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Crime News Family Crimes

‘A Ball of Love': Shanann Watts' Friends Remember Her For How She Lived, Not How She Died

Loved ones of Shanann Watts, who was brutally murdered along with her two daughters by her husband Chris Watts, share their memories of her in the Lifetime special “Beyond The Headlines: The Watts Family Tragedy.”

By Gina Tron
Shanann Watts

When a person’s life is tragically cut short, the circumstances of their death can sometimes overshadow the richness of their life. That’s especially true, perhaps, when their end becomes national news, as in the case of Shanann Watts, the pregnant Colorado mother who was slain, along with her two daughters, by her husband Chris Watts in August 2018.

But the people who knew Shanann best are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. Appearing on the Lifetime special “Beyond The Headlines: The Watts Family Tragedy,” Shanann’s friends remembered her as "ball of love."

The special, which also featured new interviews with investigators, aired Saturday after the network's dramatized rendition of the horrific case, entitled “Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer.”

“I don’t think enough has been really said about who she is and how amazing she was,” Shanann's close friend Cindy DeRosset said. “It is hard to be in this world without her in it and we miss her greatly.”

Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant with the couple's third child –– a son –– when Chris strangled her to death. After killing her, he then smothered their two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, before dumping all of their bodies at an oil site owned by his then-employer. Chris was sentenced to life in prison for the killings.

“Shanann’s essence has been kind of lost in all the tragedy,” Cristina Meacham, who was friends with Shanann for more than 14 years, said in the special.

DeRosset described her slain friend as a “ball of love.”

Cassandra Rosenberg, another friend of Shanann, described her as “captivating” and said that “anybody that met her, you couldn’t help but want to be her friend.”

Meacham called Shanann a “go-getter” who “was determined to have the best life for her and her family.”

At least from the outside, Shanann appeared to be living a picture perfect life. She worked as a promoter and advertiser for the marketing company Le-Vel, which makes the health and wellness product Thrive. She could often be seen in online videos talking about the products with enthusiasm and charisma, but it was more than that. She shared her family life, her inner thoughts, her struggles and she encouraged her followers to be positive and happy. 

That positivity extended to her friendships.

“She would pour into every person,” DeRosset recalled. “I miss the text messages that I would get that say ‘Good morning beautiful’ and all of us would get that from her, every morning.”

In contrast, Meacham described Chris as someone who was quiet and kept to himself.

“It was hard to completely connect as a friend with him but she loved him,” she recalled.

Weeks before the murders, Shanann confided in Meacham that she felt a distance growing between her and Chris. He was no longer affectionate and Shanann was worried he could be having an affair.

“She told me, ‘What if he has another woman?’ and I told her, it’s like 'Sweetie, there’s no way; that man loves you,” she recalled while crying.

Of course, Chris was indeed having an affair. During his trial, prosecutors pointed to his relationship with his coworker and mistress Nichol Kessinger as a motive for the killings, which still haunt Shanann's loved ones.

“She was such a good person and such a good wife to him and such a good mother to her kids,” Meacham said. “How could he have done something like that to her?”

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