Accused killer dad’s interview slip-up
THE American man who accused of killing his pregnant wife and kids might have given away nine telltale signs of his guilt during an appeal for their safe return.
Seemingly calm Chris Watts appeared on US TV to claim he had absolutely no idea where his wife and kids had disappeared to hours before "confessing" to cops.
Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant with her third child, disappeared from Frederick, Colorado, on Monday with daughters, Bella, four, and Celeste, three, known as "Cece".
Her husband was filmed outside the family home as he pleaded for the safe return of his missing family - hours before reportedly confessing to killing them.
He looked into the cameras as he said: "I have no idea, like, where they went. I don't feel like this is even real right now. It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from."
During the interview - now seen around the world - he told how he called in the cops after learning his house was deserted.
However, just hours later legal sources claimed he had confessed to killing his family and is now behind bars awaiting charges.
Renowned body language expert Judi James analysed his interview and revealed the clues that might have given him away.
Judi said: "Body language is not a precise science and using it in legal cases like this one can be especially difficult as lying signals can depend primarily on guilt-based responses.
"This means an honest person lying about a very minor misdemeanour can easily look more guilty than a murderer who might be incapable of feelings of guilt or even who believes their actions were justified.
"The other feature of this footage is that - like a lot of people wanting to look honest - he clearly sticks to the true events of his story.
"The narrative here is about the friend calling him and how the house was empty when he got there.
"These are likely to be events that he really did experience, so the verbal version and the non-verbal signals would be more likely to be congruent and it is often this that gives an impression of being cool and collected.
"His arms are folded which would help avoid any gesticulation that might be incongruent to the verbal narrative.
"Although this creates a physical 'poker face' his emotions still emerge via a side-to-side swaying of the body and a shaking of the head as he talks.
"The head shake will look like a 'no' gesture but it can also be used to register disbelief. His eyes move to his right as he relates his story before coming back to perform sustained bouts of quite level eye contact.
"The sideways glance can suggest someone is accessing creative thinking but this trait isn't true of everyone.
"Eye contact is often seen as a signal of truthfulness but it is often acted quite effectively by people who are guilty too.
"His blink rate isn't accelerated to a point where you might suspect anxiety or fear but his breathing does sound a little shallow, which can happen under pressure.
"However that pressure could be caused by either guilt or by anxiety about a missing family."
CHILLING PHOTO POSTED DAYS EARLIER
Ms Watts posted a harrowing image to Facebook just days before she and her two daughters were found dead at an oil plant where her husband worked.
It showed a three-foot plastic doll that her daughters had wrapped up in a plastic mat from the party game Twister.
"I don't know what to think about this...," Ms Watts wrote alongside two laughing-tears emojis.
Aware that her two girls, Bella and Celeste, had staged the scene, The Sun reported she wrote: "At least they covered the body together. At least we know they have each other's back."
In June, a joyful exchange of messages between Ms Watts and her husband painted the accused as a loving, family man excited by the impending arrival of their third child.
The Sun reported Watts sent a moving message to his 34-year-old wife after receiving an ultrasound picture.
"Little Peanut! Love her/him already!!!" he wrote in response to the photo she pinged to his mobile phone after looking at the tiny embryo of the child they planned to call Niko.
Shanann shared the exchange on her Facebook page writing: "I love Chris! He's the best dad us girls could ask for."
The children were found dead in oil tanks a week later, which were allegedly used in order to conceal the smell, Denver 7 news reported.
'MAY SATAN HAVE MERCY ON HIS SOUL'
Ms Watt's brother, Frankie Rzucek, took to Facebook to slam the 33-year-old accused.
"I just want 30 seconds alone with that heartless psychopath," Mr Rzucek wrote.
"May Satan have mercy on his soul."
Mr Rzucek also criticised police, saying it was clear Watts was a prime suspect.
"The cops drug (sic.) their feet. He was the only one with them and backed his truck into the garage. Doesn't take a genius to know who was suspect," Mr Rzucek said.
My blood is boiling and the pain and anger and sadness I have in my heart. Nothing absolutely nothing would get in my way of taking away his life like he did mine and my ENTIRE FAMILY."
Ms Watts had recently visited her mother in North Carolina, where a neighbour said nothing she discussed showed cause for concern.
"She was here for about three weeks. I talked her a couple times," Joe Beach told The Associated Press.
"We were talking about general things, about how her two girls were doing and how life was out in Colorado. She didn't give me an indication that there was anything wrong. She seemed pretty happy."
The FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation are also investigating the incident, local legal sources told Denver7.
During the interview, Watts claimed he texted his wife numerous times but didn't get any response which he thought was odd. He then raced home but found it empty and quickly filed a missing persons report with the cops.
He claimed: "I was trying to get home as fast as I can, I was blowing through stop lights. I was blowing through everything just trying to get home as fast as I can because none of this made sense.
"I don't feel like this is even real right now. It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from."
The Frederick Police Department confirmed they had made an arrest "in connection to the missing person's case" of Shanann and her daughters.
Parts of this story originally appeared on The Sun and are republished with permission.