The girlfriend of Chris Watts, the Colorado man who last year murdered his pregnant wife and two young daughters, provided investigators with key information that pointed to his guilt, officials said.
“Nichol Kessinger turned out to have information that I can best describe as being a bombshell,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke told Investigation Discovery.
Watts is serving multiple life sentences after pleading guilty in November to killing his wife Shanann Watts and their daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant with their third child, a boy they planned on naming Niko.
Before being arrested in their killings, Watts said his wife and daughters were missing and last August appealed to the media for their safe return. Watts’ outpouring of emotion didn’t sit right with Kessinger, who decided to tell the police she and Watts were in a months-long romantic relationship.
“We started hanging out pretty frequently in the last week of June,” Kessinger told investigators, recordings of the interview that aired on Investigation Discovery showed.
She told police Watts said he had two children but was in the process of separating from his wife.
“I wonder if there’s more to this story than I know because I think he’s a really good guy, and you know, I’m worried about his wife and kids,” Kessinger told the cops. “And it’s just freaking me out because those little girls are just so little, and she’s pregnant, you know? And it’s like, where’s their mom?”
Police found photos of Watts and Kessinger, cards he had sent her and emails between the two, and investigators began focusing on the seemingly distraught father.
“It appeared to us as if he had every intention of starting a brand-new life, clean of Shanann and Bella and Celeste and Niko, with the love of his life – is how he described Nichol Kessinger,” Rourke said.
Watts initially only admitted to killing Shanann, who he claimed he found strangling their daughters and that that was why he murdered her. In November, he pleaded guilty to murdering his whole family.
After his sentencing, he admitted to police in a jailhouse interview to killing all three. He said he told Shanann he didn’t love her anymore and then strangled her, saying: “I had no control over it. Why couldn’t I just let it go?”
He put his two children, who were still alive, in his truck with their mother’s body and drove to the property of his employer, Anadarko Petroleum. There, he smothered his daughters, buried his wife in a shallow grave and dumped his children’s bodies in oil tanks.
“From a basic human reaction, how in the world can you do that to your own kids?" Rourke said.