The husband of a pregnant woman who was reported missing last week along with their two young daughters has been charged with their murders, officials announced Monday.
The Weld County District Attorney’s Office filed nine charges on Monday against 33-year-old Chris Watts of Frederick, Colorado, including five first-degree murder charges, three charges for tampering with deceased bodies and one charge for unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first degree.
When asked by a reporter whether the officials will seek the death penalty for Watts, District Attorney Michael Rourke said it was “way too early to have that conversation.”
Rourke also declined to answer questions about whether Watts had confessed to the charges, as local news outlets have reported.
Shanann Watts and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, were reported missing on Aug. 13. Chris Watts initially told police and local media that he had no idea where his family members were. The next day during an interview with local news station ABC 7, he revealed he had “an emotional conversation” with his wife when she returned home around 2 a.m. from a business trip on Aug. 13.
“My kids are my life. Those smiles light up my life,” Chris Watts told ABC 7. “I just want them to come back. If they’re not safe right now, that’s what’s tearing me apart. Because if they are safe, they’re coming back. But if they’re not, this has got to stop. Like, somebody has to come forward.”
On Aug. 15, police arrested Chris Watts. Family members of Shanann Watts said they were told he had confessed to police that he killed his wife and children, and agreed to show investigators where he had dumped their bodies.
His daughters’ bodies were found submerged in oil tanks, while their mother’s body was recovered from a shallow grave nearby, according to court documents obtained by CBS News.
Despite Shanann Watts’ positive posts on Facebook about her husband, friends and family told local media that the couple appeared to have a strained marriage in the recent weeks. A few friends suggested Shanann Watts suspected her husband had been cheating on her.
This is has been updated.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
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