True Crime Today: Chris Watts Sentenced; Wisconsin Authorities Ask Hunters To Look For Clues

In Frederick, CO…

Chris Watts was sentenced today to five life sentences, three consecutive and two concurrent, with no possibility for parole for the murder of his wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Watts was also sentenced to 48 years for the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy and 36 years for the circumstances surrounding the disposal of his family’s bodies. 

Chris Watts

On August 13, 2018, Shanann Watts’ friend and co-worker Nikole Utoft went to the Watts’ home to check on her. Shanann had missed a doctors appointment, a work meeting, and hadn’t responded to any of Nikole’s texts. Nikole had dropped Shanann off at home early that morning, around 2:00 AM, following a work trip. Nikole couldn’t raise anyone at the Watts’ home, so she contacted Chris Watts and the police who came to the home and performed a welfare check. Police found Shanann’s phone, purse, car, and the children’s car seats at the home, but no sign of her or the children.

On August 15, 2018, Chris Watts’ was fired from his job at Anadarko Petroleum. The next day, the bodies of Shanann and her two daughters were found on Anadarko Petroleum property; Shanann had been buried in a shallow grave and the little girls were found in nearby oil tanks. Chris initially denied all involvement in the murders, but once he was confronted by investigators with knowledge of an affair he’d been having with a former co-worker, he “confessed” to murdering Shanann after witnessing her on their baby monitor strangling their daughters.

Chris Watt’s parents and Shanann’s parents were among those who spoke at the sentencing. In court, the Watts family notably walked back their comments from earlier in the month suggesting that they didn’t believe Chris had committed the crimes despite his plea. They now say that what he did is “not condonable” but that they forgive him.

In Barron, WI…

Gun hunting season opened in Wisconsin this past Saturday, and the Barron County Sheriff’s Department has asked hunters to be on the lookout for anything suspicious they may see while out in the woods or on hunting trails that could be connected to the abduction of 13-year old Jayme Closs. Jayme was discovered to have been taken from her home a little over a month ago, after police officers responding to a 911 call arrived at the residence and found both of her parents dead from gunshots. 

I’m curious if there’s any evidence that Jayme was taken into a wooded area, or if this is a standard request from investigators who don’t have a lot to go on. I’ll be continuing to follow this one, hopefully a spike in people being out and about in less-frequently trafficked areas while hunting in the next couple of weeks turns up something new for investigators. 

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