Chris Watts had said in multiple interviews that he wanted his family to come home safe
Credit: Shanann Watts/Facebook

The husband of a pregnant Colorado woman and their two daughters who have been missing since Monday was arrested Wednesday night in connection with the case, PEOPLE confirms.

Shanann Watts, 34, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and her children Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4, went missing on Monday from their Colorado home.

On Wednesday night, the Frederick Police Department, working with the FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation, arrested Chris Watts, who had given multiple media interviews pleading for their safe return.

According to a recording on the phone number for the Weld County Jail Thursday afternoon, Chris has been charged with three counts of murder in the first degree and three counts of tampering with physical evidence.

Bella and Celeste
| Credit: Frederick Police

Earlier Thursday morning, the town of Frederick, Colorado, tweeted, “Chris Watts, the husband of Shanann, has been placed into custody and is awaiting charges at this time. He will be held at the Weld County Jail.”

Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Credit: Frederick Police

CBS Denver reported that Shanann’s family said in a statement, “It is with deep hurt, confusion and anger to confirm our beautiful cousin Shanann Watts, her unborn child, and her two angelic daughters, Bella (4), Celeste (3) were viciously murdered by husband Chris Watts; who confessed to the killings. Please keep Shanann’s parents and brother in your prayers.”

Multiple outlets, citing police sources, have reported the husband confessed, but police have not confirmed or denied such reports.

Chris had previously expressed concern about his family, telling KUSA that he is “hoping right now that she’s somewhere safe.”

“Like, this house is not the same. Last night was traumatic,” he said. “Last night was — I can’t really stay in this house again with nobody here.”

chris watts
Christopher Watts
| Credit: Weld County Sheriff's Office

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He said to KDVR that his “heart is racing a mile a minute.”

“It’s not something I could ever, ever fathom would happen in my lifetime, and I have no inclination of where she is,” he said. “She said she was going to a friend’s house with the kids, and that’s the last thing I heard, and that was it. It was very vague.”

“My kids are my life. Those smiles light up my life,” he added. “I want everyone to just come home. Wherever they’re at, come home. That’s what I want.”

Police were reportedly spotted searching the family’s home and removing the family’s truck. An Endangered Missing Alert was issued for Shanann and her daughters earlier in the week.

It was not immediately clear if Chris has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

By Emily Zauzmer and KC Baker