Hours after an emotional Chris Watts went in front of TV cameras to plead for the safe return of his pregnant wife and two young daughters, he was charged with murdering all of them.
Watts, 33, reportedly admitted to killing 34-year-old Shanann Watts, who was 15-weeks pregnant, and daughters Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4. The disappearance of the toddlers and their expectant mom from their Frederick, Colorado home sparked a massive search earlier this week.
Watts is being held in the Weld County Jail on three counts of first-degree murder and three charges of tampering with physical evidence. He is due in court on Thursday afternoon, FOX31 reported. It was unclear if Watts could face additional charges in connection with the fate of his unborn child.
Shanann Watts and her two daughters were reported missing Monday after Watts didn’t show up for a doctor’s appointment and didn’t answer her phone. A friend called police, who found Watts’ cellphone, purse and keys inside her home during a welfare check.
On Wednesday, as the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were brought in to help with the investigation, Chris Watts told reporters he was traumatized by the disappearance and was hoping for his family’s safe return.
He told The Denver Channel he wanted his wife and children back, adding they were “his life” and their “smiles light up my life.”
Hours later, police executed a search warrant at the Watts home. Investigators were seen removing bags of evidence and towing a pickup truck from the scene, FOX31 reported.
Police tweeted early Thursday that Chris Watts was placed in custody. A news conference was set for 10:30 a.m. local time.
Law enforcement officials told The Denver Channel that Chris Watts had confessed to killing his family and cops believe they know where they can find the remains.
In his interview with The Denver Channel on Wednesday, Chris Watts said he had an “emotional conversation” with his wife the night before she vanished, but he didn’t elaborate as to the subject or if it developed into an argument.
Looking directly into the camera, Chris Watts later said: “Shannan, Bella, Celeste, if you’re out there just come back. If somebody has her, just bring her back. I just need to see everybody. I need to see everybody again. This house is not complete without anybody here. Please bring her back.”
Frederick is about 30 miles north of Denver.
“It was tearing me apart last night.”