I have a list of things to discuss in this blog post about the Gannon Stauch story. It is taking three parts for this series to cover all the madness and once I finish this one it still won’t cover it entirely.
As I write this on 2/22 there have been no updates or breaking news in regards to the case. Gannon is still missing, the case is still not labeled as a criminal investigation, no person of interest named, no suspects mentioned, and no arrests. Let’s get back to it!
Any time these cases unfold the trolls run a muck all over the groups, YouTube, Twitter, and even Facebook messenger. I am always skeptical of anything posted from a “source” claiming they have inside information. I am the type that says it is fake until it’s proven real. Did you know there are apps that allow you to make fake texts, Facebook posts, tweets, Facebook messages, etc. ? I have said it before and I will say it again, you can be anyone you want to be on the internet! It astounds me how gullible & naive some of the general public can be. So many fall for anything said and very few ever stop to question the legitimacy of information.
The excessive gullibility of some astounds me, even worries me about these people in everyday life! Some are the type you can sell the clothes they are wearing right back to them. Good grief! Let me give an example of a comment that was said in one of the groups that so many members believed. I will point out exactly how you can tell it’s nonsense.
I really hope most my readers and listeners can spot the part that shows this to be fake information. For those who cannot spot it right away let me break it down:
This entire second half of the comment. It is saying that everything happened right in front of a camera, and Tee sat right in front of said cameraS. It says if Tee confesses and tells how it all played out she won’t be in as much trouble. If “something” happened directly in front of a camera, why would she have to tell how it played out? If it’s on camera she would have been arrested already, and no confession would be needed. Confessing would not get her in less trouble if she was indeed caught on multiple cameras murdering her stepson.
Jump to the bottom of the comment, it says these multiple people who all have footage aren’t releasing it to the public only to law enforcement. It then ends with saying “because they don’t want to risk messing up the case”. If any of this were true this random person would not even be saying this, because it absolutely would mess with the investigation. It’s nonsense plain and simple. It is also quite obvious, this poster knows every person who got footage? Nah. Doesn’t matter though because the groups went wild over it.
In part one of this series I had shared messages that Tee’s daughter received. I know they are real, because I cropped the pictures of the people’s name out before I uploaded it. The names matched people on the members lists in many of the Gannon groups. Their history in the groups show they did send them.
Let me share something else though:
Seen in this screenshot is only two apps that can generate fake messages. There are several other very quick ways to produce the same without downloading an app.
1) Is to duplicate a profile; take someone’s profile picture, cover photo, basic information section, and produce a new profile. Sounds like a process but I can make a basic profile in mere minutes. People use the profile to have a conversation with someone else, screenshot the conversation, then the fake profile gets deleted afterwards. Boom, you have a whole fake conversation to share.
2) Trolls produce fake messages by taking any profile they have already and simply changing the name.
3) Is to put a “nickname” on any person in messenger and then change the profile picture.
4) There is also of course photoshopping and I am sure other ways I am not even aware of.
Moral of the story – stop believing everything you see! It’s the internet! Everything and anything can be replicated and produced.
Some of the reasons that people give for why they think Tee has lied boils down to fake messages they’ve seen. This also stands for comments too, and it’s done in the exact same ways I listed. This doesn’t confirm Tee lied, but does confirm people will believe anything.
Then there are those who claim to have inside information. Let me give you an example from Gannon’s case:
These comments sparked hundreds of posts to be made. Let me start by saying that on YouTube you can change your name to anything just like Facebook. This profile seen in the screenshots appeared on a YouTube live as, Brian Rasmussen. Which I googled that name, because often trolls copy names of famous people. Here’s what I found:
Someone who argued relentlessly with me about the validity of this person said she called the Petco he claimed to work at. He supposedly works at a Petco 21 miles away, but there is a Petco right by the Stauch family home. This group member mentioned the name we see in the screenshot when she called, and of course to fit her argument she says they confirmed him to be an employee. Go figure! It is never okay to call a business to ask questions about a case you are following on social media. That’s a line no one should cross and in this circumstance I do think she called. I am betting many called, but I do not believe they confirmed his employment there. What is the purpose of calling anyway? Let the detectives do their jobs!
This “Brian” claimed he is a cashier that checked out Tee at Petco on that Monday morning hours before Gannon went missing. A Petco trip has never been confirmed by Tee or law enforcement therefore, we do not know if she even went to Petco. That does not stop the groups from making hundreds of posts about the now infamous two stops at Petco. Every post & comment is as if it is a confirmed FACT she did, because this one YouTuber’s comment said so.
I did not buy anything “Brian” threw down. What’re the odds a Petco employee would happen to be tuned into a live video on a YouTube channel about the case? On a channel that I, as a True Crime blogger, had never even heard of before? You know where trolls hang out the most? YouTube! The chances it’s his actual name? Slim. People took these comments and ran full throttle with it. We don’t even know if she went to Petco at all, let alone twice. Nothing has been confirmed and Tee only said she went shopping. “Brian” said she was looking at clearance dog coats and somehow the public turned that into she bought 3 dog coats. Someone said they “thinks” it was probably a buy two coats get one free sale. That’s not a fact, it’s her opinion based on what “Brian” said. Someone else made a post with her theory in it, she said Tee left her phone that’s why she went back a second time. The way she worded it was as if it were a fact. People started to run all over the groups telling everyone she left her phone behind. This then escalated more by making people think she did it intentionally so she could dump his body without being tracked. A few days after “Brian” appeared in the comments of this YouTube channel live discussion another “source” was leaving comments too. Odds now that two “sources” happen to tune into the same exact channel with inside information? That hasn’t been confirmed anywhere else? Highly unlikely based off my experience with these cases.
On another YouTube channel a woman called in saying she was the sister of a neighbor who lived by Gannon. She spoke about the truck footage before it got leaked. She told the audience what she was told by her sister about what the footage showed. This means the neighbor who found the footage told her sister, and then her sister told her, before she told YouTube. Guess what? What she claimed the video showed was proven false when the video leaked. Telephone game again, folks.
A few days later someone shared this photo:
If you have not had time to watch the footage mentioned earlier in this series this picture shows a red truck similar to the one in that footage. A member of a group posted it claiming that a real estate person just “happened” to capture this car on the day Gannon went missing. It was said the car was acting “suspicious” and was near the location the police had been searching through the snow. The groups went WILD! Even Gannon’s mother shared it asking where it came from! Guess what? Turned out to be totally bogus, the video was shot in the Denver area no where near their home or law enforcements search location. The car was not even the same make & model either by the way. Three different people claimed to know the the woman who took the video and proclaimed it was legit. They all lied! How terrible to get a family’s hopes up! This is what sparked the comment I shared earlier in this post about everything being caught on video. Yes, this picture spun into a whole tale. Unreal!
Even after it was proven to be fake with the actual footage, people refuse to accept it. Theories unfolded that maybe, just maybe, she did go to Denver. Boy, oh boy.
The very next day this was shared by Gannon’s mother on her Facebook:
It was on the neighborhood ring app and the owners of the home were asking if anyone knew this person. Landen said in her post she thought it looked like Tee. The crowd went wild again…
Turns out the picture was taken eleven days prior and they later found out the woman in the picture was going around selling solar panels. What had me in stitches is the theories people came up with! They were thinking Tee went around taking pictures of neighbors’ cameras, so she knew where everyone’s cameras were so she can avoid being seen. These theorist’s implied that she premeditated the murder of her stepson. I kept my mouth shut but wanted to say, “So in order to avoid being seen on camera she walked up on to the porch of neighbors’ houses and took a picture of a camera while that camera took a picture of her?” Why does no one stop to think about what they are saying? That makes no sense at all.
What’s even more hilarious to me is one minute there’s a post thinking Tee is some criminal mastermind, and then several posts saying she has called in all 700 tips to send law enforcement on a wild goose chase. I wish I were kidding. Other posts accuse Tee of running 50 different Facebook profiles hopping from profile to profile and group to group to defend herself. These same people who think this are the ones thinking she was stupid enough to walk up to a camera to be captured for eternity. Is she a mastermind? Or dumb? They need to make up their minds.
Tee went on a social media crusade almost two weeks ago defending herself. She made a long post in the Lorson Ranch community group that included pictures, a video, and she left some comments too. A lot of her post was disclosing information about Landen’s (Birth Mom) past. People felt this was in poor taste and it didn’t matter if his mom had a past. Let me say this; it does irk me when people air their dirty laundry on Facebook. I really dislike it, but I also understand, sometimes it is needed. I am not defending Tee’s actions. I want to be hypothetical here for a moment, let’s say Tee is innocent. Now let’s say the things she disclosed (and some claims were backed up with proof) about Landen is true. Now imagine the public is sending you and those close to you death threats. Everyone is accusing you of murder, digging in your past, analyzing you, etc., and you have to sit back watching the public coddle his mother, who actually does have a shady past. When you knowing so much about her and were the one raising Gannon, legally. That’s enough to make anyone react and speak up. Like wait just a minute here …
It’s easy for people not in that situation to say Tee shouldn’t care what people think or say. Whole other ballgame to be in her position! I cannot know what I would do, but I can envision myself doing the same. Although, probably more likely I would drop the proof and let it speak for itself. That’s a tough situation to be in. You know what caused this sudden post to her neighbors? Gannon’s mother’s side of the family had been talking bad about Tee all over social media groups. I didn’t know that at first and when I saw Tee’s post I actually said in a group, “Her post feels like she was provoked”. I don’t know why, but that was the impression I got. I got attacked BAD and everyone swore Tee was just a narcissistic piece of garbage. A few hours later the information about comments made disparaging Tee by family members came out, BEFORE her post. Not even joking, I was right! I am not saying it is okay for her to do it, because the others did it first however, it was her decision. Come on, we are not children. It does show a double standard and how context always matters.
Tee’s post caused the groups to defend Landen which resulted in Landen being coddled even more. It backfired for sure, because it appears Landen can do no wrong in this story. The double standards in this case are unbelievable. Let me give another small example, if I listed them all it would take an entire blog post. Landen left the STATE during the time that police were spending a great deal of effort digging, poking, and sifting through snow based off a tip they received. Very few batted an eye about it. Had Tee left the state…you know I don’t even think I could adequately describe how the groups would have reacted had the roles been reversed.
Tee cannot win! As, I’ve said, she is damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t. We have not heard from Tee since 2/12, as I type we are rolling into 2/23. I mentioned in a group that we have not heard from her in almost 2 weeks and someone said her silence is worse! I am not kidding. That person said because she was speaking out right when Gannon went missing, that it was the worst time. Really? Why? There is no reason, nor reasoning. Even with SILENCE they fault her. Whether innocent or guilty, can you imagine being in that position, that no matter what you do or say it simply doesn’t matter? Another person said if she had apologized afterwards, then people would have forgiven her for “attacking” Landen and gained respect. I laughed extremely hard at this, it is clear that commenter is not in any of the groups I am in! No way, no how, would anyone have gained respect for Tee had she apologized, or would any of them have forgiven her.
Let’s continue & wrap this up. We can continue to discuss the case as more information is disclosed.
A very short video clip was released by Tee in her community group post that I have been talking about. The video Tee claims was recorded accidentally, and it is mostly just audio, of Gannon crying. It was supposedly taken after the candle incident and you hear Tee speaking with Gannon. Here’s the video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EhLRB228mBI
This video enraged people to the point they started waving their torches in the air and chanting it was child abuse, manipulation, neglect, emotional abuse, and one poster even said Tee had terrorized Gannon. Others joined in saying, “Yes, spot on she is a terrorist!” Woah! Everyone will see things differently and some may not be okay with how she handled it. It may not fit another’s parenting style. It may make you uncomfortable to hear a child crying who is now missing. Screaming terrorist & abuse though? That’s a bit of a reach, let’s reel it back in here.
The audio is under three minutes long of one moment in time of Tee’s parenting. I can not scream abuse, manipulation, or anything else without much more documented evidence of her parenting. That’s being a rational person. We all have our bad moments and maybe that was one of her bad moments. Honestly, the video did not bother me. Am I saying I would have handled it the same way? No. I won’t lie, if my kid burned our carpet I would definitely not be hugging them and telling them it’s okay, as one commenter suggested. Yes, someone actually said she should have hugged him for burning the carpet. Hey, if hugs work in your house for consequences and discipline that is amazing! Oh, how I wish all it took was a hug with my kids. At the rate my busy kids are I would be hugging someone every five minutes.
