Chris Watts’ shocking murder of his pregnant wife and two toddler daughters in August 2018 is the focus of Netflix’s latest true crime documentary film, American Murder: The Family Next Door.
American Murder: The Family Next Door premiered on the streaming platform on Wednesday (September 30).
The documentary film, directed by Jenny Popplewell, tells a chilling story constructed from text messages, surveillance, and police footage.
The documentary “uses raw, firsthand footage” to show the events that transpired after the grisly murders. Police footage also shows Watts confessing to the murder of his pregnant wife and daughters.
If you’ve watched the documentary or plan to watch it, you may have been wondering what happened to Chris Watts after the murders and where he is now.
Here is everything you need to know.
Who is Chris Watts?
Chris Watts and his family lived in Frederick, Colorado. He was an oil field worker while his wife, Shanann, worked in the HR department at the Colorado Children’s Hospital.
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They were having financial difficulties and had filed for bankruptcy before the murder took place. Chris and Shanann were also having relationship issues before the murder.
What happened in the Watts family murders?
Chris Watts was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.
The grisly murders happened at the couple’s home in Frederick, Colorado, on August 13, 2018. Watts first strangled Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant with their first son, before smothering his toddler daughters, Bella and Celeste.
He then transported the bodies to a Weld County oil field where he dug a shallow grave in which he buried Shanann.
After burying Shanann, he deposited the bodies of his daughters in a nearby oil tank.
A friend reported Shanann missing on the same day after she failed to answer a phone call and missed a doctor’s appointment.
At first, Watts claimed his wife left with their children and that he did not know her whereabouts. He also appeared on the local news to plead with Shanann to return home.
Police arrested Watts a few days after his wife was reported missing. He failed a polygraph test and under subsequent interrogation, he confessed to murdering his wife.
At first, he claimed that Shanann strangled their two children. He said he strangled her after she had strangled their children.
But he eventually confessed to murdering his entire family.
Where is Chris Watts now?
Watts pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other related charges in November 2018. Shanann’s family asked prosecutors not to seek a death penalty for Watts.
He reached a plea deal to avoid a death penalty and on November 19, he received five life sentences without parole.
He was also sentenced to 48 years in prison for unlawful termination of a pregnancy and 36 years for tampering with bodies.
KKTV (11 News) reported in December 2018 that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections confirmed that Watts was serving his prison term at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections released the information in response to an open records request.
The Denver Post also confirmed that the Colorado Department of Corrections moved him to the Dodge Correctional Institution.
Watts was reportedly transferred for safety and security reasons.
American Murder: The Family Next Door is streaming on Netflix
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