“My sister and nieces meant the absolute world to me,” Frankie Rzucek, the younger brother of 15-weeks-pregnant Shanann Watts, posted on Facebook early Friday. “They made me strive to be an even better man. I wanted them to be proud of their Uncle.”
He added: “I wish I could go back in time and be there to keep you safe from harm. Sorry uncle couldn’t save you. Absolutely heartbroken.”
Rzucek earlier wrote a post calling the accused, Shanann’s spouse, 33-year-old Chris Watts, a “heartless psychopath” after Chris was arrested Wednesday on three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with a body.
Authorities investigating the case have revealed neither a motive nor a manner of death for the victims.
Shanann, 34, and daughters Celeste, 3, and 4-year-old Bella were reported missing Monday afternoon, and before he was taken into custody Chris had given multiple interviews pleading for their safe return.
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The Frederick mom had returned early Monday from a business trip with a friend, who told local TV station KDVR that she dropped Shanann off at home around 2 a.m.
The friend called police later that day after not hearing further from her. Shanann was reported missing about 1:40 p.m.
Her body was found Thursday, the day after her husband’s arrest, on the property of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, an oil and gas company where Chris had worked. Remains believed to be daughters Bella and Celeste were located later Thursday near Shanann’s body, officials said.
In his Facebook post Friday, Shanann’s brother turned his attention away from the accused husband to focus on those he lost and the pain of their absence.
“I let my feelings and love for my family get the best of me on my post last night about that evil man,” Rzucek wrote. “But I will never delete or regret it. … I’ve never been so mad, sad, enraged, hurt, heartbroken lost, and shocked in all my life. So forgive me for how I went about it.”
He went on to write: “I always looked up to my sister and was a proud little brother. I’ll never forget [the] day my sister got her driver’s license and left the driveway to go to work, I cried while sitting on the front porch waving watching her drive off. Not because I was sad, but because in my head I thought back to riding next to her in our little power wheels car, and now she’s a woman driving a real car. We weren’t little kids anymore.”
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Rzucek remembered that when he reached high school, “I had it made because all her friends would look out for me,” he wrote. “[Shanann] even took me to her own senior prom because I didn’t have a date for my junior year.”
“I tried my best to keep boys away from her. She was smart and beautiful so it wasn’t easy. But that’s what brothers do, they protect,” he wrote. “She had success in her eyes and nothing was going to stand in her way of following her dreams.”
Rzucek recalled his family’s “excitement” when, with Shanann’s condition of lupus, “she beat all the odds and [became] pregnant.”
He called her firstborn “my Bella Bean” and said that while living with Shanann for a time after Bella’s birth, he “gagged a little bit” during a bottle feeding when he realized he’d spilled his own sister’s breast milk on his hand.
“Shanann laughed and laughed so hard she had to run to the bathroom. To pee,” he wrote. “I loved to make her laugh, we had a lot of fun together always.”
He added: “What I would give to have just one more minute to talk, one more hug, one more ‘I love you more,’ one more text message, one more laugh. I just can’t put into words how I feel. Promise to hold your friends, family and loved ones close. Everyday.”