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bilgistic

American Murder: The Family Next Door

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Using raw, firsthand footage, this documentary examines the disappearance of Shanann Watts and her children, and the terrible events that followed.

 

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I just started watching this. I came into it totally spoiler free. Seventeen minutes in, I know this much: I'm watching a documentary about a pregnant woman and her kids disappearing, so the husband/kids' father did it.

I hope I'm wrong but I'm probably not wrong.

Edited by bilgistic
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I wasn't wrong. Chris Watts reminded me of Scott Peterson, but then, you see one murderer of a pregnant wife, you've seen them all.

That he drove his little daughters with their mother's dead body to what would all be their ultimate gravesite is so unbelievably diabolical.

Edited by bilgistic
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I came into this not knowing anything about the case at all. I was expecting there to be some sort of wrinkle or twist to the story, but nope, it was another Scott Peterson situation. Why do people think they'll get away with this? 

The editing was well done for a standard story - there was certainly an abundance of material for the filmmakers to sift through and organize. Something about all the footage of their life really depressed me in a way I can't quite put my finger on - the cookie cutter Mcmansion homes, the just-so decor. Something seemed very sterile and airless. Maybe it was the gap between the happy life Shannan was trying to present on social media, and the reality she was actually living.

So heartbreaking seeing all that footage of those adorable smiling little girls, and the devastation on the faces of Shannan's family in court.

These stories always leave me wondering if there is any way we can spot psychopaths in our midst. Not the brilliant conniving mastermind psychopaths we see in movies, but ordinary average ones who live in our neighbourhoods or work with us.

 

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I vaguely remember reading about this case when it happened, but didn't remember many details. I thought this was very well done. It was interesting seeing Chris in the beginning, acting concerned, lying about everything. It seemed like he thought he could get away with everything if he just kept lying. He probably didn't expect Shannan's friend to call the police because she was concerned. It was good thing she did because it got the investigation off the ground pretty quickly. 

I can't believe (well I guess I can, because he's a psycho) that he tried to blame Shanann for killing the kids and he told his own father that. Even when the one agent came back and said "are you ok with the public knowing Shanann killed the kids?" he kept saying he didn't hurt them. I think the agents in this investigation were very good, they didn't buy his bs, especially after failing the lie detector. 

A small part of me can maybe, maybe understand him killing his wife in a fit of rage after she tells him "you'll never see your kids again" but killing the kids too? Driving them with their mother's dead body and holding them down in a water tank? I can't fathom him thinking this is the only way. His own children. It's very sad. Although he lied about so many things, I wonder if he did kill her because he was angry or if he planned on doing it. 

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Ok this was one of those cases where when I watched Shanann's FB live videos I could sort of see why there was tension in the marriage. The constant need to broadcast their perfect lives on social media when in reality the couple went through serious financial difficulties (bankruptcy), plus I have a feeling the last pregnancy might have been one of those "save the marriage, throw away the birth control" oops babies  ... I could see why Chris wanted a divorce. 

I never get why sociopathic guys like Chris and Scott Peterson who want a divorce simply don't get divorced. There was so much tension in the marriages I doubt the wives would have resisted much. Why ruin everyone's life (including your own)? But I guess that's why I'm not a sociopath.

Poor Bella. The line that chilled me was Chris saying "Bella's pretty smart." She must have spent her last moments so terrified, the poor girl, seeing her father kill both her mother and Cece.

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Just now, Growsonwalls said:

I never get why sociopathic guys like Chris and Scott Peterson who want a divorce simply don't get divorced. There was so much tension in the marriages I doubt the wives would have resisted much. Why ruin everyone's life (including your own)? But I guess that's why I'm not a sociopath.

Agreed. I think in their minds though they want a clean break. I get the feeling that it would not have been an easy divorce. She would have fought for the kids. And since he had a real job and she sold MLM crap, he would have had to pay her child support and probably also alimony. In their sociopathic heads they think "I could just start fresh with someone else" and not have 3 years of legal fighting with expensive lawyer bills and then partial custody where you have to see the other person every week for the rest of your life (or at least until the kids are 18 and considering there was a child inside of her, that's a good amount of time ahead). Plus, then he's the jerk for leaving a pregnant lady when otherwise he gets to be someone they feel bad for. 

But yes, watching this I was totally clear on why he wanted to divorce her. That marriage seemed toxic as hell. 

 

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I know it’s easy to say that I would’ve pegged Chris as being involved from the get go, when I wasn’t there at the time, place, in person, but my spidey senses would’ve been in overdrive had I responded to that initial call.  His eyes were darting all over the place.  I loved that the neighbor immediately called him out to the cop.  
 

I also think Chris has to be one of the dumbest criminals I’ve ever seen and I worked as a criminal defense attorney for two decades....I’ve met my fair share of dumb criminals (Facebook is always a treasure trove of information).

 

Shanan May have been a control freak, but those little girls appeared to be very loved and cared for.  For the life of me, I don’t understand why the hell a person would opt to murder their loved ones when there are other ways out.  And again, Chris just appears so damn stupid.  Giving a polygraph, not asking for an attorney...oy.

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38 minutes ago, Growsonwalls said:

I never get why sociopathic guys like Chris and Scott Peterson who want a divorce simply don't get divorced. There was so much tension in the marriages I doubt the wives would have resisted much.

