Chris Watts‘ daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, smile in pictures sent to their mother, Shanann Watts, just hours before their murders. The killer dad took the photos after returning home from a neighbor’s birthday party. These images from Watts’ phone were obtained by OK! after filing a request under the Colorado Open Records Act.

Chris Watts Shanann Watts Kids Last Photos
Weld County Sheriff’s Office

Watts sent the photos to wife Shanann, 34, who could not see the girls because she was away in Arizona at a work conference. It was upon returning home late that night that Shanann was murdered by her husband, who buried her and their unborn baby boy Nico in a shallow grave on a remote oil field that was owned by his employer at the time, Anadarko.

Chris Watts Shanann Watts Kids Last Photos
Weld County Sheriff’s Office

Watts, now 35, then smothered his two daughters and dumped their bodies in an oil tank, keeping them alive as he drove to the burial site.

Chris Watts Shanann Watts Kids Last Photos
Weld County DA/MEGA

The alibi Watts had crafted for himself started to fall apart quickly, just hours after he buried the bodies. That was due in large part to the surveillance footage his neighbor had of Watts on the morning of the murders, which very clearly showed him back his truck up to his garage, load up the vehicle and drive off.

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Watts had told police that Shanann and daughters Bella and Celeste had run off that day while he was at work, but footage proved that was not the case. In fact, the footage did not capture anyone leaving the house that day but Watts.

That was later refuted, however, by Watts himself, who said Bella and Celeste were alive when they left the home and murdered just before he disposed of their bodies in two oil drums on a job site. A police body camera also caught the moment Watts is seen watching that video for the first time — and throwing his hands behind his head in disbelief when he realizes he has been caught.

That video would later be used to draw out Watts’ confession before he was formally charged with murder. Once he had confessed, the process began of retrieving the bodies of his wife and two daughters, who had been found despite his refusal to help with the search.

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