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GRAPHIC CONTENT: Transcript and audio of Chris Watts confession released to the public

Posted: 11:59 AM, Mar 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-07 15:23:26-05

WARNING: The story below contains graphic content that is disturbing and includes specific details about how Watts killed his family. Reader discretion is advised. 


DENVER – News5 has obtained an audio recording of Chris Watts’ confession to investigators in prison.

He reportedly confessed to killing his pregnant wife and the family’s two daughters in an interview on Feb. 18 at the Dodge County Correctional Institute in Wisconsin. He’s serving 3 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

On February 18th, Watts was visited by a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent, an FBI agent, and a Frederick Police Department Detective.

Chris Watts
Chris Watts (Department of Corrections)

Watts was moved out of state for his own protection. This is mentioned in the interview as Watts says he enjoys being in a facility outside of Weld County where the other inmates all know who he is, and would shout suggestions about how he should commit suicide in his cell.

Investigators noted Watts has photos of Shanann and their daughters in his cell which he claims to talk to every morning and evening, along with reading a book to his daughters.

He confirmed being involved in an extramarital affair with Nichol Kessinger, who he met at work, and claims pursued a relationship with him. Watts said he felt “more in control” and could be himself with Kessinger, unlike his relationship with his wife. Later in the interview, Watts explains he blames Shanann for separating him from his family after they met at age 25, saying he treated his family horribly during their relationship.

Watts and Kessinger were together for most of July 2018 as Shanann and the girls were in North Carolina visiting her family.

Shannan Watts and daughters
Shannan Watts and daughters

As the questioning moved to what happened the night in early August when his wife and daughters were killed, Watts described a conversation the couple had in bed before he left for work. At the time, Watts said he was straddling Shanann around her waist.  He told investigators his wife was worried he would hurt the baby sitting on her in that fashion.

Watts claims Shanann suspected he was having an affair, so he told her he did not love her, to which she replied he would never see the kids again. That’s when he said he strangled Shanann to death.

Shortly afterward, the couple’s daughter Bella walked into the room. Watts said he told her “Mommy don’t feel good” and she was sleeping. He then picked her body off the bed, wrapped in a sheet, and pulled her downstairs where he placed it in on the floorboard in the back seat of his pickup.

As he believed Bella knew something was wrong and Celeste had just woken up, he had both girls sit on the back seat in the pickup just above their mother’s body.

Watts then drove out to an oil site owned by his employer, Anadarko, with all three and a gas can with the intention of killing the daughters and disposing of the bodies. Instead, he pulled his wife’s body out of the truck, placed it on the ground at the site and buried her. He recalls his daughters asking, “What are you doing to mommy?”

Celeste, also known as Cece, was then strangled in the back seat with a blanket over her head as her sister watched. Her body was dumped in an oil tank at the site. He then returned to the truck for Bella, who asked, “Is the same thing gonna happen to me as Cece?”  Watts recalls telling her, “yes.”  He then covered Bella with the blanket and strangled her. Her last words, according to Watts, were “Daddy, No!” Her body was dumped in a second oil tank.

The investigators then listened to Watts talk about his possible reasoning for the murders, his separation from his parents and sister, and that he had not thought out what to do afterward. This conversation included the couple’s financial troubles which Watts said his wife always controlled in their relationship.

You may recall Watts spoke to the media as police were searching for his wife and daughter. He pleaded for their return home. Watts said he only allowed the interview as he believed local media would not stop knocking on his door, adding he does not remember what he told reporters.

According to investigators, he planted items across the home to make it appear as if she had abandoned the marriage and left the house. Watts even told his mistress Shanann had left with the kids, to which she told him to delete anything about her from his phone and not to contact her “until this is done.”

Later, he spun a story about how his wife had killed the children. Watts claims that idea came to him when suggested during an interrogation, so he “just went with it.”

Chris Watts
Chris Watts

Watts would eventually accept a plea deal on three counts of murder, but he told investigators he never imagined he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Watts is serving three life sentences and 84 years for the murders.

CLICK HERE to view the full transcript.

The full 5 and a half hour long interview was released in two parts. Officials redacted information about where Watts is being held.