Oh, I think Shannan would have resisted quite strongly.  She was already sending him those stupid videos where she made the daughter sing about how her daddy was a hero, while she was away in North Carolina or wherever for 5 weeks and complaining that he seemed to not miss them and be happy they were gone.  She absolutely did not deserve to be murdered, nor did the kids.  He is obviously some sort of psychopath.  But their divorce would have been a mess.  I hate to think of the debt her stupid MLM business put them in, their finances alone would have been a nightmare to figure out.  

I was really surprised at the end when the documentary thanked her family / gave the impression the family was involved with this production.  The entire time I was watching it I thought it showed Shannan in an extremely poor light.  I honestly couldn't stand her.

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I thought I knew this story but was shocked to learn how the girls actually died.  I assumed it happened the house and that they were asleep.   The horror of what actually happened made me cry for those poor sweet babies.  His own words on how they were hugging each other in the back seat...  They knew something was awfully wrong.   Social media sure is something.  It is amazing how we were able to watch her life like a movie almost exclusively from SM posts.  The juxtaposition of the perfect social media post and her life unraveling in the texts to her friend(s) was well done.  I think she was trying to convince herself as much as her audience that everything was okay. 

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8 minutes ago, CeceliaBedelia said:

I thought I knew this story but was shocked to learn how the girls actually died.  I assumed it happened the house and that they were asleep.   The horror of what actually happened made me cry for those poor sweet babies.  His own words on how they were hugging each other in the back seat...  They knew something was awfully wrong.   Social media sure is something.  It is amazing how we were able to watch her life like a movie almost exclusively from SM posts.  The juxtaposition of the perfect social media post and her life unraveling in the texts to her friend(s) was well done.  I think she was trying to convince herself as much as her audience that everything was okay. 

Well nowadays with all these social media influencers their life IS their brand, thus the constant "curated" content for their followers. Shanann was exhibit A of the trap MLM influencers fall into -- the more their life is falling apart, the more they need the income from their social media, so the more the social media has to portray a perfect aspirational life. I actually know a few wannabe influencers and the gap between their actual lives and the ones they portray on SM is jawdropping. In particular I know one girl who holds "summits" on how to live your life but is basically homeless and on Medicaid. She stays in cheap air bnb;s while she holds these online summits and workshops.

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Late last night, I took a bit of a deep dive into the Reddit forum for this show. There are links to videos, one of which is an extended interview Chris's mother gave to a news station. She's a monster, so apple/tree situation. She actually thinks someone else murdered Shanann and the girls and that Chris needs a better defense team. He confessed and is guilty, so...

Chris has written letters and given interviews from prison that give more details about the murders. They were premeditated and didn't happen as "easily" as it was put forth in the Netflix doc, but he didn't confess that, so the plea deal he got kept him from getting the death penalty. He's stupid for sure, but it looks to me like he's parlaying people's fascination with this case into some kind of fame.

I had to stop reading after awhile both because it was late and because this kind of evil obviously gets to me. I have enough fear of men and people in general. I guess I can understand people being into true crime for the psychology of it, but I just don't need to reminder of how completely fucked some people are.

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2 hours ago, EdnasEdibles said:

I think my favorite was the neighbor who showed his security camera to prove that no one else went into our out of the house and then when the husband left the room told the cops "he's not acting normal" - you're the hero, neighbor. Not even joking. Him and the wife's friend. They sped up the investigation quite a bit. 

Yep - fortunately those two were really on the ball, and definitely sped up the investigation.

49 minutes ago, ThatGreyCat said:

I was really surprised at the end when the documentary thanked her family / gave the impression the family was involved with this production.  The entire time I was watching it I thought it showed Shannan in an extremely poor light.  I honestly couldn't stand her.

This was the one difference from other similar cases I've seen, in that the murdered spouse was not presented in a saintly manner. Not that she deserved in any way to have anything bad happen to her, but Shannan was certainly not likeable. Her constant staging and filming of her life was exhausting, and she was clearly very controlling. It looked like a nightmare marriage, plus the added conflict with the in-laws. I would have been interested to know a bit more detail about how their relationship began and evolved, and what each of their familial relationships were like.

Those poor little girls.

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I think this is why this case is IMO more interesting than the Laci Peterson case. Laci did not have the personality conflicts with Scott's family -- they all liked her and thought she was a nice girl. Also Laci had fertility issues so them having a baby wasn't the "oops we did it again" thing like Shanann and Chris, but something where Scott and Laci both had to go see a fertility doctor to get pregnant. It made Scott's blindside murder of her that much more horrifying.

Shanann texting her husband begging for affection were just painful. I could see why Chris felt it was manipulative -- he was basically a prop in her constructed fantasy about her life that she broadcasted to social media in order to shill Thrive. With that being said that's a situation where normal non-sociopaths would have just booked it and gotten divorced. It sounded like their family and friends were expecting it anyway. Only a sociopath like Chris would have had THAT much rage that he not only killed Shanann but their two little girls as well.

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3 hours ago, ThatGreyCat said:

The entire time I was watching it I thought it showed Shannan in an extremely poor light.  I honestly couldn't stand her.

I couldn't stand her either in the same way I can't stand any of the over-sharing FB harpies who try to present "lifestyles" that are completely phony. It's ALWAYS those types whose lives are in complete disarray. 

I knew nothing about Shanann before this (other than that she was murdered by her psycho husband) and immediately wondered if her "successful business" was an MLM because she totally seemed like the type to get roped into that shit. Sure enough..it was!

Also completely fabricated was her "reaction" video of Chris walking in to see her "Oops we did it again" shirt. GOOD GOD. So cringe-y. Then again, everything about their relationship was cringe-y. I think Chris's parents were probably right to not like her.