Anyway, hopefully you’ve heard the video by now. Personally, the way I took the video is that she was trying to calm him down and was just spewing out words to fix the situation. People were flabbergasted she talked about selling the couch to repair the carpet and took it literal, as if she was really going to do that. How many reading this have told their kids if they don’t stop misbehaving Santa isn’t coming? How many reading have told your kids that if they do not clean up their toys you are gonna throw them away? Ever told your kids you will cancel your fun plans if they don’t stop arguing? These are a few examples and you know when you said it that you really did not mean that. Especially, not about things you spent money on like Christmas presents, throwing away toys, or cancelling already paid for plans. Do you really believe she was gonna sell their couch? I do not believe that for a second! I took it as more of a; hey Gannon, listen its okay, we will do what we have to do, just stop crying. Then she just spit out random things to sell hoping he would calm down and realize everything will be okay. They will fix it and all will be okay.
I often tell my husband I feel like a bomb diffuser or hostage negotiator with our kids. I am constantly trying to calm someone down, making deals, persuading, or convincing a child in some way. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve found myself in the middle of Walmart trying to negotiate with a three year old? The whole “please stop screaming”, and “I will give you that tongs you saw in aisle 7” hmmmm, okay? Come on, I think we have all been there trying anything just to get them to stop crying, and yes even saying the most ridiculous things. You know how it’s often said that kids say the darnedest things? In our house I say, “Add this to the list of things I never thought I would say as a parent.”
As far as Gannon’s crying, I’ve noticed that us parents often hear someone else’s kid crying and feel sympathy for the child. Our kids cry and we are less understanding. I can hear a kid crying in Target and say “Aww” but, my kid cries and I am all come on kid hush. I hope you are giggling right now, because I know others have felt this way. Point being, every kid is different and we don’t know the dynamics of their household. I have an overly emotional sensitive child, but all my kids have expressed themselves similarly to the other before. That particular child cries worse over the Internet being out and not being able to watch Netflix than Gannon is in that video. No exaggeration! It feels as though someone is always crying, screaming, whining, yelling, hooting, hollering, or fussing over something in my house. Of course they are not always upset, we have a ton of giggling throughout the day.
I hear a boy who accidentally knocked over a candle, possibly had even been told to be careful five times before he knocked it over too. Most accidents here usually occur after I have said multiple times to stop. Which of course leaves me saying, “I told you to….” Gannon sounds like he knew what he did was wrong and was concerned about getting in trouble. I felt nothing more than that. Others were really disturbed by his cries and even said it sounded as though he was having issues breathing, sounded like he was significantly hurt, and one even said it sounded like he was suffering from internal bleeding. How you can sound like you are suffering from internal bleeding is beyond me. You try to make sense of that opinion!
There is STILL so much more to discuss, but let’s stop there for now.
Let’s not forget an eleven year old boy is missing who loves all of his parents. Write as though he may read it someday. Will this case be another with a major plot twist no one saw coming? A miracle in the making? Or, will the public end up being spot on? Most important question, will the public be able to accept & apologize if they are wrong? I hope we soon find out, because Gannon’s family needs him home.
For my loyal blog followers I have full intentions of discussing Detective Baumhover’s new blog. You thought I moved on from the Watts’ case? Not a chance! Give me a few days before that rolls out and finally the Heidi Broussard blog post.
Right back to it! Remember this is an ongoing investigation and as of now it has not been labeled a criminal one. Gannon is still missing and as I type this that could change at any moment. If that occurs I will update the post before publishing and add asterisks so you know it’s an update.
Let’s discuss Tee’s interview for a moment. I am not gonna break down the entirety of the interview, just some key points. Tee’s interview was filmed in the family’s neighborhood called Lorson Ranch. Tee was present on camera, but her back was to the cameraman. This immediately alarmed people and they thought she was trying to hide any potential body language. Some even said Tee took notes from Chris Watts on what not to do. No one stopped to consider other possible reasons for her appearing on camera in this way. Let me list some possibilities:
1) It was filmed in what appears to have been a very wide open area with no shade in middle of the day. She did have on sunglasses but depending on the direction of the sun, it could have still been heavily in her face. Some would say, well then it would be in reporters eyes. If you watch the reporter, he does appear to put his head down when speaking and when he looks up he is squinting. Probably wasn’t the case but, a possibility. Here’s an example of what I mean:
2) It could be that the media saw her outside and began to speak with her, hoping she would agree to go on camera. The cameraman could have set the camera down behind her as she spoke with the reporter. Once she agreed to go on record it is possible they just started rolling rather than move anything.
3) The reporter brought up death threats Tee had been receiving, which she clearly had told him prior to the on camera interview. Yes, her face is on the Internet but this may have been the reporter’s decision to have her hidden due to the threats.
4) Someone I was talking to brought up another possibility that made a lot of sense to me. She said Tee seems like the kind of person who has to be “done up” before going anywhere. It’s clear in the video she’s not at her best and maybe didn’t want to appear on camera on the spur of the moment. The reason this made so much sense to me is because my own mother will not even go in a gas station if she doesn’t have makeup on. Tee had shared she had to leave the family home, leaving behind all her possessions, which would include her clothes & makeup. Most wouldn’t care what they looked like when their child is missing but, for those who are in a habit and typically care, it’s plausible. Not everyone is the same! I will roll up at a mall in my pajamas, because I simply don’t care. That’s me.
Am I saying any of these are reasons why? No. I am saying there could be other explanations as to why it was recorded that way. No one cared to consider other possibilities though. It was cut & dry to them she’s guilty since her back was turned. You know it may very well be that we simply don’t know. I am not crazy enough to bother the poor reporter to ask him. Please do not contact him either.
During the interview Tee was all over the place. She talked about her rights being violated by police and how she hopes she would eventually get an apology for being falsely accused & mistreated. Yes, I have to absolutely agree it was mostly about her, and not Gannon. To so many this meant she was a narcissist. I hate how often that word is thrown around! 8/10 times people don’t even know what an actual narcissist is but, fling it around like pizza dough. You cannot label her a narcissist off only one interview. Have you ever been on camera? I have! I am a very confident person and outgoing, I thought I would have my interview in the bag. I even practiced everything I would say. As soon as they hit LIVE I was a deer in headlights and all over the place. I didn’t remember anything I rehearsed, and the things I did remember to say, I did not express in order. I was fidgeting & fiddling and left out a lot of what I wanted to say. It was a train wreck. I was shocked by the fact I totally flopped because it goes against my natural personality.
Mind you, I was just sharing a personal emotional story about my family and it did not involve a missing child. I can not fathom what it must be like to go on camera when your world is falling apart, the public is after you scrutinizing every detail, death threats, family issues, police involved, and a child is missing on top of it! Yikes! It makes me nervous just thinking about it. And, if guilty even more nerve wracking trying to keep lies straight. It doesn’t surprise me that her interview wasn’t flawless. If Tee went on blubbering and talking all about Gannon they would have found faults in her blubbering and how she should have been more focused, or composed, to get the word out about Gannon. You cannot win! What also needs to be taken into account is the interviewer was a reporter and had very leading questions, because let’s face it, reporter’s want to sell headlines. The beginning of the interview starts off with him mentioning the death threats she’s received, naturally she started to talk about that! He didn’t ask about Gannon at first, although soon afterwards he did. The next question was about the social media presence surrounding the case, the accusations, theories, and conspiracies against her. So again, of course she started to speak about that.
At one point in the interview she called over her daughter to verify Gannon was at home after their hike on Sunday. People said Tee coached her daughter on camera. That makes no sense, because it was her idea for her daughter to come over, and even speak with the reporter. Why even call her over in the first place if she wasn’t sure her daughter would verify and say exactly what she wanted?
People are all over Facebook groups screaming she’s a liar but, when you ask them what she lied about they get all bent out of shape and offer no answer. They refuse to share why they are calling her a liar and just attack. The few who have taken the time to explain what they interpret as lies, in my opinion, fail to actually prove it a lie. I want to cover some of those but first let me make clear the following:
Taking what Tee said and comparing it to what the media has reported does not mean she lied. The news is known for running with information, being inaccurate, and even sensationalizing and lying for views. Even the news sources who strive for accuracy are guilty of these things. Remember, it was reported for five days that Chris Watts had confessed to killing his wife and daughters, when we now know he never said anything close to that at the time.
Taking what Tee said and comparing it to what her mother said does not mean Tee lied. That’s called telephone, third party information, or hearsay. She was not there.
Taking what Tee said and comparing it to what a random person on the internet said does not mean Tee lied. Anyone claiming to be a source, close to the family, a witness, etc. is not a fact. You can be anyone you want to be on the internet! When these stories transpire the trolls come out in troves from their mommy’s basement.
-The whole issue about Tee lying about Burger King we already discussed in Part One. Here’s what I said:
To expand on this, it’s being deemed a lie because in her interview she used the word “we”. Tee’s mother was in a group and said Tee & her daughter had dropped Gannon off at home before going to Burger King. Tee’s mother was not even there, so she does not know anything except what she is told. The public is taking what Tee said as literal and thinking they all immediately went to Burger King after their hike. Simply because she stated, “we went to Burger King after” does not prove who went nor that it’s a lie. And, again, the telephone game is in action.
-I discussed in the first part of this series about how there are nurses hotlines to ask questions versus going to doctor, no need to go over that again. Here it is in the following screenshots for a refresher:
I also seen that Tee said the doctor told her a home remedy to try, and people did not believe that. Why not?My kids have a mainstream pediatrician who also turns to natural remedies & treatments for minor issues. There’s no reason for a child with constipation or even a stomachache to sit in a sick filled waiting room for nothing. Any number of remedies can be easily explained over the phone.
-Tee said on a post “He was gone after the bus came” and commenters called that a lie because he didn’t go to school. Well, he has a younger sister who did go to school that day and even if she hadn’t, by saying he was still home after the daily bus came fits the timeline of when she claims she last saw him.
-Tee said to a friend in a text that she doesn’t keep up with all his friends and didn’t know which ones he went to hang out with. She also said Gannon had texted his father, who was away, asking if he could go. Last she said that his dad allowed him to roam the neighborhood. This last part is proven true, because his father Albert was quoting as saying:
His father was texting all Gannon’s friends when he wasn’t even home, which does show he had his friends saved in his phone. If Gannon’s phone was left behind it’s safe to assume his friends numbers were in it. What we do not know is if his phone was immediately given to police when they arrived that evening. If it was then Tee had no access to it. If his father was already calling everyone there would be no need for her to call too.
-Tee said two things on different occasions. One was she said they can tell he got out of the truck with technology that detects shadows & movement. The other, that there was footage turned in of the other side of the truck after the initial video was leaked. The public says this is contradicting. It could be they were able to analyze the footage at first then later received additional footage that confirmed it.
-Social media sleuths have focused in on one of her first comments that said, “he did not go to school today. Nor have we heard from him.” You can see the entire comment here:
They think this was said on Monday, but you can tell it was said on Tuesday the day after he went missing. The use of the word nor tells me she meant he didn’t show up to the school on Tuesday after he went missing. Most wouldn’t think he would show up to school, but it’s possible he could have. We know he didn’t because they had checked.
-Tee originally said he left with nothing but later said his Nintendo Switch was not at the home. This doesn’t mean she lied about him not taking anything. It could mean later upon further inspection the switch was found to be missing.
–In her initial interview she talked as though Albert & her were not speaking to each other because of all this. Over a week later she said they talk everyday. Again, the sleuths proclaimed this was a contradicting lie. How can anyone call this a lie? It could have been initially there was a conflict but later the couple talked.
-Some random person on the internet claims that Tee’s best friend told her that Tee said her ex-husband was after her about money. Tee’s first husband actually died. This does not mean Tee lied, because some random on the internet made this claim.
-The scrutinizers are hung up on her calling her daughter a kid but, then claim her daughter is in the Air Force. Technically, it is her kid. I am in my late 30s, married, with several kids, and my mother still references me as a kid.
-Tee claims there was a candle situation that occurred Sunday evening. Supposedly, Gannon knocked a candle over and it burnt the carpet on the rug. The public sleuths proclaim that’s impossible and that the wax would have put the candle out. To that I say tell your local fire department that it is impossible because I bet they would disagree with you. One easy google search revealed, “Candles are festive and can brighten up any room, but they are also the leading cause ofhouse fires, accordingtothe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)”
-Tee claimed she was being run off the road by angry people who are out for her. This is absolutely possible and has happened in other cases. “They” say it’s a lie, because her car was taken so how can that be happening. No one stopped to think maybe she has a rental car to get around, driving a friends’ car, or has received her car back.
-The public says she lied about not having her possessions when she gave her interview, because it was later said that she had a police escort to collect her things. Her interview was within the first few days of Gannon missing. If she later had a police escort that does not mean she lied about originally having to leave without her stuff.
