Chris Watts and his coworker, Nichol Kessinger, began having an affair in June 2018. Two months later, Watts murdered his entire family.
At the beginning of this case, I was firmly on the side of Nichol Kessinger. I believed she was just a coworker that ended up having an affair and whether or not she knew Chris Watts was married, I didn’t believe she had anything to do with the murders. HOWEVER, the more I read about Nichol and the case, the more it really seems like she was planning an insurance fraud scheme that morphed into an affair and then a plan to eliminate Chris’ family so the two of them could be free to be together and collect insurance money together.
Here are some things about Nichol and the affair that just don’t make sense:
[*] After failing the polygraph, Chris gives up remarkably easy and confesses to the crimes. Why? Perhaps because the police immediately halted their investigation afterwards. If Chris were a sociopath capable of killing his pregnant wife and young children, would he really confess so easily?
[*] Kessinger claims when she met Watts at work, she was “unaware” he was married because he didn’t wear a wedding ring around her (many men with similar jobs won’t wear rings to work because they can be a safety hazard). He eventually mentioned his wife and children, but Kessinger claims he said he and Shanann were separated. She says she discovered Watts was still married when watching a news report about his missing wife and children. She also says she discovered that Shanann was pregnant through the news report.
[*] Computer records show that Nichol frequented Shanann’s Facebook page, where Shanann announced her pregnancy and made frequent updates about her family. No one looking at Shanann’s Facebook page would be under the impression she was “nearing the end” of a “mutual” divorce as Nichol claimed to believe.
[*] Chris and Nichol met at Anadarko Petroleum, the same place Chris returned to to hide the bodies of his wife and children. As a safety officer, Nichol knew tons of information about the site Chris worked at, including that it was a perfect site to possibly commit insurance fraud… which would require the kind of explosion that would destroy bodies and evidence.
[*] The first time Kessinger says she felt anything was off about Watts was the night of Shanann’s murder. Before Shanann got home from her business trip, Chris and Nichol Facetimed. Chris was lying on his bare mattress. Since it was late at night, Nichol said she thought this was strange. When the bodies of his victims were recovered, they were wrapped in sheets. The phone call was 111 minutes long. Nichol has not been able to tell police what they talked about during this call, though she was interviewed less than 72 hours later.
[*] Kessinger claims that after Watts appeared to be too casual about his family missing, she contacted the police and told them about the affair. However, this was after the police were already informed about the affair by a supervisor at Anadarko Petroleum.
[*] Nichol has no alibi for the time of the murders.
[*] Even though their relationship was only two months long, police discovered wedding dress shopping along with phrases like “marrying your mistress” and “man I’m having affair with says he will leave his wife” in her Google search history. Police also found that she had been searching Google for “Chris Watts” as early as August 3, 2017 (almost a full year before she claims they spoke for the first time, and months before she “met” him at work).
[*] The morning of the murders, a neighbor saw a truck similar to the one Nichol owned outside the Watts home.
[*] At that time, Nichol’s phone pinged a tower in Frederick, CO where the Watts family home was. Kessinger lived in a town 25 minutes away.
[*] Nichol tried to destroy her sim card before giving her phone to investigators. She also deleted texts and photos of Watts and her search history shows her looking to see if the cops would be able to read her deleted messages.
[*] Phone records show that Nichol and Chris were in close contact the night before, morning of, and day following the murders.
[*] Chris told law enforcement he tried first to subdue Shanann with Oxycontin. The police were not able to establish how he could have gotten Oxycontin as it had not been prescribed to him. He said where the Oxycontin came from “is a secret he will take to his grave.” This TikToker has a good theory about where it came from:
[*] This text from Nichol to Chris that says “I want to be a part of it. Being in your life is something I crave.”
[*] Nichol also Googled how much Amber Frey’s net worth was. Amber Frey was the mistress of Scott Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson.
[*] There may be security footage of Nichol at the Watt’s home the morning of the murders:
[*] In her interviews, Kessinger avoids saying the names of Shanann, Bella, Celeste, or Nico. This is a common tactic used to distance yourself from someone you have wronged.
Since Chris Watts confessed to his crimes, Nichol Kessinger has deleted her social media, left her job, and moved away from their community. She may be in the witness protection program.