The Frederick man accused of killing his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and their two children appeared in Weld County Court Thursday.
Sady Swanson, firstname.lastname@example.org
GREELEY, Colo. – Authorities in Colorado announced Thursday night that they have located the bodies of two girls who they believe are the daughters of Shanann Watts, a pregnant woman found slain earlier Thursday.
Watts, 34, and here daughters Bella, 3, and Celeste, 4, were reported missing Monday from their Frederick home.
The body of Shanann Watts was found Thursday on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of the state’s largest oil and gas drillers, where her husband, Christopher Watts, used to work, police said.
Authorities did not disclose where the bodies they presume are the children were discovered, but they confirmed they were located “in close proximity to the other body” whom officers believe is Shanann Watts, according to a town of Frederick Facebook post.
Christopher Watts, 33, was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. He has not yet been formally charged, and the Weld County District Attorney’s Office said they anticipate filing formal charges Monday.
“We wish we had a different outcome,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said after Christopher Watts’ court appearance Thursday. “We wish would’ve been able to locate them alive.”
Watts is currently being held in the Weld County jail without bond and is set to appear in court again on Tuesday.
Wearing shackles and an orange jumpsuit, Christopher Watts appeared in court for the first time Thursday.
During the hearing, Judge Marcelo Kopcow said the court found probable cause for Watts’ warrantless arrest early Thursday morning.
“At this point, the court is not authorizing any bail,” Kopcow said, adding that bond will be readdressed once formal charges are filed.
The day before his arrest Christopher Watts told KUSA-TV that the disappearance of his wife and daughters was traumatic.
“I’m just hoping right now that she’s somewhere safe,” he said. “Like, this house is not the same. Last night was traumatic. Last night was – I can’t really stay in this house again with nobody here.”
In court Thursday, Watts spoke only to say “yes” or “yes sir” to acknowledge he understood his rights as read to him by Kopcow.
Of the approximately 15 motions already filed by Watts’ attorney, public defender James Merson, Kopcow only addressed a few “time sensitive” requests in Thursday’s hearing. The judge granted a motion to require all law enforcement officers involved to keep any handwritten notes.
Shanann Watts and her two young daughters were reported missing days earlier. Her husband, Christopher Watts, is accused of their murders.
Merson filed a motion concerning collecting and preserving DNA evidence, particularly at the family’s home, which investigators believe to be where Shanann and the children died, according to the district attorney’s office.
However, representatives from the district attorney’s office noted that the home was released by law enforcement at approximately midnight Wednesday, so it’s not likely they will go back to collect more evidence.
Merson also asked to seal the courtroom from the public for upcoming proceedings to protect his client’s right to a fair trial, adding that he also disagreed with allowing the media to take video and photo of the Thursday hearing.
Kopcow said that it was the District Attorney’s Office that sealed arrest documents for Watts, and if they don’t believe allowing media coverage of the court proceedings will impact their investigation, then he sees nothing wrong with allowing it.
Kopcow also issued two protection orders: One preventing Watts from harassing or communicating with any witnesses in the case and another only allowing him to communicate with his attorney, law enforcement and other support staff.
Christopher Watts is next scheduled to appear in Weld County court Tuesday at 10 a.m., where he will be advised on his formal charges.
Contributing: Sady Swanson; The Associated Press; KUSA-TV, Denver
Listen to what Christopher Watts told KUSA the day before he was arrested in the murders of his pregnant wife Shanann and their two young daughters.
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