-Oh, those sleuths! Tee had second guessed herself on what he was wearing. That’s pretty normal to second guess yourself because, let’s face it, parents aren’t expected to remember exactly what their kids wear every time they leave the house. We do not walk around making a mental note of every nonsignificant thing with the idea lurking in the back of our minds that our kid may go missing at any given time. Tee later said in her media statement that she had taken a selfie with Gannon in the truck that day. Of course, this made everyone call her a liar because originally she wasn’t totally sure (second guessing herself). Think about that for a second, if he was in the backseat of the truck, and she took a selfie his pants wouldn’t be visible. Guess which article of clothing she was not totally sure about? His pants. She simply couldn’t remember if they were for certain black pants or blue jeans.
-They say she lied in her interview about her daughter’s car keys.
God forbid she forgot the keys were in her purse. I mean no one ever forgets things. Yes, that’s sarcasm.
-Tee says she’s hired a lawyer and can not talk about the details of the case. When she did speak about some minor details of the case her lawyer got mad about her disclosing information. It wasn’t anything that would mess with the investigation. It was details mostly about the weekend before he went missing. Even when she shared minor information those reading it did not believe her because they say she would have included proof. But wait, as I said “they” were mad she disclosed information, but also wanted her to provide proof. Can’t make this up even if I wanted to.
– One commenter said the following (bm is birth mother):
Tee didn’t start this fundraiser a family friend did, so not a lie that Tee may think money being donated to the birth mother should go for a reward.
-The public is hung up on her saying; “This was an accident not some tragedy and Gannon is alive.” They are sold this was a Freudian slip admitting it was an accident. If it was an accident that’s a tragedy. I perceived it as her saying this wasn’t some malicious horrible thing that so many think it is. Which is what the majority thinks, she murdered her stepson that she had custody of.
-“They” say it’s a lie because she said he was going to a friends house but there’s no footage of him leaving. How do they know there isn’t? How do they know he didn’t leave out of the gate, and was captured by some creep? We don’t know, because the police haven’t said. What we do know is that there was an attempted abduction a few days before Gannon disappeared and one just earlier yesterday, eleven miles away.
– Commenters say it doesn’t make sense he stayed home from school “sick” but then later went to a friend’s house. I think it’s plausible given he wasn’t sick, but had a stomach issue. He may have been feeling better and would not have been contagious. “They’re” also saying it doesn’t make sense she took him out on errands if he was sick. As I just said it was a stomach issue and many parents take their kids out when actually sick. It doesn’t mean anything.
Do you see where I am going with all this? I am analyzing the information and coming up with reasonable explanations & possibilities. If this turns out to be a mostly circumstantial case, a defense lawyer and then a jury, would be analyzing it the same way, probably more so. At least any good lawyer and jury would, & should. The whole idea is to raise reasonable doubt.
This post above made me giggle. More happens in my household in 24 hours than that, obviously besides any child going missing. When you have multiple kids it’s nonstop chaos for the most part. If that person has kids and an uneventful household I will gladly trade places. Kidding, of course…
I am serious though, kids get hurt, have accidents, make messes, etc. It’s not abnormal to have that much happen in three days time. I live in a 1300 square foot home and am always right here, or within feet, of my kids. They still manage to have things happen.
I am not done and about to start Part 3. As this story unfolds I will continue to write about it whether Tee ends up innocent or guilty.
Welcome back! In order for me to write any of these posts it is almost mandatory for me to follow True Crime group discussions very closely. Trying to balance my personal life, the blog, and these cases can be taxing & time consuming. The current case I have been following heavily is the story of Gannon Stauch. I briefly brought up Gannon’s story in the, “Coffee Chat” blog post. You can see that post here: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/02/04/coffee-chat-part-1/
Please refrain from sharing this post in the groups that are specified as only Gannon groups, as tempting as it may be. You will understand why it’s not a good idea to share in those groups, instead feel free to share this in generalized True Crime groups. What an eventful three weeks it has been since handsome young Gannon vanished. The groups have gone wild and are disturbingly out of control. The witch hunt often seen in these type of cases is beyond overboard, it’s perturbing to me to say the least. The majority of the public has Gannon’s stepmother, Leticia, tied to a stake waiting & chanting for the fire to be started. She was the last to see him before he vanished. Every ounce of rational, logical, reasonable, level headed critical thinking has completely gone out the window. If you aren’t sitting Indian style, or throwing wood in the pile for the fire to be lit with the townspeople, you are then accused of defending & supporting Leticia. They take it even further by accusing people of being her family, friend, and even her! I was accused of being Leticia eight times in one day! I am currently on a Facebook ban as they reported me thinking I was her! How insane is that? Pass the marshmallows!
On top of that, the rumors, misinformation, and drama is bountiful, dare I say far more than I have ever seen before. For those new to hearing the name Gannon Stauch let me backtrack and share what we know. What we know is basically nothing, nada, zip, zilch, that’s what you need to know. I am kidding of course there are basics, here they are:
Gannon is a 11 year old boy seen here:
Here is his missing flyer please share for the family:
The story is out of guess where? Colorado! Colorado Springs area to be exact.
Gannon and his younger sister live with their father Albert & stepmother Leticia who I mentioned already.
Albert (father) is in the military and was away for training when his son Gannon went missing.
Gannon’s mother lives in South Carolina & has another younger child from another marriage.
Leticia (stepmother) has an older daughter from a previous marriage.
Based off a series of events that have taken place over the last 3 weeks throughout social media, it is safe to say there is a massive amount of family drama.
Gannon was last seen, according to his stepmother, between 3:15-4:00 pm timeframe on January 27th, 2020.
Gannon was originally reported as a run away and was upgraded to a missing endangered child soon afterwards.
Law enforcement who is handling the investigation is being incredibly tight lipped. They refuse to confirm, or deny, any piece of information.
Gannon’s parents spoke during a press conference the first week he was missing.
Gannon’s stepmom gave a separate interview to a local media station the same week.
It’s been three weeks and it “appears” to the publics’ perspective that there’s been no progress, even though over 600 tips have been reported into the police tip line. That being said, there may be progress, we just don’t know because of how little information we have been given.
That’s it. That’s what we know. Most anything beyond that is a rumor. Oh, boy the rumors are aplenty!
Since we have very little information and hardly any facts right now ANYTHING is possible. Do not dare try to say that in any of the groups though, or they’ll tie you up on a stake with her. I think this case can really be a learning experience for those who are new to True Crime cases. Based off of what I have been watching unfold it seems similar to the Watts case, in the respect that there are many newbies in discussing these types of cases. Basic questions are being asked that most whom typically follow cases would know already, example being: “ Why wasn’t an Amber Alert activated?” The answer, in relation to Gannon, is because he was originally labeled a runaway.
Do you know the cost to activate an Amber Alert? I didn’t! I found it can cost between $200,000-$500,000 dollars depending on what resources they use to find your child. There was a woman last year who killed her child, but lied about him being abducted. It was concluded she cost her state law enforcement departments $500,000 by lying! Wow!
You need car description &/or abductor in the most advantageous circumstances for law enforcement and finding the child. Hopefully both are available, which obviously is much more helpful. Amber Alerts are not activated every time a child goes missing, it’s simply just not how it works. If that upsets some, then take the time to contact your legislators and push for them to make a law, or reclassify Amber Alerts in general. That would be more productive than being angry at the police for not activating an Amber Alert when they have protocols and criteria to follow.
*There are rare exceptions to everything of course.
Let me continue, but first put a disclaimer:
I believe wholeheartedly in the concept of innocent until proven guilty. With the age of social media that idea has been completely lost. I believe in FACTS, and distinguishing those from rumors. I believe in choosing your words carefully, because if you don’t then opinions get misconstrued as fact! Which is exactly how rumors begin and circulate, like a game of telephone. Convicting someone and playing judge & juror can destroy someone’s life, and has. This is not a game, this is someone’s real life! I understand that “juicy” sells as much as sex does, I mean why else would the Jerry Springer show have become so well known & popular? That being said, an eleven year old boy is missing, at this point the chances that he is alive is extremely slim. He is/was an innocent young child who most likely loved the people who cared for him, which includes his stepmother. I don’t know what happened to Gannon, and neither does anyone else at this point. Emotions do not belong in True Crime discussion. It is human nature to feel sympathy, and sadness. It is not healthy if you are crying, losing sleep, having dreams, or publicly saying you are gonna need mental health support over a child you didn’t even know! It is also not cool to leave comments on people’s social media that are involved in a case, either victims or suspect! I really hope 95 percent of the people I have seen discussing this particular case will never be called to jury duty, because their behavior is quite unnerving.
Stepmom Leticia, who I will now refer to as “Tee” from here-forth, was the last to see Gannon as previously mentioned. Over the weekend she had disclosed that Gannon was helping her unload items in the garage, and happened to cut his foot on a hammer. Here’s a picture of the garage taken a week later:
As you see, right there is a table saw in an area that is very cluttered. I work with wood, and I can attest that when one is building, dropping tools, placing them on floor, having them scattered, etc. is quite normal. Given the clutter surrounding the table saw it’s not a stretch that there may have been tools located on the floor in that area. Tee claims Gannon cut his foot, she cleaned it up, bandaged it, and he was good to go. This was a statement to the media a week after the live interview: “Saturday Night, G was helping me unload in the garage and cut his foot because there are a lot of tools because Albert does woodworking. He sat on the edge of the car and we bandaged it up. He was good to go. He always loves helping his dad in the garage build things like his LEGO tables and the flower pot they built for me as a gift. After this, I noticed G kept going to the side of the house.” I have cut myself on a tool before, I skimmed a hammer! There was a ton of blood but when I cleaned it up you couldn’t even see a cut. Similar to another time I cut my foot on a small piece of glass, after the accident blood galore, but as soon as I cleaned it up you wouldn’t have had a clue. Members of groups started questioning what kid would be walking barefoot in a garage, well mine do. We leave the door leading into the house open, because our washer & dryer are located in there as well as other things we need throughout the day. They were wondering why he would be helping unload anything in the garage barefoot, and to that I say have you never had to remind your kids to get their shoes on? I was relieved to see many people saying they walk barefoot in the garage, and even carry in groceries barefoot from the driveway into the garage. Relieved seems like a weird word choice, but it shows that not everyone is the same! Glad they spoke up about their personal experiences and actions.
People were assuming that since he needed a bandaid this must have meant the cut was bad. That’s simply not true and is an assumption. How many people put bandaids on paper cuts? The foot is an awkward location to have a cut and a bandaid would help if you need to put socks & shoes on. Tee has shared that they went hiking on Sunday, the social media groups couldn’t understand how he could go hiking when he cut his foot. Well, for starters we have no idea how bad this cut was! We don’t know where the cut was located, on the top, side or bottom of his foot. We don’t know anything in relation to the cut foot beyond he had cut himself according to Tee. They even went as far as saying this proves the cops must have found blood, because why even mention him cutting himself. Right after she discussed him cutting his foot, it was mentioned that he kept going to the side gate. If reading the media statement as it is written, it makes it appear as though she brought it up because it was a part of the lead up to him checking the gate. I don’t think it means, nor indicates, they found blood. Here is the rest of her quote; “After this, I noticed G kept going to the side of the house. He told me he was checking to see if the gate was locked because he was the only one with a gate key. It made him proud to be the man of the house while Albert was away. Fast forward, we did a hike on Sunday [cleared], and shopping on Monday [cleared as well for him getting out of the other side].”
There was a Burger King trip mentioned by Tee during her interview that was supposedly after their hike on Sunday. During her interview she said “We went to Burger King after”, and later Tee’s mother said Gannon was dropped off home, before going to Burger King. The public immediately called this a lie. During Tee’s interview her daughter made a brief appearance, which is when Tee said “We went to Burger King after”. She didn’t clarify who went and could have meant her daughter & herself. It did not necessarily mean that it was immediately after the hike before going home, or that Gannon went with them.
Monday rolled around and according to Tee, Gannon stayed home from school “sick”. Sick can mean a plethora of things, examples includes; cold, flu, headache, stomachache, etc. It’s been said by Tee’s mother on social media that it was for constipation. Note though, Tee’s mother was not there to know for sure. Constipation could definitely be something that would cause a child to stay home, and that does not require a doctors visit in many cases. Oftentimes, when a child is experiencing some sort of stomach issue a call into the nurses line will help a parent decide whether to take them in or not. Tee told someone in a message circulating that he had to go to the doctors, and she also mentioned calling the nurses line somewhere else. People proclaimed this as conflicting and declared her to be lying. She may have considered taking him to the doctors but after calling the nurses line was advised on what to do via phone, with no need for an in person visit. This doesn’t mean she lied.
