Netflix’s documentary “American Murder: The Family Next Door” became one of the most-watched Netflix films, few days after its September 30 release.
The 83-minute film shows the gruesome truth behind the disappearance of Shanann Watts and her two daughters Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4. Later it was found out that they were already dead, followed by the shocking revelation about the murderer, Chris Watts, the 15-week pregnant mother’s husband, and the father of the two children. This tragic story made headlines and was all over the news in 2018.
Chris was spared from the death penalty due to his guilty plea. He was charged with five counts of murder, one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased body and received five life sentences.
The Jenny Popplewell-directed film brought true crime documentaries to another level, telling the Watts Murder entirely through archived files. As the film progresses, hidden truths were unfolded, giving the viewers a bigger picture of what happened. Here are some of the shocking facts about this mysterious case:
The Third Party
Unknown to Shanann’s family and friends, Chris was having an affair a few weeks before the three bodies were found dead. Chris later admitted his affair with his co-worker Nichol Kessinger after denying it for several times during the interrogation.
He admitted that he was having an affair during Shannan’s five-week business trip. Chris told Nichol about his two daughters and added that he was in the process of leaving his wife.
Nichol later came to the police, shortly after Shanann’s disappearance was publicized. She shared her worries and how their disappearance had scared her. When asked about Shanann and the kids, Nichol made it clear that they were never a problem to her.
Never Good Enough
Nickole Atkinson was the one who reported the family’s disappearance. She requested a wellness check after not being able to contact her friend Shanann. She also shared her friend’s not-so-good relationship with Chris’s parents. Later, it was revealed that the couple was not even present at their son’s wedding. When asked about the matter, Chris shared that his mom doesn’t see Shanann as someone good enough.
Almost two months before the crime, Shanann argued with her mother-in-law Cindy, on their six-week North Carolina trip. The misunderstanding rooted in an ice cream Cindy bought for her granddaughter, Celeste. Accordingly, Cindy bought something Celeste is allergic to. Atkinson later added that Shanann did not see her in-laws for the rest of the trip, and the couple didn’t even show up on Celeste’s 3rd birthday.
Chris admitted that he’s the one who killed his daughters shortly after burying his wife’s body 40-miles away after telling the police a different story at first. He later on shared his nightmare recalling Bella’s last moments. He shared how Bella wondered what happened to Celeste and how his daughter pleaded him to stop. “Daddy, stop”. Those were Bella’s last words.
“American Murder: The Family Next Door” is now streaming on Netflix.