Colorado Man Faces 9 Felonies in Grisly Death of Wife and Kids

Christopher Watts' young daughters were found submerged in crude oil
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2018 6:00 PM CDT
Colorado Man Faces 9 Felonies in Grisly Death of Wife and Kids
Christopher Watts is escorted into the courtroom before his bond hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colo.   (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool, file)

Prosecutors charged a Colorado man with murder Monday in the deaths of his pregnant wife and their two young daughters. The charges against Christopher Watts, 33, come a week after a friend reported Shanann Watts, 34, and the girls missing from their home in Frederick, north of Denver. Watts faces nine felony charges, including three first-degree murder charges, two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. Before his arrest last week, Christopher Watts lamented in interviews with local television stations about missing his wife and daughters. Authorities found Shanann Watts' body Thursday, buried in a shallow grave. The bodies of Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, were later found inside oil tanks near their mother's grave.

Watts is being held without bail and will next appear in court Tuesday. The family's two-story home is just outside Frederick, a small town outside Denver where fast-growing subdivisions intermingle with drilling rigs and oil wells. The bodies were found on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of Colorado's largest oil and gas drillers, where Watts had worked as an operator. Court documents filed by defense lawyer James Merson said the girls had been submerged in crude oil for four days. Autopsies have been completed but not released. A judge on Friday denied a request by Merson to require the coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the children. Per the AP, the attorney's request suggested that the girls may have been strangled. (More Christopher Watts stories.)

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