During the morning hours of Monday, the day he vanished, a neighbors surveillance video showed two individuals leaving the Stauch family home. Opinions vary on what is seen in the footage. Some see Tee & Gannon, others see a male & Gannon, some see Tee & her daughter, and other variations. The truck pulls out and returns four hours later. This footage was found a few days after his disappearance by a neighbor who then spoke with the media. That neighbor showed the video to the family and media first, who was then asked by law enforcement not to share it. Unfortunately, a day later the footage was leaked via the media. It was claimed by the neighbor and most of the public that it shows Tee leaving with Gannon, and not returning with him.
If this is true it would mean her story about last seeing him between 3:15-4:00 pm that day is false, because she returned around 2:15pm. The issue here is law enforcement refuses to comment on the video, and were quite upset it was leaked, as it may have hindered their investigation. The second issue is the truck is seen backing into the driveway. You can see someone exit the drivers side after few seconds, it does not appear that anyone else gets out. The footage is only the drivers side of the truck, and there’s no way to know for sure if he didn’t get out the passengers side. I have been attacked for pointing this out, and people have said if he did we would see shadow, feet, legs or something under the truck. Many actually have thought they did see a shadow or feet on the other side. Put your law enforcement & jury hats on here for a second. If there is no clear shot in a video of the passengers side of the truck it is NOT a fact he didn’t get out. Saying you don’t see a shadow, feet, or legs isn’t enough for the people doing the real investigating in this case. It raises doubt, and can be simply explained away that he exited the other side. This footage does nothing for them without additional footage, and they may very well have seen other footage after this one was leaked. Due to the first footage being leaked it would make sense law enforcement would not make that mistake again to share any other footage. If I was a juror on this case there is no way could I accept that video as “proof” he did not return. Hopefully, most of you wouldn’t either! Here’s the footage that was leaked: https://youtu.be/Wx-2TdY0hCw
Personally, at the start of the video I see a male. It looks like a male with a book bag on shoulder, and white baseball cap backwards. When the person reaches the truck they appear to be as tall as the truck, and Tee in pictures does not appear to be that tall. Here’s a screenshot of the person, which to me it looks to be a male:
Read my words carefully again! I am not making excuses, defending, or supporting Tee. I am pointing out that a little bit of critical thinking, logic, rational, and level headedness without allowing emotions in can prevent persecution. If she is indeed guilty the law will hopefully handle it. Allowing the professionals to secure concrete evidence and perform a thorough investigation that can be passed off to the district attorney is ideal. Calling in theories, hunches, or opinions can hinder their efforts. Let the system decide her fate if she ends up guilty, but we the public do not need to destroy, harass, attack, implicate, accuse, or even worse, threaten her. Not just her, but any parent or person involved in one of these unthinkable situations. I had someone try to call me out, and say I did the same to Shanann Watts. False! And, Sigh! We discussed, analyzed, and theorized the FACTS. It’s not even remotely the same as what has been transpiring within this case. Furthermore, Shanann is deceased, and nothing we discuss can affect her worse than that.
Look at these messages sent to her minor daughter:
These are just a few messages to her daughter, and even with this proof people don’t believe Tee is getting these messages as she claims.
There seems to be a growing trend of following these cases and with it mass public scrutiny, and conviction involved in these cases. Let’s discuss what one should consider doing if they ever, sadly, find themselves in one of these situations.
In the year 2020 everything is recorded! When police arrive on scene, obviously share with them what is going on. Do not offer up any extra irrelevant information that is unnecessary to disclose. If you are asked to come in for questions, stick to the facts, and details that matter that can help locate your loved one. For any further questioning, and/or interrogating meetings, keep your lips zipped. Everything you say will be documented and can be brought up at a later time, and in court.
While most of us can not afford a lawyer on a whim there are ways around securing one. Until you can figure it out, decline further questioning without a lawyer’s assistance & guidance. Ask around to friends, family, and coworkers about a good local attorney. Call some offices and explain to them your current situation, they may do a free consultation.
I highly advise against agreeing to a lie detector test. There’s a reason they are not admissible in a courtroom. Law enforcement can lie to you at anytime, and even say you failed, this could lead to them lying about evidence against you that doesn’t even exist. The time & money spent on a polygraph test can go towards them working on the investigation, interviewing potential suspects, evidence collection, and local searches.
Do not blindly think you have “nothing to hide” and agree to everything they ask. Do not be naive and think the truth will set you free.
Consider NOT talking with the media unless it’s through a press conference led by police. If you do, after your statement refuse to answer any questions. If you secure a lawyer you can have them release a media statement on your behalf. Stay away from YouTube channels claiming they want to help, because they really only want to use you to promote their channel for having a “source”. Ask your friends & family not to speak with any of these channels, on any social media platforms.
These True Crime discussion groups are not for your eyes during such a scary time. Advise your friends & family to not join or engage with the public no matter how hard that is. Everything they say will be used againstyou within the publics’ eyes, and possibly even by law enforcement.
It is human nature to want to defend yourself. Many people can just ignore what is being said, because they know it’s all inaccurate. There are others who cannot handle it, and instinctually want to defend themselves. This is why being a part of these groups, reading any public posts and/or comments, or opening any private messages from someone you know, or don’t know, is not wise.
Immediately lock up your Facebook profile, and as a matter of fact do that now! Share publicly only information you want to be shared to get the word out. Advise your friends and family to do the same, because people will seek them out too if they are connected to you. You can go to Facebook Help to find instructions to lock your profile down.
Doing any of these listed things does not make you, or anyone else guilty! It makes you smart for protecting yourself from a witch hunt, and shielding yourself from incrimination, false accusation, false confession, or worse false conviction.
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people say the following:
“If he/she is innocent they would be out helping search”
This is false. Often, law enforcement will ask the families to not help them in their searches. There are various reasons for not wanting the family to join them. In the Gannon Stauch case we have not seen or heard about ANY of the parents or family helping in the searches. If none are, then why is everyone saying the fact Tee isn’t out helping means she’s guilty? Not only that, but it’s quite an assumption that she isn’t helping with searches when we don’t have tabs on her all day long. That is why I said just because we have not seen, or heard of the parents doing this, that does not mean it’s a fact they aren’t.
“If he/she is innocent they would be begging & pleading for the public to help find their loved one”
This is false. Not every parent is emotionally and mentally able to speak to the public during such a horrifying time. Beyond that though, damned if you do & damned if you don’t. If you do, your every blink, twitch, words chosen, gestures, posture, etc. will be overanalyzed. They’ll pick apart even if you have a grey hair, because that may mean you are stressed. I am kidding of course on that last one, but this is how far the public takes it. A little girl went missing last week in South Carolina and immediately the public descended on her parents. They were digging into their past, looking up their history, stalking their family, and four days later the child was found deceased. It was disclosed today at a press conference that she was abducted by a neighbor who killed her, and then himself. When she had went missing every other post was people questioning WHY the parents haven’t spoken publicly, and that they must be guilty. Everyone seems to think they know exactly how they would be, and what they would do in these circumstances. We discussed all this in the, “Never Say Never” series here’s the link: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/01/07/never-say-never-part-1/
“If he/she were innocent they would take a polygraph test”
I can confidently say this is false. I know for a FACT I would not agree to one. I don’t need to be in that situation to know this is an exception for me. When you know far too much about how the process works then you know it’s best to decline. And again, there is a reason they are not allowed in a courtroom.
“If he/she were innocent their story wouldn’t change”
This kind of makes me giggle to see. I am noticing a lot of names in the groups about Gannon are also from the Watts case groups. Chris Watts’ story didn’t change those three days before his confession. That’s just the Watts case, and best believe there are more. Then when he confessed the first time, and they kept asking him the same questions in various ways, the details to that confession did not change. These same people seem to forget that Chris’s story didn’t change during the time his family was “missing” and we all know now he was lying!
“ If he/she were innocent they wouldn’t have used past tense”
This is also false. Sometimes people’s mind are already in a bad place, and mentally their mind defaults to past tense. The public was outraged to hear Tee speak of Gannon in past tense, but a few days later the other side of Gannon’s family spoke in past tense too. Tee also spoke of Gannon’s sister in past tense, so it could just be her speech mannerisms. I am not so sure it really means much. Consider this: People tend to speak in past tense when the person has been gone a few days. Let me give you an example: You have a friend come visit for two days, then leaves. Someone asks you about the visit and you say something to the effect of “She WAS so happy to see us.”
In the next part of this series about the disappearance of Gannon Stauch I will discuss:
The “lies” people claim Tee has told
Before I go, why is the public practically rooting to be right about the stepmom’s involvement in his disappearance? Look at just these two screenshots of comments left on his mother’s posts. What is so funny? Being right would mean someone Gannon trusted betrayed him! It would mean his life is over, two families’ lives destroyed, marriages broken up, a daughter without a mother, anguish, and utter heartbreak. The turn True Crime Case discussions have taken is snafu.
Let’s pick up where we left off! To see part 1 click here:
The next story I wanted to discuss is that of a currently missing eleven year old boy named Gannon Stauch. This story is unfolding in Colorado just like the Watts case, but that’s not all they have in common. There was also an interview by Gannon’s stepmom, the last person to see him alive, and no surprise she was coined the female version of Chris Watts. Seems the new thing to do is automatically compare &/or liken every television interview to Chris. Chris is not the first, or the last to give a television interview, not really understanding why everyone tries to compare every interview to only Chris’s now. The step mom’s interview was nothing like Chris’s, and anyone who has followed the case should immediately be able to see that. Her interview had its own unique awkwardness that left many with the mindset that she’s a cold blooded child killer.
Here we go again, with the public making automatic assumptions about a parent connected to a missing child. We recently discussed how in the Broussard case, Shane Carey the father of Margo and fiancé of Heidi, was deemed guilty by much of the public based off his interviews too. There’s also the Harley Dilly case. The public was ready to hold a hanging of his entire family in the town square and still are, despite his death being ruled an accident after being found in a chimney. There was another case before Christmas that didn’t end in tragedy, but a miracle. Two young siblings ran off during a barbecue at their home when their dad ran inside for some food. The public instantly called out the parents because they felt the story didn’t add up. They wondered how did two children suddenly vanish with no trace. A few days went by and the children were found alive! They were in a pump house in the woods for days and only found during a search of the area. They were checked out by the local hospital and deemed totally fine. It was a true Christmas miracle and the public was left feeling so relived they started to apologize all over public posts for thinking the parents were involved. Here’s the Christmas miracle story: https://www.news4jax.com/news/2019/12/17/search-for-missing-children-nears-critical-48-hour-mark/
Back to the Gannon story for a moment. The step mom gave an interview as I said, and his biological parents both spoke at a press conference. It’s rather fascinating how people can all watch the same thing but come to different conclusions. This shows very little can be known from these public outreach type of interviews. I felt Gannon’s mom was putting on a bit of a Broadway production trying to come across as a passionate loving mother. For many, the press conference of the father seemed fake as he seemed to try to wipe invisible tears, until the end when genuine upset can be seen. I never did see a single tear from Gannon’s mother but again, very little can be told by that alone. The stepmother’s interview sounded very selfish and came across dubious, especially considering she didn’t show her face as she had her back to the camera. That can be perceived as trying to hide her body language, but she could have just been trying to protect her identity. The only takeaway from all three parents speaking publicly is that there is a lot of family drama. Nothing like your kid missing for all your dirty laundry to be aired for the public to see. Yikes! Family drama doesn’t mean any of them became a killer. At minimum, it definitely appears this solemn time could cause another divorce in the future between Gannon’s stepmom and father.
There are several reasons I am bringing up Gannon.
1) To help raise awareness that he is missing at the time this post was written.
2) To discuss their media interviews as I just did.
3) I am about to disclose.
We should be rationally minded and keep our emotions in check when following cases of missing children. I know this can be hard, especially if you are a parent. The goal while a child is missing should always be on how to help, where to help, spreading the word etc., the more time that passes focused on the wrong thing can put risk to the child. Every investigation being handled by any law enforcement will have the facts held close to their vest as to not jeopardize the investigation. Presuming or deeming someone guilty can very much damage a person in many ways. Depending on the insinuations or accusations made, could be forms of defamation or even slanderous. Try giving these parents the benefit of the doubt at first. Doing such does not mean you are defending, or sticking up for anyone. It’s simply hoping for the best outcome but preparing for the worst. This week I was accused of being the step mom’s friend or family. I was told I am sticking up for a child killer, and more. All of this simply because I pointed out that everyone could be way off base by the history of public opinion in other cases.
