The home where the notorious 2018 murder occurred is still vacant — and no one wants to buy it

By Steve Helling
October 07, 2020 04:54 PM
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It has been more than two years since Chris Watts did the unthinkable: murdering his pregnant wife and their two daughters in their upscale home in Frederick, Colorado.

On August 13, 2018, Watts strangled his wife, Shanann, in their 4,177-square-foot home. Then he drove her body to a job site at the oil company where he worked. He disposed of his wife's body and then smothered his daughters — Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. After pleading guilty to the murders, he received a life sentence.

Authorities said Watts committed the murders because he was having an affair with a co-worker who thought he was already separated. In the days before the killings, Shanann Watts reached out to a friend and shared her growing concerns about her marriage — but she never suspected her life was in danger.

Credit: Lewis Geyer/Digital First Media Group/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty

The home has remained vacant for two years. PEOPLE has researched the public records on the 8-bedroom home, which is now worth approximately $645,000. (The Watts bought the property in May 2013 for $399,954.)

After the murders, Watts went in default of the mortgage, and the lender foreclosed on the property. When no one bid on the house during an auction, the lender kept it for sale for an entire year -- but no one wanted to buy it. It was taken out of foreclosure last year -- and technically still belongs to Watts.

Shanann Watts/Facebook

But Watts has debts of his own. Last year, he agreed to pay Shanann's family $6 million to settle a wrongful death suit. The proceeds from the home, which is his largest asset, will eventually go to his former in-laws.

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Chris Watts, at left, with Shanann Watts

So why isn't the house selling?

"It's not getting any bids because people know the sordid history of the house, and nobody wants it," Denver-based bankruptcy attorney Clark Dray told Realtor.com.  "It just sits in limbo until [a creditor] comes along and tries a foreclosure again."

In 2018, PEOPLE spoke to several of Watts' neighbors who said that they had noticed a marked increase of traffic from people who would stop in the middle of the street to take photos. "It's really bizarre," Debbie Bell told PEOPLE at the time. "You can always tell who they are, because they'll cruise the neighborhood slowly and then get out of their cars and take pictures of the house. Some of them even take selfies. It's gross."

PEOPLE confirms with another neighbor that, while the traffic has diminished dramatically, curious people still do drive by the notorious home -- and a new Netflix  documentary is renewing interest in the tragic case. The documentary, entitled American Murder: The Family NextDoor, has been trending at #1 on the streaming service for the past week.