Shan'ann Watts and Daughters' Murders 'Worse Than We Even Thought,' Family Says

Shanann Watts, was 15 weeks pregnant when she and her daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, were all strangled to death.

Recently revealed details surrounding the murders of Shan’ann Watts and her two young daughters have left the slain pregnant woman’s family reeling, they said during a recent interview.  

The information Chris Watts, 33, provided investigators during a recent jailhouse interview about how and why he killed his wife and their children last August was “worse than we even thought,” Shan’ann’s brother, Frankie Rzucek, said Monday during an appearance on “Dr. Phil.”

“Our daughter watched her husband kill her,” said Shan’ann’s mother, Sandy Rzucek. 

Chris provided brutal specifics surrounding the day he killed Shan’ann, who was 15 weeks pregnant with their third child, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, during a five-hour interview with the FBI, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Frederick Police Department. 

Bella walked into her parents’ bedroom to find her father disposing of her mother’s body, but the little girl was confused by what she was seeing, according to the interview. She asked her father what was wrong with mommy before he whisked her and her little sister, Celeste, away and into the backseat of his truck.

There they remained for 45 minutes with their mother’s body as their father drove them to Anadarko Petroleum. After arriving at the site, Chris said he first killed Celeste, dumped his younger daughter’s body into an oil tank and then returned to do the same to Bella. 

“Is the same thing going to happen to me as CeCe?” Bella asked her father before he killed her, he recalled.

He then dumped her body into an oil tank as well.

“I think the hardest part is knowing our granddaughter watched her sister die, and then begged for her life,” Sandy said. “I don’t know much worse than [that] you can hear. Jamming their bodies into an 8-inch hole … what could be worse?”

The girls’ bodies were found submerged in oil. Shan’ann’s body was found buried in a shallow grave. 

During their emotional interview with host Dr. Phil McGraw, Sandy said she knew something terrible had happened to her daughter well before she learned Shan’ann was reported missing.

“I felt my daughter's spirit the moment she died," she said. "I knew. I swear to God I knew. ... I woke up the whole house. I said, 'Something's wrong with Shan'ann.'"

The bodies of Shan'ann, Bella and Celeste were found three days after they were killed.

Chris was found to be having an affair with a co-worker and wanted a “fresh start” with that woman at the time of the murders, investigators said. 

He pleaded guilty in November to all three killings. He was sentenced to serve five life sentences without the possibility of parole.


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