Before Chris Watts and Nichol Kessinger dove head-on into their extramarital affair, the two coworkers exchanged a series of emails that made them seem committed to keeping the relationship professional and platonic.
The emails, included in a recent set of documents released by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, provide a telling peek into the early stages of the couple’s ill-fated relationship. In addition to highlighting Kessinger’s initial reluctance to pursue anything with Watts due to his wife, 34-yea-old Shanann, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste,3 — all of whom he’d admit to brutally murdering — the exchanges also demonstrate how Watts fed the women in his life sugar-coated lies in order to sell them on a kind-hearted version of himself that didn’t actually exist.
The first email from Kessinger to Watts is from the afternoon of June 5 — right around the time the two first met — and includes other men from the Andarko Petroleum office in Platteville, Colorado.
Composed in the same dry, formal style that characterizes the majority of emails that get sent around the 21st century American workplace, “Nikki” Kessinger informed the group employees that she talked to her “gas monitor vendor” about their ability to access the INet Now App and successfully fixed their account.
Watts seemingly didn’t “reply all” when he wrote back Kessinger to thank her for her help.
The next batch of emails is from a week later, on June 12. Kessinger wrote Watts a one-sentence email to thank him “for being honest...Truthfulness is so underrated in our culture.”
Considering how their tumultuous relationship ultimately played out, Watts’ reply seems haunting in hindsight.
“I’m a straightforward guy. Lying just complicates things,” he wrote, before calling Kessinger “stunning” and “an amazing person.”
Their exchange on June 12 got more personal as the day went on, with Kessinger admitting she “enjoys talking to [Watts],” and that he makes her “feel understood” when they do speak — but she initially rebuffed his overtures for something romantic.
“I am looking for someone to build a beautiful life with (seems so simple but it is so unrealistic sometimes). Build something similar to what you have done with your wife and those cute little girls,” she wrote. “I do believe in karma so out of respect for myself, you and your family I think it’s best if we keep that friendship at work.”
Kessinger ended the email on a note confirming the mutual confidentiality of their communications. In response, Watts proclaimed his own karmic beliefs while assuring her that “any conversations we have will stay between us.”
Kessinger would eventually enter into an adulterous relationship with him — and Watts was anything but “straightforward.”
Kessinger later told the Denver Post he “[lied] about everything:" She claimed that Watts didn’t wear a wedding ring to the office when they started working together and told her that he and his wife Shanann were separated and close to finalizing their divorce.
By July, the two were getting intimate with one another. They would carry on their tryst until Watts’ family was reported missing in August, the same time Kessinger found out that her lover was actually still married to his wife.
[Photo Credits: Getty Images]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.