ALL THAT BEING SAID...like the prosecutor mentioned: GET A DIVORCE. You don't have to annihilate your family to get out of a shitty marriage. Though unlikeable, it was certainly not her fault she was murdered. 

ETA: What were those patches that everyone seemed to have affixed to their upper arms? Were they part of the MLM scheme Shanann was shilling?

 

Edited by Giant Misfit
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39 minutes ago, Giant Misfit said:

 

ETA: What were those patches that everyone seemed to have affixed to their upper arms? Were they part of the MLM scheme Shanann was shilling?

 

YES! Those are weight loss patches. This link has a review of them. They're complete crap, as you can imagine. If sticking something onto your arm made you lose weight, wouldn't we all be doing that?

 

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I never thought about Chris killing her while she slept until her Father said it. That makes sense now, Chris had no marks of a struggle. I believe Shanann would have fought like hell. 

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1 hour ago, EdnasEdibles said:

YES! Those are weight loss patches. This link has a review of them. They're complete crap, as you can imagine. If sticking something onto your arm made you lose weight, wouldn't we all be doing that?

 

I'd buy and wear a jumpsuit made of those patches!  

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5 hours ago, ThatGreyCat said:

Oh, I think Shannan would have resisted quite strongly.  She was already sending him those stupid videos where she made the daughter sing about how her daddy was a hero, while she was away in North Carolina or wherever for 5 weeks and complaining that he seemed to not miss them and be happy they were gone.  She absolutely did not deserve to be murdered, nor did the kids.  He is obviously some sort of psychopath.  But their divorce would have been a mess.  I hate to think of the debt her stupid MLM business put them in, their finances alone would have been a nightmare to figure out.  

I was really surprised at the end when the documentary thanked her family / gave the impression the family was involved with this production.  The entire time I was watching it I thought it showed Shannan in an extremely poor light.  I honestly couldn't stand her.

I remember reading after he was arrested they were in deep debt. They lived in a beautiful home but were in the process of being taken to court over not paying their HOAs.

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I have to say, that is an amazing friend who knew immediately something wasn't right and got the police involved. Kudos to her. Shannan's husband probably thought he'd have more time to come up with a cover story for why she was missing. He's an idiot to think the police wouldn't find out the truth eventually though.  

You could see he only came up with the story of Shannan killing the kids after the officer offered that to him as a reason after he failed the polygraph. I do agree that he smothered Shannan while she was asleep. 

I don't get these people who resort to murder to rid themselves of their problems. Just get a divorce or break up with them. 

Edited by kellog010
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I was completely riveted by this. I had known about the story, but not read in depth about it. The choice not to do traditional documentary narration and interviews was a good one, the narrative was far more compelling with the footage we got.
Thoughts:

I agree on Shannan’s friend and the neighbor—bravo to them. 
My husband turned to me and said, “She is a handful, isn’t she?” about Shanann. 
When I saw that huge house and the adorable kids, my first thought was envy, but things are not always what they seem, are they? 
 

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Supposedly Shanann's parents owned the house.

Per his letter from prison, Chris drugged Shanann with oxycodone. She didn't struggle because she wasn't able to. How the authorities still let him take the plea deal after the autopsy found the oxy in her system...I just don't know. Chris's mother mirthfully chuckled in the interview that even if he was sentenced to death, "No one's being put to death in Colorado."

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It seems as if there are two types of wife-killers. One is the classic serial abuser who kills because he feels threatened. Usually when the woman tries to leave. I read that OJ went into orbit after Nicole returned some jewelry he had bought her. He knew then that she no longer wanted to reconcile.

The second type is the Scott Petersen/Chris Watts type where the man feels smothered in a marriage he's lost interest in, has picked up a new side chick, and, being sociopaths, kill the whole family instead of getting like ... a good divorce lawyer.

While watching this I could totally understand why Chris would want a divorce. Shanann had already been divorced before. She sounded exhausting. I thought the text Shanann sent Chris where she told Chris to yell at his mom about the ice cream was particularly overbearing. And then to say that Chris's mom could NEVER see them again bc of the ice cream was ... But I couldn't understand how he'd kill her and their two little girls.

One thing that's hard to know is if the marriage was always bad. Shanann's videos make it seem like bliss. I wonder if she genuinely felt it was bliss for awhile before it turned bad, or whether the marriage was always rocky. 

I totally fell in love with Bella. She was so smart, and had such sharp, inquisitive eyes. 

Edited by Growsonwalls
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5 minutes ago, Growsonwalls said:

One thing that's hard to know is if the marriage was always bad. Shanann's videos make it seem like bliss. I wonder if she genuinely felt it was bliss for awhile before it turned bad, or whether the marriage was always rocky. 

I totally fell in love with Bella. She was so smart, and had such sharp, inquisitive eyes. 

That was the only thing missing from the doc for me. I would have liked a bit more depth on both Shannan's and Chris's pasts before they met. It looks like Shannan somehow managed to build a home for herself at a very young age - she said she worked and scrimped for it, but was that the real story? What happened to it? Did she lose it in her first divorce? No info on her first marriage other than the spouse was abusive.

What was Chris's family background? He seemed like such a blank dim-bulb. A reminder that not all psychopaths are clever. His mother sounds like an absolute nightmare.

I'm not really a "kid" person, but those little girls seemed so happy, sweet, and smart. I can't get their faces out of my head.

