This week we chat about avocado mishaps and internet woes. Hannah brings us a news story involving a cult and Amanda Knox, and a Tiger King update! We review Netflix’s new documentary “American Murder: The Family Nextdoor”. And of course, you know it wouldn’t be long before we found another animal based weird crime.
On the 13th August, 2018, Shanann Watts returned to her home in Frederick, Colorado after a business trip to Arizona. Her husband Chris Watts had stayed at home to look after their two daughters, Celeste and Bella Watts. Shanann’s friend, Nickole, became concerned the following day when Shanann failed to return her calls and missed a doctor’s appointment. Shanann was pregnant with her third child. Nickole alerted the Police and visited the Watts home on the 13th in the afternoon in search of Shanann and the girls.
The FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation joined the investigation the next day, August 14. Chris initially told police he had no idea where Shanann, Bella, or Celeste might be and had not seen his wife since 5:15 AM on the 13th, when he left for work. He gave interviews to Denver stations KMGH-TV and KUSA-TV outside the house pleading for their return. Investigators with cadaver and search dogs could be heard on the property during the interview. Chris then agreed to take a polygraph test which he failed, and investigators then focused in on Chris as the main suspect in their disappearance.
Watts was arrested late on August 15, 2018. According to the arrest affidavit, he failed a polygraph test and subsequently confessed to murdering Shanann. He asked to speak to his father before confessing. According to the affidavit, he was having an affair and claimed he asked for a separation from Shanann. During the investigation, he claimed she had strangled the girls in response to his request for separation and in a fit of rage, he strangled her and then transported the bodies to a remote oil-storage site where he worked.
Watts later took back his statements that Shanann killed their daughters and pleaded guilty to the murders on November 6. The death penalty was not put forward by the district attorney on the request of Shanann’s family who did not wish for any further deaths. They were supportive of the decision to accept the plea deal. On November 19, he was sentenced to five life sentences—three consecutive and two concurrent—without the possibility of parole. He received an additional 48 years for the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy and 36 years for three charges of tampering with a deceased body.
The documentary is told entirely through archival footage that includes social media posts, law enforcement recordings, text messages and home videos. Director Jenny Popplewell pieces together their story and gives Shanann Watts a voice that many victims do not get to the chance to share. American Murder: The Family Next Door is now streaming on Netflix.
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