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How did Shanann Watts's family react to the movies about her? Read what they have to say about portrayals of the Watts family murders.

How did Shanann Watts’s family feel about the new Netflix documentary?

The murder of Shanann Watts and her children has reentered the public consciousness thanks to Netflix. The streaming platform recently released the documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door, which details the events leading up to their deaths at the hands of family patriarch Chris Watts.

American Murder provides insight into Shanann & Chris’s marriage, as well as their struggles with communication & parenting. The doc also discusses Shannan’s home life and the ways in which Chris’s infidelity affected her. This emphasis on Shanann has led many viewers to consider what her family thinks of the documentary. Do they like it? Do they feel it portrayed the late Shannan accurately?

Familial support

Shanann’s brother, Frankie Rzucek, recently discussed American Murder on Facebook. He praised director Jenny Popplewell for giving Shannan a “voice” and claimed that the documentary captured Shanann more accurately than any prior special. “I recommend watching this,” Rzucek wrote. “The director made sure we were part of the process and we met the whole team personally.”

Rzucek praised American Murder for fleshing out Shanann’s life before she met Chris Watts, as he felt that Shanann’s marriage hindered her happiness. “It also shows what her life was like before he came along and how happy she was with her beautiful family until he cheated and turned into a different person and became that monster”, Rzucek added.

Shanann’s brother also touched on the cultural impact that American Murder is going to have in terms of preserving her memory. “How crazy that even Kylie Jenner watched it and shared this on her Instagram,” Rzucek wrote. “[Shanann is now] an inspiration to millions of people all over the world. She’s changing lives and I couldn’t be more proud; I’m honored to be her little brother.”

Lifetime controversy

This support is in stark contrast to the recent Lifetime movie Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer. The movie went into production without consulting Shanann’s family, and the lack of fact-checking led the family to fear that the movie would glamorize the real events. They denounced Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer before it was released in January 2020.

Family attorney Steven Lambert told ABC Denver 7 that the movie was “irresponsible” in its handling of the real people involved. “The family had to find out after the fact that the production had gone through without any sort of input,” Lambert remarked. “When something like this comes up and the power is completely taken away [from the family], it does hurt them and it does to a certain extent make them angry.”

Lambert added that the movie invited viewers to question Watts’s guilt by presenting conspiracy theories as truth. “Armchair detectives going out there trying to find scraps of evidence, saying, ‘Chris really wasn’t the killer, it was X’ or, ‘his original confession was the true confession and Shanann did have a hand in this’ or ‘there is some sort of conspiracy going to it’, that kind of stuff bothers them a lot,” he stated.

Taunting & cyberbullying

Shanann’s parents have been subject to taunting & cyberbullying since the murder trial. They generally prefer to avoid the spotlight, but Shanann’s father Frank Rzucek made a public statement about the family’s peace of mind in July 2019. 

“Our family, including Shanann & her children—and our grandchildren—have been ridiculed, demeaned, slandered, mocked in the most vicious ways you can imagine,” he explained. “This is so wrong. We have been subjected to false allegations, fake Facebook accounts, hate speech and a constant stream of ugly, evil insults and attacks. Every time we turn around, there is someone trying to capitalize on our tragedy.”

The senior Rzucek reminded the public that it should be on the side of the victims. “[Shanann] would have defended herself and now I’m here defending her,” he asserted. “I shouldn’t have to be out here doing this.”

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  • This family shouldn’t be on social media. It’s bad enough social media is destroying kids minds and the lies and manipulations are rampant, but these are adults. Shame on them. Reapect your daughter’s life and mourn her properly. Not on social media and not by supporting tbose who are profiting off the murder like Netflix.

    October 10, 2020
  • How could anyone taunt & bully those poor people after all they’ve lost? Would somebody want to be treated that way if some monster had done to their child and grandkids what he CONFESSED to? There’s no theory, he told anyone who’d listen what he did to HIS KIDS!!! What horror he perpetrated on his wife & unborn son!! “UGH”

    October 10, 2020
  • The Watts family is obscene Thank goodness this beautiful strong women and her two daughters got a voice!

    October 10, 2020
  • The gf took advantage of a low IQ child of a narcissist. I’m not sure she can’t there, I consider her a conspirator. She wished the girls, wife & unborn baby dead, not unlike Suzanne Morphew murder. Who knows who was there. Many said 3 ppl. Who wanted the ring why are there 3 chd with no last name that look like barry; why has “church” related to this ” Foundation” ( as in HRC and we don’t say his name’s corrupt foundations) bought house, and is he connected to Drlphi? Is this a tfkging deal?

    October 10, 2020
  • I watched Shananns watts on Netflix I can’t say his name as he’s just pure evil I am heartbroken how anyone can do that to his wife and children is beyond me he didn’t want her and the thing is he didn’t want anyone else to have her or the children. A lot of people get divorced and a lot don’t see there children but there’s courts to sort that out the thing with that monster it was premeditated he cancelled the school he had it all planned they were in his way I wouldn’t mind shananns was stunning his tart of a girl friend ugly inside and out and she knows more than she’s saying heartbroken for shananns family as for his family I’m disgusted with them to his mother is the most hard faced woman I have seen interviewed he writes to her saying he’s still a dad and son NO your not a dad you gave up that right when you killed your innocent three children as for a son I would be ashamed to call that thing my son .

    October 11, 2020
  • I can’t imagine the horror, of what the Rzucek family has gone through. They have been dealt with hell on earth, and people need to just leave them alone. Godspeed Rzucek family, RIP Shanann, CeeCee, Bella, and Nico. ❤️❤️🙏

    October 12, 2020
  • Jesus, the cretins on these comments, apart from the second and last comments: imbeciles!
    The family lawyer probably didn’t even watch it from the comments he made, he sounds clueless. “The family had to find out after the fact that the production had gone through”. Yet the brother, Frankie says “The director made sure we were part of the process and we met the whole team personally.”. And what conspiracy theories did they present? It was just Chris Watts’ lies in interview trying to evade arrest!

    Sad story, had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat whilst watching. Beautiful woman and children! Shannan seemed really pushy and controlling at first, I have to admit when it was about halfway through I believed he’d snapped and committed the murders in rage. Then I realized he was just an evil scumbag who did it out of lust! The dirtbag he was boning is fake and a whore!


    October 14, 2020
  • Michael your confused. There were 2 different shows. The one on Netflix. (American murderer) Which the family was consulted on. The one on Lifetime. (Chris Watts: Confessions of a killer.) Which they weren’t consulted about.

    October 26, 2020
  • One thing that struck me about the film was -assuming this is accurate- was that she was constantly in touch with friends discussing what was happening, and what she was feeling.
    Who was he talking to about his feelings?
    Apparently no one.
    Men in western culture today have a helluva problem.

    November 1, 2020
  • He was talking to his girlfriend and having sex with her. … dah! He murdered his entire family because he only cared about his self. I hope he rots in hell.

    November 8, 2020

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