Colorado suspect says he killed wife after he saw her strangling daughter, affidavit says

GREELEY, Colo. — A Colorado man said he caught his pregnant wife strangling one of their young daughters to death before he strangled her in "a rage," according to an arrest affidavit, KDVR reports.

The document notes that Christopher Watts was “actively involved” in an affair with a co-worker which he admitted to after initially denying the affair, according to prosecutors.

According to the document, Shanann Watts arrived home from a work trip at 2 a.m. Christopher Watts said that he woke up for work at 5 a.m. and they began having an “emotional conversation” about separating.

Christopher told investigators that he initiated the conversation and wanted to separate.

Christopher said that he went downstairs after the conversation and when he returned to the couple’s bedroom, he claims he saw, via baby monitor, Bella “sprawled out” on her bed and blue in the face, then he claims he saw, also via a baby monitor, Shanann “actively strangling” Celeste.

He claims he went into a rage and strangled Shanann to death. Christopher said he then loaded bodies onto his work truck just before 5:30 a.m.

Christopher Watts was formally charged with nine felony counts, including three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation on Monday.

The body of Shanann Watts, 34, was recovered late last week in a shallow grave near an oil tank on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, where her husband worked as an operator.

The bodies of the couple's daughters -- 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste -- were found in an oil well close to their mother’s body, according to court documents. Court documents filed by defense lawyer James Merson said the girls had been submerged in crude oil for four days.

The Weld County Coroner’s Office confirmed the children's identities on Friday. The cause of their deaths has not been made public.

Defense attorneys asked for DNA samples from the girls’ necks by their own experts, but the motion was denied. The judge, however, did approve a motion compelling the pathologist to take DNA swabs of the necks of the children and to provide those results to the defense team.

Shanann Watts, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and her daughters were reported missing at 1:40 p.m. on Aug. 13. The next day, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) issued a missing-endangered alert for the trio.

The Frederick Police Department, the CBI and the FBI canvassed the area before arresting Christopher Watts on Wednesday night.

A close friend has said she dropped off Shanann Watts at home about 2 a.m. Monday when they returned home from a work trip. She saw her go inside.

She said the two friends were supposed to meet later in the day, but Watts didn’t answer her phone.

Christopher Watts said in an interview Tuesday that he didn’t know where his wife and daughters were and made a plea to a TV station that his family be returned home.