It is not a discussion if you shut down someone who views it a tad different than the majority. The step mom may very well be involved in his disappearance, but she also may be entirely innocent. Innocent until proven guilty is a lost notion these days in the age of social media. I will publicly declare in this post if anything was to ever happen (knocking on wood) I will not agree to a polygraph, I will demand a lawyer as it is my right, I will cooperate to a degree, and I will not give a television interview. None of this means I am guilty. I hope my family and friends reading take note of that! Law enforcement sets their eyes on a person of interest, and sometimes lose focus, which could result in the wrong people being arrested, charged, false confessions, or conviction. Exercise your rights and protect yourself. I have often wondered how differently the Watts case would have gone had Chris not cooperated, not given his interview, and lawyered up right away. For more information about Gannon Stauch see here: https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/search-underway-for-11-year-old-boy-missing-since-monday
There are many groups already formed all over Facebook you can easily find too.
Since I began writing this post a development unfolded in the search for Gannon. A neighbors video surveillance footage caught the last image of Gannon alive the Monday morning he vanished. The video goes against the original story told by the stepmother. Here’s the problem though, the footage isn’t of good quality. It appears to many it’s the stepmom helping Gannon into his father’s truck. The truck leaves, returns four hours later, and at first glance it appears Gannon does not get out. Unfortunately, the video is worthless for law enforcement as it can simply be said he got out of the other side of the truck. You also cannot tell for sure if it’s Gannon. You can’t tell if it’s the step mom, or a male helping him in, if it is him. There are several who think the footage shows a clear as day tall man with a duffel bag over one shoulder. The video is now being highly overanalyzed all over social media groups. Since the video can easily be explained away it really is worthless, especially in a trial. A fair jury would say there’s no way to know who it is for sure, and since it’s from one angle there’s no definitive way to know if he got out. It certainly doesn’t look good since it doesn’t match the original story that his step mom gave of the last sighting, which was that he left for a friend’s home on foot on Monday. It remains to be determined if the stepmom is involved, and it is quite possible she is. That wasn’t my point, my point was to not jump to conclusions based off of emotions until more information is disclosed, and analyzed.
I recently received my first jury summons, and unfortunately could not participate, so was excused. I was disappointed because I have always hoped for that opportunity. I feel I would be a fair juror and worried that whoever took my place would not be. When I am in social media groups and people are so quick to convict someone in their minds, I always think please do not let any of these people serve on a jury. It is actually scary!
I think there are certain stories where assuming the worst, or considering the parent is involved would be a fair assumption. Let me give an example of one of those stories. Have you all heard about the two missing Idaho children? I’ll link you the story, because wow is it intense. Once you read the story I think you will see why in this particular story, presuming the mother is involved is a fair assessment. There’s more than just body language, and a strange interview to come to that conclusion.
The next story I want to discuss is another that reminded me of the Watts case, but for only one reason. That’s the story of Rachel Henry who allegedly killed her three small children. Noticed I wrote allegedly. Well, Henry did confess to killing her children and the evidence is pointing in that direction. Going off what we’ve discussed about false confessions though just recently, I will deem her innocent until proven guilty. Henry gave a very detailed account about killing her children, one by one, in their home. Which by the way, Henry said her son who was just three years old attempted to save his one year old sister instinctively. That should give pause for people to think of Watts’ second confession about a meek Bella, almost five years old, sitting quietly with no mention of any attempt of her trying to help her baby sister. Anyway, one article had quotes made by the children’s great aunt, one quote said “I thought maybe she had overdosed the babies. She was always giving them medicine, even if they weren’t sick.” Sound familiar to everyone? It should, it has been discussed many times throughout the Watts case about Bella & Celeste Watts receiving unnecessary medications, even a medication to help them sleep possibly too. Here’s the article: https://www.azfamily.com/news/great-aunt-of-the-kids-killed-by-their-mom-at/article_5c1a468a-3d99-11ea-8781-732ada4a5cc2.html
If the case does indeed factually involve mental illness, postpartum or both, or even more, it’s a case we want to spread awareness about, and the signs of, to others who may be suffering.
Next on roster is a story out of Michigan about Ryan & Rachel Hamm. I watched this story on A Netflix docu-series a few nights ago. It was intriguing enough to give it some attention, and you will see why.
Rachel & Ryan married in 2007. Ryan had been married prior, but the marriage only lasted about six years, and he had no children. There’s no real explanation as to why his first marriage ended, but what little has been discussed sounds like something shady may have been going on with Ryan at a job he worked at during that time. He had gotten himself mixed up with the wrong people & things, also around the same time he came down with Crohn’s disease, and some say IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) too. Anyway, in the midst of mysterious business dealings and being sick he met Rachel who would later would become his wife.
Their marriage started off with everything on the surface appearing to be fine and normal. Rachel’s family was not very fond of her new love interest because some of the interactions they’d witnessed between the couple. They loved Rachel so tried their best to be happy for her. Not long after they met they became engaged, and from that point the family turmoil started to grow. There were a series of events involving Ryan’s outrage and inappropriate behavior at family parties and get togethers that had transpired. Those incidents damaged any form of deep relationships from forming and even created an awkward tension within the extended families every time an event was planned. From family and friends accounts it appeared that Ryan was mendacious, also very controlling and demeaning of Rachel, their overall observations were that he was abusive in every way except physically. Unfortunately, Rachel did not see it, as most on the receiving end of an abusive relationship do not.
The more controlling Ryan became as they ventured into married life, the more Rachel lost. They moved many hours and towns away from friends, family, jobs, and basically started a brand new life. Once they moved Rachel got herself a job as Cook at a local restaurant, called Larry’s Sports Grille. She had trained and aspired to be a professional chef in a fancy restaurant one day, however that never came to pass as their family grew to include the birth of their first child, an adorable little boy named William. With William came more control she relinquished to Ryan. Ryan got a job at a local newspaper company, called The Atlantic Community. He was making a decent livable salary but, between the two of them a respectable wage was coming into the family home, definitely enough for them to afford a good comfortable way of living. This all sounds familiar doesn’t it? I know that’s why I wanted to share it. Let me continue! It gets even more interesting. Ryan wanted more though, he never felt satisfied. He wanted a boat, snowmobile, motorcycle, and he had dreams of a much bigger home right on a lake. The problem was, his actions were counterproductive to the vision that he held. Ryan got heavy into gambling, which was a local interest for many. He quickly got involved with the gambling scene in their area, and he made a ton of new friends. The life his gambling friends seemed to lead gave Ryan the illusion that he could live like them too. Giving up his steady good income job at the The Atlantic Community he became a full time gambler. Rachel was not exactly thrilled with this decision, but wanted to be a supportive wife, and stood by her husband’s side.
While Ryan was chasing down a lifestyle that didn’t really exist, Rachel started to lose even more of what was important to her. She had already given up her family, friends, old hometown, her old job where eventually she would’ve had the opportunity to be a chef apprentice. That was only the beginning, she went on to give up even being a cook and switched jobs when William was barely a toddler. Ryan had urged her to change jobs and even sought out potential leads for her. One panned out through his gambling crew of friends and Rachel landed a job. This job was working at a coffee warehouse called Cool beans, it was less money, but had a better schedule so she was able to be home more for their son, William. Rachel had agreed thinking a smaller income would not be detrimental, not realizing the extensive debt they were already in, because Ryan controlled the finances. I mean her husband urged her to switch jobs, she assumed it was because he knew they could afford to make that decision.
Their second child was born 14 months after their son, this time it was a girl named Arianna. Over the next couple years Ryan’s gambling increased. One summer he told Rachel they were making enough for the kids to go to summer camp. The children had gone and were out of the house much of the summer, despite Ryan being home all day and not really needing to send them off. Ryan worked in the evenings, so the children could have been home. Rachel started to wonder, but trusted her husband, besides even remotely questioning him would start an argument Rachel didn’t want to endure. Guys, I am not kidding! Isn’t this all so familiar?!
During all this, Ryan invested in a brand new car for himself. Around the same time, Rachel gave up her car because her job had a perk that after a 18 months with the coffee company you were able to use a company car for to & from work. Ryan became increasingly demeaning as time passed. He was often putting Rachel down, talking about her weight, never giving her credit for anything she did, constantly trying to make her look stupid in front of friends, and she started to lose basically everything that involved their children or life. Even Ryan’s family and friends noticed how Ryan treated her, but no one would say anything or dare get involved.
Rachel started to grow increasingly lonely, feeling she lost control over any part of her life. She would look in the mirror and not even recognize herself anymore. She had no real friends to turn to, and the ones she did have, she didn’t think would remotely understand. One day, at that very job her husband had helped her get, a man a few years younger asked her out on a date. She immediately thought there’s just no way, and declined! The more shifts this new coworker Michael had with her, the more Rachel started to feel a little like herself again. She couldn’t understand how she was able to even entertain the thought of accepting the invite, but Rachel finally agreed. They went on a few dates, secretly of course. Ryan picked up on the difference in his wife’s demeanor. He started to question, hound, attack, and demand why she was so different. Rachel being confused about all that was happening dismissed any claims of her being different. The more she did though, the more Ryan grew distressed, trying frantically to regain control over his wife. Ryan knew in order to maintain the life he was striving for and keeping all his secrets in the dark, especially everything he kept from the people he loved, he needed to make sure Rachel didn’t leave him. Rachel made it very clear that her main concern was not wanting to miss their beautiful children lives, even though their relationship had hit a low point. Ryan couldn’t regain control, he couldn’t punish her financially, he had no leg to stand on to take their children from her, his desperation grew even more. Much like the desperation that grew within Magen from the Broussard case. He was spinning out of control, and at a rapid rate. Every red flag was there that this marriage was in one way or another not going to end amicably. One of the last things Ryan asked his wife was “Rachel if we didn’t have the kids, would you stay with me?” Three days after that question, Ryan threatened her that she would lose their two children in court, and he had plans to move them out of state, after she had confessed she wanted a divorce. In the same week, just four days after telling her his plans to take their children, their son William, daughter Arianna, and Rachel were dead.
The last thing I want to discuss, because it matters in regard to True Crime discussion, is the Super Bowl. This series seems to be a mixture of current affairs and true crime, a little change never hurt anyone. Wow, views of the halftime show were split right down the middle. I hadn’t seen the show yet when my friends statuses started to roll in. I was laughing at my diverse friends list of people who had good and bad things to say. I told them I would watch, and give my analysis to them after I made a post about the huge split I was seeing. I am NOT about to break down my halftime show analysis to you, so don’t worry. I only shared that with my friends on Facebook, and this isn’t the platform for that. That being said here’s why I even brought it up.
I read all my friends opinions and views before watching myself. I watched with the intent to not only dissect it, but to try to see it from all my friends point of views. When I finished watching I was able to see why some were very upset and why others absolutely loved it. I sat in my thoughts as I drove my kids to school and took into consideration the concerns about the show. Those concerns varied from trafficking, illuminate, demonic influences, raunchy, not family friendly, etc.
You know whose opinions I took into consideration the most? The ones who presented their argument in a respectful manner that weren’t dismissive with their words to those who didn’t view it the same way. The ones who presented their argument in a thought out well written way. Not only presented it kindly, but had “evidence” to back it up. With all these thoughts in my mind, I ended up having an opinion that was different than rest. I wasn’t for the show, and I wasn’t against it either. I was able to see the good things, and the bad things. I was able to see each of my friends viewpoints, and on my analysis post I was able to even defend their views even if I didn’t totally agree with them. But, something even more amazing happened on my post! Adults had an open discussion that was very respectful and everyone was able to express themselves without attacks. Those who didn’t see it the way others did attempted to try to! This is how I feel about the Watts case specifically, and honestly, even some other cases. I am able to see both sides of the Watts case even if I don’t fully agree with one specific side. I can see why one side feels as they do and if they present it in a detailed manner, it gives me an opportunity to reconsider certain aspects. Taking the time to listen, or read, what someone has to say allows us an opportunity to open our minds. I am grateful for that post, because maybe people will start to listen or read with the intent to understand, instead of instantly reacting.
Here is the kicker! My post went phenomenal, so civil and even a few laughs. Then I scrolled my feed, and saw that other friends had written their own analysis. Theirs though either went one way or another, not middle of the road like my post was because, I had looked at both sides. In their comment sections there were much different responses. People were arguing, attacking, dismissing, laughing at others opinions, and even blocking their friends over those different opinions. Do I react to things I see or hear? Absolutely, we all do! I want to grow as person and I strive for that daily. Writing this blog has really opened me up to be able to process information, try to understand others viewpoints, and ultimately be able & open to see why people feel the way they do! What an opportunity it has been for me, I hope to continue to grow as this blog continues. I told one friend, “I can see it both ways” and her reply was, “You are better than me, because I only see it from my viewpoint”. We had a laugh, but I am not better. I am simply learning that not only one opinion, viewpoint, or speculation is all that matters, they all matter. I have learned to look at everything as a whole, and in context to open my mind to a new way of thinking.
