The mistress of Chris Watts said she had no idea who he was and what he was capable of until it was too late.
Nichol Kessinger, 30, came forward after much speculation about her identity, after an arrest affidavit revealed Watts was having an affair with an unnamed woman around the time that his wife, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and two daughters went missing.
The Colorado native explained she and Watts, whom she described as “soft-spoken” and “a good listener,” had met at work. They started talking in June and began a physical relationship a few weeks later when Kessinger noticed he hadn’t been wearing a ring and found him attractive.
Watts had allegedly told Kessinger that he had two daughters, but he and his wife were separated and finalizing divorce proceedings. “I believed him,” Kessinger said.
They started seeing each other four or five times a week, but Kessinger said she insisted they take it slow as his daughters adjusted to the split.
At the end of July, when Watts went to visit family in North Carolina, he called to tell Kessinger the divorce was finalized, then asked for help looking for an apartment he and his daughters could live in.
“He made me believe that he was doing all of the things that a rational man and good father would do,” she said.
Kessinger said she started seeing the signs on Aug. 13, when Watts texted her saying his family, wife Shan’ann and children Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, was “gone.” Shan’ann had taken their daughters on a playdate and they hadn’t returned, she said her told her.
Kessinger said that something seemed "off" about his story.
It wasn’t until she saw the story on the news that she found out that he was still married, his wife of six years was15 weeks pregnant and Shan’ann’s wallet and purse were still in the home, she said. That’s when her concern turned into fear for his missing family.
“I thought, ‘If he was able to lie to me and hide something that big, what else was he lying about?’” she said.
She said she confronted him about his family’s disappearance, and he showed little emotion during the exchange.
The bodies of Shan’ann and her daughters were found shortly after, on the grounds of the oil field where Watts and Kessinger worked.
Kessinger said she went to authorities before Watts’ arrest, and has been cooperative in multiple police interviews since.
Watts will appear in court Monday for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to five counts of first degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a dead body.