Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke answers media questions moments after he announced Christopher Watts is facing nine felony charges.
Sady Swanson, [email protected]

The Colorado man accused of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters earlier this month told police that he went into a rage and strangled his wife after witnessing her attack their children during the early morning hours of Aug. 13.

Christopher Watts, 33, of Frederick was formally charged on Monday with nine felony counts, including five counts of first-degree murder, in the deaths of Shanann Watts, 34, Bella Watts, 4, and Celeste Watts, 3.

Following the announcement of formal charges, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office requested the public release of the warrantless arrest affidavit for Christopher Watts.

More: Colorado man charged with first degree murder in deaths of his pregnant wife, 2 daughters

The affidavit provides the most detail to date about the events that led to Christopher Watts’ Aug. 15 arrest. It paints a picture of a suspect who cooperated with a police search of his home but who for two days concealed details of the night of his family members’ deaths.

During the course of a two-day investigation following the disappearance of his wife and children, police learned that Christopher Watts was involved in an affair with a co-worker at Anadarko Petroleum, from which he was fired on Aug. 15, the day of his arrest. He told investigators that he and his wife had an emotional conversation during the early hours of Aug. 13 about his desire to separate.


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Christoper Watts told police that he left the couple’s bedroom after talking to his wife and returned to see the baby monitor on Shanann Watts’ night stand. He told police that the video showed Bella “sprawled” out on her bed and Shanann actively strangling Celeste.

Watts told police that he went into a rage and strangled Shanann to death before loading the bodies of his three family members into his work truck and taking them to an oil work site. There, he said he buried his wife near two oil tanks and dumped the girls inside the tanks.

Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke during a Monday press conference said he would not answer questions specific to the ongoing investigation of the case. Neither police nor Rourke’s office have addressed Christopher Watts’ claims.

On Friday, Christoper Watts’ defense attorney James Merson motioned the court requesting that judge Marcelo Kopcow compel a forensic pathologist to take DNA swabs of the throats of the girls’ necks. 

Kopcow denied the motion, writing, “This court cannot order the prosecution and/or coroner how to conduct their investigation.”

More: Bodies of missing mom, 2 daughters found in Colorado, authorities say; father arrested

Police were first called to the Watts’ house after a friend who had dropped Shanann Watts off at her home following a business trip to Arizona became concerned that Shanann was not answering her phone calls later in the morning of Aug. 13.

An officer seeking entrance to the Watts’ home called Christopher Watts, who said he was five minutes away and came to let the officer into his family’s home.

Once inside, officers observed that Shanann Watts’ personal effects were still in the house and that the bed in the master bedroom had been stripped of its bedding.

Christopher Watts told officers that the couple had discussed going through a separation and that Shanann told him she was going to a friend’s house that day. He told officers that he left for work at about 5:27 a.m. on Aug. 13.

The arrest affidavit says Watts told police that his wife was in bed at the time of his departure.

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Officers did not find signs of foul play at the Watts’ home and began a search that ultimately involved the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and FBI.

Video surveillance from a neighbor’s home security system shows Shanann Watts being dropped off at the home before 1:48 a.m. and Christopher Watts’ truck backing up to the garage at 5:27 a.m. before leaving. 

Christopher Watts initially told officers that he backed up his truck to the garage to load tools and leave for work.

During an interview with police two days later, Christopher Watts asked to speak to his father, saying he would tell the truth after doing so. At that point he claimed that his wife had strangled his children and he, in turn, strangled her before loading their bodies into the back seat of his truck and dumping them at the work site northeast of Hudson.

Christopher Watts is scheduled for a 10 a.m. Tuesday appearance in Weld County court to hear the charges against him.

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in court. Arrests and charges are merely accusations by law enforcement until, and unless, a suspect is convicted of a crime.

Follow Eric Larsen on Twitter: @ericlarsen_news


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