The mistress to whom Chris Watts killed his family is back in touch with him after three years of changing her identity and disappearing, the killer has claimed from prison.
Who is Chris Watts?
Chris used to work as an operator at Anadarko Petroleum, and Shan’ann’s regular business travels for the nutrition supplement company Le-Vel, their lives centered around their daughters.
The summer of 2018 should have been a happy one for the Watts family. Chris Watts, then 33, and his wife Shan’ann, 34, just got to know that they were expecting a son to join 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste in their suburban home of Frederick, Colorado, about 27 miles north of Denver.
From the outside, they seemed to be a happy suburban family, but Shan’ann’s friends had lately started hearing about trouble in paradise. Still, no one could have ever imagined the chillingly brutal murders that were about to put an end to their happily ever after.
About Chris Watts Girlfriend
Nichol Kessinger works in Anadarko Petroleum’s environmental department and would see the operators, including Chris, on the way to the fridge. Chris came by her office and struck up a discussion one day. They have their first encounter outside of the office later in the month.
According to The Denver Post, Chris meets Kessinger about four or five times a week, and they begin a physical relationship in early July. He assures her that he’s almost divorced. Later that month, while Shan’ann and the girls are out of town in North Carolina, he tells Kessinger the divorce is final.
Insider reports that Kessinger goes to Chris’ home for the first time on July 4, and they have their first phone call on record on July 7. They also go on a date to Shelby American Collection car museum on July 14 and spend the night at Great Sand Dunes National Park on July 28, all while his family is away. On July 30, he presents her a love note before joining his family on vacation.
Despite it being a family holiday, texts that Shan’ann forward to a friend show hints of trouble between the couple. Further messages also tell that there was tension between her and Chris’ parents.
Just weeks after they started talking, Kessinger’s cell phone data shows she looked at wedding dresses online for two hours.
After confiding to friends about her troubles with Chris, she texts a friend that she and Chris had their “best talk yet” before leaving on her trip. She even drafts a handwritten letter to him.
While Shan’ann is away, Chris arranges a babysitter, saying that he’s going to a baseball game with coworkers, but goes to a bar with Kessinger. In the wee hours, around 2 a.m., friend Nickole Atkinson gives Shan’ann a drive to her home on the 2800 block of Saratoga Trail after returning from the business trip.
How Did Chris watts Kill His Family?
According to his later confession, Chris wakes Shan’ann as he’s getting ready to go to work and wants to talk about their marriage and future. Despite Shan’ann carrying their unborn son, who they had already named Nico Lee, he tells her about his relationship and that their marriage will not last.
Shan’ann responds that Chris will not see the kids again — and he smothers her to death. Bella, who was 4, comes in and questions what was wrong with mom, and Chris wraps Shan’ann in a blanket and takes her to his truck. He puts the two kids in the backseat and drives to his work site. He then suffocates Celeste in the backseat and puts her body in an oil tank, and does the same with Bella in another tank. Chris also hides his wife’s body in the ground nearby, as he later confessed from prison.
Chris later tells the Denver ABC affiliate, “I left for work early that morning, like 5:15 to 5:30,” admitting that he and Shan’ann had an “emotional conversation.“
August 13, 2018, Atkinson grows concerned and contacts local police
Later that day, Atkinson becomes concerned when she does not hear from Shan’ann. “I called her and texted her several times,” she says. “I knew she had a doctor’s appointment that morning because she’s pregnant. She didn’t show up for it … and I was even more concerned.” Shan’ann is reported missing at around 1:40 p.m.
Atkinson calls the police, who do a welfare check. Shan’ann’s phone, keys, and purse are found at the house. According to the news stations, husband Chris says, “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. It was very vague.“
Chris pleads for his family’s return on the local news.
