Chris Watts likely to be formally charged today in deaths of pregnant wife, daughters

Posted at 11:11 AM, Aug 20, 2018

DENVER, Colorado – The man suspected of killing his wife and two daughters last week is likely to be formally charged today by Weld County prosecutors.

The district attorney’s office has until 3:30 p.m. Mountain Time today to file formal charges against 33-year-old Chris Watts in the case. He was arrested late last Wednesday for investigation of first-degree murder and tampering with deceased body charges and has been held without bond.

His pregnant wife and daughters, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, 3-year-old Celeste and 4-year-old Bella, were reported missing last Monday by a family friend after Shanann missed a doctor’s appointment.

A day after the three were reported missing, Chris Watts gave an interview to KMGH television station in which he pleaded for the girls to come home and said he and his wife “had an emotional conversation” before he allegedly last saw her. Watts confessed to killing the three of them, two law enforcement sources told Denver7 last week.

Shanann’s body was discovered in a field on Anadarko Petroleum Company property. Court documents show her body was found in a "shallow grave near an oil tank." Her daughter’s bodies were discovered concealed within oil tanks nearby, sources told KMGH television station. Court documents filed late last week show experts were advised the bodies were in tanks filled with crude oil "for several days." Chris Watts had been an Anadarko employee but was fired by the company Wednesday.

On Friday, the coroner's office announced they had positively identified the bodies as those of Shanann Watts and her two daughters. The manner and cause of death of all three bodies are pending further laboratory results and have not been released at this time.

A court motion filed by Watts’ defense attorneys late last week suggested the girls were possibly strangled. In the motion, the attorneys had asked a judge to compel the coroner to take DNA swabs from the necks and throats of the two girls, though the judge dismissed the motion. A judge also denied a request from the defense to allow an expert to be present at autopsies.

Weld County prosecutors said in court last week they believed the two girls and their mother were killed inside the home but did not elaborate. Frederick police said Friday they still had several days of interviews to complete before Monday's deadline.

The case has been sealed since late last Wednesday while the police investigation continued. The arrest affidavit in the case could be unsealed after charges are filed Monday, and could provide more details about the case not previously known by the public.

KMGH in Denver will have more coverage of what charges Watts faces and any more details unveiled by the court documents, if they are unsealed, later Monday.

Watts is scheduled to appear in court at 10:30 a.m. MT on Tuesday to learn what formal charges he might face in the case.