Did I get you, or did you figure it out right away? I was indeed kidding, the entire story is made up. I wanted to see, and hear from you, what your thoughts were while you read the story, if you took any mental notes that the story sounded familiar but the roles were reversed, from a different gender standpoint. I am also curious if people read this story/case and their minds came to a different conclusion. The gender bias in the Watts case has always blown my mind, even little details like some of the things Shanann would say publicly about Chris. If some of those comments were Chris saying it about Shanann, so many people would be outraged. I sense a gender bias blog post in the future needing to be done.
In the time that has since passed I’ve been looking up other cases we may be able to discuss and analyze. I have yet to come across a case as complex, fascinating, and as attention grabbing as the Watts case. Quite honestly, I doubt we will ever see a similar story. I do have a few intriguing nationally headlined cases that I want to discuss as we continue through this blog post. Some of these stories made me think of the Watts case, but not because it was similar per se. I’ve titled this post, “Coffee Chat”, because I want readers & listeners to imagine sitting around like old friends chatting about these cases together. Grab coffee, tea, or whatever drink you desire and let’s get started. Add any input, or opinion in the comment section of our Facebook Page. You can find that here: https://www.facebook.com/TruecrimeAnalysis/
First up, let’s discuss a story that doesn’t fit under the True Crime genre, because it is classified as an accident. It is a story almost everyone has heard about this week, and if you haven’t you must live under a rock, please come out from under it. It’s the horrific, unthinkable ending of nine lives taken in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California last Sunday morning. Most everyone recognized the name of at least one passenger on that flight, which was the retired NBA player, Kobe Bryant. Everyone has an opinion about the accusation of transgression from Kobe’s past. If you don’t know what I am talking about you can google Kobe’s name followed by the year 2003. Don’t worry I am not gonna talk about that, and please refrain from discussing that in the comments on our Facebook page. I only mention it because I know his name can be upsetting for some as I’ve seen that all over social media this week. His life, three young teenage girls (one of which was his daughter), and five other adults losing their lives far too soon is all that should matter for this particular post. Four different families and countless friends whose lives are now forever changed. Kobe’s teammates, and those who viewed him as an inspiration are left in deep mourning. Several children are now left without parents, three of his daughters are left without their father, and sister. Husbands and wives climbing into an empty bed ever since, if they can even sleep at all.
In the midst of all this, and with people all over the world grieving the tremendous loss & heartbreak, several press conferences unfolded. As they began to recover the victims bodies, and dug through the wreckage the media brought us updates on what possibly went wrong in the final moments of that fatal flight. The NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] broke down several safety recommendations from prior crashes that were never implemented by the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], which could have helped them to gain more insight into what had transpired. The idea is that with more protocols, high tech gadgets, and safety measures in place, there are more ways to prevent any similar tragedies in the future. The recommendations certainly cannot change what happened, or bring these particular nine people back, but it can help save loss of life in the future. This tragedy caught my attention, and some may be wondering why it did, or where am I going with this. Well, if you follow this blog you may have figured it out, and if you are new then allow me to briefly explain! I have been saying that there are so many lessons to learn from the Watts case, lessons that can maybe prevent the loss of another family in the future. I’ve said many times that discussing the family members, what transpired within their family, what happened prior, and after, all of it matters and can bring awareness to so many relatable everyday issues. Discussing the entire story of the Watts family from beginning to end does not bring Shanann, Bella, Celeste, or Nico back. It does not get Chris out of prison, and definitely does not restore an entire family. It could however, help other couples, young families, and children. It seems perfectly fine to discuss and recommend safety measures when a tragic accident occurs, in fact it is expected. It does not seem to be an acceptable topic when the public wants to discuss the everyday issues that transpired in the Watts marriage. Issues that could have an impact on a great deal of other current & future marriages, which are more commonly known to happen on a daily basis than any of us possibly dying whilst flying in a helicopter.
During the crash coverage this week late night talk show host Stephen Colbert brought up his own story of loss while doing a remembrance show regarding Kobe Bryant. He discussed how when he was just a young boy he lost his father and two brothers in a tragic airplane crash. On the emotional level of grief in such a sudden accidental way, Colbert was able to relate to the families who lost their loved ones in the helicopter crash. Ordinarily, when a loved one dies we know the why, and what happened before they died. If it’s cancer we know it was cancer that took their life. If it was a car accident we usually know what part of the crash caused their loss of life. What’s worse than losing someone you love? Well, in Colbert’s words, the NOT knowing what happened! Not having the intel that pieces together all those final moments to produce some sort of sense, of closure. Which again, made me think of the Watts case. There’s nothing, except circumstantial evidence, and endless stories from the lone survivor of that August morning in 2018. No one knows what happened, and the families have to pick a version they want to believe, in order to try to even remotely move on with their lives. Many would have imagined a compelling effort pushing for a trial, for the sake of finding out what had happened because, the not knowing is so much worse. Had there been a trial there was no guarantee of the details having come out, however, a trial would have brought everyone closer than they are now to knowing what happened that fateful night. This is why several agencies inspected the crash site, examined the wreckage, and transported that wreckage to a special location to comb through it further. All are efforts to seek answers for these families. While I believe that plea deals can be a good thing in certain cases, there are many cases where a plea deal just doesn’t suffice. Maybe the families are okay with not knowing what happened, or maybe only one side is okay with it. I am not one to know their thoughts, but did find what Colbert said perceptive, that what makes it all worse is the unknown. I can speak on my own behalf in saying the not knowing in the Watts case, and the mystery of it all, is what captivated me to discuss it as long as I have. I am not quite certain of course, if it were my loved ones, if I would feel the same way.
Another thing that has caught my attention, is the people who were greatly annoyed that there was more coverage about Kobe and his daughter than the other lives lost. They kept reminding the public to not forget the others, and their lives mattered too. I think we can all agree, all their lives mattered, very much so. It is no surprise though, that the man whose life and career was documented in front of the cameras for over 20 years was the prime focus. He has been a household name for a majority of those years, and widely known, even if you are not a sports fan. Kobe was famous, iconic, a leader, a mentor, a champion, and a big part of NBA history. Sadly, most of us didn’t know the names of the others that sat beside Kobe. Many did not even know Kobe’s beautiful young talented daughter’s name, Gianna, until she lost her life too alongside him. Why does this part intrigue me? In the Watts case, Shanann has been idolized to the point of people practically making her like “a Kobe” in her own right. There is so much focus on her, and definitely much less focus on Bella & Celeste Watts. Some people have lumped the three individuals into one personage, which devalues the girls short lives. Shanann was not a Kobe Bryant. Kobe & Shanann as humans shared many things in common which was that both were fallible, had flaws and strengths, lost their lives far too soon, had people who loved them, and were parents, that’s it. Whether you feel good, bad, or indifferent about Kobe the fact remains he is considered a sports legend, was inspirational to millions, motivational, a leader amongst adults & children, and a champion, he was indeed an actual idol for thousands; just look at the news this week. The seven other passengers traveling with Kobe and his daughter Gianna were, I am sure, highly loved and appreciated by those closest to them. In this enormous sudden loss, I would bet they don’t resent for a second the attention Kobe has received, and possibly even agree with it, as he was their friend too. I have not heard of anyone lumping all nine lives in with Kobe’s despite all having died on the same day and in the same moment within seconds of each other.
At the end of the day all of their lives mattered, and I would like to see this thinking extended into the Watts case with more acknowledgment of Bella & Celeste, or any future case. Almost every show or book has been about the girls’ evil monster daddy, and saint like mother. The most current show that had a debut last weekend was the Reelz episode, it focused heavily on Shannan too! Which by the way, the entire show was like hearing about a fictional character. Shanann’s friends came across as wanting to make her someone that she was not while alive, and even trying to reshape her image in death to the image she strived to fulfill for so long, that of being and appearing perfect. There’s documented, endless proof, of Kobe being all the things I’ve listed. With Shanann the little evidence we have shows a much different picture. If you have not seen that Reelz show you can view that here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=QYjIM4mzngU
I am considering a blog post about all the shows, and the ridiculous Lifetime movie that aired.
Anyway, a prime example of the misguided focus, or lack of focus, on the girls in that show was when Shanann’s friend, Cristina spoke. Cristina said, “How could he do this to HER”, and didn’t say, “how could he do this to THEM”. Cristina flew out to the Watts’ family home to take care of the girls for six weeks a year prior to the girls’ deaths. She had a relationship with the girls too, but failed to acknowledge them in that statement. Before we move on, let me end this portion with acknowledging the deaths of nine lives. May their families find some sort of peace & comfort to guide them the rest of their days. I hope further investigation will reveal some answers.
The next story I want to discuss is the Heidi Broussard case. I know I keep saying I will do a blog post about her, and I will! It is a case that can also raise a lot of awareness and education to prevent it from happening again. We should not have to constantly be on guard, especially with those closest to us, but this is the unfortunate reality. I was gonna do that blog post next, but then saw Dateline was covering the story. I figured I would allow them to debut their show, and we can discuss it at a later time, maybe after Magen appears in court. If you want to get caught up with the story the Dateline show would be a good place: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LVmLzEaTqsg&feature=youtu.be
One of the things that was said multiple times during the Dateline episode, was Heidi’s friends and family wondering: Why did Magen(the accused) do this? What caused her to do this? How could she do this to her “best friend”? Even Heidi’s mother expressed how they simply want to know why! There are many types of motives for murder, and some stem from jealousy, desperation, resentment, anger, loathing, and greed to name a few. In this case, I would say it’s safe to assume, at minimum, there was jealousy & desperation at play.
Magen started a lie that grew, and she never stopped it. The lie spun so out of control, and as it unfolded, the desperation took over Magen. She likely tried at some point to find a way to stop the spinning, and did not see any other way out of her lies. An unfathomable plan was set in motion to try to regain control. It’s unimaginable that she would turn her sights on someone who trusted her, and with whom she had a lengthy history with. If someone has never felt that level of desperation before, it would be very hard to understand it at all. It happens though, and often in many different crimes. Think about why so many rob banks, it is often because the person had a growing debt, were sinking, and needed a quick life raft. Think about murder-suicides that we discussed a few blog posts ago. The person is desperate, and suffering that desperation hid any light at the end of the tunnel. Think of someone stealing a car, they need a means of transportation for any variety of reasons, and set sights on the first car they see, out of desperation. Desperation is the state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behavior.
As we will discuss in a future blog post about this case, is what makes the Broussard case different, is Magen’s desperation grew bigger than the friendship she had with Heidi. That desperation likely didn’t allow Magen to stop and consider how absurd the idea was, how she would never get away with it, that she was gonna take her friends life, and leave two children without a mother. I am definitely not excusing anything this woman did and she needs to be prosecuted to the highest extent of the law. I do have to wonder how deep the dark hole of desperation she must may have been in, and how I wish that someone had seen this coming from a mile away to prevent it. No one could have known though, and it provides learning opportunities for others to become aware now.
Have any of you heard about the nationally covered story of a woman named Paighton Houston out of Alabama? Just this week her autopsy came back as an accidental overdose. People were shocked! You see, when she went missing her friends said they received a text from her when she left a bar with someone she claimed to not know. The text implied that she didn’t know where she was and also thought she was in trouble. Naturally, this was perceived as she was in trouble, because of the person she left with. The autopsy showed the accidental overdose was caused by morphine and methamphetamine. Paighton was high when she sent this text and it could explain why she didn’t know where she was, and why she felt she was in trouble. A man was arrested in connection with hiding her body in a shallow grave, which was found at the beginning of January. We discussed in the, “Never Say Never” series how oftentimes people hide bodies out of fear. I shared several stories, and two were drug related. The person had been doing drugs too, and feared being arrested so hid the body. You can read that series here: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/01/07/never-say-never-part-1/
This story is another example of how what the public believed happened actually wasn’t the case at all. This is why so many were shocked at the autopsy results! It should be noted that she did have a history of prior drug use. People had already compared Paighton to Savannah Spurlock, a young mom of several children who went missing last year. Savannah was last seen leaving a bar as well, with three men, never to be seen again. Her body was located at one of the three men’s parents property six months later. Savannah had indeed been murdered, and the accused has been officially charged. At first, it was presumed all three men were involved in her disappearance after being seen on surveillance with her leaving the bar. As it turned out, as far as we know thus far, there is only one responsible for her murder, and children being left without their mother. The public was wrong assuming Payton had the same fate as Savannah. While both women lost their lives it was in different ways, despite the period of time before vanishing being so similar. Here is a link to Savannah’s story: https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Savannah-Spurlock-murder-suspect-scheduled-to-appear-in-court-566681311.html
There’s two other current cases that have made the headlines that have something in common, a suicide note. One of the stories is about a young woman named was Stephanie Parze of New Jersey. She had been in an abusive relationship in the past, and went missing on October 30th,, after her parents dropped her off. The family tirelessly searched for her for months. Last week, she was found deceased by two teens walking on a busy road to work. Let me back up though, last month her ex-boyfriend who was abusive committed suicide in his parents home after being released from jail for other charges. At the time rumors were whirling that there was a suicide note, but it was not confirmed by law enforcement. Of course, since he killed himself and at the time was a person of interest, it was assumed he must have killed her. This was confirmed to be true a month later when her body was found. The Parze family, and law enforcement, confirmed he had indeed left a note stating he had killed Stephanie, unfortunately he did not disclose where her body was. Want to learn more about Stephanie Parze do so here: https://patch.com/new-jersey/freehold/family-creates-stephanie-parze-foundation-honor-her-life
In the meantime, another case was unfolding which was a mother of five who suddenly vanished. Her name is Jennifer Dulos, and she has yet to be found. Last week, her estranged husband Fotis Dulos, with whom she having a bitter divorce with attempted suicide by carbon monoxide in his garage when he was suppose to be appearing in court. He was transported to the hospital, and was in critical condition for a few days. Fotis later succumbed to his suicide attempt, and there was a suicide note left behind. He did not however, admit to killing his missing estranged wife, Jennifer in his note.
