Published: Tue, August 21, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Colorado man Christopher Watts charged with murder says wife killed daughters

Colorado man Christopher Watts charged with murder says wife killed daughters

The North Carolina native - who was living in Frederick, Colorado - was arrested last week and formally charged on Monday with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased body.

A Colorado man told police that he killed his pregnant wife in "a rage" when he discovered she had strangled their two daughters after he sought a separation, according to an arrest affidavit released on Monday. When he returned, Watts said he checked a baby monitor on Shanann's nightstand and saw his wife strangling their youngest daughter.

Watt, who is 33 years old, had been interviewed Tuesday about the disappearance of his pregnant wife and their two daughters.

Christopher Watts' attorney, public defender James Merson, filed a motion requesting that the pathologist take DNA swabs from the children's throats.

He told investigators that he went downstairs, then returned to speak with Shanann.

Christine Gentert said a prayer, adding that she wanted Shanann Watts to be remembered for her smile and her love for others.

Within two days, detectives had concluded that Chris Watts was having an affair, according to the affidavit.

"We would like to thank everyone, the Frederick Police Department and all the agencies involved in finding my daughter, granddaughters and (unborn) grandson Niko", said Frank Rzucek, Shanann Watts' father.

Autopsy results have not been released, but documents filed Friday in Chris Watts' arrest reveal some of the victims may have been strangled, along with other grim details.

The bodies were found on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of Colorado's largest oil and gas drillers, where Watts had worked as an operator.

In a second motion, obtained by CNN affiliate KDVR, defense attorneys asked the court to compel the coroner's office to look for DNA under the mother's fingernails and on her hands.

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Christopher Watts, 33, was charged earlier Monday with nine felony counts, including three first-degree murder charges in the deaths of his wife, Shanann, 34, and two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

The three were reported missing August 13 by Shanann Watts' friend, when Shanann Watts, who was 15-weeks pregnant, missed a medical appointment.

Watts' attorneys have not publicly commented on the case.

But according to local media, the couple had financial troubles, including a 2015 bankruptcy filing, and Mrs Watts had suspected her husband was cheating.

Watts claimed it was a "civil conversation" and that it was "emotional", he allegedly told police.

He told police that "in a rage" he then murdered his wife at their home in the small town of Frederick.

In an interview with a local news station Tuesday - after his family disappeared but before his arrest - Chris Watts also said his wife got home around 2 a.m. "I just want them to come back".

"She said she was going to a friend's house with the kids and that's the last thing I heard, and that was it", he said.

"Shanann, Bella, Celeste: If you're out there, just come back", he said.

In a video posted on Facebook on 11 June, she filmed her husband's reaction as she revealed she was pregnant with the couple's third child.

He told reporters: "I'm just hoping right now that she's somewhere safe".

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