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That was an incredible way to produce a documentary with social media, police body cameras, and court footage. I followed this case from the beginning, but the text messages about Shanann complaining to her friends about Chris provided more context for me about why I never found her to be sympathetic. Social media has made us all so narcissistic and lowered our interpersonal skills drastically. If I was living with someone that addicted to social media, spinning a perfect life narrative, and directing me like an actor, I would leave. But killing everyone? That's some heartless garbage. And the way he disposed of his family's bodies was sick and cruel. 

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1 hour ago, Growsonwalls said:

It seems as if there are two types of wife-killers. One is the classic serial abuser who kills because he feels threatened. Usually when the woman tries to leave. I read that OJ went into orbit after Nicole returned some jewelry he had bought her. He knew then that she no longer wanted to reconcile.

The second type is the Scott Petersen/Chris Watts type where the man feels smothered in a marriage he's lost interest in, has picked up a new side chick, and, being sociopaths, kill the whole family instead of getting like ... a good divorce lawyer.

Here;s a third kind. About 15 years ago a man in my home town murdered his wife and kids and then killed himself. He was referred to as a "Family Annihilator". This is a gross oversimplification but basically it's (almost always) a man who kills his family to "protect" them from some future harm. Many of these families are in huge debt. The husband wants to kill himself(for the insurance money) but fears his family will fall on hard times without him so he KILLS THEM. To protect them. Other family annihilators are motivated by religion. A man fears his family has sinned or will sin in the future and thus will not be admitted to heaven so he KILLS THEM so they can all go to heaven together. Family killers often commit suicide but not always. Read about John List. That's an interesting story.

Sounds like Chris was more of a Scott Petersen type but there are reports the family was in dire financial condition which I'm sure contributed to his desire to get away.

The man in my old home town beat his small children to death with a baseball bat. To this day my blood runs cold if I think about it.

Message to Men: Here's a good deal. Just go kill yourself first and then, after you're dead, if you really really want to kill your family you can go right ahead. How bout that.

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I just spent some time deep diving into the case files.

A few interesting tidbits not mentioned in the film:

- Chris's parents didn;t even attend his wedding with Shanann. So I guess that tension was always there. 

- Chris and Shanann were considering selling the house. Apparently it was too much to maintain and they had money problems. A friend said that Chris said Shanann modeled their house on her parents' house.

- Shanann talked about their sex life in excruciating detail to friends. When they had sex, when they didn't. Apparently they had a very active sex life so when Chris started refusing sex Shanann freaked out.

- Chris's relationship with the girlfriend was fairly new - it was right around the time Shanann went to NC. I had been under the impression they were seeing each other for longer but guess not. Chris at first told Nicole Kessinger that Shanann's baby wasn't his.

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16 hours ago, MaggieG said:

Driving them with their mother's dead body and holding them down in a water tank?

Worse, it was an oil tank.  I don't know why I find that worse but I do.  At least there's something clean about water. 

15 hours ago, EdnasEdibles said:

I can't even imagine dating someone who is like "I'm separated and we're going to divorce soon" and then a few weeks later you see them on the news fake crying about their missing wife. Oy.

Even worse (I say that a lot) but he told her he was "in the process of separation."  So he wasn't completely separated yet but in the process of it.  If a guy said that to me, it'd never get started.  But maybe she thought he was sincere because it was such a weak statement and if he were trying to pull one over on her, he'd have a better excuse.  I don't know.

Quote

I also did not understand the big deal with the ice cream? That seemed like such a minor issue. Did they not know it had allergens? Were they going to feed it to their granddaughter anyway? I was confused by "They had ice cream in the house and it had allergens so she's never allowed to see them as long as she lives" fight. And the texts to him about growing balls to tell them off seemed nasty.

This is one place where I thought Shanann's over the top reaction was potentially completely justified.  If you read enough advice columns or reddit threads, you'll see there are plenty of people who actively don't believe people have allergies.  Yes, even grandparents with their grandkids. 

And the documentary made it sound like the grandmother bought the ice cream that one of her granddaughters couldn't have and was planning to feed it to her.  I mean, from what I've read, Chris's mom sounds kind of awful and it's no wonder she clashed with her daughter-in-law.

And at some point, if the father of that child isn't taking on the role of advocating for her safety with his parents, I can see yelling at him to step up. There are also lots of spouses who don't want to stand up to their families and would prefer their partners do the battle when really, it should be up to the children to set the boundaries with the parents.

7 hours ago, bilgistic said:

Per his letter from prison, Chris drugged Shanann with oxycodone. She didn't struggle because she wasn't able to. How the authorities still let him take the plea deal after the autopsy found the oxy in her system...I just don't know. Chris's mother mirthfully chuckled in the interview that even if he was sentenced to death, "No one's being put to death in Colorado."

So was the sex part that morning true?  As for why they let him plea, they got him to cop to the murders of all of them instead of blaming his wife.  Plus, it's a lot cheaper to get someone to plea and spend his life in prison than to go through the trials and appeals involved with a death penalty case, I believe.

7 hours ago, Growsonwalls said:

One thing that's hard to know is if the marriage was always bad. Shanann's videos make it seem like bliss. I wonder if she genuinely felt it was bliss for awhile before it turned bad, or whether the marriage was always rocky.

Early in the doc, they showed Shanann saying something that sounded kind of mean and so when her friend said she was "bossy but not in a bitchy way" I found myself saying "well kind of in a bitchy way."

