A new Netflix real crime documentary aims to shed light on the horrific murders of the Watts family.
The special, entitled “American Murder: The Family Next Door,” includes newly discovered letters and texts between Chris Watts and his wife Shanan, People magazine reported on Tuesday. In 2018, he was sentenced to five life sentences for the murder of his pregnant wife and two daughters.
The film also includes social media posts, law enforcement recordings, and unprecedented home videos that combine how a seemingly happy marriage became so deadly so quickly. Netflix also said the documentary was “the first film to voice the victims.”
The murders had previously been the subject of two lifetime films aired earlier this year, entitled “Chris Watts: Confessions of a Murderer” and “Beyond the Titles: Watts’ Family Tragedy.”
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In 2019, the murders were also investigated in a documentary published by the real criminal network Investigation Discovery (ID), entitled “Family Man, Family Killer: The Mystery of Identity Murder.”
According to People, the couple sent messages about groceries and dinner plans the same day the Colorado man, now 35, killed his wife, 34, and their two daughters.
“What kind of vegetables do you want with dinner tonight?” Shanan sent a message to Watts.
“Broccoli works,” he replied. “Green beans also work.”
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A few weeks before her death, Shanan wrote to Watts about how excited she was to meet a new baby.
“I miss you very much and I love you,” she wrote. “I’m still shocked that we have a little boy! I am so excited and happy! “
But according to court documents obtained from the store, Watts told his mistress Nicole Kessinger that he did not know that Shanan was pregnant until she was declared missing. He insisted the baby was not his. Authorities, however, rejected Watts’ allegations that his wife was unfaithful.
On August 13, 2018, Watts strangled Shanan, who was 15 weeks pregnant, at their home. Then he killed his daughters – Bella, 4 and Celeste, 3 – at work in an oil field.
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In 2019, just three months after Watts was sentenced to life in prison, Watts gave grim information about the murders of the authorities.
Watts said he strangled Shanan in their bed after telling her their marriage was over, and she replied that she would never see their children again. According to Watts, his wife suspected he was in a relationship.
After killing Shanan, Watts said Bella went into their bedroom, clutching a blanket, asking what was wrong with her mother. Watts said his wife was not feeling well. Bella watched Watts wrap a sheet around Shanan’s body. She began to cry as he pulled the wreckage up the stairs of their home.
Watts said he placed Shanan’s body on the floor in the back seat of his truck. Celeste had woken up when she returned home. He then shoved the girls into the back seat of his truck, where they occasionally dozed off on their laps as they drove.
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Watts claims he had no plans for his daughters when he went to his oil refinery. He told police that the girls asked, “What are you doing with Mom?” When he pulled Shanan’s body out of the truck.
Watts said that when he returned to the truck, he used Celeste’s blanket to strangle her. Bella watched from her seat next to her sister. He then placed Celeste’s body in an oil tank before returning to the truck. He uses the same blanket to strangle Bella. He told police that Bella’s last words were “Dad, no!” Watts said he had put her body in another oil tank and buried Shanan’s body nearby.
Still, he insisted he had no plans to kill his wife or children.
“If I had thought about it, it wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
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Watts told investigators that he pleaded guilty to avoiding lengthy court proceedings and did not feel pressured by his lawyers to reach an agreement with prosecutors.
Watts told police he was reading the Bible for the first time in prison and writing down scriptures every day to send his parents away. He keeps pictures of his wife and daughters in his cell and talks to them “every morning and every night.”
Netflix’s “American Murder: The Family at the Door” is currently available for streaming. The Associated Press contributed to this report.