Cops: Bodies of pregnant mom and daughters found

A Colorado man faces three counts of murder after his pregnant wife and two young daughters disappeared. Officials said they discovered three bodies they believe to be Shanann Watts and her two children, but are working to confirm their identities. CNN's Paul Vercammen reports.

Posted: Aug 18, 2018 11:44 AM
Updated: Aug 18, 2018 11:46 AM

Nearly 24 hours before Chris Watts was arrested in the disappearance of his pregnant wife and young daughters in Colorado, he stood outside his house and publicly pleaded for their safe return.

"I hope that she's somewhere safe right now with the kids," he said Tuesday, a day after his wife and daughters vanished from their home in Frederick. "If somebody has her and they're not safe, I want them back now."

A day later, on Wednesday night, he was taken into custody in connection with the disappearance of Shanann Watts, 34, and their two daughters -- Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

On Thursday, Colorado Bureau of Investigation officials discovered three bodies they believe to be those of Watts and the two children, but are working to confirm their identities.

An adult woman's body was found on the property of a petroleum and gas company where Chris Watts previously worked. Police declined to say where the girls' bodies were discovered, but said they were close to the remains believed to be their mother's.

Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant.

Watts had an 'emotional' talk with his wife

The findings marked a major turning point in a case that stunned the nation -- especially the close-knit community of Frederick, about 30 miles north of Denver.

In an interview outside his house Tuesday, Chris Watts told local media that his wife arrived home from a work event in Arizona about 2 a.m. Monday. He said he left for work a few hours later -- about 5:15 a.m.

"She'd barely gotten into bed, pretty much," he said, according to CNN affiliate KMGH.

During the day, he said, he called and texted her three times, but she did not respond. A friend contacted him and told him she was trying to reach her too, but had not heard back, he said.

"I came home ... and then walked in the house and nothing was here ... she wasn't here, the kids weren't here. Nobody was here," Watts said. "Could she just have taken off? I don't know."

The Frederick Police Department received a missing person call just before 2 p.m. Monday, Sgt. Ian Albert said. They conducted a welfare check after a friend called and requested one.

The friend said she had plans to meet Shanann Watts, but Watts didn't answer her phone or show up for a doctor's appointment.

When asked by a reporter whether they had argued before her disappearance, Chris Watts said, "We had an emotional conversation, I'll leave it at that. I just want them back."

The children were excited to be big sisters

Before his arrest, Watts described how much he missed watching their daughters curled up on the couch, watching cartoons. The house felt empty without them, he said, and the girls were not there to run him over when he walked into the house.

"My kids are my life," he told the affiliate. "Those smiles light up my life."

Just months earlier, in June, an excited Shanann Watts posted Facebook videos in which she told her husband and children that she's pregnant. In one video, she's wearing a T-shirt with the words, "Oops we did it again" as her husband walks into the room.

"Really? That's awesome," he responds. In another video, she shares the news with the girls.

"Guess what girls? Mommy has a baby in her belly," she tells the squealing girls, who jump up and down, then envelope her in a hug.

"I'll give the baby a hug," Bella says, leaning down to wrap her arms around her mother's belly.

Husband faces three counts of murder

Shanann Watts' brother, Frankie Rzucek, said he wants to know why anyone would harm his sister.

"I just want 30 seconds alone with that heartless psychopath. May Satan have mercy on his soul," he posted on Facebook. "Doesn't take a genius to know who was suspect."

Local authorities are working with the FBI and state investigators to determine what happened.

Investigators have not revealed a possible motive or other details in the case. A judge sealed the arrest affidavit, which might have provided that information.

"I just want to know why," Rzucek posted. Shanann Watts, he said, is his only sibling.

During a bond hearing Thursday, prosecutors said they believed Shanann and the young girls were killed inside the house, but did not elaborate, KMGH reported.

Watts faces three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with a human body, police said. He's being held without bond, with his next court appearance scheduled for Tuesday.

CNN has reached out to Watts' public defender, but has not heard back. Weld County prosecutors have until Monday to formally charge him.

This article has been updated to remove some details regarding the Watts' relationship that were provided by the couple's friends to a CNN affiliate.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 556381

Reported Deaths: 7098
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1158471682
Ramsey47939856
Dakota42586422
Anoka38655415
Washington24993274
Stearns21052219
St. Louis16821298
Scott16013117
Wright14818127
Olmsted1276297
Sherburne1064880
Carver984945
Clay783490
Rice7649101
Blue Earth698640
Kandiyohi628181
Crow Wing618186
Chisago550650
Otter Tail543973
Benton532297
Mower451132
Goodhue444172
Douglas442870
Winona438649
Nobles400648
Morrison396059
McLeod395255
Isanti378259
Itasca373653
Beltrami372957
Polk366067
Steele364014
Becker356048
Lyon348648
Carlton329452
Freeborn328129
Pine312321
Nicollet307542
Brown294739
Mille Lacs282150
Le Sueur270822
Todd268830
Cass250426
Meeker237437
Waseca231421
Martin213429
Wabasha19953
Roseau197818
Renville172543
Hubbard172341
Dodge17193
Redwood166335
Houston162614
Cottonwood157021
Fillmore15179
Pennington151019
Chippewa146537
Wadena144621
Faribault144019
Sibley136410
Kanabec131721
Aitkin128736
Watonwan12569
Rock123019
Jackson117410
Yellow Medicine110819
Pipestone109926
Pope10306
Murray10269
Swift100018
Marshall85617
Stevens82210
Lake78419
Clearwater77814
Koochiching77313
Wilkin77012
Lac qui Parle73622
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5498
Norman5229
Mahnomen5088
Unassigned50378
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3605
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 358085

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56023604
Linn20310330
Scott19111234
Black Hawk15560306
Woodbury14906221
Johnson1405881
Dubuque13162202
Dallas1090196
Pottawattamie10763162
Story1031547
Warren555686
Clinton537790
Cerro Gordo522986
Webster508391
Sioux506673
Marshall477274
Muscatine460796
Des Moines441965
Wapello4254120
Buena Vista421940
Jasper407670
Plymouth397479
Lee368555
Marion354575
Jones293155
Henry286337
Bremer279360
Carroll279351
Crawford261840
Boone258833
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242343
Mahaska224850
Jackson218242
Kossuth213063
Clay211225
Tama206671
Delaware203039
Winneshiek194433
Page190421
Buchanan188831
Cedar184423
Fayette183041
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178149
Harrison176473
Clayton167155
Butler162534
Mills158720
Cherokee157138
Floyd155442
Lyon154841
Madison154119
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149151
Iowa145524
Hancock143734
Winnebago136131
Grundy135332
Cass134654
Calhoun133211
Jefferson131035
Emmet128740
Shelby128637
Sac127319
Louisa127249
Appanoose126647
Mitchell125341
Union124132
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112821
Palo Alto111022
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10050
Clarke98323
Keokuk94730
Monroe94128
Ida89733
Adair84532
Pocahontas83721
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7098
Taylor65312
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4939
Adams3284
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 19°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 27°
Austin
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 18°
Cooler for the next couple of days
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Bulls defeat Grizzlies in Fraser Cup Final

Image

Bruins continue fight for playoff bid

Image

Aaron's Evening Forecast (4/19/21)

Image

Sean's Weather 4/19

Image

Mayo Clinic Doctor creates art for patients

Image

Electric car show

Image

Walk a Block

Image

Cleaning up Chester Woods

Image

Little Thistle collecting donations

Image

Rochester United PKG

Community Events