Pregnant Mom & 2 Daughters Likely Killed at Home — Allegedly by Husband — Before Bodies Were Dumped

Watts, of Frederick, Colorado, was reported missing with daughters Bella and Celeste on Monday — then her husband was accused of murder

The pregnant Colorado woman and her two young daughters who vanished earlier this week were likely murdered inside their house before their bodies were allegedly hidden around property belonging to the woman’s husband’s former employer, officials said.

Prosecutors disclosed the detail about the suspected location of the slayings on Thursday during a bond hearing for Chris Watts, 33, a district attorney spokeswoman tells PEOPLE.

He is accused of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the deaths of 34-year-old wife Shanann Watts and their daughters, Bella and Celeste, 4 and 3.

Causes of death for Shanann and her girls have not been released; neither has motive.

However, a family friend previously told PEOPLE that there was marital discord between Chris and Shanann and public records show they had faced financial issues in the past, including a bankruptcy in 2015.

More recently, it seemed, the family had returned to financial stability, the Denver Post reports, citing social media posts about their extensive travels.

Before his arrest in their deaths, when his family was still missing, Chris gave several news interviews casting himself as a grieving husband and father hoping for their safe return.

From left: Chris and Shanann Watts with their daughters (center).
Shanann Watts/Facebook

During one such appearance, he said that before she disappeared, he and Shanann had an “emotional conversation.”

“But I’ll leave it at that.”

Chris was arrested Wednesday night. The next day, the remains of all three of his alleged victims were found near each other, according to authorities in Frederick, where the Watts lived.

First, Shanann’s body was found on Anadarko Petroleum Corporation’s property, an oil company where Chris had worked until being fired Wednesday, according to local TV station KMGH.

“This is absolutely the worst outcome that any of us could imagine,” the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s John Camper said in announcing Shanann was found.

Remains believed to be daughters Bella and Celeste were located later Thursday near Shanann’s body, officials said. Their exact location was not disclosed.

Speaking with local station KUSA before Shanann, Bella and Celeste were discovered dead, Chris said their house had been scarred by the apparent disappearances, first reported on Monday.

“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.”

At his hearing on Thursday, Chris was ordered held without bond. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday where he will face formal charges.

His attorney could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE for comment.

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Frederick Police

Shanann’s relatives, meanwhile, have vented grief and fury about the killings, reportedly saying in one 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.”

(Authorities have not publicly confirmed or denied allegations that Chris confessed.)

On Facebook, Shanann’s brother spoke even more directly, writing in one post: “I just want 30 seconds alone with that heartless psychopath.”

According to her brother, Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was to give birth to a boy named Nico.

• With reporting by STEVE HELLING

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