Chris Watts: An American Monster


Kristen Farley, Photographer

American Murder: The Family Next Door': What it got wrong about the Chris  Watts murders – Film Daily

Whenever a tragedy such as the Watts family murders occurs, there’s one question that always arises, “why did they do it?” What could possibly drive someone to commit such a heinous crime? If you’re like me, and you can’t stand for these questions to go unanswered, then ‘American Murder: The Family Next Door’ is a must-watch. 

American Murder: The Family Next Door’ is a one hour and twenty-two minute documentary; it was released to Netflix this year and it focuses on the story of the Watts family murders. 

The murders took place in Frederick, Colorado in 2018. The story begins when friends of Shanaan Watts (wife of Chris Watts) can’t get a hold of her, so they drive to her home only to find that she won’t come to the door either. Her car is still in the driveway, so they know she’s home. They immediately feel that something is wrong, so they call the police.

After calling Chris Watts for permission to enter the house, the police find that not only is Shanaan gone, but so are her and Chris’s two children, Bella and Celeste. Upon further investigation, it’s discovered that Shanaan has left behind her phone (a lifeline for her since she works from home), but the kids’ blankets are missing.

It doesn’t take long for suspicion of foul play to arise. In the documentary, while the house search is taking place, someone actually suggests that Chris Watts may be lying about the situation. After taking a polygraph test, it’s found out that this speculation had been true all along. After countless attempts to deny the fact and clear his name, Chris Watts admitted to murdering his pregnant wife and two other children.

Watts was given five consecutive life sentences and will spend the rest of his days in Dodge Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in Waupun, Wisconsin. Of course, the question of “why” still remains; his initial reason? Watts was unhappy in his marriage with wife Shanaan. He had already been seeing another woman while away from home. 

I think we can all agree that the obvious better option would have been to file for divorce if he was that unhappy; but, instead, his first instinct was to murder his wife and two little girls. It’s easy to ask how someone can bring themselves to murder their own wife, their children at that. I’d like to know, too. My answer to you would be Only Chris Watts knows, it’s the truth. Only Chris Watts himself will ever be able to truly understand what can drive a person to commit a crime such as he did.

If you want more details on the case, go watch “American Murder”: The Family Next Door” on Netflix. It’s highly recommended.