Chris Watts made headlines after he killed his wife, Shanann Watts — who was 15 weeks pregnant at the time — and his two daughters on August 13, 2018. Now, the 35-year-old is back in the spotlight after a new Netflix documentary, American Murderer: The Family Next Door, compiled footage from the investigation and text messages between Chris and his wife, in addition Shanann’s social media posts.
Even though the film couldn’t pinpoint exactly why Chris murdered his family in cold blood — he strangled Shanann and then killed his two kids, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, at his job site on an oil field — it talked about Nichol Kessinger, the woman he was having an affair with before committing the heinous crime.
Kessinger was working at Anadarko Petroleum when she met Chris — he was an operator at the oil and gas exploration company, while she worked in the environmental department. The pair first met in June 2018 and started dating in early July.
In November 2018, Kessinger told The Denver Post that she didn’t know Chris and Shanann were still together, adding that he told her he was separated and they were finalizing their divorce.
According to the documentary, Kessinger — who only appeared briefly in the flick — claimed she had no idea Chris was going to kill his family, and she only learned of the incident from the media. Kessinger also claimed she didn’t know that Shanann was pregnant at the time of her murder.
After hearing the news, Kessinger questioned Chris about his wife via calls and text messages, adding that he “seemed off” about the whole situation.
In an interview from 2018, Kessinger admitted Chris is “a liar” who “lied about everything.”
“If he was able to lie to me and hide something that big, what else was he lying about?” she said.
Now, everyone wants to know — where is Kessinger and what is she up to? Unfortunately, it’s unclear where she is today. According to Reddit and internet sleuths, Kessinger started dating a geologist named Jim Gutoski after her relationship with Chris ended. However, there is no proof that she is off the market.
Radar Online previously reported that Kessinger went into the witness protection program after “she received several threats,” a source told the outlet. “She plans to start fresh with a new name, new town and ultimately a new identity.”
Kessinger and Chris might even still be in touch, author Cherlyn Cadle claimed. In her book, Letters from Christopher, Cadle corresponds with Chris from jail, where he revealed that he received a bunch of letters and postcards signed from various names that he thinks could be Kessinger. “If I had not met Nikki, I would have never killed my family,” he said.
“Christopher says he loved [Kessinger] like he has never loved anyone else before,” Cadle said. “At the same time, he loves Shanann although he knows that she was not his soulmate and not the same person he was supposed to be with.”
Kessinger didn’t testify in court at Chris’ trial and has not been heard from since she spoke to The Denver Post in 2018. According to interviews with the police obtained by the Daily Mail, Kessinger seemed uneasy with her name being out in the open. “I would not be surprised if it’s going to be hard to go out in public sometimes for a couple of years,” she said.
American Murder: The Family Next Door is now streaming on Netflix.
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