Chris Watts insisted he did not know where his family was and even urged for their safe return on the local news.
But behind closed doors, Watts was texting his mistress to persuade her that he had no hand in the disappearance of his wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.
In an independently verified 3-hour long clip, police interviewed the mistress, Nichol Kessinger, who detailed hers and Kessinger’s relationship.
“There were several discussions that we had about his current relationship and where it had gone,” she says in the video. “He talked about his kids from time to time. But the thing was that he was never hostile. It was never anything aggressive. It was still very kind. He was just like, ‘This is not working.'”
“It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary or anything that would scare me,” Kessinger says.
“Even to this day, even after everything that I’ve found out, I still look back at that, and I don’t see any red lights about the way he spoke about his family.”
However, Shanann did see red flags. Just days prior to the killings, she reached out to a friend and shared her concerns about her marriage.
And on August 13, 2018, Watts strangled Shanann in their Colorado home. He then drove her body to a job site at the oil company where he worked. He proceeded to then bury his wife’s body and then smother his daughters and put their bodies in oil tanks. After a friend sent police to the family’s home for a wellness check, Watts said he had no idea where his family was.
Kessinger says the pair had a highly charged text conversation with Watts after the family’s disappearance news.
“I kept asking him, ‘What did you do, Chris? What did you do?'” she recalls. “I asked, ‘Where’s your family?'”
“I was still in my head. I was stressed out,” she continues. “So I texted Chris one last time, and I told him, ‘If you did anything bad, you’re going to ruin your life and you’re going to ruin my life. I promise you that.’ And he responded, ‘I didn’t hurt my family, Nicky.’ And that was the last text. I never said another word to him after that.”
Watts is currently serving five consecutive life sentences at Dodge Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison, in Waupun, Wis. He is not eligible for parole.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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