New documents released by the Weld County District attorney have provided more details about the relationship between Shannan Watts and Chris Watts, and revealed the unsettling search histories of the confessed killer and his mistress.
CBS News Denver has obtained thousands of pages of documents from the Weld County District Attorney’s office, revealing Shannan Watts’s desperation to save her marriage in the days and weeks leading to her murder, while her husband appeared to be checked out of the relationship.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, documents obtained by the Denver Channel showed that Shannan confessed to friends that Chris said the couple was no longer compatible and said he had suddenly stopped being affectionate with her. According to the CBS News Denver report based on the same documents, Shannan texted Chris repeatedly to try and understand why he had gone cold.
On August 5, a week before her murder, Shannan sent her husband the following text message:
“Being away from you, it’s not the help I missed because I handle that. lt was exhausting, but with school that’s not hard. I missed the smell of you, you touching me when l’m cooking, you touching me in bed, you touching me period! I missed holding you and snuggling with you. I missed eating with you, watching tv with you. I missed staring at you, I missed making love with you. I missed everything about you. I couldn’t wait to touch you, hold you, kiss you, make love to you, smell you, laugh with you. I couldn’t wait to celebrate 8 years with you… lf you are done, don’t love me, don’t want to work this out, not happy anymore and only staying because of kids, I NEED you to tell me.”
She reportedly sent multiple follow-up messages, including one that said: “How can you sleep? Our marriage is crumbling in front of us and you can sleep.”
Shannan and her daughters, 3-year-old Celeste and 4-year-old Bella, had spent several weeks that summer visiting her family in North Carolina, and Chris briefly met them there. The report does not specify if Shannan was still on that trip when she sent Chris the above text messages, or if she was on a business trip.
The problems appear to have begun earlier in the summer. On July 24, Shannan sent Chris the following message:
“I realized during this trip what’s missing in our relationship! It’s only one way emotions and feelings. I can’t come back like this. I need you to meet me halfway. You don’t consider others at all, nor think about others feelings.” In response, Chris reportedly told Shannan he loved her.
“l try to give you space, but while you are working and living the bachelor life l’m carrying our 3rd and fighting with our two kids daily and trying to work and make money,” Shannan replied.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Chris had already begun an affair with co-worker by that time. The woman, Nichol Kessinger, recently gave an interview with the Denver Channel in which she said that Chris told her his divorce was final or near-final, and that she began to suspect he may have been involved in the disappearance of his wife and daughters after realizing that he had lied to her about his marriage, and also because he did not seem concerned enough that his family was missing.
According to the CBS News Denver report, investigators searched both Chris and his girlfriend’s phones for their search histories. Kessinger reportedly spent extensive time searching for the name “Shannan Watts” on her phone, in addition to searches of a sexual nature, seeking videos and information about sexual positions. Following the murders, Kessinger reportedly searched for the phrases “can cops trace text messages” and “people hate Amber Frey,” reportedly in reference to the mistress of Scott Peterson, who is now in prison for killing his pregnant wife. She also searched for information about Frey’s book deal, according to the documents obtained by the news station.
On August 13, the day Shannan and her daughters were murdered and were first reported missing, Chris Watts searched for the lyrics to the Metallica song, “Battery,” which reportedly include the phrases: “Pounding out aggression/Turns into obsession/Cannot kill the battery/Cannot kill the family/Battery is found in me.”
Chris reportedly performed this search after he had disposed of his wife and daughters’ bodies on a property owned by the petroleum company he worked for until his arrest on August 15.
On November 6, Chris Watts pleaded guilty to all three murders, and on Monday he was sentenced to three life terms in prison without the possibility of parole, plus over 80 years for charges relating to the unlawful termination of a pregnancy and tampering with a deceased body. His plea agreement meant that he would be spared the death penalty.