Chris Watts described killing wife and kids in sick letters from prison
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Warning: Article contains details some readers may find upsetting
The man who killed his pregnant wife and two young daughters recalled the chilling details of the moment he took their lives.
Convicted murderer Chris Watts, now 38, is serving five life sentences after confessing to the murders of his wife Shanann - who was pregnant with their third child - and their two daughters, Bella, four, and Celeste, three.
Watts, who initially appeared on TV begging the public to share information about his wife and children who were believed to be missing before he confessed, agreed to a plea deal to avoid a possible death penalty conviction.
Despite confessing to his crimes - which have been explored in the Netflix documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door - Watts has a number of penpals - who are mostly female and some of whom believe he's innocent.
Author Cheryln Cadle spoke to Watts at length while he resides at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, in the US.
Watts revealed he had been ‘thinking about killing’ his wife Shannan for weeks - partly due to an affair he was having with a co-worker - and he also admitted to secretly giving her OxyContin in an attempt to end her pregnancy.
She later published a book, The Murders of Chris Watts, in 2020, where she included Watts’ letters detailing his failed initial attempt to kill his daughters.
He tried to smother his daughters before murdering his wife, describing how his spouse’s 'eyes filled with blood' and her face got 'all black with streaks of mascara'.
In a letter to Cadle, he wrote: "August 13, morning of, I went to the girls' room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella's room, then Cece's room and used a pillow from their bed [to kill them].
“That's why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece's room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued."
Watts’ horrific attempt to kill his daughters had failed and the two girls, Bella, who was aged four, and Celeste, aged three, woke up.
He continued: “After Shannan had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I'm not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella's eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma."
He buried Shannan in a shallow grave close to an oil-storage facility and dumped his children’s bodies into crude oil tanks.
After exchanging letters with Watts at length, Cadle went to visit him behind bars, which she called ‘surreal’.
In 2021, Cheryln Cadle spoke to Inside Edition about the shocking details she learned about the case, explaining how Watts’ eyes would turn ‘black’ when she spoke about the killings.
“At times, when he would talk about the murders, his eyes would turn so black. He just would get a different look on his face, and he talked about it so nonchalantly, like going down to get a cup of coffee,” Cadle said.
“He talked about it so nonchalantly, like going down to get a cup of coffee."