While the evidence presented in the documentary suggests that Watts killed his family in a spontaneous rage after he and his wife fought about their current relationship status, letters from Watts sent from prison, seem to tell a different story.

The letters were published in the 2019 book Letters From Christopher: The Tragic Confessions of the Watts Family Murders by Cheryln Cadle, who struck up a correspondence with Chris shortly after he was sentenced to life in prison in Nov. 2018.

In one of the letters to Cadle, Chris wrote that the night before he killed his wife and daughters, after putting his daughters to bed, “I walked away and said, ‘That’s the last time I’m going to be tucking my babies.'” He added, “I knew what was going to happen the day before and I did nothing to stop it. I was numb to the entire world,” according to a copy of the letter published by The Daily Mail.

It is important to note that Watts was involved in a full blown affair with a woman named Nichol Kessinger, and his wife, Shan’ann was catching on to his lies and elusive ways.

Nichol Kessinger and Chris Watts

In another letter obtained by the outlet, Chris described in grisly detail how he killed his wife after some premeditation, writing, “All the weeks of me thinking about killing her, and now I was faced with it.”

The letters also reveal that Chris first attempted to smother his daughters in their beds before returning to his own bedroom, where he argued with Shan’ann and killed her soon thereafter. The girls, however, then “woke back up,” he wrote. “It makes the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location,” he continued, presumably referring to the facility where he hid the three bodies.

The letters also explained that Watts felt as though he had to get rid of Shan’ann in order to continue a relationship with Nichol. “I knew if I took my hands off of her, she would still keep me from Nikki,” he wrote. Elsewhere in the letters, admitting to Cadle that he slipped Oxycodone to Shan’ann, who was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death, in an attempt to cause her to miscarry, Chris wrote, “I thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shan’ann wasn’t pregnant.”

It is also important to note that Nichol had no clue that Watts was married while they were ‘dating’. She believed that he was divorced. Once Watts’ family went ‘missing’, Nichol had an uneasy feeling and decided to approach detectives on her own in order to tell them what she knew.