How Shan'ann Watts' Best Friend Helped Stop Chris Watts From Getting Away With Murder

Nickole Atkinson knew something was wrong when Shan'ann Watts didn't turn up for a doctor's appointment and immediately called police, preventing Chris Watts from getting rid of valuable evidence.

When her best friend Shan'ann Watts didn't show up for a doctor's appointment in mid-August, Nickole Atkinson immediately called police. 

"I can't get a hold of her," she tells cops in newly released bodycam footage. "I've called. I've texted."

Atkinson's quick action may have helped preserve valuable evidence, stopping Chris Watts, Shan'ann's husband, from getting away with the murders of his pregnant wife and two young daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. 

When Watts returned home from disposing of the three bodies, police were already waiting for him. Just released video shows him telling police that Shan'ann had told him she was going to stay at a friend's house.

But he didn't have time to get rid of items Shan'ann would have with her had she actually gone to stay with a friend, such as her phone and her purse.

Atkinson told ABC News she suspected Watts was behind his family's disappearance from the start. 

"He said to me, 'I just feel like crying.' I said, 'Well, why don't you then?'" she recalled. 

Police were also suspicious and Watts was quickly arrested and charged with his family's murders, just hours after his public plea for their return.

“If you’re out there, just come back," Watts told Denver7. "If somebody has her, just please bring her back. I need to see everybody. I need to see everybody again. This house is not complete without anybody here.”

Last month, he was sentenced to five life sentences after pleading guilty to the charges he faced in order to avoid possibly getting the death penalty.