Chris Watts said in jail as his wife and two daughters were remembered Saturday during an emotional ceremony

By Steve Helling
September 03, 2018 02:26 PM
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Hundreds of mourners assembled Saturday at a North Carolina church to pay their final respects to Shan’ann Watts, her unborn son, and her daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.

But one person was missing from the 90-minute long funeral: Shan’ann’s husband, Chris Watts, who stands accused of murdering his wife and two daughters.

A source who has spoken with Watts in jail tells PEOPLE that the 33-year-old suspect was “aware” of the funeral proceedings, but had no input in it. “He knew better than to suggest anything,” the source says.

During the ceremony at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Rev. John J. Forbes read statements from Shan’ann’s parents about their daughter and grandchildren.

“I have so much to say, but I will make it short,” Shan’ann’s father, Frank Rzucek, said in a statement. “Daddy loves you. You are a wonderful daughter and a great mother. You are nothing but pure love, always caring for everyone. You will always be Daddy’s Little Girl. Until we meet again, I love you with all my heart, see you later. Love you, Dad. Butterfly kisses.”

In a separate statement, Shan’ann’s younger brother Frankie Rzucek expressed regret that he was unable to “protect” his sister from “heartbreak and other things.”

Shan’ann Watts (right) and her daughters
Shanann Watts /Facebook

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Under police questioning, Chris allegedly admitted that he had strangled Shan’ann — but he gave a startling reason for doing so.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by PEOPLE, he claimed that after he told Shan’ann he wanted to separate, he saw her strangling Celeste while Bella was “blue” and apparently lifeless in her bed nearby.

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Chris purportedly said he “went into a rage” and strangled Shan’ann, the arrest affidavit states. Afterward he allegedly loaded all three bodies into his truck to conceal them at an oil work site some 40 miles east.

Authorities aren’t buying this explanation and in charging Chris with first-degree murder in all three deaths, they have dismissed his version of events as described in the affidavit.

While Chris Watts has maintained a publicly stoic demeanor, the source tells PEOPLE he has realized the gravity of the situation. “It’s all beginning to sink in,” the source tells PEOPLE. “He’s in the mourning process.”

Chris Watts is being held without bond in the Weld County Jail in Colorado. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and multiple additional charges, including unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first-degree. He has not yet entered a plea.

His attorney is barred from discussing the case, according to a statement from the state’s public defender’s office, which represents him.