Chris Watts exchanged loving messages with family barely months before murdering them

Shannan Watts showered her husband with immense affection on social media just months before the tragedy, and Watts responded with equally endearing messages

                            Chris Watts exchanged loving messages with family barely months before murdering them
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Just months before confessing to murdering his family, Chris Watts sent loving messages to his pregnant wife, which have now emerged online.

On June 19, 2018, the 33-year-old sent heartfelt messages his wife Shannon, 34, after she surprised him with an ultrasound image of their third child in her womb. In response to the photo of the tiny embryo she sent him, Watts wrote, "Little Peanut!! Love her/him already!!!" They would later name the child Niko.

The overjoyed mother shared her happiness on Facebook, attaching their text exchange to the post and writing, "I love Chris! He's the best dad us girls could ask for."

Shannan frequently shared endearing messages for her husband on social media, with one Facebook post in April saying: "He’s my rock!"

"He takes care of us girls unconditionally! Thank you baby for holding down the fort this weekend! Love you," she wrote.

According to one footage posted online by Shannan, she said that meeting her husband was the "best thing that ever happened to her". She said: “I got a friend request from Chris on Facebook and I was like, ‘Oh, what the heck, I’m never going to meet him.

“I accept, one thing led to another and eight years later we have two kids, we live in Colorado and he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

But in a devastating turn of events, it emerged recently that Shannan and their two young daughters - Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3 — were found dead inside gas and oil tanks at an Anadarko plant on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. It was later learned that Watts was employed at the oil and gas company.

Furthermore, Shannan was 15 weeks pregnant with Niko at the time of her death.

One man who knew the Chris and his family said that he had just spent time with them a few days ago and everything seemed hunky-dory.

“You know, the hardest part about it all is — when you're closer to the family... is the 'why?'” said Jerry Lindstrom. “The why gets bigger.

"We're dumbfounded,” Lindstrom said. “We don't get it. Lost.

“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.

"It's just horrible,” he said. “Why do people do this? Why does it come down to this? There had to have been an easier route."

During an interview on US TV, just hours before "confessing" to the authorities, Watts claimed that he had no idea where his wife and two daughters had disappeared to. Watts claimed: "I was trying to get home as fast as I can, I was blowing through stop lights. I was blowing through everything just trying to get home as fast as I can because none of this made sense.

"I don't feel like this is even real right now. It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from," he said.