Side-View of the CERVI 319 Crime Scene + An Analogy

Most of the glimpses we’ve gotten thus far of the CERVI 319 site have been aerial shots from news helicopters. Google Earth also provides global geographical context to the site. And it seems, with everybody watching and looking at these images, these maps, we know exactly what we’re dealing with. But while I was researching TWO FACE an elementary question arose. When Chris Watts drove to the site before dawn on August 13th, was he visible through line of sight?

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Given the remote location of the site, the answer seemed to be obvious.

I wanted to make sure, however, because of something that had recently played in my mind.

An Analogy for the Importance of Line of Site

During a recent trip to the coast, I was told by some folks I was staying with about a murder that happened down the road. As it happened, I’d stayed in the house of the murdered woman months earlier when I’d gone down to attend a wedding. Because so many people were visiting that weekend, various neighbors opened their homes and I happened to stay in this ladies’ home…and then she was murdered a few months later.

So when I arrived and her murder was still unsolved, I made an effort to speak to the woman’s best friend, and visit the crime scene. Initially, I asked for directions and wandered down to the nearest beach and tried to orient myself. She had been stabbed on a staircase leading to the beach. Her blood was all over the stairs. But standing there, it didn’t make any sense. Although there were some trees blocking the view, the area was clearly visible from across the river, and especially from houses perched on a small hillside nearby. It was also right next to a roadside parking lot, a terrible place to commit murder.

It turned out I was at the wrong beach. When I went to another beach just further up the coast everything was completely different. The moment one entered the staircase, one was effectively in a downward slanting tunnel. In every direction there was no sign of human habitation. When I was there I didn’t see anyone. Not on the beach, not in the distance, not at the parking lot, not even further down the beach.

Walking along the rocky area towards the first beach where I’d mistakenly imputed the crime scene, I passed a length of jungle and rock and nothing else. And still no people. Those houses on the hillside were tucked behind the fringe of trees, so no line of site even of the beach here. And since this section of beach clipped inwards from the coast, as well as at the other end, clipped inward again, there was no line of sight from either side of the beach either.

It turned out the lady came here to walk her dog for exactly that reason – the pristine, deserted nature of the beach. She was in the habit of getting out of her car, peeking downstairs to see if anyone was there, and if the coast was clear, returning to pick up her dog, lock her car and go for her walk.

On the day of her murder [or perhaps before] the murderer picked up on this, and killed her to steal the car [which was unlocked, and still had the keys in the ignition]. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to get the car into reverse, eventually gave up, and cut and ran.

The motive seems to be straightforward. She was someone he didn’t know, and he killed her to steal her car. The difficulty in reversing theory seems far-fetched, except the best friend of the murdered lady told me she had the same car, a Suzuki SUV, and the vehicles were well-known to have reverse gear shift issues. My car sometimes does too.  And getting into a strange car in a hurry, reverse sometimes simply does not engage. The nature of the parking lot was such that reverse was only way out.

What the above anecdote illustrates is the importance of characters, context and anecdotal evidence.  It also shows how important it is to go to the crime scene yourself, if you can, and step into the shoes [into the psychology] of your murderer. [Incidentally, that case remains unsolved, although the woman’s phone was tracked to a shanty in a nearby informal settlement].

Line of Sight at CERVI 319

Although we feel like we know all there is to know about CERVI 319, I wanted to clarify the line of sight issue, at least in my own mind. Google Earth takes us right there, but we’re still not there on-the-ground, as it were.

From the air the CERVI site is a roughly Y-shape of cleared Earth, with the tail of the Y blowing to its left. The upper part of the Y-shaped site rests at a slight angle inside a rectangular corridor.

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On either side of this cleared area are brown rocks, and speckles of green bushes peppering the landscape. This was my best guess that the contours of the area dipped down, and that CERVI 319 is situated in a depression within a shallow valley amongst low hills.  But the question remained: how shallow was this valley?

The service road nearby would be Chris Watts’ biggest concern. Could random strangers peek into or over the site while he was rushing about barefoot trying to get rid of three bodies?5b7c03833cccd121008b45d6-960-555

The Denver Post provides this unusual in situ shot of the site. Notice the power line to the right appears to correspond with to the Google Earth screengrab.

