Less than a week before her husband of nearly six years strangled her in their home in the pre-dawn darkness, 34-year-old Shanann Watts reportedly shared her growing concerns about her spouse with a friend.
“He has changed. I don’t know who he is,” she texted early on Aug. 7 of husband Chris Watts, according to a bevvy of investigative documents released in the case and obtained by local media outlets.
The documents include police reports, interview transcripts and other materials related to the investigation of the Watts family murders at Chris’ hand, which left Shanann, then 15 weeks pregnant, and their daughters dead.
The documents, as described by TV stations KCNC, KDVR and KUSA, vividly underline the basic narrative already laid out by Colorado authorities: Chris, 33, had grown distant from his family and infatuated with a “new love” until, at last, he could not keep them all in his life — and chose his lover.
“He hasn’t touched me all week, kissed me, talked to me except for when I’m trying to figure out what is wrong,” Shanann explained in a text, according to KDVR, adding, “We’ve never had a problem in our relationship like this. No joke. NEVER. THIS IS TOTAL LEFT FIELD.”
“I just want to cry,” she wrote.
Her friend tried to soothe her, to no avail. Shanann’s worries about her marriage had eaten up her confidence in Chris and their bond together.
“What if he really doesn’t love me anymore?!” she texted at one point, noting later on Aug. 7 that “he said we are not compatible anymore! He refused to hug me after he said he will try to ‘work’ it out! Said he thought another baby would fix his feelings. Said, he refused couples counseling.”
Chris, his wife wrote to her friend, “said he’s not sitting on no damn couch saying what he just said to me to no stranger.”
Shanann was expecting a son to be named Niko. “This baby in my belly deserves his full love,” she texted her friend, who had advised her to go through Chris’ phone for signs of infidelity.
“Only thing I can think of even though I don’t think he has it in him is another girl,” Shanann wrote.
Weeks earlier, while she was in North Carolina visiting her family with daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, she wrote to Chris: “l realized during this trip what’s missing in our relationship! lt’s only one way emotions and feelings. I can’t come back like this. I need you to meet me halfway. You don’t consider others at all, nor think about others feelings”
But Chris was already involved in an affair: He had become intimate with an unwitting co-worker who believed he was getting a divorce from his wife.
Prosecutors have said it was this selfish desire for a “fresh start” that motivated what happened early on Aug. 13, after Shanann returned from a weekend work trip in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The full picture of that morning altercation may never be known but, according to prosecutors, Chris told them that he and Shanann had an “emotional conversation.” Soon thereafter he strangled her with his bare hands. He smothered Bella and Celeste and hid all three bodies at an oil work site.
Shanann’s disappearance almost immediately raised the suspicions of her friends, who involved the police shortly after lunch on Aug. 13. Within days, Chris was behind bars.
“[Shanann’s family] were of the opinion that he would never be able to give us a full version — just because of who he is — he would never tell us the truth,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke previously told PEOPLE.
Rourke told reporters after Chris’ sentencing: “I don’t think that there is ever going to be a satisfactory answer for anyone.”