A window into the Watts home – that’s what we’re looking for. A way of seeing inside, seeing what happened to this picture-perfect family. A window is what teams of lawyers, armies of reporters, legions of trial watchers and a handful of true crime writers are desperately trying to find. A way of looking in, penetrating through the lies and absent evidence, to see the truth.
The autopsy report provides one way to see back in time. It’s a sort of biological window. Forensics and fingerprints sketch additional aspects of the scene. But what about the ACTUAL windows of the Watts home?
As part of ongoing targeted research into this case, I’ve made a detailed study of the house, the house plans and the neighborhood. I wanted to see what the neighbors could see looking in, but also which windows in the Watts home made certain areas of the home less private than others. In effect, I was trying to fathom where in the house the three murders were executed.
In other true crime narratives, I’ve found this technique, this process of orientation within the civic design of the suburb, vital. My deepest insights into the difficult Zahau case came largely from understanding precisely how the prominent Spreckels Mansion fitted into Coronado’s Ocean Boulevard. My work into that case suggested Rebecca Zahau could easily have been seen from her position on the balcony she was supposed have committed suicide from. That may not seem to be a big deal, except she was naked when she was supposedly killed herself. But if she was murdered, her murderer could have been seen too.
Much of my analysis into the Zahau case was based on the idea of a murderer who was using the balcony to stage a suicide, but didn’t want to be seen doing so…and did the crime scene bear this theory out?
I’ve approached the Watts crime scene in much the same way. If the murders were committed inside by two different people, were they all committed at night? Were they all committed upstairs, downstairs, in the same room or in different rooms? Were the lights on or off? Were the windows and blinds open or closed? Were any crimes committed in the basement? Did anything happen in the basement?
The Scott Peterson case also involves blinds that were opened on December 23rd by Margarita Lava, the Peterson’s maid, and yet remained closed throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Not just the blinds facing the road, ALL the windows were covered.
Now, back to the Watts home.
What do we know for certain?
We know that the windows looking into the garage allowed Nickole Atkinson to confirm that Shan’ann’s car was there, and that the kids seats were in it too. This aspect alone may be the reason Chris Watts was confronted and caught as soon as he was. Had there been no windows into the garage, Nickole couldn’t have known anything was amiss, and critical time would have gone by in which more critical items of evidence could have been removed.
Interestingly, once the garage became part of the crime scene, the small square windows were covered up against prying media, revealing just how “transparent” the Watts home could be to prying eyes.
Looking closer, there are so many windows in the Watts house it’s almost a house of glass. This is the back view.
A view from the side with the Watts house on the right.
Notice the basement window below. Chris Watts’ man cave [as it’s marketed in the realty brochures] appears to be a kid’s cave, at least from the outside. Notice the Mickey Mouse window covering.
If the murders were premeditated, and if Chris Watts committed all of them, then he’d need to be very careful about windows wouldn’t he?
The subdivision is filled with other double story houses with excellent line of sight, and the houses alongside the Watts home are also RIGHT alongside.
An aspect that stood out from a cursory run through of the house was firstly how many windows had the blinds drawn, and secondly, the fact that three windows on the top floor facing the road that weren’t closed.
I also examined the blind issues by looking at other images of the house, before it became a crime scene. What were the Watts’ in the habit of doing regarding the blinds?
In Shan’ann’s long monologue LIVE video on a Saturday morning in May, the blinds above the couch and behind her are down.
When Chris was mowing the lawn in May, the blinds look similar to every other picture, don’t they? Also, in a tightly backed subdivision, wouldn’t most people have the blinds drawn not so they can commit murder in private, but just – ordinarily?
When Shan’ann told her children she had a baby in her belly, the blinds are drawn there too.
If all the blinds were always drawn, but the three windows on the upper floor were open, what if they’d been left open intentionally, so that neighbors could see Bella and Celeste moving inside. So that, until the last minute, Chris could show that they were still alive. It was potentially another version of taking them to a birthday party on Sunday. It gave Chris Watts plausible deniability.
It also suggested, if this line of inquiry was correct, that the one room where the children weren’t murdered was the upstairs room with the blinds open.
Neat theory, right?
The problem was those upstairs windows aren’t part of children’s bedrooms, or in fact ANY room. They’re lighting above the lounge. I wasn’t able to find clear pictures in the Watts home confirming these windows, but Shan’ann’s video in the lounge suggests a high ceiling like the one below.
This similar model home provides an idea where the three “upstairs” windows fit into the house as seen from the inside. We can also see why these blinds might be left open most of the time.
I also checked the moon stats for August 12th and 13th. I wondered whether, when Nickole dropped Shan’ann off, whether the lights inside the house were on. A bright Colorado moon might explain how many lights needed to be on, if moonlight was spooling through three open, upper windows.
Nickole will probably shed light [pun intended] on this question in due course. But for the time being, I wondered whether – if the lights inside were off – how the light of the new moon would shine through those three upper windows, and perhaps allow Shan’ann to go inside without turning lights on [and waking her family]. It also addressed whether Chris could be using moonlight through the top windows to illuminate his “kill scene”.
But that theory didn’t go anywhere either. The bright new moon set at around 21:00 on August 12th.
What the research does show, and I’ve taken this research a lot further in TWO FACE II, is where in the house the crime scene probably took place that assured some privacy. Privacy not only in terms of line of sight, but line of sound.
Strangling crimes can involve muffled sounds, and if the murderer isn’t careful, and hasn’t taken precautions, muffled screams that might be audible to nearby neighbors.
TWO FACE BENEATH THE OIL will be available soon.