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Colorado dad charged with killing pregnant wife and girls

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Shanann Watts / Instagram

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Chris Watts is suspected of killing his pregnant wife and two daughters

A Colorado man has been charged with the deaths of his pregnant wife and their daughters last week.

Chris Watts, 33, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and six other counts.

Court papers show he claims it was Shanann Watts, 34, who strangled Celeste, three, and Bella, four, after he told her he wanted to separate.

He told police that “in a rage” he then murdered his wife at their home in the small town of Frederick.

Mr Watts is due in court on Tuesday to be arraigned.

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CBS

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Chris Watts, 33, had appealed in local media for his family’s safe return

His nine felony charges include two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

Mrs Watts’ body was found by authorities on Thursday, buried in a shallow grave near an oil tank on the premises of a petroleum company that her husband had worked for.

The bodies of Bella and Celeste were later discovered inside oil tanks near their mother’s grave. Mrs Watts was 15 weeks’ pregnant.

According to the affidavit, investigators discovered that Mr Watts was having an affair with a work colleague, which he had denied to police.

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These two little girls are my world! I love them so much, even when they drive me crazy! Tomorrow is the last day Celeste is in 2yr old PreSchool and Bella is in PreK 1. Growing up so fast.

A post shared by Thrive Healthy Fit Mom (@shanannwatts) on May 24, 2018 at 8:06am PDT

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Instagram post by shanannwatts: These two little girls are my world! I love them so much, even when they drive me crazy! Tomorrow is the last day Celeste is in 2yr old PreSchool and Bella is in PreK 1. Growing up so fast.Image Copyright shanannwatts
shanannwatts

The court papers say that a friend dropped off Mrs Watts at her home from a business trip to Arizona last Monday shortly before 02:00.

Mr Watts said to police that he then told his wife that he wanted to split up.

He “informed her he wanted to initiate the separation”, according to the affidavit.

Mr Watts told police “it was a civil conversation and they were not arguing but were emotional”.

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Happy Valentines Day!

A post shared by Thrive Healthy Fit Mom (@shanannwatts) on Feb 14, 2017 at 2:22pm PST

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Instagram post by shanannwatts: Happy Valentines Day!Image Copyright shanannwatts
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According to the affidavit, Mr Watts told police he then snapped after he “observed Bella ‘sprawled’ out on her bed and blue and Shanann actively strangling Celeste”.

He said he witnessed the alleged strangulation via a baby monitor on his wife’s bedside table, the court documents said.

He said “he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death”, the affidavit says.

“Chris said he loaded all three bodies onto the back seat of his work truck and took them to an oil site.”

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Addy Molony challenged me to share something that I am grateful for everyday until Dec 1st. Today I’m grateful for my husband Chris, he is my biggest supporter! He’s an amazing father to our beautiful girls and the BEST husband EVER! #addytudeofgratitude #blessed

A post shared by Thrive Healthy Fit Mom (@shanannwatts) on Nov 16, 2016 at 7:08pm PST

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Instagram post by shanannwatts: Addy Molony challenged me to share something that I am grateful for everyday until Dec 1st. Today I'm grateful for my husband Chris, he is my biggest supporter! He's an amazing father to our beautiful girls and the BEST husband EVER! #addytudeofgratitude #blessedImage Copyright shanannwatts
shanannwatts

A friend raised the alarm when Mrs Watts did not turn up for a 10:00 doctor’s appointment on Monday.

The friend discovered Mrs Watts’ vehicle in the garage with the children’s car seats inside, according to court papers.

She phoned Mr Watts and asked him to come home because she was concerned that Mrs Watts – who suffered from lupus, an autoimmune disease – might have fallen ill.

Mr Watts arrived to find the police already at the property.

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Shanann Watts / Facebook

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Chris Watts spoke to the media after his family were reported missing on Monday

He let them into the home where officers found Mrs Watts’ handbag in the kitchen.

The sheets and blankets had been stripped off the couple’s bed, but police noted there were no signs of foul play.

Last Wednesday, Mr Watts appealed on local television for the safe return of his family after they were reported missing.

He told reporters: “I’m just hoping right now that she’s somewhere safe. I just want them home so bad.”

Family and friends have been left stunned by the killings.

Skip Instagram post 4 by shanannwatts

Happy Husband Appreciation Day! I couldn’t imagine a better man for us. You spoil us with love an attention! You put up with 3 impatient, demanding women in the house. ?? You Work so hard everyday to provide for us. I love you so much and so grateful you hung around when I tried pushing you away in the beginning! ?? #HappyHusbandappreciationday

A post shared by Thrive Healthy Fit Mom (@shanannwatts) on Apr 21, 2018 at 5:12pm PDT

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Instagram post by shanannwatts: Happy Husband Appreciation Day! I couldn’t imagine a better man for us. You spoil us with love an attention! You put up with 3 impatient, demanding women in the house. ?? You Work so hard everyday to provide for us. I love you so much and so grateful you hung around when I tried pushing you away in the beginning! ?? #HappyHusbandappreciationdayImage Copyright shanannwatts
shanannwatts

On social media, Mrs Watts had praised her spouse as an “amazing father” and “the BEST husband EVER!”

But according to local media, the couple had financial troubles, including a 2015 bankruptcy filing, and Mrs Watts had suspected her husband was cheating.

In a video posted on Facebook on 11 June, she filmed her husband’s reaction as she revealed she was pregnant with the couple’s third child.

“That’s awesome. I guess when you want to, it happens,” he said, holding up the pregnancy test kit.

On Instagram, Mrs Watts praised him as “my amazing supportive hubby!”

“He rocks and couldn’t imagine life without him!” she wrote.