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And according to the caption, the oil site is near Roggen. That puts us in the ballpark too.

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The Denver Post doesn’t identify the image as the actual work site, but what it does do is locate the local topography from an on-the-ground perspective.

It’s clear that there are undulating hills in the area and a small amount of brush. These hills are higher and steeper than I’d perceived them to be from the satellite images. This confirms the CERVI 319 site must have been secluded in line of sight terms by the surrounding hills.

Watts bodies found at oil site

ROGGEN, CO – AUGUST 21: According to Christopher Watts’ arrest affidavit, Shanann Watts’ body was found in a shallow grave near this oil work site, seen here on August 21, 2018 near Roggen, Colorado. Both of her daughter’s bodies, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, were submerged for days in the same oil tanks in rural eastern Colorado, prosecutors said. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

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Shan’ann Watts: MLM & Magical Thinking – just how bad was it?

MLM and Magical Thinking go hand in hand. In the same way that God created the heavens and the Earth, and Harry Potter rose to fame and fortune simply by incantation, we can too. We can also create heaven and whatever Earth we like, we can also slay our enemies – even sickness – simply by saying the right things. Right?

If you’re an actor, yes, maybe. For the rest of us, including the likes of another The Secret follower – Jodi Arias – life turns out a little different no matter how elegant our semantics, no matter how compelling or fake our diaries. Words have power, certainly, but words without action tend to create conflict – and crime.

One definition of Magical Thinking reads:

Magical thinking is the belief that one’s own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. It is common in very young children. A four-year-old child, for example, might believe that after wishing for a pony, one will appear at his or her house.

MLM is much the same way. It’s a sort of brain fart where people wake up one day and just because they’re told they can have anything they wish for, they think they can. And when enough people wearing the same logos on their hats and shirts say the same thing, it can reach a critical mass with the weak minded.

Le-Vel’s Facebook page shows there are plenty of them out there, over 1.1 million in the Thrive cult at present.

The video below provides plenty of additional psychological back story to Shan’ann. She talks about still being affected by issues of childhood. But she’s abundantly clear that her family is Thrive, her lifestyle is Thrive, her philosophy is Thrive and her savior is Thrive.

She’s specific in stating that in 2016 her team fell just short of $300 000 in sales volume.

Fullscreen capture 20181002 011323 Is that a lot when divided by a team of roughly four, or was it more than four? It’s not clear what Le-Vel’s various levels actually mean. Shan’ann described herself on Instagram in 2018 at the time of her death as a 80K VIP LeVel Promoter. So was she earning $80 000 in sales per year, commissions, was that her total income?

 

I’m not going to spend any more time here trying to figure out the MLM finances right now, although that’s a labyrinth that needs to be decoded into simple bottom line figures eventually. Perhaps ex-Thrivers can comment anonymously below on how the dollars and cents add up – or don’t add up.

What we can say is no matter how successful Shan’ann was or how wonderful Thrive products are, the Watts family were in serious financial difficulty when the murders happened. They were being sued by their homeowners association, and it looked like they were headed for a divorce. It also appears as if Shan’ann was losing her MLM mojo for the first time in July and especially August 2018, when her Facebook Live videos dropped to zero.

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What’s the typical space of time for MLM people to be sucked in and spat out? According to one small business website:

  • In the first year of operation, a minimum of 50% of representatives drop-out.
  • After five years of operation, a minimum of 90% of representatives have left the company.
  • By year 10, only those at or near the top have not dropped out – making it safe to say at least 95% of representatives have dropped out.

So by mid-August 2018, Shan’ann was nicely in the middle of the 2nd projection. The other factor is of course her husband, Chris Watts. Whether or not Shan’ann was still gung ho about it, was he? And if her business partner wasn’t, what did that indicate about Shan’ann’s income, with or without his participation?

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As is the case with all MLM, it’s easy [or easier] to make those initial sales. It gets harder and harder to maintain them as the market saturates, and as those drinking the Kool-Aid pass the gullibility peak, and pessimism [otherwise known as reality] sets in. When people start picking up a shitty aftertaste to the Kool-Aid and the momentum turns in MLM, it tends to do so permanently.

