One friend recalled Chris Watts as being a family man so dedicated to his family, he’d die for his two daughters -- a tragically ironic recollection given that Watts now stands accused of murdering his pregnant wife Shanann and their two girls.
Watts, 33, has been charged him with nine felonies, including five counts of first-degree murder, according to the criminal complaint and information make public by a Colorado court. Watts also faces one count of first-degree unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body, according to the filings.
In a twist, however, he told police that he strangled his 34-year-old wife Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, in a fit of rage last week after she killed their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, inside their Frederick, Colorado home, according to an affidavit released late Monday. He said he caught her killing their children after he revealed to her that he was having an affair with his coworker and that he wanted to seperate. Prosecutors believe that Watts was the one who killed the girls.
Kris Landon, a friend of the Watts family for the past four years, told PEOPLE that she was shocked by Watts’ arrest.
“His entire persona was as a family man, talking about his wife and his girls,” she said. “I believed until the other day that his entire life was those girls, and that he would die for them.”
That image of Watts as a family man was also evident in the couple's social media. Shannan would often refer to Chris as “my ROCK!” and “the best dad us girls could ask for.” On Valentine's Day, she posted on Instagram: “I love this man more than words can say! He’s my Rock, my love, my biggest fan, supporter and my husband! I couldn’t of hand picked a better man to call my husband and father to our girls!”
Facebook videos of the family showed Watts being a loving father to his children. In one clip, his daughter Bella sings about her ‘hero dad.’
“He’s just a very warm, personable person,” Landon said about Watts. “He never seemed like someone with anything to hide, because he is so good at looking you in the eye and talking to you. He’s very gifted with words, like he knew what to say to make you like him and warm up to him.”
According to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com, Watts admitted his affair with his coworker during his third interview with police. He previously denied cheating. At 4 a.m. last Monday, about two hours after Shanann arrived home from a business trip, Watts said he told her he wanted to “go through with a separation.” After the discussion, which Watts characterized as “emotional,” he claimed he walked downstairs for a moment and then returned to the couple’s bedroom to talk further.
"While in the bedroom, via baby monitor located on Shanann's right stand, he observed Bella 'sprawled' out on her bed and blue and Shanann actively strangling Celeste,” the affidavit states. “Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death."
From there, he told police that he put all three bodies in the back of his truck, and drove them to an oil work site.
Last Thursday, Shanann’s body was found buried in a shallow grave on a property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, where Watts worked as an operator. The bodies of his two children were discovered nearby, submerged in crude oil, according to the Associated Press.
[Photos: Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Facebook]