In their divorce proceedings Jennifer made a lot of claims about her estranged husband. Jennifer claimed that Fotis was verbally abusive toward her and said he had exhibited ‘irrational, unsafe, bullying, threatening and controlling behavior’, according to an affidavit from the divorce proceedings obtained. Dulos claimed that Fotis had threatened to ‘take all of the children’ and ‘disappear’.
Two stories that involve suicide notes left behind. What can we learn from these two stories? Just because they are similar does not mean much of anything. One admitted to his crime which explained why he took his life, but still wouldn’t give her family the location of her body. The other refused to admit any involvement at all, only thinking of how he did not want to spend another minute in jail. The evidence against Fotis involved DNA evidence, and from that alone makes it highly likely he was involved in some way. His attorneys have now asked for the case to go forth even though he is deceased. Five children were left without both their parents, and for what? Stephanie was a young woman, the age of 25, at the time of her murder. She had not lived her life yet, didn’t experience marriage, children, or anything that would have come thereafter, before her life was taken from her. Her family, friends, and loved ones all now knowing that all those months that had passed their loved one’s body laid on the side of a road. In this instance, do we say at least he admitted he did it before taking the cowards way out? I don’t know the answer to the that. I hope Jennifer Dulos is eventually found as her loved ones likely need that for some closure.
I am gonna stop there, and start on part two so this post does not become epically long. In the next part, we are gonna discuss a current missing eleven year old boy, another story I read about in Michigan that wasn’t headline news, and a few others. Join me in the next post to continue our True Crime coffee chat.
It turned out to be much longer than I had expected to be so, I’ve made it its own post instead. Two days ago, I received a comment on the blog’s page from someone who has clearly never read any of my other blog posts. This commenter made a false accusatory comment about the motive behind that post containing questions. All of my posts have questions! Here is what the comment said, “When an author asks the reader a bunch of questions, that is called insinuation and I really dislike an author making insinuations. That is a cowardly way of to both make a point and not have to deal with the fall out.” My quick reply was, “I really dislike when someone makes an accusation that is false. This blog isn’t for you it sounds like. Questions are asked many times throughout every single post, it is done to spark critical thinking, for people to consider different possibilities, and is part of discussing true crime where the truth is unknown. And, of course to open minds which is needed for human growth.”
We should always ask questions, and want to be asked questions too, it challenges us to think. We can not learn, or grow as humans if we are not posed questions. On social media, we ask questions in groups, don’t we? Yes, we do, and the blog is no different. I explained the blogs real motives, and also the intent in this part one of a series I published a few months back: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2019/06/22/vast-reasonable-doubt-part-one/
I think it is rather amusing the reader happened to call me a coward, and right as I was uploading pictures that bother a lot of people. I clearly am not a coward, for many reasons, one being I have the guts to discuss things that many people want us to turn a blind eye at. Overall her comment was entirely false, but it is okay if a reader is not a fit for my approach or writing style. When you open yourself up to the public you will get public responses. Normally I would consider this private however, you will see why I even shared that information with you as we continue through this post. Let’s discuss the fascinating thing called, public opinion.
Harley Dilly, a teenage boy out of Port Clinton, Ohio, was found deceased less then a week ago in an unoccupied home in his neighborhood. Not only his neighborhood, but just right across the street from his home where he had not been seen for weeks. Harley was located, and recovered from inside a chimney, his death has been ruled an accident. Several days later, the autopsy results were released, and manner of death was compressive asphyxia. It’s a very tragic & unfortunate turn of events. It’s actually more common for something like this to happen than one would think. Harley’s mom said he didn’t want to go to school that day, and it seems he decided to skip, so needed a place to hide out. He likely knew the home was unoccupied and set his sights on getting inside somehow. This decision cost him his life. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be his parent, and finding out your son was feet away from his home, trapped, and needed help.
Having said that, for weeks Harley’s parents, more specifically his mother, have endured intense public scrutiny. The majority of social media groups had convicted them in their minds, many seemed to just be waiting, even anticipating, for word they had been arrested. Even a decision to go out to dinner when their son was missing was highly attacked. As if humans, can’t eat, drink, go to the bathroom, or pick their noses when one of their loved ones were missing. No one stopped to say, maybe they were hungry and simply didn’t have the mindset to cook dinner. No, this meant they must have killed him. Except, they didn’t kill their son.
Their son made a very poor judgment call, and it was his actions alone for why he is no longer here, as sad and heartbreaking as that is. Despite that, the groups still aren’t satisfied and are questioning every little detail of how he could have climbed into that empty home. It’s almost as if they want it to be a crime, but the reality is that not everything is a crime, sometimes it’s just an accident. Others are wanting the parents held responsible for Harley attempting to get in this home, and some are condemning the police department, calling for the firing of the police chief for not checking inside the home sooner; (the first check they did not go inside as there were no signs of entry). Why? They want someone to pay for what happened to Harley. The facts don’t seem to matter. As to exactly who some of these people want to pay? Just someone, anyone living will do. Someone did pay for Harley’s death and that person was Harley, he paid with his life. It’s hard for the pubic to admit that all their speculations were wrong, so they are challenging the ruling.
I said I would do a blog post about the Broussard case, and that will likely be the next post, after this one. Anyway, Heidi went missing with her newborn two week old daughter in middle of December 2019. A week later, Heidi was found deceased inside a duffel bag in the trunk of a car at her “best friend” Magen’s place of residence. Little baby Margo was found alive in the care of Heidi’s “best friend” inside the home. In a twist that most didn’t see coming, Magen had an elaborate lie going on for a long time that she was due with a baby too, and even had the same due date as Heidi. When Heidi went into labor, there was her “best friend” right in the delivery room with her to welcome baby Margo. Just two weeks later, Magen took that mother and daughter to fulfill a lie she had started. A lie that wasn’t stopped, spun out of control and quickly turned into desperation, and that desperation was so intense it didn’t matter whose baby she had, any would do. Magen is being held in her local county jail awaiting a hearing scheduled in February. As of now, she has yet to be charged with the actual murder of Heidi Broussard, but murder charges should soon follow. Prior to them finding Heidi and Margo at Magen’s residence, Heidi’s finance Shane Carey gave several interviews to the media. These interviews sparked public interest, and everyone was screaming that Shane was the new Chris Watts. The majority of social media groups had already convicted him in their minds. Except, Shane is innocent and had nothing to do with their disappearance, or Heidi’s murder. The groups on social media do not seem to care, and have continued the discussions that maybe he was in on it. When absolutely nothing points to Shane having any involvement.
Two months after the Watts family murders occurred, a young girl was kidnapped from her home after an intruder shot and killed her parents. Jayme Closs is her name, and after 88 days of being held captivate by her parents killer, Jayme was able to escape and found someone to help her. Prior to her escape, during those 88 days, social media groups were wild with all sorts of speculations. Some thought it was actually Jayme who killed her parents, and she was hiding out. Others thought Jayme must have been killed after being kidnapped, and her body left elsewhere. There were even many who believed Jayme helped to plot, and execute a plan to murder her family. Well, as it turns out Jayme was a victim and found alive, after an arduous escape . She was held in her captors cabin for those 88 days, after witnessing the brutal murders of her own parents. Even after she escaped, and her captor confessed, there were still many who believed her to be involved. They figured the investigation would eventually show her involvement, but the evidence didn’t show that.
That’s three widely known stories in only 18 months where public opinions, and speculations were inaccurate. Even when it is proven their opinions are false, the public refuses to accept the facts. Death is hard to accept. Harley Dilly’s parents, at this point, have been completely cleared as their son’s autopsy reflects it was a tragic accident. Shane Carey, as of now is innocent, and the evidence does not show he was involved in any way. Jayme Closs’s captor was sent to prison, and she is attempting to try to regain her life. They are all trying to regain their lives, each a life that will never be ‘normal’ again.
All three stories, with facts and evidence, at least for now have cleared individuals who were wrongly accused by the public. The rash emotional reactions to a story of loss including children has triggered denial of the facts. I could probably do an entire blog post on stories where someone was falsely accused during an investigative period, maybe I will.
What’s my point? There is public opinion, and then there is a jury who are presented the facts. Doesn’t really matter what the public believes, it all boils down to the jury, when and if it goes to trial to decide if someone is guilty or not guilty. Even then, jurors have a history of being wrong too sometimes. Thorough examination of the evidence, and it analyzed to the fullest is key.
How many other stories has public opinion been wrong about? Actually proven wrong with facts, evidence, and/or rulings, not just confessions? I am going to guess plenty. What if the majority of public opinion is wrong about the Watts’ case too? In the Watts and Dilly cases, there was a heavy presence of the people involved on social media platforms. This gave the public a deeper look into the dynamics of those people, their behaviors, and personalities. It can still be misleading to go off of what is presented. As we can see in the Dilly case, the public, despite analyzing Harley’s YouTube videos ended up wrong about what ultimately happened. The Watts case at first glance on the surface, the content we were able to view seemed innocent, and normal. A closer look at the words, actions, behaviors, and posts of Shanann Watts alarmed many across social media in many countries around the world.
In part 16 of the book series we have been working through we had discussed body language briefly. I shared a quote seen here:
When the news broke about the Watts case there was one particular photo that sparked the public to be outraged, shocked, and disturbed over. That photo was included in many news articles, blogs, YouTube videos, and Facebook groups. It garnered almost 800 comments on the original photo, it was shared 1754 times, and who knows how many comments on those, plus there have likely been screenshots taken and shared all over as well. If you guessed the photo that I am speaking of is the creepy three foot doll, sprawled out with its face covered and the feet sticking out, atop the Watts’ loveseat just days before the murder, you are correct! I usually avoid all discussions about this photo, because it seems to trigger a debate that ends in knock down drag out cyber fights. To present my overall point however, I have to discuss it. I am prepared that discussing it may bring a negative response however, it is a part of the story.
This will be a controversial post from this point forward. If you have never read any of the many blogposts I’ve written prior to this one and jump to attack me in a comment on my official Facebook page based off of this one post, I will delete the comment. In order to fully understand the words below will take needing to know what I usually write about, the intent I have in writing, and the reasons I write. If you’ve been reading all along you will understand, and I appreciate that you take the time to read what I have to say.
As exhibited in the gallery, the photo appalled, disturbed, and left many people totally creeped out. These comments are on a photo of a doll under a twister mat. Did you see what I wrote? A DOLL. The public screamed about how it was a sign of premeditation, a warning sign, a red flag, sick, and twisted. Some commenters were clamoring about it being proof of what had happened, before even knowing what had happened, that Shanann and the girls were deceased. What the public did not know however, was that just two days prior Shanann had taken this photo of another doll with no head, shown below, and posted it on her Facebook page. This photo though was set to private, the other as we know was set to public.
Riddle me this; if a picture of a doll resembling a deceased child covered up in a morgue caused such intense outrage, why is it that when pictures of actual children are seen in the same and similar positions it’s somehow defended, justified in an odd kind of reasoning, or even blown off as no big deal? Bella & Celeste Watts slept in a very similar way, with pillows and blankets, and it is highly documented all over Shanann’s profile, as you will soon see below. Blankets and pillows are not the only items over their mouths, faces or even their entire heads that had been photographed by their mother before being posted to social media. It shows a pattern of behavior, of not only the children, but more so the one behind the lens who allowed it, and even approved of it in an enthusiastic way in her Facebook posts. It is usually instinctual and common sense at a minimum for most people, that when you see a baby or child covered in a manner that impedes their ability to breath, to remove the item/s rather than to capture that moment in a photo to share on social media.