But I also think it is important to remember that most of what they showed us was from a very specific time frame in her life between the time that Chris started his affair, stopped sleeping with her and killed her. Some of the neediness that made her seem tough to handle came from real signals she was picking up on of him pulling away. 

3 hours ago, AttackTurtle said:

The fact that the detective cited his physical transformation was related to another woman was interesting.  I wasn’t sure if the detective knew about the mistress yet.  I think Chris was enthralled that he could get a relatively hot chick and didn’t want to lose that; hence he kills the wife and kids.  

I always feel like men lose weight to be attractive to other women but women lose weight to be attractive for their man (outside of real health concerns.) 

I didn't think his girlfriend was better looking than his wife but she didn't have kids or a body that had given birth so I guess that can feel more attractive to a guy.

3 hours ago, Growsonwalls said:

I just spent some time deep diving into the case files.

A few interesting tidbits not mentioned in the film:

- Chris's parents didn;t even attend his wedding with Shanann. So I guess that tension was always there.

The doc did mention that his parents and sister didn't attend the wedding.  It said the mom and sister didn't think she was good enough for Chris.

Quote

- Shanann talked about their sex life in excruciating detail to friends. When they had sex, when they didn't. Apparently they had a very active sex life so when Chris started refusing sex Shanann freaked out.

- Chris's relationship with the girlfriend was fairly new - it was right around the time Shanann went to NC. I had been under the impression they were seeing each other for longer but guess not

They didn't come outright and say much about the frequency of their sex life but I did get the impression that they probably had an active sex life based on the fact that she was pregnant and was freaking out about how they had stopped having sex as if irregular sex wasn't regular and that he kept rejecting her. 

And that's also why I sort of guessed that his affair started around the time he stopped having sex with his wife. 

 

Edited by Irlandesa
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7 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

This is one place where I thought Shanann's over the top reaction was potentially completely justified.  If you read enough advice columns or reddit threads, you'll see there are plenty of people who actively don't believe people have allergies.  Yes, even grandparents with their grandkids. 

And the documentary made it sound like the grandmother bought the ice cream that one of her granddaughters couldn't have and was planning to feed it to her.  I mean, from what I've read, Chris's mom sounds kind of awful and it's no wonder she clashed with her daughter-in-law.

And at some point, if the father of that child isn't taking on the role of advocating for her safety with his parents, I can see yelling at him to step up. There are also lots of spouses who don't want to stand up to their families and would prefer their partners do the battle when really, it should be up to the children to set the boundaries with the parents.

So was the sex part that morning true?  As for why they let him plea, they got him to cop to the murders of all of them instead of blaming his wife.  Plus, it's a lot cheaper to get someone to plea and spend his life in prison than to go through the trials and appeals involved with a death penalty case, I believe.

<snip>

The doc did mention that his parents and sister didn't attend the wedding.  It said the mom and sister didn't think she was good enough for Chris.

I've linked below the interview with Chris's mother. It'll give you a very clear picture of what Shanann had to deal with. As I mentioned upthread, his mother literally thinks he didn't do this and Shanann is somehow to blame.

From what I recall, Chris and Shanann had sex the night before or I guess early morning since she got home at 2am. He somehow slipped her the oxy. He confessed to it in his letter to a woman who wrote to him in prison. There's a link to that story somewhere on the Reddit page.

 

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Gosh, he was such milktoast.  Those poor children. I cannot understand that at all.  Shanann certainly did not deserve to die, but as I was watching it, all I could think of was "wow, I really do not like this woman" and then felt incredibly guilty and horrible that I thought this about a murdered woman.  I was relieved when I was reading this forum and discovered I was not the only one.  

PS I do think that girlfriend was more involved that what was stated....

 

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Yeah, having read the reddit thread, I agree that the girlfriend was more involved. There was some statement there saying that she stalked the family so she full-on knew that he was not "in the process of separating" - it was not Amber Frey situation (I always felt really bad for her and truly believe she didn't know Scott Peterson was married). This lady seemed to know he was married, seemed to be open about the fact that she didn't want to deal with his kids.

I know someone said "victim blaming" and I absolutely don't blame Shannan for what happened to her at all. It's just weird to see a documentary (with her family support!) that does not paint the victim as an angel who walked on earth. Shannan was kind of a bitch. And she was annoying. I am friends with a bunch of these women on FB and I absolutey don't think any of them deserve to be murdered at all. But I could get why he'd want a divorce. She's human. Hell, if I was murdered I would haunt anyone who says "She loved life and she lit up every room she walked into" I'm sullen. I'm critical. I make really inappropriate jokes way too often. I'm lazy. My text messages would be atrocious if put on a documentary screen. But you almost never see this on a documentary so it's a little jarring.

For the food allergy. The reddit thread also said that there was some believe with Chris's family that this was made up. She'd claim that his family couldn't feed the kids this or that and create a stink but there were facebook videos of her feeding the girls Thrive bars that had the same ingredients that she claimed they were allergic to. So who knows if that's true or not? 

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On 10/1/2020 at 9:25 AM, MaggieG said:

Driving them with their mother's dead body and holding them down in a water tank? I can't fathom him thinking this is the only way. His own children. It's very sad. Although he lied about so many things, I wonder if he did kill her because he was angry or if he planned on doing it. 

I've been reading about the case since it happened, and it's my understanding from the autopsy findings that the girls were smothered/suffocated before they were placed in the oil tanks.  CW has changed his story multiple times, so it's not really clear if they were killed at the house, or at the oil field.  They were so small, I just can't imagine their fear, their father...so horrible.  It's overwhelming to me.  Chris Watts is a monster.

