Shanann Watts Fought To Save Marriage In Weeks Before Her Murder, Per ‘People’

Newly released court documents detail the text exchanges between Shanann and her husband, Chris Watts, who was convicted of murdering his wife and their children.

Shannan Watts and her husband Chris Watts enter their wedding reception.
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Newly released court documents detail the text exchanges between Shanann and her husband, Chris Watts, who was convicted of murdering his wife and their children.

In an attempt to save their six-year marriage, Shanann Watts spent the weeks before her murder trying to mend her relationship with husband Chris Watts. Last week, court documents were released by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, which People obtained, that detailed the texts exchanged between the couple before her — and her children’s — tragic death at the hands of Chris.

During a five-week summer trip, visiting her family in North Carolina with the couple’s two daughters Bella and Celeste, Shanann texted with her husband, who was back home in Frederick, Colorado. The topics surrounding their crumbling marriage, expressing her frustrations with his “bachelor life” and his lack of commitment.

“I realized during this trip what’s missing in your relationship!” she wrote to Chris on July 24. “It’s only one way emotions and feelings. I can’t come back like this. I need you to meet me halfway. You don’t consider others at all, nor think about others feelings.”

Chris, who was having an affair in the summer leading up to the murders of his wife, two daughters, and unborn son, responded that he loved her and was sorry. It appears that Shanann did not accept the seemingly half-hearted apology.

“It’s not hard texting love you and miss you,” she wrote back. “If you don’t mean it then I get it, but we need to talk. I keep looking at my phone all night and no response from you. Like seriously! We didn’t just start dating yesterday! We’ve been together 8 years and have 2.5 kids together.”

Later, on August 5, she sent her husband a series of texts that displayed a range of emotions, beginning with a lengthy message detailing how much she missed her husband because of the little things, like how he touched her while she was cooking. She pleaded with him to tell her about how he was feeling — and whether he was done with the relationship — and followed up 30 minutes later by asking if he would still want to stay with her if children weren’t involved.

“I just don’t get it. You don’t fall out of love in 5 weeks,” she texted in another message, followed quickly by one which read “How can you sleep? Our marriage is crumbling in front of us and you can sleep.”

Shortly after returning from the vacation, a friend reported Shanann missing on August 13. It was later discovered that she and her two daughters had been murdered. Chris was arrested two days later in relation to their deaths, and pleaded guilty in court on November 6. He was sentenced to multiple life terms in prison without the possibility of parole.

District Attorney Michael Rourke said, during a post-sentencing news conference, that Shanann had picked up on “a lot of suspicious behavior” from her husband, including credit card notifications for restaurant tabs that were likely for a seating of two or more.

Rourke also said, in court, that Shanann spent weeks trying to save the marriage, giving her husband self-help and relationship counseling books. Although, according to the D.A., he had already mentally checked out of the relationship, focusing more on his girlfriend and the gifts and vacations he could take her on. He labeled the difference between the two spouses as “absolutely stunning.”