Man admits wife's murder, blames her for daughters' deaths

Christopher Watts Shanann Watts Celeste Watts Bella Watts

Motive mystery: Family struggled with debt before husband arrested for killing pregnant wife, two daughters

The Colorado man accused of killing his wife and two daughters was actively having an affair - and claimed his wife strangled the girls shortly after he requested a separation, according to a bombshell arrest affidavit released Monday.

Rzucek's silent angst dominated Tuesday's routine court hearing in which Christopher Watts, wearing an orange jail suit and cuffed at the wrists and ankle, stoically answered, "Yes sir", as District Judge Marcelo Kopcow told him he could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of killing Shanann, 34, and their daughters Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4.

According to an arrest affidavit unsealed Monday, Watts said he told Shanann that he wanted to separate when she returned from a business trip.

"We had an emotional conversation, I'll leave it at that", Watts told a reporter who asked whether they'd argued.

Christine Gentert said a prayer, adding that she wanted Shanann Watts to be remembered for her smile and her love for others.

"While in the bedroom, via baby monitor located on Shanann's night stand, he observed Bella "sprawled" out on her bed and blue, and Shanann actively strangling Celeste".

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The court filing says Watts gave police an aerial photograph of the area and identified three areas where he placed the bodies.

"Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death", the document said.

Shanann Watts, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and her daughters were reported missing August 13. Colorado is one of 12 states without a law broadly allowing for homicide charges in the violent death of fetuses, but state lawmakers in 2013 made the unlawful termination of pregnancy a felony offense.

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.

Shanann Watts' father Frank Rzucek and brother Frankie Rzucek Jr. sat in the front row of the courtroom during Tuesday's advisement hearing.

Last week, KMGH in Denver reported that Shanann confided in a friend that she was anxious that Watts may have been unfaithful.

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"The sheet matched the pattern of several pillowcases and a top sheet recovered from a kitchen trash can from the Watts residence early that day", the affidavit said.

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. He said she had already killed the other child. The bodies of the two girls were recovered late in the day Thursday.

A motion that Watts' attorneys filed Friday suggested that the two children may have been strangled and stated that their bodies had been submerged in crude oil for four days. The couple married in North Carolina almost six years ago, and moved to Colorado soon after. "We're here for them", she said.

Watts was arrested last week after telling police and news media for two days he didn't know what happened to his wife and girls. Because if they are safe, they're coming back.

Outside the family's home in Frederick, north of Denver, a memorial of stuffed animals, balloons, flowers and messages grew and a candlelight vigil drew dozens of people.

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