Shanann Watts’ parents have opened up about the horrific pain of losing their daughter and two grandchildren, who were murdered by Shanann’s cheating husband Chris. Her mom reveals they ‘screamed’ at God over the devastating loss.
As Chris Watts sits in prison, sentenced to five life terms for the murder of his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, 34, and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, her parents are speaking out. Frank and Sandra Rzucek sat down with 20/20’s Amy Robach and they revealed their shock of how Chris went from loving and devoted husband and father to a cheating cold-blooded killer. “That’s the big word – why?” Frank revealed, adding that “He must have snapped because there’s nothing else I could figure out what happened to him.” It was later revealed that Chris had been having an affair and was not looking forward to having a third child with Shanann.
Sandra referred to Chris as “the devil” and said that “We did scream at God, yes we did,” upon learning that the man they’d loved as a son-in-law murdered his family, including their two precious granddaughters. She was “clueless” that Chris had been having a double life that included a kinky affair with mistress Nichol Kessinger. “The devil comes to you in any shape, size and form and can be transformed into anything.” Sandra added.
On Aug. 13, Shanann’s close friend, Nickole Atkinson, reported her missing, per The Cut. The two returned from a work trip earlier in the day, and when Shanann wouldn’t respond to Nikole’s calls or texts, she went over to her house. No one answered but Shanann’s car was still in the garage. Nickole called Chris, who told her Nickole took the kids to a playdate. Still, the concerned friends called the authorities for a welfare check. A day later, Chris spoke with a crew from Denver7 and pleaded for his family’s return.
That, we now know, was a ruse. Chris was arrested on Aug. 16, charging him with three counts of first-degree murder. Later in the day, the authorities held a press conference when they revealed that the found the body of a woman believed to be Shanann on the property of Chris’s former employer, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. Chris stuffed the bodies of his two girls into oil and gas tanks to hide the smell, while Shanann was recovered “from a shallow grave near an oil tank.”
As for a motive, Chris told police that after Shanann returned from her work trip, he told her that he was having an affair with a coworker and he wanted to separate. He claims that he saw Shanann strangling Celeste on the baby monitor. However, during his sentencing, he pleaded guilty to killing his pregnant wife and then their two daughters.
“This is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases I have seen,” presiding Judge Marcelo Kopcow of Colorado’s 19th Judicial District Court reportedly said at the time. “Nothing less than a maximum sentence would be appropriate.” Despite this, Shanann’s family made it clear that they didn’t want him to receive the death penalty.
“Four lives were lost at the hands of the defendant on August 13 for reasons that we will never fully understand or know,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke shared in court, per E! News. “In the end, the Rzucek family was much more merciful to him than he was to his wife, his daughters and his unborn son.”
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