#Shakedown’s Call on the Chris Watts Case: The Bodies were “Processed”

The autopsy reports have been handed over to the court in Weld County today, and thus to the defense.

According to the Daily Mail:

The reports took almost two months to complete, with the girls and their mother believed to have been killed on August 12 or 13 by their father and husband.

What is in the report remains a secret however, and will be kept under seal at the request of the prosecution

The #Shakedown assessment of the autopsy reports is that they’re being withheld because of something unusual – and shocking – in them. For various reasons [listed below], it appears increasingly certain that some or all three bodies of the victims were processed before being dumped. Processed means a deliberate change made to the human tissues in order to convert from one form into another to facilitate decomposition and destruction.

Let’s begin with what we know:

  1. 3 of the 9 charges relate to “tampering with a deceased human body”.

    (1) A person commits tampering with a deceased human body if, believing that an official proceeding is pending, in progress, or about to be instituted and acting without legal right or authority, the person willfully destroys, mutilates, conceals, removes, or alters a human body, part of a human body, or human remains with intent to impair its or their appearance or availability in the official proceedings.

  2. Although many of us assumed that simply placing the bodies of Shan’ann in a shallow grave, and Bella and Celeste in separate oil tanks constitutes tampering [concealing and removing in terms of the citation], I’m not sure that it does. Is the tampering limited to concealing?  I’m not sure that’s all that the tampering refers to.
  3. We also know that the autopsy evidence is being withheld from public scrutiny not by the defense but by the prosecution.

Now, a few inferences tying what we know to a few unknowns:

  1. Why are the autopsy reports being withheld. This is unusual. It suggests the issues with the autopsy deal pertinently with Chris Watts’ allegations that Shan’ann killed the children – meaning, the issues with the autopsy may at the very least be issues involving the processing of the children’s bodies.
  2. One reason why the prosecution may not wish to release such super-sensitive information to the public may be precisely because a jury would be contaminated if they knew [or were led to believe] something as shocking and grotesque as bodies of one’s own family members were being processed before disposal.
  3. The other reason fits in with #5; that the prosecution wants to limit the already scalding media spotlight that’s shining on Weld County.
  4. A further point to note is Chris Watts’ refusal – to date – to provide the prosecution with DNA samples. There can only be one reason for this. He’s already confessed to killing his wife. He wishes not to give the prosecution any reason, or piece of evidence, that might incriminate him in killing his children.

#Shakedown’s Gut Feel:Fullscreen capture 20181002 234949eel:

  1. On August 17th, when WDSU News reported on the case CBI director John Camper told reporters they were “quite certain” the body they recovered was “Shan’ann Watts’ body…” We could argue the semantics, but if Shan’ann was missing, and Chris Watts had directed them to the site using aerial photos, then who else could it be? And yet the CBI director hedges himself slightly. They’re “quite sure” it’s Shan’ann? Why couldn’t they be positive?
  2. #1 may feel neither here nor there, but there’s also the issue that the cops say they “believed they found the bodies” of the children. This also seems a tad uncertain and unspecific, but what really counts is the remark that the tanks were “mostly full”.
  3. On September 28th, #Shakedown analysed the CERVI 319 site and why the crime isn’t as straightforward as it seems.  If the analysis is correct, then the only way Bella and Celeste’s remains could have been dumped into “almost full oil tanks” is through the top hatch.
  4. It’s been the #Shakedown position all along that it would make no sense to take any unnecessary length of time in the disposal of remains, nor to risk setting off the onsite sensors by making radical changes to the refining process. This is especially true during the most risky and incriminating of moments in the commission of a crime – the disposal of the bodies. And thus, the contention that oil was released, the manway hatches laboriously opened [as contended by HLN‘s expert], the bodies dumped in empty tanks, the hatches sealed and the tanks refilled seems mistaken at best.
  5.  However the fact that the oil tanks were almost full according to “high ranking sources”, renders all these contentions moot. The manway hatches couldn’t have been opened, and the tanks couldn’t have been empty if less than 72 hours they were almost full. Why? Because the flow rate to fill these tanks is extremely tepid. These tanks take months to fill, not hours, days or even weeks.
  6. HLN captioned their coverage: SOURCE: OIL TANKS DRAINED TO GET KIDS’ BODIES. We know for a fact that it took several hours to locate and retrieve the children’s bodies from the tanks, which is further indication that they weren’t filled with a little oil at the time but were in indeed “mostly full”.
  7. This brings us back to the thief hatches. In order to fit the corpses of a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old through the 8-inch wide thief hatch, their bodies would have to be mutilated, destroyed in some way, and parts potentially removed. The only other alternative is that there’s a second hatch to the tanks that we’re not familiar with. But aerial footage doesn’t appear to show a second hatch, and neither does other coverage of similar installations.

