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Chris Watts' mistress Nichol Kessinger appeared to immediately become suspicious of him after he made a series of excuses in the aftermath of his family's disappearance.
Watts was sentenced last week to life in prison without parole for each of the three murders he confessed to committing back in August: his wife Shanann, 34, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste 3. The three sentences will run consecutively. He was also given 48 years for the life of the unborn child that Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant with.
In the days after the sentencing, the Weld County District Attorney released approximately 2,000 pages worth of documents detailing the case, including interviews with Nichol Kessinger, a coworker with whom Watts had struck up a romantic relationship.
Those records, obtained by Oxygen.com, reveal that Kessinger (pictured below) believed something was odd about Watts' behavior beginning on Monday, Aug. 13, the day his wife and children supposedly disappeared. Watts' initial story was that Shanann told him she was taking the kids to a friend's house that day after he revealed to her he wanted a separation. However, Shanann left her car and cell phone at the house and no one could track her down, at which point they were reported missing.
“Nichol does not believe Chris ever went to look for his family,” police wrote. “Nichol recalled speaking with Chris on Monday night and he was sleeping. She thought this was strange due to the situation with his family.”
She also told police that she and Watts discussed daughter Celeste’s epipen, which had strangely been left at the house. Watts had previously told Kessinger that the toddler was allergic to nuts and that she needed an epipen for the allergy, which is described as “extreme” in the documents.
Kessinger “said she questioned Chris about this as it seemed odd,” police wrote. “Chris responded saying they had a stash of epi pens and maybe Shanann took one of those. Nichol said she knew this was a lie as the epipens are very expensive.”
Kessinger also told detectives that during her phone call with Watts, he told her that his wife was okay with separating, which Kessinger said she found “concerning” as it contradicted previous statements he made about him trying to repair his relationship with Shanann while she “did not want to try and wanted a divorce.”
Kessinger told police she thought Watts was lying.
In fact, the documents show how Shanann Watts tried desperately to save their marriage. She pleaded with Watts to talk about their relationship and for affection.
Kessinger also asked Watts why he didn’t come into the office that day. She said “it was ‘ironic’ his wife was missing and he did not come to the office that day so she questioned him,” police wrote.
She said Chris claimed he had to go to a pump site instead and that he had to go to the field to check on an oil leak at a well or pump site.
“Nichol was suspicious as to why Chris would be checking on a release as he was not part of the environmental team,” police wrote. “She explained usually if a release is reported a team of environmental specialists respond to deal with the release. Chris occasionally deals with a release and may be responsible for closing valves and or shutting off tanks to stop the release.”
The site Watts visited that Monday was also the one where the bodies of his wife and two daughters were found.
Later that night, he Facetimed her while he was laying on a mattress with no sheets on it. In other documents, investigators noted it was odd that Watts had spent so much time cleaning the house and doing laundry in the days after his family's disappearance.
Last week, during Watts’ sentencing, prosecutor Michael Rourke said a future with Kessinger was the motive behind the killings: “Why did this have to happen? [Watts]' motive was simple, your honor. He had a desire for a fresh start.”
Kessinger has publicly admitted to being deceived by the husband-turned-convicted killer.
“He’s a liar,” she told the Denver Post earlier this month. “He lied about everything.”
[Photo Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images]
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