Chris Watts Spends Days Working as Custodian, Speaking to Family Through Prayer 5 Years After Brutal Murders

Chris Watts spends his days at Dodge Correctional Institute working as a custodian, according to the WDOC, and largely keeps to himself. He does spend time corresponding with a number of pen pals, most of whom, if not all, seem to be female.

On Aug. 13, 2018, a Colorado father-of-two with a third baby on the way appeared on TV begging the public for any information about his missing wife and children.

Days later, Chris Watts would confess to the murder of his wife Shanann and their unborn baby, and shortly after that admit that he also strangled his daughters Bella and Celeste.

Watts eventually agreed to a plea deal to in order to avoid a possible death penalty conviction, and five years later is serving a term of five life sentences in a Wisconsin prison

Inside Edition Digital spoke with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC), which said that the Colorado Department of Corrections decided to transfer Watts out of the state prison system after a security incident a month into his sentence, which is how he became an inmate at Dodge Correctional Institute. 

Watts spends his days at Dodge working as a custodian, according to the WDOC, and largely keeps to himself.  

He does spend time corresponding with a number of pen pals, most of whom are female. 

In letters, some of these women proclaim that Watts is innocent of his crimes, despite the fact that he still admits to the murders.

Watts even confirmed the grisly details of the murders to one of these pen pals, who spoke to Inside Edition in 2021.

Cherlyn Cadle said that Watts told her he had been planning to kill his family for months, and shared a letter in which the killer dad said that the reason Shanann had OxyContin in her system at the time of her death was because he had been drugging her in hopes that it might terminate her pregnancy. 

“He talked about it so nonchalantly, like going down to get a cup of coffee,” Cadle said.

The person who may have grown closest to Watts in the past five years, though, is Dylan Tallman, a fellow inmate at Dodge.

Tallman tells Inside Edition Digital that he too believes Watts is innocent.

The men grew close after being placed in neighboring cells at Dodge, where Tallman has been an inmate on and off for the past four years. 

The men grew so close that they self-published a book of prayers in 2021 entitled “Revelation in the Reckoning.”

“My past is a blueprint and the devil the architect. While I watch his fallen ones build stone upon stone every day I see these walls as insurmountable, a barrier that blocks me from enjoying your love, your peace, and of your joy, oh Lord,” reads one prayer. “You are my master builder. Help me walk around these walls, sound the trumpet and shout that they may come crashing down like the walls of Jericho.”

A 2020 report from the WDOC also noted the newfound importance of faith in Watts’ life.

“He just wants to start the healing process right now if that’s even possible for him,” it reads. “In regards to his feelings towards the victims, he just kind of renewed his faith and talks to the victims through prayer.” 

It goes on to say: “The victims are his family.”

Shanann, 33, was three months pregnant when Watts strangled her and then dragged her lifeless body into his truck in the early morning bites of Aug. 13, 2018. 

He then put his daughters, Bella, 4, and CeCe, 3, in the truck and drove to a remote oil site in Colorado

Once there, he buried Shanann in a shallow grave and then smothered his two daughters with his bare hands. He disposed of their bodies in two giant oil drums.

Footage from a 7-Eleven shows Watts just a short time later casually grabbing some breakfast.

He had been having an affair at the time with a co-worker, Nichol Kessinger.

Kessinger told authorities that when she met Watts, he told her that he and Shanann were separated and in the process of getting a divorce but still living together because of the children.

In a lengthy interview with authorities obtained by Inside Edition Digital, Kessinger discussed her final communication with Watts shortly after the news broke about his missing family.

“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,’” Kessinger said in that interview.

She said Watts responded in a text that read, “I didn't hurt my family, Nicky.”

Related Stories