'He Hasn't Touched Me All Week': Doc Examines Shanann Watts' Worries About Marriage Before Murders

American Murder: The Family Next Door began streaming on September 30

Days before she was murdered by her husband, 34-year-old Shanann Watts reached out to a friend and shared her growing concerns about her marriage -- but she never suspected she was in danger.

Chris Watts, then 33, had grown distant from his family and was seeing a new woman. Shanann was trying to make sense of it all.

“He has changed. I don’t know who he is,” she texted a friend on Aug. 7, 2018. Six days later, she was dead -- strangled at the hands of her own husband.

On August 13, 2018, Chris strangled Shanann in their Colorado home. Then he killed his daughters — Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3 — at his job site on an oil field.

Watts was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Two years later, he is housed at Dodge Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison, in Waupun, Wisconsin. (He was moved out of Colorado for security reasons.)

Chris and Shanann Watts.

In a new documentary from Netflix, newly revealed letters and texts show that Shanann had no idea that her marriage would soon turn deadly. The documentary, entitled American Murder: The Family Next Door, began streaming on September 30.


“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 another text. “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, adding, “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.”

American Murder: The Family Next Door
Shanann Watts/Netflix/2020

Shanann was expecting a son they planned to name 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."

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.

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