As the Colorado Bureau of Investigation issues an Endangered Missing Alert, Chris talks to Denver’s ABC affiliate and pleads for their return: “Shan’ann, Bella, Celeste, if you are out there, just come back, like if somebody has her, just please bring her back, I need to see everybody, I need to see everybody, again, this house is not complete without anybody here. Please bring them back.” The FBI joins the search for the missing mother and daughters. Chris fails a polygraph test and confesses to his father Ronnie — and then officials — that he murdered Shan’ann but falsely claims that the reason for his murder was because she had smothered their daughters.
August 16, 2018, Shan’ann, Bella, and Celeste’s bodies are found.
The three murdered bodies are recovered at Chris’ worksite. The same day, Chris appears in Weld County court for a bond hearing. He is denied.
A week after he appealed for their safe return, Chris is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, plus two additional first-degree charges for victims being 12 or younger.
Additionally, he faces another count for the illegal termination of a pregnancy, plus three counts of tampering with a body – a total of nine charges.
Chris appears in court, pleading guilty to all nine criminal accounts. Shan’ann’s family requests that the death punishment not be sought.
Judge Marcelo Kopcow calls the murder spree “perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen,” announcing five life sentences without the possibility of parole, including 48 years for unlawful termination of Shan’ann’s pregnancy and 36 years for disposing of the bodies of his family.
Also, on that day, Shan’ann’s parents file for wrongful death against Chris.
Due to safety concerns, Chris is moved from Colorado to Dodge Correctional Facility in Waupun, Wisconsin. Since October, he has been sharing a cell with another child killer, Marcus ‘MJ’ Johnson, who was sentenced to 40 years in 2015 for reckless homicide. He killed his girlfriend’s three-year-old son by dipping him in scalding hot water because he had soiled his pants.
Why Did Chris Watts Kill his Family?
If he had not met his mistress Nichol Kessinger, Chris Watts claims he wouldn’t have killed his wife Shanann and their two little girls. There was never any doubt that Kessinger knew that he planned to kill his family, but she was flooded with hate mail despite believing their affair was just an inoffensive fling. She is still living in hiding, more than 2.5 years after the murders.
Carter, 34, said Watts had told him that he killed Shanann because he did not want to pay child support, he did not wish to the son that she was expecting and worried his wife would take their house in Frederick, Colorado, in a divorce.
‘I don’t buy any of that though,’ said Carter, who was jailed for meth possession and for stealing money from his employers, the restaurant chain, Arby’s.
‘I couldn’t ever kill my entire family just because I didn’t want a child or didn’t want to pay child support. ‘I have a lot of things going on in my life, but I have never wanted to stop and kill my entire family because I wanted certain things to go my way.’
Chris Watts Now
In life prison for murdering his wife and two daughters, Chris Watts is reportedly still in contact with the mistress to whom he killed his family to begin a new life in 2018. Watts said his mistress Nichol Kessinger wrote to him inside the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin, under her new name, fellow inmate David Carter unveiled in an exclusive interview.
‘He told me she said that she needed to speak to him to clear some things up,’ Carter said. ‘He wouldn’t tell me exactly what she had said.’
Kessinger, 32, took on a new personality and moved from her home in Arvada, Colorado, after Watts was arrested for killing his pregnant wife Shanann and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, in August 2018.
He is currently serving five life sentences plus 48 years in prison without the chance of parole. Watts told pen pal Cheryln Cadle in 2019 that he was still in love with Kessinger and assumed that some of the letters he got in prison were from her writing under assumed names. Cadle went on to write a book about their correspondence called Letters From Christopher.
Now Carter has backed those claims that Kessinger does write to the man whose crime shocked the nation — or at least that Watts believes she does.
Carter, who was released from Dodge on February 27, said it was back in September last year that Watts, 35, first told him Kessinger was writing to him.
And Watts claimed that prison authorities discovered what was happening and punished him by suspending his email account, carefully monitoring all his mail.
‘He wasn’t supposed to have any contact with her, but she initiated it by writing to him.’ Wisconsin Department of Corrections spokesman John Beard said he could comment on Carter’s claims.
More to the news: You can watch Netflix’s new documentary about Chris Watts here with name of American Murder: The Family Next Door