MLM lives and dies on buy-in. When your partner promotors become ye of little faith, and abandon all hope, the house of cards craters into a pile of dust. Those promoters who buy into it the deepest have the most face to lose, so they try to dig in, hoping the tide will turn.

When it comes to magical thinking, just as hay can be spun into gold, and God can breathe life into dust, bodies can become dust again, and gold can be spun back into hay. Sucks don’t it?

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The screengrab above is from Shan’ann Watts twitter page, indicating just a few of the accounts she was following. She was also following dozens of lupus-themed accounts.

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For further reading on MLM click here.

Dirty South Customs = Shan’ann’s Dirty Little Secret?

The open question remains: how was Shan’ann Watts able to afford a home [or rather, get a loan to build one] in North Carolina, in 2009 when she was about 25-years-old?

On Websleuths the contention has been made that Shan’ann was co-owner of a car accessory company based in Fayetteville, North Carolina called Dirty South.

In June 2009 Shan’ann [then Shan’ann King] was named one of the co-defendants in a lawsuit against Dirty South and her boss Hisham Bedwan, among others. Bedwan also resembles Chris Watts, even down to the manicured grey hair and goatee, doesn’t he?

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It’s unclear at this point if this lawsuit has anything to do with the allegation that 15 charges were filed against Shan’ann Watts at one time, or whether the three charges on Chris Watts are true, and if they are, if there’s any connection.

Rumors are circulating that Shan’ann was having an affair with her boss, and that this is what ended her relationship with the anonymous Mr. King. On his Instagram page, hot girls and hot cars alternate between specials for car parts.

What we do know for sure is the accessory store where Shan’ann worked was less than 10 miles south, literally just down the road from where Chris Watts grew up on Vass Road, on the outskirts of Spring Lake.

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It makes sense if Shan’ann worked in a car parts store, and Chris Watts was an auto mechanic, that their paths would inevitably cross.

Maybe, maybe not, but if that’s how they did meet, it’s not the story she told on Facebook. If it is how they met, one can understand how she might want to keep this aspect of her life under wraps from the fairy tale obsessed Thrive crowd.

Sandra Onorati Rzucek [Shan’ann’s mother]: “Shan’ann and Chris Watts definitely planned to separate”

This is what we know:

  1. He was actively engaged in an affair with a co-worker
  2. Shan’ann was pregnant at the same time
  3. Shan’ann was telling her Facebook flock what a great husband and partner Chris was as late as May 2018
  4. Shan’ann was communicating to her mother about their intention to separate
  5. The six-week period Shan’ann spent in North Carolina – wasn’t that the separation?
  6. If the six-week period wasn’t the separation, then when was it supposed to kick in and what would that involve? Selling the house, moving, taking the kids…?

What we don’t know is after the trial separation exactly what was decided?

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Except:

  1. Shan’ann was going to have a gender reveal party on the weekend after her death
  2. Shan’ann continued to sell Thrive and was on a Thrive business trip on the weekend just before her murder
  3. Shan’ann’s best friends seemed to know about Chris Watts’ infidelity but didn’t take them seriously

This suggests Shan’ann didn’t take Chris Watts intentions to leave her seriously as well. But that’s too kind. It wasn’t just a return to the default setting of business as usual. If he wanted to separate and she was striving and contriving to keep them together, then what contrivances were being used to lock him in, besides the pregnancy?

If they were negotiating for them to no longer be together, and Shan’ann was resisting, then wasn’t the murder a way of breaking the deadlock? Chris Watts got his separation, minus alimony and child support.

During Chris Watt’s  infamous sermon on the porch, he appeared to let on that he and Shan’ann had argued prior to her trip to Phoenix on Friday August 10th. According to the Washington Post:

“This might be a tough question,” the reporter asked, “but did you guys get into, like, an argument before she left?”

“It wasn’t an argument,” Watts said quickly. “We got into a conversation, but I’ll leave it at that.” And then he talked some more about how much he missed them.

A conversation about what?

And those words I’ll leave it at that – it seems like he did, doesn’t it. He’d made up his mind.

