Harrowing new details released from an interview confessed family-killer Chris Watts gave investigators last month show that 4-year-old Bella Watts witnessed her sister’s murder and the disposal of her body just before Watts strangled Bella to death, as she pleaded for her life.
The Denver Post obtained the transcript of the February 18 interview in which Watts revealed for the first time in chronological detail the murders of his wife Shanann and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Watts confessed in the interview to strangling Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, on the morning of August 13. Just a few hours before, he and his wife had sexual intercourse, which he said in the interview may have been a “trigger” for what would happen next. When he and his wife woke up after a few hours of sleep, Watts said he “straddled” her and told her he was having an affair, and that their marriage was over. When Shanann then told him he would not be able to see his daughters anymore, Watts strangled her to death. He said his wife did not fight back as he was murdering her.
The transcript of the interview indicates that Bella Watts had some awareness of what was happening. The 4-year-old girl entered her parents’ bedroom after Shanann was dead, and Chris told investigators that she may have been woken up by the noise — though it’s not clear what noise he was referring to.
“[Watts] tried to carry Shanann down the stairs and lost his grip and ended up having to pull her down the stairs,” the transcript reads.
“Bella watched him drag Shanann down the stairs and began to cry and said, ‘What’s wrong with mommy?'”
Watts told investigators that he then put his daughters in his truck and laid Shanann’s body in the back of the truck. He said that his daughters were holding each other, and laying on each other’s laps as they periodically dozed off.
When they arrived at the oil site 45 minutes later, Watts pulled Shanann’s body out of the truck and laid her on the ground.
“What are you doing to Mommy?,” both of his daughters asked.
Watts told the investigators that he is not sure if he answered or what he said. He told them that he first smothered and strangled Celeste, who her family called “CeCe,” by placing a blanket over her head, covering her nose and mouth, and wrapping his hand around the front of her throat. According to his account, Bella was seated right next to CeCe at the time.
He then took CeCe’s body out of the car, “walked her up to the oil tank, opened the hatch, and dropped her inside, feet first.”
By all indications, Bella witnessed this as well.
From the transcript:
“When he got in the truck, Bella asked him, ‘What happened to CeCe?’
Bella asked him in her soft voice, ‘Is the same thing gonna happen to me as CeCe?’
He is not sure if he told Bella ‘yes’ like a horrible person.”
Watts said that he then killed Bella, and that her last words were “Daddy, no!” He said that he placed her body in another oil tank, also feet first, and then went the spot where he had laid Shanann’s body and buried her.
Watts pleaded guilty to all three murders on November 5 and is serving consecutive life sentences at a Wisconsin prison.
It is not yet clear why investigators interviewed Watts in February. CrimeOnline will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.