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Dad Accused of Killing Family Had Money Trouble, $5 Dog

Chris and Shanann Watts filed for bankruptcy, though fortunes may have improved
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2018 2:01 PM CDT
Cops: We Found Body of Missing Mother
This photo combo of images provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation shows, from left, Bella Watts, Celeste Watts, and Shanann Watts.   (The Colorado Bureau of Investigation via AP)

(Newser) – Authorities near Denver think they've recovered the body of a missing Colorado woman believed to have been killed along with her two young daughters by her husband. Police are "quite certain" that the body they found is that of the pregnant Shanann Watts, 34, reports Denver's ABC 7. They found the remains on land owned by Anadarko Petroleum, the employer—now former employer—of husband Chris Watts, 33. Police have not recovered the bodies of 4-year-old Bella or 3-year-old Celeste, or "Cece," but say they have a good idea of where they are. Related coverage:

  • Husband and father: Chris Watts remains jailed on three charges of first-degree murder and three charges of tampering with physical evidence. Police have not discussed a motive. His wife was 15 weeks pregnant, notes CNN, which adds that authorities towed his pickup truck from the family home in Frederick overnight.

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  • Money trouble, a $5 dog: Chris and Shanann Watts filed for bankruptcy in 2015, with their liabilities (including student loans) pegged at more than $400,000, reports the Denver Post. Among listed assets: their home, worth $400,000, and their dog, valued at $5.
  • Change in fortune? The same Post story notes that the couple's fortunes seemed to turn when Shanann landed a job with nutrition company LeVel. Her social media posts showed exotic family vacations, apparently at company expense. Still, in July of this year, the Wyndham Hill Master Association, a neighborhood association, filed a civil claim against the couple. (It's not clear why.)
  • Seemingly happy: Shanann's social media posts depicted a happy family, reports Fox Denver. She frequently posted about her husband, daughters, and her busy life. "I love this man!" she wrote of her husband on May 5. "He’s my ROCK!”
  • Recent visit: Shanann had recently returned from a visit to her hometown of Aberdeen, North Carolina, and her parents' next-door neighbor says she gave no sign that anything was wrong, reports the AP. In fact, "she seemed pretty happy," the neighbor says.
  • Last seen: A friend tells Fox 31 that she dropped Shanann off at home at 2am Monday following a work trip. They were to meet up again later that day, but Shanann did not answer her phone.
  • False plea? A day before his arrest, Chris Watts pleaded for the safe return of his family, and Fox Denver has a full interview here.
(Read more murder stories.)

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