Chris Watts’ final texts to pregnant wife Shanann Watts before grisly murders revealed in Netflix doc
The special, titled “American Murder: The Family Next Door,” features newly revealed letters and texts between Chris Watts and his wife Shanann, People magazine reported on Tuesday. In 2018, he was sentenced to five life sentences for killing his pregnant wife and two daughters.
The film also includes social media posts, law enforcement recordings, as well as never-before-seen home videos that piece together how a seemingly happy marriage turned deadly so quickly. Netflix also shared the documentary is “the first film to give a voice to the victims.”
The slayings were previously the subject of two Lifetime films that aired earlier this year, titled “Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer” and “Beyond the Headlines: The Watts Family Tragedy.”
In 2019, the murders were also explored in a documentary released by true crime network Investigation Discovery (ID) titled “Family Man, Family Murderer: An ID Murder Mystery.”
According to People, the couple texted about groceries and dinner plans on the same day that the Colorado man, now 35, killed his spouse, 34, and their two daughters.
“What kind of vegetables do you want with dinner tonight?” Shanann texted Watts.
“Broccoli works,” he replied. “Green beans work, too.”
A few weeks before her death, Shanann texted Watts about how thrilled she was to welcome a new baby.
“I miss and love you so much,” she wrote. “I am still in shock that we are having a little boy! I am so excited and happy!”
But according to court documents obtained by the outlet, Watts alleged to his mistress, Nichol Kessinger, that he didn’t know Shanann was pregnant until she was reported missing. He insisted that the baby wasn’t his. However, authorities discounted Watts’ claims of his wife being unfaithful.
On August 13, 2018, Watts strangled Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, in their home. Then he murdered his daughters – Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3 – at his job site on an oil field.
In 2019, just three months after Watts was sentenced to life in prison, Watts gave a grim account of the killings to authorities.
Watts said he strangled Shanann in their bed after he told her their marriage was over and she responded he would never see their children again. According to Watts, his wife suspected he was having an affair.
After he killed Shanann, Watts said Bella came into their bedroom clutching a blanket, asking what was wrong with her mother. Watts claimed his wife wasn’t feeling well. Bella watched as Watts wrapped Shanann’s body with a bedsheet. She began crying when he pulled the remains down the stairs of their home.
Watts said he put Shanann’s body on the floor of his truck’s back seat. Celeste had woken up by the time he went back inside the home. He then put the girls into the backseat of his truck, where they occasionally napped on each other’s laps as he drove.
Watts claimed he had no plans for his daughters when he drove to his oil worksite. He told police the girls asked, “What are you doing to mommy?” when he pulled Shanann’s body from the truck.
Watts said when he went back to the truck, he used Celeste’s blanket to smother her. Bella watched from a seat beside her sister. He then put Celeste’s body inside an oil tank before returning to the truck. He used the same blanket to smother Bella. He told police Bella’s last words were “Daddy, no!” Watts then said he put her body inside another oil tank and buried Shanann’s body nearby.
Still, he insisted he didn’t plan to kill his wife or children.
“If I was thinking, this wouldn’t have happened,” he claimed.
Watts told investigators that he pleaded guilty to avoid a lengthy trial and did not feel pressured by his attorneys to make an agreement with prosecutors.
Watts told police he read the Bible for the first time in prison and he writes down scriptures each day to send his parents. He keeps photos of his wife and daughters in his cell and talks to them “every morning and every night.”
Netflix’s “American Murder: The Family Next Door” is currently available for streaming. The Associated Press contributed to this report.