Chris Watts' girlfriend provided 'bombshell' information linking him to murders of wife and daughters, say authorities
Nichol Kessinger is said to have been key to shifting the investigators' attention towards Chris Watts as a suspect
The girlfriend of Chris Watts, the Colorado man found guilty of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters, played a crucial role in solidifying the investigators' suspicions that he was involved in their disappearance.
After Watts' wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, were first reported missing last August, he appeared on numerous local media outlets and pleaded for the perpetrators to return his family to him.
But investigators soon began suspecting that he was the one responsible for their disappearance, with the testimony of the person he was having an affair with, Nichol Kessinger, proving key in swinging their attention towards him.
Speaking during an interview that aired on Investigation Discovery this past Sunday, June 2, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said Kessinger had information he can "best describe as being a bombshell."
Kessinger is said to have first gone to the authorities after Watts' media appearances. At that point, she and Watts had already been romantically involved for a couple of months and felt it was information that detectives needed to know.
In recordings that were obtained by Investigation Discovery, Kessinger can be heard detailing their affair. "We started hanging out pretty frequently in the last week of June," she explains. "He informed me that he did have two kids, that he was currently in the process of a separation from his wife. As far as I knew, that was becoming pretty finalized."
"I wonder if there’s more to this story than I know because I think he’s a really good guy, and you know, I’m worried about his wife and kids," she continues. "And it’s just freaking me out because those little girls are just so little, and she’s pregnant, you know? And it’s like where's their mom?"
Police soon found substantial evidence proving that Watts and Kessinger were romantically involved, including photos of the pair together and emails they had exchanged over the course of their affair.
"It appeared to us as if he had every intention of starting a brand new life, clean of Shanann and Bella and Celeste and Niko with the love of his life — is how he described Nichol Kessinger," said Rourke, describing what they had gleaned from their findings.
Weld County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wrenn spoke about how deeply the investigators were affected after recovering the bodies of the three victims from the property of Anadarko Petroleum — Shanann was found in a shallow grave in a site while Bella and Celeste were found submerged in separate oil tanks.
"A lot of different folks had to be involved in that, and I don’t know if any of them will ever be the same," he said, with Rourke adding, "We have to have crime scene personnel basically climbing into these tanks to recover these two little girls' bodies. From a basic human reaction, how in the world can you do that to your own kids?"
Watts pleaded guilty to murdering all three in November to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.