Murdered mother Shanann Watts would have celebrated her 35th birthday on January 10
In a video that was posted on her Facebook profile on her 34th birthday, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste sang Happy Birthday for their mother.
Shanann Watts had no clue that she would be celebrating her last birthday on January 10, 2018, with her daughters Bella and Celeste by her side, or that all three of them would be dead the following year when she blew out the candles on her birthday cake.
In a video that was posted on her Facebook profile on her 34th birthday, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste sang Happy Birthday for their mother while Shanann's own mother, Sandra Rzucek, joined in the festivities through FaceTime on her daughter's phone.
33-year-old Chris Watts could be heard singing in the background and is presumably the one who took the video. When the birthday song comes to an end, Bella blows out the candles of the round cake which was decorated with a butterfly on its side. Shanann could be heard saying in mock surprise: "What!? Did you blow my candles out?"
Bella could be heard giggling as Celeste shouts something about the candles in baby talk. If Shanann had lived, she would've turned 35-years-old on January 10. Sandra Rzucek told ABC News in an interview with 20/20 in December: "She loved everybody. Her love for children and friends was amazing."
Shanann and her daughters had spent six weeks in North Carolina with her parents and brother last summer before the three of them went back to their home in Frederick, Colorado, on August 7. She left the home again on August 10 to attend a work trip and was back in the house a little before 2 a.m. on August 13. Chris killed her and their two daughters merely hours after that.
The authorities still have no clue what led Chris to kill his entire family on that morning, especially considering he went on live TV pleading for their safe return. It was later reported that he was having an affair with a co-worker. Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said: "If he was this happy and wanted a new start, get a divorce."
Frank Rzucek, Shanann's father, told 20/20: "That’s the big word — why? He must have snapped because there’s nothing else I could figure out what happened to him." A little while after Shanann returned home from her work trip, Chris strangled her to death and smothered his daughters. Shanann was 15-weeks pregnant at the time with their third child, a boy whom she wanted to name Niko.
Chris was seen on the neighbor's surveillance footage driving away from the family home early in the morning after loading the bodies into the back of the truck. He drove to a remote oil site where he was previously employed and buried the body of his pregnant wife in a shallow grave. He put the bodies of his daughters in oil tanks close to their mother.
The man pleaded guilty to murder on November 6 and the unlawful termination of a pregnancy and tampering with a dead body in exchange for the plea deal where the prosecutors would not pursue the death penalty. He was sentenced to five life sentences without the possibility of parole on November 19. A source in December told PEOPLE that Watts had been transferred to an out-of-state prison "for his own safety".