Chris Watts' prison letters reveal horrifying truth behind American Murder killings

6 October 2020, 17:54

The official American Murder: The Family Next Door trailer

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

Cheryln Cadle's book Letters From Christopher reveals details about Shanann Watts' murder that were never told to the police.

Netflix's latest true crime documentary, American Murder, is being called one of the most "horrifying" documentaries on the streaming service.

Back in 2018, Chris Watts murdered his wife Shanann Watts and their three children, Bella, Celeste and unborn baby Nico Lee. He pled guilty and is currently serving five life sentences without the possibility of parole in Dodge Correctional Institution, Wisconsin.

However, while the Netflix film ends with Chris being sentenced, a new book – titled Letters From Christopher – reveals more horrifying details that he kept secret from the police.

WARNING: This article contains details that some readers may find distressing.

Netflix's American Murder: Chris Watts prison letters reveal harrowing details
Netflix's American Murder: Chris Watts prison letters reveal harrowing details. Picture: Netflix

After an investigation into Shanann's disappearance that saw Chris put on a chilling act as the devastated husband, he then confessed to his crimes.

Initially, he lied to authorities and claimed that Shanann had killed their children, and he killed her in retaliation. However, he soon revealed that he had strangled Shanann shortly after telling her that he wanted a divorce. He then took Shanann's body along with their daughters and drove them to an oil storage unit. He buried Shanann, and then smothered Bella and Celeste before placing their bodies into an oil tank. This wasn't the full story, though.

In Cheryln Cadle's book Letters From Christopher (published in September 2019), Chris sent the writer a detailed account of actually happened when he killed Shanann and their children. After meeting in person following correspondence through letters, he confessed to things that "no one else knows, not even the FBI."

In one letter published by the Daily Mail, he writes: "August 13th, morning of, I went to the girls' room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella's room, then Cece's room and used a pillow from their bed (to kill them). That's why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece's room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued."

It continues: "After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I'm not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella's eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma."

He also admitted that he attempted to poison Shanann in order to make her miscarry their child. He said he "thought it would be easier to be with [his girlfriend] Nichol [Kessinger] if Shanann wasn't pregnant."

The documentary film is absolutely harrowing and some viewers have even said that the story made them feel physically sick. Shanann's family, however, are urging people to watch it.

According to Hello! Magazine, Shanann's brother Frankie has praised the film, writing on Facebook: "I highly recommend watching this. It’s on Netflix. The director made sure we were a part of the whole process and we met the whole team personally."

"They made sure we were okay with them making this before they even started, unlike Lifetimes horrible movie. This documentary gives my sister a voice and she speaks throughout it. It also shows what her life was like before he came along and how happy she was with her beautiful family until he cheated and turned into a different person and became that monster." 

He also added: "How crazy that even Kylie Jenner watched it and shared this on her Instagram. My sister is an inspiration to millions of people all over the world and I’m honoured to be her little brother. She’s still changing lives and I couldn’t be more proud."