America is obsessed with true crime and American Murder: The Family Next Door is no exception. The Netflix documentary was released in 2020. She details the horrific and shocking details behind Chris Watt’s murder of his entire family, apparently motivated by his love for his mistress. But a closer look at Chris’ mistress’ Google searches proves just as disturbing.
Though it was a wild hunt for the truth, the details of the Watts family murder began to unfold in mid-August 2018.
Despite appearances, Chris and his wife Shanann have had marital problems throughout the summer of this year. The couple reportedly spent five weeks apart (E! News). According to Chris, on the morning of August 13, Shanann confronted Chris about the affair she suspected he was having. The couple agreed that their marriage was probably over. Chris told Shanann he didn’t love her.
Chris claims Shanann then threatened that Chris would never see his children again. In response, Chris strangled pregnant Shanann in her bed.
He loaded his two young daughters, Bella, aged 4, and Celeste, aged 3, into his car with their mother’s body behind them. Chris drove her to the oil site where he was employed. Once there, he smothered Bella and Celeste with her blanket. Chris buried his wife Shanann, who was still carrying their unborn child, in a shallow grave. He stuffed the bodies of his young daughters into separate crude oil tanks and then set to work.
During this time, a work friend of Shanann’s reported her missing. Police contacted Chris to verify his wife’s whereabouts. Chris told police that Shanann returned from her business trip early that morning as planned. He said he went to work at 5:15 am as usual.
At the Watts’ home, police found a packed suitcase, Shanann’s cell phone between the couch cushions, her purse with her keys, and her car in the garage.
Chris struck everyone as the picture of a nerve-wracking father desperate for his family to return.
Two days later, on August 15, Chris confessed to killing Shanann. However, he claimed that Shanann killed her daughters. Six months later, on February 18, 2019, Chris confessed to his daughters’ murders in an interview from prison.
Shanann wasn’t wrong when she accused Chris of having an affair. At the time of Shanann’s murder, Chris had been dating Nichol Kessinger since June 2018. A few weeks after they met, and around the time the affair turned sexual, People reports that Nichol googled, “Man I’m having an affair with says he’s leaving his wife.”
According to Nichol, Chris had led her to believe that he and Shanann were already nearing the end of a divorce. On Aug. 8, Nichols’ search was all about “marrying your lover” and shopping for wedding dresses, The Washington Times reports.
Five days later, Chris’ wife and daughters were dead.
Four days later (just two days after Chris’ arrest), Nichol began searching for information about convicted killer Scott Peterson’s lover, Amber Frey, and whether in situations like hers, the public typically “hates the other woman,” according to People reports “. Nichol also sought information about Frey’s book business and Frey’s fortune.
The police documents also reveal that Nichol spent hours researching Shanann online and used her phone to look for information on whether police can trace text messages.
Following Chris’ sentencing, The Cinemaholic reports that Nichol was placed under witness protection and given a new identity and address.
but Letters from Christopher Author Cheryln Cadle claims that Chris still receives letters from Nichol in prison, although he claims Nichol writes under false nicknames. This story is also told by Chris’ fellow inmate David Carter, who told the Daily Mail about letters he believes Chris is receiving from Nichol under her new name.
Carter claims that in the letters, Nichol is attempting to speak to Chris and “clarify some things,” although it’s unclear how she intends to accomplish this, as Chris is currently serving five life sentences plus many more years for both unlawful termination of a pregnancy and Tampering with the deceased bodies of his murdered family.
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