Before you watch Lifetime’s ‘Chris Watts: Confessions of a killer,’ catch up on the case


On Aug. 13, 34-year-old Colorado mom Shanann Watts and her daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, were reported missing. 

Two days later, husband and father Christopher Watts was arrested on suspicion of killing Bella, Celeste and Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant. 

Their bodies were found Aug. 16.

Chris Watts pleaded guilty Nov. 6  to nine felonies: three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree murder of a person under the age of 12 while being in a position of trust, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased body. 

Watts is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 19 and will face life in prison without the possibility of parole. After sentencing, more details into the investigation, motive and evidence are expected to be released by the district attorney’s office.

Take a look into our complete coverage of the case thus far.

We will update this story with new information as it becomes available. 

Remembering Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts

Aug. 17, 2018: Candlelight vigil for slain Colorado mother, daughters draws hundreds

► Photos: Vigil honors Shanann Watts, daughters at their Frederick home

► Watch:Moments from vigil for Shanann Watts and her children

► Live: Frederick vigil honors slain Colorado mom and daughters

► Photos:  Frederick pays tribute to slain Colorado mom, daughters

Aug. 27, 2018: Funeral for Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts planned in North Carolina

Sept. 1, 2018:Mourners gather in North Carolina at Shanann, Bella, Celeste Watts’ funeral Saturday

Sept. 4, 2018:Purple ribbons in Frederick honor Shanann Watts and her two daughters

Early November:Chris Watts’ mom gives first TV interview, says she had a bad feeling about Shanann

Nov. 9, 2018:Frederick community takes stuffed animals left for Shanann and girls and turns them into cuddle blankets for law enforcement to give to kids in crisis.


34-year-old Shanann Watts, her unborn child and her two daughters, 4-year-old Bella Watts and 3-year-old Celeste Watts, were honored at a candlelight vigil outside their family home in Frederick, Colo. on Friday, Aug. 17.

Court coverage of the case against Christopher Watts

Aug. 15, 2018:FBI joins search for missing pregnant mom, 2 daughters from Frederick

Video: Christopher Watts pleads for his family’s safe return in TV interviews.

Aug. 16, 2018: Colorado husband arrested in deaths of wife, 2 little girls

► No bond for Frederick man accused of killing pregnant wife, children

Video: Frederick police discuss husband’s arrest after disappearance of Colorado woman, 2 daughters

► Bodies of 2 Colorado girls found hours after dad appears in court in connection with their death

► Photos: Chris Watts appears in court for bond hearing

► Video: Christopher Watts makes first court appearance

Aug. 17, 2018:Authorities prepare to file charges in Colorado family killings

► Court documents: Watts children found in oil well, may have been strangled

Aug. 18, 2018:Court documents: Shanann Watts’ body was found in shallow grave

Aug. 19, 2018: Judge denies defense DNA request in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

Aug. 20, 2018:Colorado murder suspect claims pregnant wife strangled 2 young daughters

►Colorado man charged with first-degree murder in deaths of his wife, 2 daughters

► Photos:Christopher Watts charged with five counts of first degree murder

► Video: Weld DA formally charges Christopher Watts with nine felonies

Aug. 21, 2018:Christopher Watts hears charges in slayings of wife, daughters in Colorado

► Photos: Christopher Watts hears charges against him

Aug. 30, 2018: What’s next for the Colorado murder case against Christopher Watts?

Sept. 13, 2018: Christopher Watts accuses DA of leaking information on Frederick slayings

Sept. 18, 2018: Weld DA asks court to seal Watts family’s autopsy records

► Watts defense challenges court ruling, again requests investigation into law enforcement

Sept. 19, 2018: Weld DA requests footprints to compare to evidence found near bodies

Sept. 25, 2018: Judge orders DA to release autopsy records to Watts’ attorneys. DA’s office says they have not yet received reports from the coroner.

Oct. 3, 2018:Autopsies for Shanann Watts, daughters complete but remain sealed.

Oct. 15, 2018: Weld County Coroner files formal request to seal autopsy reports for Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts

Nov. 6, 2018:Chris watts pleads guilty to nine felonies in connection with the deaths of his family. 

Video: Following his plea, Chris Watts’ mother Cindy opens up about her son’s relationship with Shanann, saying she “had a bad feeling” about her.

Nov. 19, 2018: Chris Watts is sentenced to three life terms for the murder of his wife and children.

Nov. 26, 2018: Shanann Watts’ family files wrongful death lawsuit against Christopher Watts 

March 7, 2019:Chris Watts confesses to killing daughters for first time: ‘I didn’t want to do this, but I did it’; new audio released by CBI

March 7, 2019: Weld County DA says Watts’ most recent confession mostly ‘truthful’

Dec. 10, 2019: Chris Watts ordered to pay $6 million to murdered wife’s family in wrongful death lawsuit.


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Understanding the case against Christopher Watts

Aug. 17, 2018: Watts case raises questions about Colorado’s lack of fetal homicide law

► Chris Watts’ friends apologize for defending him, say they ‘had no idea’

 Video: Chris Watts friends: We had no idea he was capable of this

► Video: Full interview with Chris Watts 24 hours before he reportedly confessed to killing family

Aug. 21, 2018: Timeline: Key dates in investigation of deaths of Shanann Watts, 2 daughters in Colorado

► Video: Weld DA answers questions on Christopher Watts case

Aug. 23, 2018:Christopher Watts and Shanann Watts: Their friends saw a ‘perfect’ family. What happened?

Aug. 29, 2018: Colorado capital punishment: Could Christopher Watts face the death penalty?

Nov. 6, 2018: Weld County District Attorney says Watts assertion Shanann strangled daughters is ‘flat-out’ lie

Nov. 19, 2018: Potential motive, evidence against Christopher Watts revealed in court. 


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