Documents from the investigation into the murder of Shanann Watts reveal that she was planning a romantic getaway in the days before she was murdered by her husband Chris.
A search of her phone that was conducted after her body was recovered found that Shanann had been on GroupOn searching for a way to afford a cheap weekend escape for the couple.
On the night before her death she even lined up the child care for the weekend, getting the babysitter who was watching her daughters Bella and Celeste on Saturday to return the following Friday ahead of the woman who would be spending the weekend with the girls.
At the same time, Watts was with his mistress Nichol Kessinger discussing his next steps and the apartment he planned to get when he separated from his wife.
He had told Shanann he was at a baseball game, but her suspicions had grown so strong that she told friends of her plan to confront her husband when she returned from her work trip in Arizona.
Happier times: Shanann Watts was planning a romantic getaway for herself and husband Chris (above) to try and repair their marriage in the days before her murder
Watts’ mistress, Nichol Kessinger (above) claimed that his financial troubles were the main catalyst for the murders. Prosecutors say he wanted to start a new life with her, though
In a text sent to her friend Ady, Shannon wrote out the entire speech she planned to deliver on Monday, after she had returned home and gotten some rest.
‘Can you please tell me something, because just like you, I’m in my head? I try to fix things and make them better and this is making me crazy. I know that you need time. I want to give you what you’re asking for and respect your space, I need some time. This place that I’m in, in my head, is not a good place,’ read the text.
‘lt is not healthy for me, or Niko. I need you to help me help you. I need you to give just a little bit of what I did, or didn’t do, so t,m not going crazy in my head to figure it out. I know I can’t fix this by myself; that, we are going to have to work together.’
She then got on a plane and was not heard from again after her friend dropped her off at home.
Watts would later send a text to her phone just before 8am asking where she was, shortly after he buried her body in a shallow grave.
He then looked up the lyrics to a Metalica, called the school his girls were set to enroll in and told them that they would not be attending and called up a hotel in Aspen.
It is unclear if he was trying to cover himself with that move or use the trip as a romantic getaway for himself and his mistress.
By noon multiple people were asking about Shanann’s whereabouts, and to one inquiry Watts responded: ‘l just talked to Nicki. Shanann went to a friend’s house with the kids today. I haven’t heard from her since. I will keep you updated though.’
The situation grew increasingly fraught over the next few hours texts show, with Watts imploring people not to contact the police.
The friend who dropped watts off was the most concerned, writing at one point: ‘l have been to your house you won’t open your door, your alarm is set, your shoes are sitting inside, your car’s home, lam so very concerned about you right now. I need you to text me or call me and just tell me OK. lf you don’t wanna talk to nobody, you don’t wanna be around nobody, I get it, its fine, but I need to know you’re OK.’
Soon after a number of Shanann’s friends texted one another that Watts was likely behind his wife’s disappearance.
This was 24 hours after Watts set his plan in motion.
Off to prison: She managed to organize a weekend away in Aspen that was scheduled for days after she was murdered by Chris
Watts had taken the girls to a birthday party on the afternoon of Sunday, August 12, and while Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, played in the pool their father started texting co-worker Kodi Roberts.
At 5.06pm that evening, Watts set in motion his plan for disposing of his wife and daughters’ bodies, as he texted Roberts that he would be making the drive out to one of the more distant oil fields that was managed by his company, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.
It is also where the bodies of Shanann, Bella and Celeste were discovered just days after they went missing.
Watts, per his own admission in interviews with law enforcement officials, then took his daughters home, gave them both showers, fed them pizza and got them each a snack before putting them to bed.
He noted that both girls were eager to see their mother, who was due to return home late that night.
Hours later, the girls and their mother Shannan were all murdered in the house, and their bodies disposed of at Cervi 6-29.
Shanann’s father was one of the last people to see the girls, revealing he spoke to them on FaceTime on Sunday evening.
Frank Rzucek stated in an interview with law enforcement officials that he spoke with both Watts and Bella, who was eating cold pizza and candy.
He made no mention of seeing Celeste.
Watts claimed that he put the girls down before 8pm and that Bella woke up twice, running out to ask when her mom would be returning home.
The young girl’s father and soon-to-be-murderer admitted to assuring her that she would see her mother in the morning.
A babysitter, who was the sister of the birthday boy whose party Watts and the girls attended that Sunday, also spoke with an agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
She said that on Saturday Watts had asked her to watch the children while he attended a Rockies game, though it was later revealed that he was actually on a date with his mistress, Nichol Kessinger.
She had babysat for the girls the previous evening, when Watts had claimed to be attending a Colorado Rockies game.
The babysitter said that while watching the girls Shannan called at 7.50pm to check on the children’ while she was away and later posted a photo.
There was nothing remarkable that happened that night save for Watts returning home at 10.30pm, later than he had promised to be back at the house.
It was also her first time babysitting for the family, with the normal sitter who is a close friend of Shannon’s not called in for reasons that are not stated in the reports.
Innocents: While she was planning this trip, Chris was with his mistress Nichol Kessinger and talking about moving out of his home
Watts set up the babysitter the night before by texting her father, stating: ‘Do you think McKenna is available to watch the girls for a few hours tomorrow night? I won a raffle at work for a Rockies game. lt’s with people I don’t know from work, but I haven’t been to a game in a while where the kids aren’t involved and only last an inning lol.’
The babysitter did have a different version of events as to what happened the following day though, saying that Watts left the party much earlier than he told authorities.
‘[The babysitter] stated the following day, Sunday August 12, 2018, Chris, Celeste and Bella came to her home for a birthday party for her younger brother,’ reads the CBI report.
‘Celeste and Bella are friends of her younger brother. [The babysitter] recalled Chris and his daughters left her home at about 3.30pm.’
Watts’ co-worker Roberts later told the an agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation that it was ‘unusual’ that Watts had texted him on a weekend, and stated that he did arrive to the site alone on Monday morning.
That day he did not seem to be out of sorts according to Roberts, but did make multiple trips to his car.
Unbeknownst to Roberts, he had just buried his wife in a shallow grave and dumped his daughters in an oil tank.
After strangling his wife with his hands and smothering Bella and Celeste last August, Watts loaded their bodies into his truck.
He spent a normal day at work and frequently texted his girlfriend, even as police began investigating his family’s disappearance.
He made calls to a real estate agent about selling the family home and told the girls’ school that they would not enroll that fall as planned.
Within days, he was charged with killing his family.
The girls’ bodies were found submerged in separate oil tanks on property owned by his employer. His wife’s body was found in a shallow grave nearby.
As a prosecutor detailed the injuries at Monday’s hearing, Shanann Watts’ father leaned forward, gasping.
Christopher Watts’ parents were permitted to speak at the hearing as the girls’ grandparents. Cindy and Ronnie Watts urged their son to use his reprieve from a death sentence to make a full confession.
‘We hope that he embraces that moment,’ the couple’s attorney said.
Rourke doubts that moment will ever come.
‘Those are the questions that will always haunt anyone who was involved in the investigation,’ he said.
‘I don’t think there is ever going to be a satisfactory answer for anyone.’