In terms of SW and her social media presence...it seems clear to me, that it had a negative impact on their family/marriage.  That being said, her LACK of social media activity the morning she was killed, alerted her friends that something was very very wrong.  He should have used her phone, as her, to respond to her friends.  But he wasn't smart enough to do that.  If her friend Nickole had not shown up at her house, I have to wonder, what would have CW done with her car, her phone etc

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17 hours ago, Goodtimes said:

I never thought about Chris killing her while she slept until her Father said it. That makes sense now, Chris had no marks of a struggle. I believe Shanann would have fought like hell. 

Apparently now, CW is saying that he drugged her with Oxycodone, so she 'couldn't' fight back.  He lies so much though, we will never know the truth, unfortunately.

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One thing that makes the home videos hard to gauge was that as a MLM direct seller Shanann was actually required to keep up a constant social media presence for "engagement." Their lives also have to be "aspirational." So you never knew if Shanann's glowing remarks about Chris were genuine or whether they were part of her job.

Another thing I found is a video where Shanann is feeding Cece a health bar that apparently has peanuts and other things Cece was allergic to.

The video is pretty cringe in that Shanann seems so intent on saying that HER product is so amazing her allergic kids will be fine.

Honestly, I wish the whole female wellness industry could just die in a dumpster fire. I'm so tired of hearing that some crystals or yoni steams or juices or vitamins are going to fix my life. 

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That video is interesting, 10 minutes to take a bite from two bars. It just went on and on. Protein bars generally have a lot of sweetners in them, I wouldn’t feed them to such young kids just for the potential stomach aches or diarrhea they may get. Shanann isn’t the first person I have seen focus more on their live then their family. 

I didn’t really follow the case back in 2018. I remember Shanann and the girls being missing and then Chris arrested. I never followed any of the SM stuff or the police videos so most of the Netflix documentary was new to me. The format was definitely interesting.

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I've to say that I feel much better personally after reading these comment, I know you shouldn't speak ill of the dead, and I 100% agree she in no way deserved to be murdered, bur Shannan was so annoying. She's the kind of woman that I would avoid like the plague in real life. Even before the texts about the sex were shown there were some real red flags regarding their marriage. One that struck me really early on was when Chris was dressed up as Santa and she was clearly upset about him leaving the phone in the garage. She kept bringing it up and then told the camera her husband doesn't think. Oy!

Then again I think if I ever go missing for a few hours I hope someone cares as much about me as Shanann's friend did. 

The whole time watching I kept telling my husband that I just didn't understand how he could kill the kids. I get why he did it, but I just don't know how a human....a parent, can do that to their own children. Those questions haunt me all the time. 

12 hours ago, EdnasEdibles said:

She'd claim that his family couldn't feed the kids this or that and create a stink but there were facebook videos of her feeding the girls Thrive bars that had the same ingredients that she claimed they were allergic to. So who knows if that's true or not? 

I have kids with allergies and I've never had an incident where a family member fed them something they were allergic too even though they knew about it. I do have a friend whose kids have similar allergies to mine and one year over the holidays she complained to me that her inlaws had nuts in the house and planned to use them in a dish (they had no intention to feed this dish to the kids). My friend was LIVID. And yes, food allergies can be very dangerous and its always best to just not have them around allergic people. My friend didn't react quite to the extent Shanann did, that coupled with the info quoted above leads me to believe that she might have used that incident to cause a big stir and maybe force a break between Chris/Shanann/The Girls and his parents. Sounds like there were plenty of incidents that would lead up to this, there was definitely some serious bad blood between them all. Just my take. 

Such a horrible tragedy, my heard goes out to Shanann's family. 

 

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I really think the format was interesting and well edited.  I will never under choosing murder instead of divorce.  Shanan was not perfect but she did not deserve death.   Neither of them were saints.  No one is.  What he did to his children was incomprehensible.

There’s a You Tuber called Live Abuse Free who did several videos on the case including a 3 part video on Chris’s mother’s book.  The videos go into details of the family dynamics and the bad blood between Shanan and Chris’s Family.

 

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I loved that this documentary painted Shannan in a more honest light. Most shows tend to paint victims as perfect. We are all human but I would have stayed away from Shanann in real life, she is too needy, phoney and exhausting for me.

The poor woman didn't deserve to be cheated on and murdered. Get a divorce asshole. His disassociated behaviour and never discussing his feelings are huge red flags. He played the social media game with her until he wanted to start again so he killed his children and his wife. How do you smother your own children and watch the light go out? That was a very personal way to kill them. I know he resented his wife but I think he resented the kids as well...what a fucking garbage human being. I agree he killed her as she slept and the new GF was very over the top in her reactions. I think she knew.

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On 10/1/2020 at 2:38 AM, Cheezwiz said:

Something about all the footage of their life really depressed me in a way I can't quite put my finger on - the cookie cutter Mcmansion homes, the just-so decor. Something seemed very sterile and airless. Maybe it was the gap between the happy life Shannan was trying to present on social media, and the reality she was actually living.

Yeah I think you answered your question with the bolded. I am so sorry for what that woman and her children went through but man, at one point, watching the million videos/photos/etc., I thought that Shannan was guilty of busy trying so hard to portray this perfect life to random people on social media, versus really dealing with the reality she was living in.

