Chris Watts case: Shanann Watts' devastated parents weren't allowed to see granddaughters before they were buried
Frank Rzucek said in the interview that the bodies of the children were buried in bigger coffins that were sealed because they were flammable after being submerged in crude oil for four days before they were found
Shanann Watts' parents, Sandy and Frank Rzucek, opened up during an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil about how heartbroken they were when they could not see the bodies of their grandchildren before they were buried.
Frank said in the interview: "We got permission from [Watts'] side of the family to have the grandchildren and bury our grandchildren with their mom. But the hardest thing was flying them here because they were in crude oil for four days. So they were flammable. So we couldn't cremate them. They would have blown up a building."
The Daily Mail reported that the devastated grandfather continued: "They had to have a bigger coffin and then they had to seal it with a certain wrap, so the gasses wouldn't leak out. That's pretty sad, isn't it? So we three here never got to say good-bye to our family or see them."
Sandy then added: "Never got to hug them. Never got to say 'I love you' like most people do." The process of removing the bodies of Bella and Celeste Watts from the oil drums where their father dumped them started at 5 a.m. on August 16 morning. It went on for almost 14 hours and the report noted that members of the Colorado State Patrol cleared the area at 6:45 p.m., which was 14-hours after the operation started.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that in that time, the oil stored in the 400-barrel tanks at the remote oil site owned by Anadarko Petroleum was manually drained by workers who carefully poured the liquid over metal screens to collect any evidence. Once the tanks were emptied, men donning self-contained breathing gear entered the tanks and removed the bodies of the two children whose skin was coming off as they were passed out of the container.
Shanann, their mother, who was pregnant with their unborn baby brother Nico, was found in a shallow grave just 100 yards away. The report also reveals that the diameter of each tank's opening was only 8 inches, which explains why Shanann wasn't put in the tank too as her body wouldn't have fit through the entrance.
The troopers who were tasked with overseeing the retrieval process arrived at the scene by about 9 am on the day. Trooper Wilson wrote in the report: "While the first crude tank was being off-loaded, Trooper Bandy, Reeder and I put rope handles on two containment pools. We anticipated the bodies to be covered in crude oil and were going to use the pools to put each body in, once recovered."
After the oil tanks were emptied of their contents, the bolts on the tank doors at the base were taken off by the team. The report states: "Sergeant Armstrong went up to the top of the tank and looked in the thief hatch. Sergeant Armstrong told me he could see what looked like a body face down on the south side of the tank."
Photographs were taken of the scene and the men started the process of removing the body from inside the tank. Due to the oil sludge and the toxic fumes in the tanks, the men could only be inside for a matter of minutes. This made the entire process even more complicated than it already was.
The report stated: "Trooper Reeder went in first then me close behind. There was a body face down on the south side of the tank with the head facing west. It appeared to be a small female child. Trooper Reeder grasped the upper portion of her right arm to turn her over. Trooper Reeder then lifted her by both upper arms as I held her right leg. Trooper Reeder held her left arm and left leg as we moved the body towards the manway."
The victim was moved out of the tank but it was stated that during the process, her hand had "degloved" of its skin. That skin was then retrieved and handed over to a member of law enforcement who was on the scene. The man then proceeded to the second oil tank to remove the second victim's body. Some of the skin was also said to be lost while the body was being moved to the oil pool.
4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were murdered by their father, Chris Watts, shortly after Celeste celebrated her third birthday. He had put his wife's dead body in his car and driven to the oil field along with his two daughters who were alive at that time. Once there, he smothered Celeste using a blanket and later on did the same to his eldest daughter Bella and then put their bodies in the tank.
Watts had told the authorities a day before the bodies were found that it was Shanann, his wife, who had killed their daughters and he had strangled her in rage.
Only two months after making this claim, Watts changed the narrative completely and entered a guilty plea for all three murders. The men who were involved with retrieving the bodies of the children had to undergo an extensive decontamination process even though they were in the tanks only for a few minutes in their SCBA gear.