'He was the best student I ever had': Chris Watts' high school teacher says he is in shock
Chris Watts confessed to killing his 34-year-old wife Shanann and daughters days after he went on TV asking people to help find them after they went missing in Frederick, Colorado
Teacher of the Colorado man, Chris Watts, who confessed to the murder of his pregnant wife Shannan Watts and two young daughters has come forward expressing his shock at his arrest.
Chris's high school teacher Joe Duty revealed on Thursday that it was beyond belief that Chris could have been involved in such a heinous crime. Duty is a retired Pine Forest High School teacher who taught Chris. "I haven’t heard anything from Chris in a long time,” Duty said. “In fact, he was one of the best students I ever had. Oh, my God. This is a shock."
Duty revealed that Chris was a bright student and, in 2003, he had won third place in an N.C. Automobile Dealers Association competition held in Winston-Salem.
Chris had been awarded a certificate along with a $1,000 scholarship to Universal Technical Institute and NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville along with the said senior.
"This was one of the smartest students I ever had. The guy had a photographic memory," Duty said. "His biggest passion outside of automotive was Nascar. He knew chapter and verse, everything you could ask about Nascar. Anything. In fact, I told him before he graduated, I said, 'Chris, if I ever had a student who was going to be tremendously successful, it’s you.' He wanted to work his way up and be on a Nascar team. Probably a crew chief."
Duty, who said he had lost touch with Chris assumed that he would have gone to Nascar Technical Institute after school. Although most of the good students had kept in touch with the teachers, Chris had not. "I really wondered why I never heard from him," Duty said. The teacher said that Chris was never much of a troublemaker in class. "If you talked to him he would talk to you. Often, I wondered why he was so withdrawn. He was very clean-cut, very respectful, very smart."
According to published accounts, Chris Watts has confessed to killing his 34-year-old wife, Shanann, and daughters, Bella, 3, and Celeste, 4. The three had been reported missing from their home in Frederick, Colorado, since Monday.
The case gained nationwide attention after Chris, 33, appeared on television pleading for help to find his wife and children. His wife's body was found by the investigators on Thursday at Chris' workplace. Her body was found in a property owned by Anadarko Petroleum where Chris is an employee. Chris allegedly drowned the bodies of three-year-old Celeste and four-year-old Bella in the tanks in order to hide the bodies and keep the smell from spreading around, authorities said Thursday evening.
Duty isn't the only one shocked by the news. Jeremy Lindstrom, a friend of the Watts' said, "You know, the hardest part about it all is — when you're closer to the family... is the 'why?'” Lindstrom said. “The why gets bigger. We're dumbfounded. We don't get it. Lost."
He added that Chris was a very helpful man. "He would reach out and help anybody that needed help with anything. He was a good mechanic if you needed help with your car — he'd help you. If you needed help with furniture, he'd be over there in a heartbeat to help you out. You don't know what, when, why, where or how everything goes weird. It's just horrible. Why do people do this? Why does it come down to this? There had to have been an easier route."
Ashley Bell, the late Shannan Watts' friend also echoed similar sentiments. Bell, who reportedly runs a tanning Dacona, became friends with Shannan two years ago. The two would keep in touch on a daily basis and Shannan even brought her daughters over to the salon sometimes. Bell, like Lindstrom and Duty, never suspected a thing.
"I just don't understand it," said Bell. She said that Chris was a loving father to his girls. Shannan's neighbor from her hometown in North Carolina said "We were talking about general things, about how her two girls were doing and how life was out in Colorado. She didn't give me an indication that there was anything wrong. She seemed pretty happy," said Joe Beach, who saw her sometime before the incident. She had been in search of some modest accommodations in Aberdeen.
While all seemed well on the outside, reports say that things were definitely not as rosy in reality. The couple had actually been involved in a bankruptcy filing in June 2015.
The couple was nose deep in credit card debts, student loans, and medical bills as well amounting to $70,000. There was also a massive mortgage loan looming over their heads.
Chris had been working at the Anadarko Petroleum for about six months as an operator and Shannan was taking calls at a children's hospital. Chris was making $61,500 and his wife was paid about $18 an hour at the call center. She is also said to have worked extra shifts, evenings and even weekends to make ends meet.
In 2014, their earnings put together was said to be about $90,000. The filing said that they had $3000 in mortgage and another $600 for monthly car expenditures, both of which made up most of their $4,900 monthly expenditures.