I mean I know she was venting to her friend and clearly suspected immediately when Chris started his affair but it was crazy to me that even while she was clearly owning up to the issues in the marriage with her friend, she's making requests for Chris to let her know when he's coming down the escalator so she could film the girls running to him. Had to get that perfect "daddy and the girls" reunion shot. And not for nothing, but I thought that moment between Chris and the girls was very awkward. He almost seemed like he wasn't sure how to react to them, hold them, etc. Dude was clearly already checked out. 

It was interesting that one of the neighbors, when they were passing the flyers around, recognized Shannan not even from being her neighbor but from her Facebook. 

 

On 10/1/2020 at 10:45 AM, EdnasEdibles said:

That being said, good lord the wife with those Facebook updates. Who is she broadcasting all of that to? Why? Who cares? "It's the girls first day at the beach?" and even "Let me know when you're coming down the escalater so I can film you" Good lord, who cares?! No one wants to watch a video of your husband in the airport?! Just greet him like a normal human with your phone in your purse! 

Yup, just what I noted above. Then there was the awkward Santa thing where she was upset about his leaving his phone in the garage, which I didn't get because she clearly had her phone, since she was filming. And Chris again just seemed so emotionally checked out of the marriage by that point. 

 

On 10/1/2020 at 9:25 AM, MaggieG said:

I think the agents in this investigation were very good, they didn't buy his bs, especially after failing the lie detector. 

The woman was amazing. She was playing the hell out of that "good cop" routine - from tenderely touching his back, the repeated comments about understanding that he just wants to be honest and he's holding so much in, etc. 

 

On 10/1/2020 at 10:45 AM, EdnasEdibles said:

I also did not understand the big deal with the ice cream? That seemed like such a minor issue. Did they not know it had allergens? Were they going to feed it to their granddaughter anyway? I was confused by "They had ice cream in the house and it had allergens so she's never allowed to see them as long as she lives" fight. And the texts to him about growing balls to tell them off seemed nasty.

The way I understood it was that Chris' mother either gave or was going to give the child some ice cream containing things she was allergic to and Shannan freaked out and got pissed about it. However, Chris' mother insisted she didn't know the child had any allergies and so she was pissed at how Shannan yelled and disrespected her in her house. 

 

Quote

I think my favorite was the neighbor who showed his security camera to prove that no one else went into our out of the house and then when the husband left the room told the cops "he's not acting normal" - you're the hero, neighbor.

Not just him immediately saying Chris wasn't acting right but calling bullshit on Chris' talking about the truck being pulled into the driveway because he sometimes parked it that way to carry his work tools to the truck. We now know the truck was pulled in there at that time so he could carry Shannan's body out. And yeah the neighbor immediately went, "he never carries tools out to his truck".

 

On 10/1/2020 at 1:19 PM, bilgistic said:

There are links to videos, one of which is an extended interview Chris's mother gave to a news station. She's a monster, so apple/tree situation.

Not even surprised, considering the documentary made clear she and well it seemed most of his family hated Shannan. Correct me if I'm wrong, didn't they even say they didn't attend the wedding? Probably just like Scott Peterson's mother. Their precious baby boy is perfect and could never do anything wrong, ever. It's all one big conspiracy. 

 

On 10/1/2020 at 1:19 PM, bilgistic said:

He's stupid for sure, but it looks to me like he's parlaying people's fascination with this case into some kind of fame.

That's been obvious to me from the moment we've gotten numerous comments about his "nightmares" and "thoughts" and "feelings" over the crime he committed. But somehow we need to hear about his "pain".

Edited by truthaboutluv
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6 minutes ago, truthaboutluv said:

Yeah I think you answered your question with the bolded. I am so sorry for what that woman and her children went through but man, at one point, watching the million videos/photos/etc., I thought that Shannan was guilty of busy trying so hard to portray this perfect life to random people on social media, versus really dealing with the reality she was living in.

I mean I know she was venting to her friend and clearly suspected immediately when Chris started his affair but it was crazy to me that even while she was clearly owning up to the issues in the marriage with her friend, she's making requests for Chris to let her know when he's coming down the escalator so she could film the girls running to him. Had to get that perfect "daddy and the girls" reunion shot. And not for nothing, but I thought that moment between Chris and the girls was very awkward. He almost seemed like he wasn't sure how to react to them, hold them, etc. Dude was clearly already checked out.

I thought the most awkward moment was when Shanann filmed Chris "finding out" she was pregnant. He pauses with this "oh shit" look before forcing a smile. I wonder if Shanann purposely got pregnant to "save the marriage." I also thought that her forcing Bella and Cece to "celebrate" her new pregnancy was awkward. 

Then again, as I've said before, part of being a social media "influencer" is that you're sucked into a vortex where the crappier things are financially, the more you have to film the perfect life to get more "engagement" and so people can see you as "aspirational." Influencer depression is actually a thing. So if things were really bad financially Shanann might have HAD to film more in hopes of earning more money. I noticed how on brand her videos were, with those arm patches and protein bars in the shot. And all the shots of Chris's sixpack, because apparently she shilled these health bars and supplements. 

Another thing I noticed was how Shanann often avoided actually filming herself. She's voicing over a lot of the videos, so her husband and kids seemed like props. Then I saw the surveillance camera video and noticed she was actually kind of a heavy woman. Not in a bad way, but maybe not ideal if her job was shilling weight loss products. 

And one more thing: that poor dog running around as police were circling the house broke my heart. The poor dog lost his family in one fell swoop. 

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On 10/1/2020 at 11:09 PM, Growsonwalls said:

I just spent some time deep diving into the case files.

