Where Is Chris Watts Today? A Look at His Life in Prison After Family Murders (2024)

Where Is Chris Watts Today? A Look at His Life in Prison After Family Murders (1)

Chris Watts seemingly had it all. He had met his wife, Shanann, after sending her a friend request on Facebook and together they had two beautiful children, with a third on the way.

But any appearance of a dream life was shattered when Shanann and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste, went missing from their Colorado home in August 2018. After initially denying knowledge of their whereabouts, Watts would eventually admit to killing all three.

Since Watts—who turned 39 on Thursday, May 16—confessed to killing his wife and two daughters, Watts has been in prison, mainly in Wisconsin, where he will likely remain for the rest of life.

It’s been nearly six years since the deaths of Shanann, Bella and Celeste, but the case has continued to attract attention, including a Netflix documentary — which a source previously told PEOPLE "triggered" Watts — and multiple TV specials.

Here’s what you need to know about what has happened in the years following the murders and about Watts' life now.

Chris Watts Case: After Investigators Speak Out on Confession, a Look Back at Tragic 2018 Killings

Chris Watts Spoke Out After His Wife and Daughters Went Missing

Chris Watts met Shanann in 2010. At the time, she was dealing with health problems.

"I was in a really, really, really bad place, and I got a friend request from Chris on Facebook," she said in a video posted online months before she was killed.

The couple’s first child, Bella, was born in 2013, while Celeste came two years later. In 2018, Shanann became pregnant with a third child, this time a boy.

Where Is Chris Watts Today? A Look at His Life in Prison After Family Murders (2)

Shanann and the two girls were first reported missing on Aug. 13, 2018. The next day, Watts gave interviews to local TV stations.

“If somebody has her and they’re not safe, I want them back now. That’s what is in my head. If they’re safe right now, they’re going to come back,” Watts told Denver 7. “But if they’re not safe right now, that’s the not-knowing part. Last night I had every light in the house on, I was hoping that I would just get ran over by the kids just running in and barrel-rushing me, but it didn’t happen. And it was just a traumatic night trying to be here.”

Watts Admitted to Killing Wife and Daughters

On Aug. 15, 2018, two days after his wife and daughters were reported missing, police say Watts confessed to killing Shanann, though claimed it was because she had smothered the kids to death after he had told her he wanted to separate.

The next day, Bella and Celeste’s bodies were found in oil tanks where Watts worked, while her body was found nearby buried in a shallow grave.

Police did not believe Watts’ defense that he had only killed his wife because she had killed the two girls, instead believing Watts murdered all three.

Where Is Chris Watts Today? A Look at His Life in Prison After Family Murders (3)

Then in November, Watts made a stunning reversal and pleaded guilty to killing his wife and daughters.

"The evidence against him was overwhelming," a source close to Watts told PEOPLE at the time. "He had no choice, considering the evidence. It took time for him to come around, but he did."

Watts was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Revelation of Watts' Affair?

Before Watts’ guilty plea, it was revealed that he had been having an affair with a co-worker.

The woman, Nichol Kessinger, came forward and told authorities that she believed Watts was going through an amicable divorce during the course of their relationship.

Where Is Watts Incarcerated?

Though Watts was convicted and sentenced in Colorado, he was transferred to a prison in Wisconsin in December 2018. KKTV reported at the time that the move was due to security reasons.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections tells PEOPLE that Watts is incarcerated at Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, where he has been since 2018.

Watts is in general population, meaning he is able to workout once or twice per day Monday through Friday, depending on the day, the spokesperson says.

Dodge is a maximum-security facility that has held other notable inmates, including Jake Patterson, convicted of kidnapping Jayme Closs and murdering her parents. He was transferred out of state after a few months in Dodge.

Of Watts’ incarceration, a source told PEOPLE in 2019 that the convicted killer “has nothing to do but think. He thinks about what he did every day. He is tormented by his past and the mistakes he made.”

Where Is Chris Watts Today? A Look at His Life in Prison After Family Murders (4)

Has Watts Committed Any Prison Infractions?

While incarcerated at Dodge, Watts has received two conduct reports, according to the spokesperson. The first was in 2020, for “unauthorized forms of communication and unauthorized transfer of property.” For that report, he lost phone privileges for 15 days and canteen privileges for 30 days.

The second conduct report was received in 2021, according to the spokesperson, and was for “disobeying orders and possession of miscellaneous contraband.” Watts lost access to electronics for 10 days as a result.

Specifics related to the incidents were not immediately available.

What Does Watts Keep in His Cell?

In 2019, PEOPLE reported that Watts kept photos of Shanann, Bella and Celeste in his cell. Outrage ensued, leading to an online petition that garnered more than 20,000 signatures, imploring officials to remove the photos.

The petition was unsuccessful and the Department of Corrections explained why in a statement to PEOPLE at the time, saying it “has no legal basis for removing the photographs from Christopher Watts.”

“Incarcerated inmates are permitted to possess certain identified items of property, including photographs,” the statement continued. “Some photographs are not allowed, such as those depicting gang signs, colors, or insignias or photographs that include nudity.”

PEOPLE also previously reported that Watts identifies as a man of God and keeps a Bible in his cell.

Who Does Watts Speak to in Prison?

Watts was back in the news in 2022 when PEOPLE reported, citing a jail source, that Watts has been corresponding with multiple women during his incarceration.

“They send sexy pictures, and he responds,” the source told PEOPLE. “There are a lot of women who think he's handsome and misunderstood. They send a lot of letters.”

The source told PEOPLE that Watts had been spending money at the prison’s commissary on stamps and paper.

"He's got nothing else to do," said the source. "So he feeds his ego in that way. Because he's not popular at all in prison. He's in protective custody. The only outlet he has is with these letters."

Where Is Chris Watts Today? A Look at His Life in Prison After Family Murders (5)

Does Watts Have a Job in Prison?

The Department of Corrections told PEOPLE in 2023 that Watts had been working as a custodian in prison.

Watts turned 38 in prison on May 16, 2023, though did not receive any special treatment according to a spokesperson.

The convicted murderer will turn 39 later this month.

Where Is Chris Watts Today? A Look at His Life in Prison After Family Murders (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edmund Hettinger DC

Last Updated:

Views: 6541

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edmund Hettinger DC

Birthday: 1994-08-17

Address: 2033 Gerhold Pine, Port Jocelyn, VA 12101-5654

Phone: +8524399971620

Job: Central Manufacturing Supervisor

Hobby: Jogging, Metalworking, Tai chi, Shopping, Puzzles, Rock climbing, Crocheting

Introduction: My name is Edmund Hettinger DC, I am a adventurous, colorful, gifted, determined, precious, open, colorful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.