• Shanann Watts ‘beat all the odds' to have her children, brother says

    By: Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    FREDERICK, Colo. - Shanann Watts’ Facebook profile is one filled with love; love for her family and love for her job. 

    The pregnant Colorado mother of two was found buried in a shallow grave Thursday, not far from where the bodies of her daughters, Bella, 4, and 3-year-old Celeste, were found hidden inside oil tanks on the property of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the oil and gas exploration company for which their father worked, Weld County court records show. 

    The court records, obtained by 9News in Denver, also indicated that the victims may have been strangled. Their autopsy results had not been released as of Monday morning. 

    >> Related story: Shanann Watts, 2 daughters likely strangled, records show

    Christopher Lee Watts, 33, of Frederick, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with physical evidence in the slayings, which investigators believe took place Monday. That was the day that a friend of Shanann Watts’ reported the mother and daughters missing after she went to the family’s home and found no sign of them.

    Investigators said the victim’s vehicle and purse were at the house, as were medications for the girls.  

    In her social media posts, Shanann Watts appeared thrilled to be carrying her third child. In a video she posted June 11, she wore a T-shirt that read, “Oops, we did it again,” her way of telling Chris Watts he was again going to be a father. 

    In the recording, Chris Watts walks into the room and stops, reading the shirt. He laughs.

    “I like that shirt,” he says. “Really?”

    “Really,” his wife responds. 

    “That’s awesome,” he says. After kissing Shanann Watts, he says, “Guess when you want to, it happens.”

    Shanann Watts also recorded the moment she told her daughters that “Mommy has a baby in her belly.” Both girls cheer and jump up and down with excitement. 

    Shanann Watts juggled motherhood with her work as a salesperson for Le-Vel, a health and wellness company that sells nutritional products. Though she and her husband filed for bankruptcy protection a few years ago, her work and his job with Anadarko appeared to rejuvenate the couple’s finances. 

    Her Facebook feed was dedicated to her family and her work, which allowed for much travel. 

    “We have qualified for so many amazing trips in two years that we never otherwise would have been able to visit,” she wrote in one post

    Shanann Watts’ brother, Frankie Rzucek, wrote on Facebook Friday that his sister, who he looked up to, was the “hardest working person (he’s) ever known.” In an extensive post describing his only sibling, he revealed that she had lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes a person’s body to attack its own organs. 

    According to WebMD, it also means that any pregnancy is considered high-risk. 

    “Lupus can complicate pregnancy with an increased risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and preeclampsia, as well as heart problems in the baby,” according to the medical website.

    “When our family found out she beat all the odds and became pregnant, I can't even explain our excitement,” Rzucek wrote. “Shanann was born to be a mother and help change lives.”

    He called her a “picture-perfect” mother.

    “I was blown away when I moved out there and lived with her for a few months after her first-born daughter, Bella (My Bella Bean),” Rzucek wrote. “I was exhausted by just watching my sister. She made being a parent look easy.”


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    Shanann Watts publicly shared many photos of her girls, along with videos. Bella was often the star of the videos, including one in which she sang a song calling her father a hero. 

    “My Daddy is a hero, he helps me grow up strong,” Bella sings, a shy smile on her face. “He reads me books, he ties my shoes. You’re a hero, through and through. My Daddy, Daddy, I love you.”

    “I totally just cried!” Shanann Watts wrote in the caption of the video. 

    In another video, the expectant mother asks Bella how many babies are in her belly. 

    “Five!” Bella says, grinning.

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” a male voice says from off camera. 

    “That’s a lot of babies,” Shanann Watts says. 

    Bella, who would kiss her mother’s pregnant stomach each night, giggles as Shanann Watts tells her that she needs to grow up quickly because she’ll need a lot of help with all those babies. 

    In a June post showing a scrape on Celeste’s forehead, Shanann Watts calls the 3-year-old “one of the toughest kids (she knows).” She says that Celeste and her energy is the reason she started using Thrive, one of the products she sold for Le-Vel. 

    “Lawd, this kid gives me mini heart attacks on the regular,” Shanann Watts wrote. 

    In an interview with 9News in Denver the day before his arrest, Chris Watts also described the couple’s children. 

    “Celeste, she’s just a bottle of energy,” he said. “I call her ‘Rampage’ because she's got two speeds: go, or she’s sleeping. She’s always the troublemaker, she’s always the one, like, jumping off things. Bella, she’s the more calm, cautious, mothering type, and she’s more like me -- she’s more calm. Celeste has definitely got her mom’s personality, where she’s all gung-ho, ready to go.”

    See Chris Watts’ entire interview with 9News below.

    In a Father’s Day post accompanied by a photo collage of the family, Shanann Watts praises her husband.

    “Chris, we are so incredibly blessed to have you! You do so much every day for us and take such great care of us. You are the reason I was brave enough to agree to number 3! From laundry to kids’ showers! You are incredible, and we are so lucky to have you in our life! Happy Father’s Day!”

    Rzucek wrote that he let his anger toward Chris Watts get the better of him in a previous post, in which he called his brother-in-law a “heartless psychopath” and said he wanted just 30 seconds alone with him. 

    He said he would never delete or regret his comments, however. 

    “He stole my whole world and treated them like they were trash,” Rzucek wrote. “I’ve never been so mad, sad, enraged, hurt, heartbroken, lost and shocked in all my life. So forgive me for how I went about it. My sister and nieces meant the absolute world to me. They made me strive to be an even better man. I wanted them to be proud of their uncle.”

    Rzucek wrote that he could go on for days with memories of his beloved sister, who recently visited family in North Carolina with Bella and Celeste, but instead said he was proud and honored to receive the love and well-wishes of those who will miss Shanann Watts. 

    He also asked people to pray for Chris Watts’ family, who is also mourning.

    “I'm trying really hard not to hate him because that's not how we were raised, but I just can't find it in my heart. I really don’t know what to say,” Rzucek wrote. “I just thank God that I got to spend the last six weeks loving, laughing,and enjoying what precious time I had with my sister and nieces that I loved with every inch of my soul. 

    “I wish I could go back in time and be there to keep you safe from harm. Sorry Uncle couldn't save you.”


     

     

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