Colorado Man Charged With Killing Pregnant Wife and Girls

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

Chris Watts, 33, is accused of 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.

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

He is due to appear in court on Tuesday to be arraigned on the charges.

A court affidavit says Mr Watts told police that he snapped when he “observed Bella ‘sprawled’ out on her bed and blue and Shanann actively strangling Celeste”.

He faces nine felony charges, also including two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

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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.

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

She was 15 weeks’ pregnant. Last week, Mr Watts appealed on local television for the safe return of his family after they were reported missing by a friend.

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

Mr Watts said his wife had returned from a business trip to Arizona in the early hours of Monday.

He told journalists said they had stayed up having an “emotional conversation” about an unspecified subject until his departure for work several hours later.

Family and friends have been left stunned by the killings.

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

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.

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