The body of a pregnant woman whose husband pleaded on TV news for her safe return has been found, authorities said Thursday.
John Camper, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said authorities have recovered a body believed to be that of Shanann Watts, 34, who was reported missing on Monday along with the couple’s two daughters, 3-year-old Celeste and 4-year-old Bella. The announcement comes just hours after her husband, Christopher Watts, 33, was arrested.
“This is absolutely the worst possible outcome that any of us could possibly imagine,” Camper told reporters during a press conference. “And I think our hearts are broken for the town of Frederick as much as anybody.”
Camper confirmed that Shanann Watts’ body had been located on property belonging to Anadarko Petroleum. A spokesman for the Texas-based company told KMGH that Christopher Watts had worked for the firm, but was no longer employed there as of Thursday.
Investigators have “strong reason” to believe they know where the bodies of Watts’ children are located and are in the process of recovering them, Camper said.
Authorities declined to discuss a possible motive in the alleged triple killing during Thursday’s news conference, as well as how they believe Shanann Watts and her daughters were killed and whether Christopher Watts has been cooperative with investigators.
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said formal charges against Watts will be filed by Monday. He is scheduled to appear in court later Thursday for a bond hearing, authorities said.
The victim’s family was heartbroken over the grisly find.
“It is with deep hurt, confusion and anger to confirm our beautiful cousin Shanann Watts, her unborn child, and her two angelic daughters, Bella (4), Celeste (3) were viciously murdered by husband Chris Watts; who confessed to the killings,” they said in a statement to KCNC. “Please keep Shanann’s parents and brother in your prayers.”
Christopher Watts remained held without bail in connection with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with evidence, KMGH reports. Two law enforcement sources close to the investigation told the station that Watts confessed to killing his family.
During an interview with the same station on Tuesday, Watts told a reporter that his wife’s purse, keys and phone were at their Frederick home prior to her disappearance. Watts said his wife, who was 15 weeks pregnant, returned home from the airport at about 2 a.m. Monday, roughly three hours before he left for the day. Watts said she never returned several calls from him and other friends, causing him to start worrying.
“She never got back to me, but she wasn’t getting back to any of her people as well, and that’s what really concerned a lot of people,” Watts told KMGH.
In a steady, unemotional voice, Watts said he tried calling and texting his wife three times to no avail.
“I hope that she’s somewhere safe right now with the kids,” Watts said. “But I mean, could she have vanished, just taken off? I don’t know, but if somebody has her and they’re not safe, I want them back now.”
Watts, who stammered at times during the interview, also spoke about his daughters, saying their smiles lit up his life and that he was hoping to see them return home.
“I miss them,” Watts said of feeding them dinner. “I miss telling them, ‘Hey, you gotta eat that or you’re not gonna get your dessert.’”
Watts continued: “I just want everybody to just come home. Wherever they’re at, come home. That’s what I want.”
Watts said his wife had been returning home from a business trip in Arizona. They had an “emotional conversation” prior to her leaving, but Watts declined to classify it as an argument, he told KMGH.
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