The full true story behind Netflix true crime ‘American Murder: The Family Next Door’

The documentary about the 2018 case has been released today


Netflix has just released its latest true crime documentary, American Murder: The Family Next Door, which tells the shocking true story of the Watts’ family killings.

The case sent shockwaves through the world when it happened in 2018. Stories being told to the investigators on the case were constantly changing and it took months, and a failed lie detector test, to finally find out what happened when Shanann Watts and her two young daughters went missing.

Here is the full true story behind new Netflix true crime documentary, American Murder: The Family Next Door.

*This article contains details from American Murder: The Family Next Door and some details may be upsetting*

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via Netflix

American Murder: The Family Next Door tells the true story of Shanann and Chris Watts and their two young daughters

In 2018, Shanann Watts, who was pregnant at the time, and her two young daughters went missing from their home and the family’s story become worldwide news when the case began to unravel.

At around 2am on August 13th 2018, a friend of Shanann’s, called Nickole Atkinson, rang police saying she was concerned for her wellbeing. She had dropped Shanann home in the early hours of the morning after a business trip and hadn’t been able to get hold of her since. She noted that Shanann had also missed an appointment.

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via Netflix

That afternoon, the police searched the Watts’ family house, but found no signs of foul play and all of Shanann’s personal belongings were still there. It was then that Shanann and her two daughters, four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste, were declared as missing.

Chris Watts appeared to be the confused and lost husband, telling police he “didn’t know what to do” and appealing for information to do with his wife and daughters’ whereabouts. But his story kept changing. Police went through his phone records and found he had been having an affair with a coworker. On August 15th, Chris failed a polygraph test.

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Chris Watts being interviewed by the media, via Netflix

He then promised to tell the police everything he knew, if he was allowed to speak to his father first. This was granted, and Chris confessed to his father what he had done. He had killed his pregnant wife and their two daughters. Investigators found the bodies where Chris had said they were, an Anadarko Petroleum site. Anadarko Petroleum was where Chris was working at the time.

On August 21st 2018 Chris Watts was charged.

But his story continued to change. At first he said he had killed Shanann in a “fit of rage” after seeing her kill their daughters. He said she knew about his affair and was upset and this was her revenge. But in November of the same year he confessed to killing the girls too.

He then pleaded guilty to all nine counts against him: five counts of first-degree murder (including two additional counts for his daughters because they were children under 12), one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

Chris Watts, prison, case, trial, now, American Murder, Netflix

via Netflix

Even at this point, he still hadn’t told the true full story of what happened that day. He later told investigators he and Shanann had argued over their relationship and his wish to leave her, so he had killed her. This woke the two young girls, who asked what was going on. He took Shanann’s body and the two girls to the oil site and killed the girls there.

He is currently serving five life sentences in prison as well as 84 more years for the other crimes.

Ahead of the documentary, Netflix released the last texts sent between Chris and Shanann Watts

Netflix has released a video of very last text exchange between Chris and his wife Shanann, as she boarded a plane home from her business trip. The pair are talking about Shanann buying vegetables for them on her way home, before she ends with “love you”.

Netflix also shared more messages sent between the couple, and a letter which Shanann had left Chris. Shanann is seen talking about how happy she is about the birth of their next child, and tells Chris how much she loves him and wants to fight for their relationship.

American Murder: The Family Next Door is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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