#Shakedown’s Application of True Crime Intertextuality:

  1. The best evidence in this case for the idea of processing of bodies has nothing to do with this case, and everything to do with what we know in general where there are dead bodies of family victims. We know that parents often go to extreme lengths to remove all traces of a dead family member.
  2. In the Casey Anthony case her daughter’s remains were dry and entirely skeletonised when found. Because of this advanced state of decomposition and environmental destruction, prosecutors weren’t able to say for sure whether the little girl’s body was processed in any way, including through the use of drugs or chemicals [such as gasoline], except for the fact that she was duct taped. JonBenet Ramsey’s body was concealed via a ruse, a Ransom Note, but her mouth also covered in duct tape, an act unlikely to have been committed by her murderer. Patsy Ramsey’s clothing fibers were found on the inside of the duct tape. pp_travisalexandershower
  3. In the Jodi Arias case there was also a limited amount of “processing” of the scene and murder victim. Arias vacuumed before she left, and in her own version, moved Travis Alexander back to the shower and washed him, using a small plastic cup. She was trying to wash evidence of herself off him. Another more controversial reference case is the Madeleine McCann case, where no DNA evidence of Madeleine is said to have survived of the little girl whatsoever in Portugal. Even a hair had to be retrieved from her pillow at her home in England, such was the total destruction of her body. Cadaver odor was found, which means microscopic scent traces of her dying tissues weren’t destroyed.
  4. The best reference case for the Watts case is Scott Peterson. Although there’s no smoking gun evidence that Laci’s body was processed, we know Scott Peterson had a warehouse workshop filled floor to ceiling with chemicals, we know he bought chicken wire, we know a needle-nosed pliers was found [with Laci’s hair inside it], and so there’s strong reason to believe her body was processed: wrapped in chicken wire and a tarp, and that bleach was used to destroy evidence, especially on Peterson’s kitchen floor.  We also know there was a wet puddle right beside Peterson’s truck. I won’t deal with the same issues in the Amanda Knox case, not because they’re not relevant, but because so many believe Knox is innocent.
  5. We’re all familiar with the covering up of crime scenes, the getting rid of evidence [especially digital breadcrumbs], but when it comes to changing dead bodies, we hit a blank. There’s a good reason for this. Most of us, thankfully, have no experience with it. Just as Scott Peterson was in the business of chemicals used to convert shit into crops, Chris Watts was in the business of using chemicals to convert materials into fuel. If this was his job, it was likely also part of his persona, which makes it highly likely that he used chemicals to alter or destroy the remains of his wife and children.
  6. A final reason to suspect processing involves the hundreds of hair fragments found in the rear of Chris Watts’ truck.
  7. Last but not least., the fact that Chris Watts admits killing Shan’ann but not the children, suggests the condition of their bodies were very different to what happened to her remains. We know that that’s true based on their respective burial sites, but until now we weren’t sure just how true that was. Oil+Leak+Site

10 thoughts on “#Shakedown’s Call on the Chris Watts Case: The Bodies were “Processed”

  1. If there is even a shred of doubt that Watts murdered the children you can bet this would be leaked to the media by the defense so that Watts can get a fair trial, just as the defense protested the prosecution leaking information to the media that might taint a jury pool. One side does what they accuse the other side of doing. It’s all in the game.


  2. I’m leaning now toward the girls not being placed in plastic garbage bags (sorry) as I originally envisioned, as he would have wanted the oil to fully do it’s damage in removing any trace evidence or any of his own DNA on their bodies. They were submerged in oil for four days. He would know he couldn’t place their mother in one of the tanks but it’s intriguing to me that he laid her “to rest” near the other two bodies, knowing he had little time to scratch a grave. Did this show some kind of “criminal caring” by placing all three together in the same spot? (much like JonBenet wrapped “papoose like” in her white blanket in the wine cellar). How much better would it have been to have taken her to yet another location with a bit better hiding place for her than in such close intimate proximity to the other two.


    • I appreciate you sharing your perspective. Most have surmised that, by placing the children in separate oil tanks, he was cruelly and intentionally ensuring that they would not be together, even in death. I am in no way defending the actions of Christopher Watts, but I do think the notion of him maliciously separating his daughters a bit sensational. In fact, CW stated that he used two separate tanks so that the bodies would not set off the oil level meter. While having no knowledge of oil levels, I had always guessed that he used the two separate tanks to avoid detection. My personal opinion on the mother’s proximity is that it was not intended as a permanent burial site, but perhaps coworkers arrived too early for him to burn the body, or that Nicole Atkinson’s prompt summoning of police resulted in Chris’s detainment before he could move or more effectively destroy Shanann’s body. I am now also going to consider your theory, however. Thank you for sharing your perspective.


  3. Also I purchased Beneath the Oil and am taking my time reading it – primarily because my kindle fire has to be recharged after hours of reading. Whatever questions I have I won’t pose them here just yet as I want everyone to have a chance to read for themselves. You’ve gone inside the bell jar so to speak and so far, it’s fantastic!


    • The first book had an interesting section on the timeline, which the second lacks. But the second both does add a dimension and depth to these characters that the first book lacked. Interested to hear how the second compares to the first, to you?


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  6. This is an Excellent Site. I enjoy reading it all.
    I believe some Evidence and some Autopsy report coming out after Sentence hearing.


  7. Pingback: Bella and Celeste Watts: how were they murdered? | True Crime Rocket Science / #tcrs

  8. Watts stated they were placed in the batteries feet first with him inserting them by holding the arms straight up. This may have eliminated the need physically to alter the bodies.


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