A concerned friend contacted law enforcement after learning of the murders of Shanann Watts and her two young daughter, relaying an unsettling anecdote Shanann had shared with her just weeks before she was killed.
The discovery documents released by the Weld County District Attorney’s office last week related to the murder investigation include an anecdote of an incident in which Shanann Watts claimed her mother-in-law Cindy Watts tried to feed her daughters nuts despite a severe allergy.
A woman who met with Shanann several times while she was visiting family in North Carolina wrote a letter to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, included in the discovery documents beginning at page 927, detailing her conversations with Shanann when they met on four different occasions in July 2018. The woman, who CrimeOnline will not identify due to her stated request in the letter that her information not be shared with the media, said that she’d known Shanann since she was a teen, when she worked at the restaurant owned by the woman’s family.
The friend said in the letter that she and Shanann met at the same restaurant multiple times in July, and once with Chris Watts and their daughters, Bella and Celeste. The woman relayed an anecdote that Shanann shared with her during their first meeting alone involving a visit to the home of Chris’s parents; an incident that was also referenced multiple times in the discovery documents, in interviews with Chris and his parents and in text messages retrieved from Shanann’s phone.
Shanann and her daughters had reportedly visited her mother-in-law, Cindy Watts, with her daughters while she was in North Carolina but before Chris joined his family for the final week of the trip. The discovery documents note that Celeste Watts had a severe allergy to tree nuts, and Bella also appears to have had an allergy. Celeste’s allergy appears to have been well known to all extended family members, who were advised not to give or expose the girls to nuts. But during this visit, Shanann Watts reportedly went into the kitchen at her mother-in-law’s home to find Cindy Watts giving the girls ice cream with nuts in it.
According to the account described in her friend’s letter,”Shanann asked her mother-in-law if the ice cream had nuts in it, and her mother-in-law responded, ‘Yes, just a little.'”
After Shanann told her girls that they couldn’t have the ice cream, Cindy Watts continued to try and give the girls the bowls, and reportedly said to them: “Oh, your mommy doesn’t know what she is talking about, this ice cream couldn’t hurt you,” the letter states.
Shanann reportedly told her friend that she reiterated her concern in a follow-up conversation with Cindy Watts, who dismissed her and said she was being over protective. Shanann then said she went back into another room to join other family members and the girls, and returned to the kitchen soon after when Bella asked for a drink. When she re-entered the kitchen, Shanann said she saw Chris’s sister placing a bowl of nuts on the kitchen table, in reach of the girls.
When Shannan asked her sister-in-law why she would do that, she reportedly said, “We always have nuts out on the kitchen table.”
Shanann told her friend she then left the home, after reminding her in-laws about Celeste’s upcoming birthday party. The grandparents reportedly did not come to the party, and the family was still in conflict over the incident at the time of the murders.
According to her friend, Shanann said that Cindy Watts had never liked her and regularly undermined her. The discovery documents note multiple times that Chris’s parents did not attend his wedding to Shanann.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Chris’s father Ronnie Watts suggested in an interview with investigators that Shanann may have planned to hurt her daughters, citing a photograph of a doll covered in a bed sheet that she had posted on Facebook just days before the murders, saying in the post that Bella had covered the doll with the sheet. The discovery documents show that the photo originally appeared on Chris’s phone, and that he sent it to Shanann.
Chris Watts pleaded guilty to murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters on November 6, and on November 19 was sentenced to three life prison terms without the possibility of parole.