On respectable 13, 2018, Colorado dad Chris watt murdered his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and also their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.Chris pleaded guilty come the crimes the November and also is currently serving a full of 5 life sentence in prison.On September 30, Netflix is releasing a documentary the examines the case.

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The killing of pregnant mom of 2 Shanann Watts and her daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, sent shockwaves across the country in 2018. The crimes were heartbreaking and also senseless, and also their fear was just compounded by the truth that Shanann"s husband and also the girls" father, Chris Watts, confessed to committing them.

Now, Netflix has pieced with each other raw, firsthand footage for a new documentary that takes a closer look in ~ the case. The virtually hour-and-a-half feature will be obtainable to stream starting on Wednesday, September 30.


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Ahead of the premiere that American Murder: The family Next Door, here"s what you have to know.

Chris"s wife and also daughters disappear

Around 2 a.m. On august 13, 2018, Shanann Watts"s girlfriend Nickole Atkinson dropped her off at her Frederick, Colorado home following a organization trip they had actually taken together. But when Nickole tried to contact Shanann simply a couple of hours later, she couldn"t get ahold of she — and after Shanann to let go an ob-gyn appointment, she flourished worried. Nickole chose to contact Shanann"s husband, Chris, in ~ work. She likewise called the police.


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Flowers, balloons, and also other items room left in prior of the Watts household home in memory of Shanann, Bella, and also Celeste in august 2018.
The police carried out an examination of the Watts" home that afternoon, and even though they discovered no signs of foul play, lock did discover Shanann"s automobile and every one of her an individual belongings. For this reason the next day, Shanann and also the girls to be officially asserted missing, and also the Colorado office of examination (CBI) exit Endangered absent Person alerts for them.

The investigation

In the days that followed, Chris"s story adjusted drastically. He originally told police the he had no idea whereby Shanann, Bella, and Celeste can be, and he started giving media appearances appealing to the neighborhood for assist in finding his missing family.

Meanwhile, investigators native the local police department, the CBI, and the FBI had been going through Chris"s phone call records, which verified that he had been having actually an work with one of his coworkers from Anadarko Petroleum. Then, on respectable 15 (two work after his wife and daughters" disappearances) chris failed a polygraph check — and that"s when everything changed.


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Frederick Police chef Todd Norris speaks at a push conference about Chris Watts’s arrest in respectable 2018.
That afternoon, chris vowed to tell police the truth if he could talk come his father first. Investigators took a gambling and permitted him to do so, and it worked: kris confessed to his father that he had actually killed his wife. Not long after, investigators uncovered Shanann, Bella, and also Celeste"s bodies specifically where Chris said they were: in ~ an Anadarko Petroleum site, through Shanann"s body in a shallow grave and the 2 girls" bodies in oil tanks.

On august 21, 2018, chris was charged with his family"s murders.

What yes, really happened?

In his early confession, Chris claimed that he had strangled Shanann in a "fit of rage" after ~ watching she smother their 2 daughters, Bella and Celeste. She was upset, that said, since he had tried to speak to her about separating and ending your marriage, and she had actually retaliated by killing the girls. After ~ murdering Shanann, he took the 3 bodies come the oil site and also buried them, he said.

Come November, however, Chris"s story had changed again. This time, the confessed to death his mam and daughters and pleaded guilty to every nine counts versus him: five counts of first-degree killing (including two added counts because that his daughters because they were youngsters under 12), one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and also three counts that tampering v a deceased human being body. Ultimately, he to be sentenced to 5 life sentence (three consecutive and also two concurrent) because that the murders, add to a full of 84 an ext years because that the various other crimes.


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Although Chris had pleaded guilty come all three murders, he hadn"t however told the real story the what taken place on the morning of august 13, 2018. But in a five-hour follow-up interview v investigators indigenous prison, chris revealed the truth: ~ fighting with Shanann the morning about his great to separate, chris strangled her to death. While he to be trying to lug his wife"s body downstairs, he said, Bella and also Celeste woke up and also came come ask the what was going on. The then invited the girls and also their mother"s body right into his truck, drove to the oil site, and smothered the girl one through one prior to disposing that the three bodies.

Where Chris watt is today

Today, chris is continuing to offer out his life sentences at a maximum defense prison in Wisconsin, where he to be transferred due to the fact that of "security concerns" in December 2018.


Shanann and also the girls are survived by her parents and also brother. Yet Shanann"s loved ones haven"t always been supportive of Hollywood"s take of the horrific acts. Previously this year, in January, lifetime aired the movie Chris Watts: Confessions the a Killer, and also the family spoke out through their lawyer.

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"It"s a false narrative the does not accurately depict that Shanann remained in life, that Bella was in life, that CeCe remained in life," lawyer Steven Lambert said Inside Edition. "When people go out and also make things without your input ... That does pains them, that does pains them."


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Heather FinnContent Strategy EditorHeather Finn is the contents strategy editor at an excellent Housekeeping, whereby she top up the brand"s social media strategy and covers entertain news on whatever from ABC"s "The an excellent Doctor" come Netflix"s recent true crime documentaries.
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