Besides the semantics surrounding mid-August, there’s also the eye witness statement of Melinda Phillips published in People On August 31st, 18 days after the murder.

“I think they were always putting on a show,” says Melinda Phillips, who recalls seeing Chris and Shan’ann “clearly having an argument” in their driveway one day earlier this summer.

“Their body language was really angry, and they were just fighting back and forth,” Phillips, 34, says. “He was gesturing his hands and they were shaking their heads, and it was definitely an argument.”

“I didn’t really think much of it, because Lord knows that I’ve had the same arguments with my husband,” she continues. “They caught my eye and suddenly, everything changed. They stopped being so angry, and they started talking a lot more calmly. He even gave her a hug. Mind you, this was in the space of 30 seconds to a minute.”

“From a full-blown fight to hugs in less than a minute, it was incredible,” she says.

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We know in his affidavit that he claims they argued that morning too, and that he wanted to initiate the separation.

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Our overall impression of the dynamic between Shan’ann and Chris Watts was that she wore the pants, was somewhat pushy and controlling, but here it was him stepping forward, and it’s a big step. He’s saying he wants out. Didn’t Shan’ann push back by dismissing him and delaying the idea, and by trying to control the outcome. Perhaps she’d been doing that for several months.

Returning to what the neighbor Melinda Phillips saw, and her reaction, she seems to be suggesting that the “making up here” was mutual, initiated by both of them. At the same time she implies that in this instance Chris especially was fake, but that it was also part of what they were doing generally, putting on a show.  They. Both of them.

It’s also Chris who first gestures wildly then hugs Shan’ann, as if she’s the more aggrieved party and he’s trying to justify himself, but then fashions a hasty peace in the name of neighborly optics. And of course, Shan’ann also wants good optics, for her Thrive business and perhaps privately and personally too.

Although she doesn’t say it specifically, when Phillips saw them, isn’t it likely Chris Watts saw her, and changed faces?

Shan’ann talks about spending “quality time” with Chris Watts

SHAN’ANN: And then we have our time to…um…enjoy each other. You know, um…watch TV, or…whatever it is we decided to do. Play games. Or Uno. Or whatever. Um…it’s quality time for me and him. Because you need that in a relationship. When you have kids, it’s always about the kids and we often forget about ourselves and our…significant other. So I think it’s very important and very vital that you spend that time with each other. And…we definitely get to do that now, and awake… We’re not sleeping. Um, or me listening to him snore, vice versa. So it’s been a blessing, with that….Chris works out in the field, very busy job. Um…that has to really challenge his little brain over there…My parents were my biggest sceptics…go figure. My mom and dad lived with me and I had to force feed it to them every single day.

At What Point Was Chris Watts DONE With THRIVE? [DISCUSS]

Looking at his declining participation in her social media, when could Chris Watts have decided the Thrive thing wouldn’t save them from imminent financial ruin, but rather, was making their finances worse, perhaps actually ruining their lives?

What evidence do we have from the background of Shan’ann’s social media, that Chris Watts was no longer drinking the Kool-Aid? When did it start?

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The timing of his crisis of faith in Le-Vel probably had something to do with:

  1. When he got a job at Anadarko.
  2. When he started his affair with his co-worker.
  3. When the extent of their worsening financial decrepitude became clear.
  4. When the Watts family were featured in Strive magazine [and if what the article purported was true or not].
  5. Shan’ann falling pregnant in late April/early May 2018.
  6. The six-week separation prior to the murders.
  7. The 15 week milestone of Shan’ann’s pregnancy.

We also know that he went on a trip with Shan’ann and other MLM cult members to San Diego, so presumably if he went along he was still buying into it in late June. Or didn’t he have any choice? What are YOUR thoughts based on your observations of Shan’ann’s Facebook and Instagram posts?

 

Prior to the murders, was Chris Watts a good father?

Chris Watts appeared to be an attentive dad. We see him reading to his kids, horsing around with them, cutting their hair, blowing hot food to cool it down, even taking cake in the face while Shan’ann and and his mother-in-law looked on with a camera.

He also dressed up as Santa and took direction from Shan’ann in playing that role for them. So at face value, he seems to have a much closer bond with the children than with Shan’ann.

If he murdered his children, why did he?