A few interesting tidbits not mentioned in the film:

- Chris's parents didn;t even attend his wedding with Shanann. So I guess that tension was always there. 

- Chris and Shanann were considering selling the house. Apparently it was too much to maintain and they had money problems. A friend said that Chris said Shanann modeled their house on her parents' house.

- Shanann talked about their sex life in excruciating detail to friends. When they had sex, when they didn't. Apparently they had a very active sex life so when Chris started refusing sex Shanann freaked out.

- Chris's relationship with the girlfriend was fairly new - it was right around the time Shanann went to NC. I had been under the impression they were seeing each other for longer but guess not. Chris at first told Nicole Kessinger that Shanann's baby wasn't his.

I feel like all of this, with the exception of selling the house, were mentioned in the documentary. They did mention Chris' parents not attending the wedding, when they talked about how the mother and Chris' sister both hated Shannan. The texts they showed of Shannan's conversations with her friends, kind of made it obvious she had no qualms about frankly discussing her and Chris' sex life with her friends. And I think the documentary did indicate the relationship was fairly new, with the voiceover of the girlfriend telling how she and Chris started. 

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On 10/1/2020 at 7:13 PM, Cheezwiz said:

That was the only thing missing from the doc for me. I would have liked a bit more depth on both Shannan's and Chris's pasts before they met. It looks like Shannan somehow managed to build a home for herself at a very young age - she said she worked and scrimped for it, but was that the real story? What happened to it? Did she lose it in her first divorce? No info on her first marriage other than the spouse was abusive.

What was Chris's family background? He seemed like such a blank dim-bulb. A reminder that not all psychopaths are clever. His mother sounds like an absolute nightmare.

I'm not really a "kid" person, but those little girls seemed so happy, sweet, and smart. I can't get their faces out of my head.

I would not be surprised if that marriage was nothing but sex and trouble from the start. Though Shannan claimed she pushed Chris away in the beginning and that he relentlessly pursued her until he wore her down, I find that hard to believe. He did seem rather dim-witted, indifferent and easily pushed around. Maybe that was because he had become disinterested in the marriage. But Shannan did state in one of her SM posts that she wore the pants in the relationship. So again, I wonder how much of their relationship (and even their decision to marry) was driven by him. 
 

1 hour ago, truthaboutluv said:

Yup, just what I noted above. Then there was the awkward Santa thing where she was upset about his leaving his phone in the garage, which I didn't get because she clearly had her phone, since she was filming. And Chris again just seemed so emotionally checked out of the marriage by that point. 


His responses to her text messages over those last 5 weeks were a clear indicator that he just wanted to shut her up, placate her until he could execute his plan to kill her IMO.

 

On 10/1/2020 at 11:09 PM, Growsonwalls said:

- Chris's relationship with the girlfriend was fairly new - it was right around the time Shanann went to NC. I had been under the impression they were seeing each other for longer but guess not. Chris at first told Nicole Kessinger that Shanann's baby wasn't his.

It was almost creepy how similar the girlfriend looked to Shannan. 

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Because I have no life I found some photos of Shanann and the girls. It's really creepy how much product placement is in the photos. She's always wearing those weight loss patches:

watts.jpgNINTCHDBPICT000427543925.jpgshannan-watts.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w

 

She also had the girls in themed clothing all the time:

nn_mal_missing_colorado_pregnant_mother_imagev1490ca884697a6e436a22255293a05e77-

 

I'm sorry but I just can't imagine sustaining this life. When the girls grew up they no doubt would have rebelled and refused to wear the themed clothes. 

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2 hours ago, Growsonwalls said:

Then I saw the surveillance camera video and noticed she was actually kind of a heavy woman. Not in a bad way, but maybe not ideal if her job was shilling weight loss products.

She was 5'5" and under 150 pounds. I aspire to be that "heavy".

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21 minutes ago, bilgistic said:

She was 5'5" and under 150 pounds. I aspire to be that "heavy".

Also Shannan was pregnant when she was murdered. So I'm pretty sure that added to the weight she had at that time.

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6 hours ago, Growsonwalls said:

I'm sorry but I just can't imagine sustaining this life. When the girls grew up they no doubt would have rebelled and refused to wear the themed clothes. 

Just looking at that short series of photos totally exhausted me. Cannot imagine sifting through all that material to investigate.

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11 hours ago, Enero said:

It was almost creepy how similar the girlfriend looked to Shannan. 

I thought it was Shannan without makeup at first. 

Just watched this last night. I had seen something about the case, I think on the That Chapter YouTube channel (great true crime stories and the presenter Mike manages to balance fact with some good old Irish humor). But it was a while ago so I forgot all of the details. 

As soon as I saw she was what I call "livin' that Instagram life" and was in a MLM I knew she was a mess. But I didin't find her annoying, I found her sad. All of these people who put in all of this effort for their lives to appear fabulous, when they could be putting in the effort to actually make their lives work. I recall a self help guru, and was a psychologist, who said: "The most controlling people are normally those who feel the most out of control".  That seemed like Shannan to me. And when they showed those Facebook groups and all of the awful things they said about Shannan with no sympathy for the children was infuriating. 

It seems to me Shannan and her mother-in-law were rather the same with "strong" personalities which is why they probably clashed. And why her dimwitted milquetoast husband husband. He was an utter blank slate with clearly a lot of simmering rage who had probably been bossed around his whole life. 

Rather stunning that Shannan literally narrated her whole life and just put it out there. The documentary was very well done. 

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