New text messages: Do they explain why Chris Watts killed his wife?
Chris Watts murdered his wife and children in 2018. He has admitted to the murders, but the details surrounding them continue to fascinate and confound the public. Netflix is releasing a documentary on Watts titled American Murder: The Family Next Door, which provides new information about the killer and his relationship with his wife.
The documentary chronicles the six weeks leading up to the murders. Watts claimed that his marriage to Shanann Watts fell apart during this time, and the “spark” that had once been a part of their lives was gone. Text messages between the husband and wife showed additional cracks, including disdain for each other’s families and debate over whether they should divorce.
In one instance, Shanann got angry at Chris’s mother, Cindy, for ignoring one of their daughter’s food allergies. “You should call your Dad and tell him you did not appreciate your mom putting your daughter at risk today,” Shanann wrote in a text. “I will call him and tell him what I think about this,” Chris replied. “It’s not f–king cool at all because it is the kids. I will set this right.”
Despite Chris’s assurance, he did not talk to his parents about the misunderstanding and the parents did not attend the daughter’s birthday party. “I don’t ever want to see them again,” Shanann texted a friend after the no-show. She insulted Chris’s parents once more in the days leading up to her murder.
In a lengthy text obtained by the documentary crew, Shanann called Cindy Watts “evil” and accused Chris of letting her foul attitude slide because he was afraid of her. “You and your dad are no different if you are okay with her behavior,” she added.
Chris affirmed that his parents never liked Shanann. They didn’t attend his wedding and they stopped talking to him in the weeks leading up to the murders because they felt like he had sided with Shanann. “My mom just never thought she was good enough,” he told investigators.
Another crucial aspect of American Murder is Chris’s infidelity. He began an affair with a coworker named Nichol Kessinger when Shanann took the kids to North Carolina for several weeks. Chris barely contacted her during this time, and Shanann castigated him for his disrespectful behavior. “You f–king call your kids when you wake up,” she texted him. “You have not called one time since we’ve been here on your own.”
Chris eventually flew out to North Carolina, but the marital issues got worse. Shanann texted a friend about her crumbling relationship and hinted at the fact that Chris could be seeing another woman. “He kissed me once since he’s been here,” she wrote. “That was at airport [sic] I kissed him no grabbins [sic] my ass, hug or anything. I want yo [sic] cry. Five weeks away from me and not touching me.”
Shanann told the unnamed friend that her sex life with Chris was nonexistent. “I’m over here crying in silence,” she texted. “He’s never been like this. 5.5 ducking [sic] weeks no sex, unless he was getting it somewhere else.”
Shanann tried to instigate sex with Chris upon their return home, but she was turned down. “Well . . . he rejected me,” she added. “I just balled for an hour. Still trembling. Just went and room [sic] woke his ass up and asked him who’s [sic] he’s sleeping with.”
American Murder provides additional text messages between Chris and Shanann, but the most chilling exchanges are the ones that occur days before the murders. The couple seem to be on good terms, and Shanann even compliments Chris for his parenting skills. Chris is currently serving life in prison for the murder of his two daughters, wife, and unborn child.
American Murder: The Family Next Door premieres September 30 on Netflix.