Halloween is time of goblins, witches, and boogeymen. It’s fun to get creeped out on horror stories when you are watching the horror play out on film or television, but the real monsters don’t hide under the bed or in closets…nope. Sometimes the real monsters are people you know.
Netflix has a new documentary called American Murder: The Family Next Door. It is a story about the Watts family in Colorado. The documentary begins with the events that take place on August 13, 2018. Shanann Watts had returned from a business trip at 2:00 in the morning. The next day, her friend, who was also on the trip, became concerned when Shanann had not answered the texts, calls, and knocking on her door. Shanann’s friend called the police, who then contacted Chris Watts.
The husband rushed home from work to allow the police to enter. Shanann and the two little girls were gone. There were no signs of a crime. No blood, no overturned furniture, but Shanann’s friends and family became suspicious when Shanann’s phone, purse, and wedding ring were found in the house. Did Shanann take off with the girls? Did someone kidnap them.
Chris Watts swore to the police that things were okey dokey between him and his wife Shanann, who was pregnant. But the police and neighbors noticed that Chris was not acting like a man who didn’t know the whereabouts of his family.
You can learn a lot about a family by what they post on Facebook and Twitter. Shanann painted a beautiful picture of a normal and loving family on her social media sites. She loved her husband and their children. She announced her third pregnancy on social media to Chris. Shanann and Chris Watts appeared to have the perfect life…but not everything was wine and roses and her texts to her friend tell a different story.
You get a good feel about people from their social media posts, but I think this was the first time that I know of that social media helped solve a crime. Shanann had begun to share with her friend her suspicions that Chris was either cheating on her or had just fallen out of love with her. Although the entire documentary uses police videos of interrogations with Chris, along with the social media posts…the events leading up to the crime are shown as a story. I felt like I was watching a murder mystery or drama.
The police began to question Chris. Did he have a girlfriend? No. Well, Chris did lose a lot of weight, and he was working out. No girlfriend? Chris kept denying that there was any trouble with the marriage. What Chris didn’t realize was right after the news of Shanann and the children’s disappearance went public…Chris’s girlfriend had notified the police about their romantic relationship.
Even after miserably failing a polygraph test, Chris denied any wrongdoing. It isn’t until the police allow Chris’s dad to sit with him that we get a hint at what a monster Chris was. Chris finally admits to the murders, after first trying to blame his wife, and tells police where to find the bodies.
Chris Watts killed his pregnant wife while she slept, then after wrapping her in a sheet, he took her and the two little girls, who were still alive and wondering what was wrong with mommy, to one of his work sites. After burying Shanann, he then strangled both little girls and dump them in an oil refinery tank. He killed her because he wanted a new life.
Chris Watts appeared to be a normal person. He worked. He had a wife. He loved his children. He was close to his family. Nothing hinted at him being a monster, but he easily choked the life out of his wife and little girls.
Once you post something on social media, it is there forever. Sometimes your posts will cause embarrassment or arguments…but occasionally, your posts might catch a killer. Watch this documentary if you can. It is a reminder that most monsters are right out there in the open. They can be a friend or a family member just bidding their time to strike.