Shanann researched, and implemented a sleeping method called ‘Babywise’. That method is highly discouraged and advised against by the American Association of Pediatrics, doctors, and other organizations. It is widely known that babies and young children should not be sleeping with linens or stuffed animals that are large and/or fluffy, or multiple items at one time that can easily get tangled and cover their mouths, noses or heads impeding their breathing ability. Hospitals typically warn parents about this very thing when they give an overall lesson on the do’s & don’ts soon after birth. Pediatricians give the same speech at the first visit, and also reminders at follow up visits. There are printed pamphlets about it and even posters on the walls in various places new parents frequent when taking their baby’s for health care needs. These warnings are the norm all over the world, not exclusive to one area. There is endless educational material all over the internet about the dangers, and some horror stories about of tragedy about what can, and does, happen when babies are left with items that are inappropriate in their cribs when sleeping. Not only is it common sense to know this and not allow it to happen by taking precautions, it is literally plastered and warned about in writing and verbally, at nearly every turn for new mothers. If Shanann researched how to train her children to sleep on a schedule, why did she ignore the ‘HOW’s’ on safe sleeping for babies? Safety is just as important, if not more so, then how much sleep one is able to get, and certainly more important than a photo opportunity. Again, I ask why is the majority not up in arms over the way she provided their sleeping arrangements? Why is there such quick defending of the person taking the photo rather than defending the children who are helpless and do not know how they were sleeping dangerously? Why are so many ‘okay’ with this? Let’s take a look at all the items that covered those beautiful girls’ faces during their much too short time here on earth. This will include their noses, mouths, entire heads entangled &/or even their necks; and children that young are not able to wrap an item around their neck that way it is done in the photos. For those who follow the blog you may recognize some of these pictures from previous blogposts.
Click first pic to open album, and press arrow on right.
Miscellaneous strange posts in relation to strangling, choking, smothering, suffocation:
On the infamous creepy doll photo Shanann’s caption read, “I don’t know what to think about this…” and in the comments she said, “At least they covered the body together. At least we know they have each other’s back.” Her caption implies she was creeped out by the girls covering their doll in that manner, and her comment shows her mind automatically went to death because she called it a body. Why? Does no one find it bizarre that she made these comments about a doll fully aware of how she allowed her daughters to sleep? I find it extremely bizarre, and many others do as well. The children, and Shanann, were dead just four days later. Coincidences exist, but not everything can be chalked up to that.
If you are one of the people who were outraged over the creepy doll photos, do these photos of children covered the way they are bother you too after seeing them? If you view these photos as innocent, are you able to at least see why it makes others feel uneasy? Would it bother you if you left your child in the care of someone else and came home to see them covered like that? If they do not bother you at all, does that change when you take into context that Shanann claimed the children had asthma? Both girls had asthma, and Celeste had EoE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis) which is an inflammatory disease so, both girls had difficulty breathing. The child with two breathing conditions is in the majority of the photos I presented, Celeste. Shanann accused her mother in law of trying to intentionally kill her own granddaughter with nuts, but Shanann allowed her asthmatic daughters’ to sleep with blankets over their heads, even when they were sick. That’s quite hypocritical no matter how many people want to spin it. Shanann was also heavily into essential oils, and many oils can be problematic for those with any type of breathing difficulties, especially children. I personally love essential oils, and my whole family uses them. I have nothing against oils as long as they are being used in a safe manner. They should be limited and researched when it involves small children with breathing conditions. Here is a link to using essential oils safely with children: https://www.usingeossafely.com/essential-oils-and-children/
Here are some comments from the public about the children sleeping similar to the doll picture:
Before we continue, here are a few links about America’s safety guidelines for sleep, which are very much the same in other countries too, and one about the sleep training method she used called, Babywise:
I only included the safety guidelines for America since that is where Shanann lived during her life, and where many of my readers are from. I am aware that other countries have safety recommendations which may differ slightly, and I encourage you to look those up. Please share the links I provided if applicable to where you reside to spread awareness. One of the links I’ve provided speaks of how many parents do not follow the recommendations. Not following them does not mean that it makes it okay, just because others do what Shanann did and tragedy has not struck does not mean it won’t. The more someone does something risky the greater the chances become of the odds turning against them. It also means many parents are ignoring the research and results that was thoroughly conducted to give us guidelines and measures that will keep our children safe. Better safe than sorry, and we do not have to learn the hard way. We all follow car seat safety guidelines or I least hope so, right? It would be reckless to put our helpless children in a car sitting on a seat, because it is more cozy. That is choosing comfort over safety, and our jobs as parents is to keep our children safe.
These guidelines discuss that at the age of one year old a child may be given a small child sized pillow and a small child sized blanket. It does not condone multiple thick heavy large blankets, adult sized pillows, or multiples of any of these items at once, and certainly not covering your child’s entire head. Celeste appears in many of the pictures above to be about one year of age however, the date on the posts prove otherwise. Bella is very young in many of the pictures, and definitely during infancy (first year) where a lot of what we are seeing is considered unsafe. For example, consider the picture of Celeste in her crib with a monitor next to her head. At a quick glance, many do not see what is wrong with the picture. That’s an electric device that can short circuit or overheat at anytime sparking a fire. The cord is also in the crib, and within Celeste’s reach. We all know how babies grab with their tiny hands and move their arms around, it is a natural reflex and one of their first. She was three months old at the time, it’s an age when babies learn to reach for objects, making that cord a strangulation hazard. Two safety concerns with just that monitor alone in the crib. Celeste was swaddled, but that does not mean she could not wiggle out of it. Being swaddled does not matter, especially when Shanann has a picture of her, seen here at only 3 weeks old that she had wiggled out of her swaddle.
Another observation, many of these pictures are seen with large blankets over their heads that are right next to the crib bars. If those children moved enough to get the blanket from their bodies to their heads, then they certainly were able to get the blanket caught on or looped in-between the bar before pulling it up to wrap the blanket around their heads.
Bella & Celeste miraculously escaped accidental suffocation or a smothering death prior to August 13th, 2018. Blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, bags, hands, and any other type of item placed just so in front of their face that causes them depletion of oxygen could have easily caused smothering. There was only one person in that home that showed a pattern of repeatedly taking photographs of the children in dangerous and compromising positions that could have resulted in a much sooner tragedy. That person not only allowed it, but also found it cute & funny enough to take the photo, then post it and comment in a joking manner along with laughing emoji’s on social media. Where is the instinct to help the child? Prevent it from happening again? And teaching siblings safety and respect for one another at a young age? Just because a child may sleep like that once or twice does not mean that it is safe to continue to allow it. It would only have taken one time and a mere few minutes for an accident to happen.
Some will argue that Shanann had a baby monitor to watch them, therefore it was okay. Part of that is correct, she did have a mobile baby monitor. She did not seem to really pay much attention to the monitor though. In this instance shown in the photo, Celeste was left long enough to get poop all over herself and her surroundings. If Shanann had seen her on the monitor she would have had time to stop it from going further than it did. Aside from that, going back to an excess of large soft items in their cribs, monitor or not; strangulation, smothering, or suffocation can all be completely silent. You may glance at the camera monitor and everything appears to be normal, but your child could be slowly losing oxygen without any signs, especially if you have accustomed yourself to seeing them tangled up in blankets.
Please do not be upset with me. These are Shanann’s own words, pictures, and posts. This is what we the general public see, and what makes many of us feel trepidatious and rattled. I cannot blame anyone for being distressed viewing these pictures. Personally, the pictures make me feel ill, and when seeing them together as a whole, they give me high anxiety. My children are all above the age of three, and I still instinctually remove any items from their faces when they are sleeping.
Why does all this matter? I am sure that is what you are thinking right now. It matters, because that’s exactly how the children died; smothering.
It also matters because this is all pertinent information. It would also all have come up had there been a trial, because that is what lawyers do, they dig up all pertinent information to present to a jury.
Am I saying these posts and comments along with the photos Shanann documented on social media are proof that she killed their children? NO. Do not misunderstand me or misconstrue my words. When looking at crimes, the need to look at the full picture and to gain its context is of the utmost importance. Obviously, it begins with looking in depth at all available direct concrete evidence, if there is no evidence it is imperative to look at circumstantial evidence and start connecting the dots. Society depends on it, individuals depend on it. Our Justice System needs to work efficiently and properly for every case. The children seen in these photos may not be here anymore, but there are many parents who may be able to learn from this to help their children.
Chris is not the person behind the camera capturing these pictures of their children. If he were the one behind the camera, would the public be saying he had a sick fascination with his children being in compromising situations and in danger? I would bet money they would. If he had taken these photos, would people be outraged screaming that these were red flags and that the people in their everyday lives around them had missed? I believe they would. When the autopsy report came back with the cause of death as the girls being smothered, would the public have expected the prosecution to present these photos? I would have definitely expected them todo exactly that.
Circumstantial evidence : Is Evidence that establishes a motive, person had an opportunity to commit the offense, reviewing the accused’s state of mind at the time of the offense, proof of the accused preparing for the crime, accused having items that could be used to commit the offense, examining their mobile records, social media, credit card usage & Internet searches, the accused has committed similar crimes around the same time the alleged offense occurred, bizarre or peculiar or suspicious and/or retorts and behaviors, similar patterns of past troublesome behavior. Summed up, every one of these photos should be taken into consideration in the overall timeline and sequence of events to garner the most logical and plausible incident that took place on August 13, 2018.
We started this post off by discussing how the publics’ opinions and speculations are oftentimes totally off base with what the end result is. With the Watts case, nothing has ever been proven by means of direct evidence to prove who did what on Saratoga Trail that fatal morning. That’s an actual fact: we don’t know. You might think you know, but you don’t. No one knows with certainty, well perhaps one person does but he is spinning tales faster than everyone can keep up with it seems. It very well could be that the majority of the public’s opinion is completely wrong with the Watts case too, and the case is no exception, just like others. Most of the public does not follow crime stories as intensely and as closely as some of us do. They mostly go off what the main media outlets present, and accepts their representations as fact.
The creepy doll photo is a prime example of seeing something in the media without the backstory included and the public formed an emotional reaction to that photo. They heard a woman and her children were missing, the husband did a strange media interview, and there was a super eerie photo posted just days prior. It was later revealed there was an established pattern of similar behavior within the Watts family home all along. The case was becoming more bizarre by the day, which attracted people that were new to following true crime cases. When the girls sleeping conditions were revealed in the photos we’ve been discussing here, in a bulk format all over social media, some people took notice and paused and yet others had become intrigued they had also already formed an opinion from seeing what had been aired by media news stations. Once opinions are formed it is very difficult to penetrate through the barrier they have put up to present a differing scenario and possibilities. Their view and opinion is firm and set in their belief of what happened and often a refusal to open their minds to consider other possibilities is absent. In general the public is not influenced by social media groups. At the point the pictures of the children came out, months later, the narrative had already formed by the popular media. The photos of the girls sleeping arrangements caused outrage too although, this time it was misdirected anger at the people who found the countless photos unsettling. In the grand big picture of it all, the autopsies revealed the children had been smothered. Coincidence? Absolutely could be. No one knows, but since it shows character traits, a pattern, peculiar behavior, and includes what is being claimed as the possible murder weapon ( the Yankee blanket) it does matter to discuss. It would also be a normal thing for it to have been discussed at length, at a trial, but I digress. I do not think the much of the public would have been able to handle this case going before a jury. Just look at the emotionally charged comments across social media platforms.
It often feels as though Shanann is victimized more than Bella & Celeste have been. As little girls, they are the only entirely innocent souls. With all the sides that have formed within the case discussions, the side that seems to be in last place is team Bella & Celeste. What happened to those girls’ matters, and what happened during their short lives matters too. Full context is needed to examine the case, which includes both of their parents and what happened through the years, months, and days leading up to their tragic deaths & the abrupt end of the entire family.
Society has conditioned us to “not speak ill of the dead”. Think about going to a curmudgeon’s funeral, you don’t see people taking the podium to say, “ You know what? Honestly I loved him, but he was ________”. It’s no surprise to see people automatically wanting to defend Shanann, and honestly I can’t blame them, as that is what we are taught. Over the last 17 months since the discussions began, one of the most common statements in Shanann’s defense that I have seen is “I do that too” and “There is nothing wrong with that”, and several other similar types of statements. Suddenly it dawned on me one day, from a psychological standpoint it makes total sense as to why they defend Shanann so steadfastly and adamantly, because it means defending themselves. As I said in the “Never Say Never” series, just because you do it too, it does not make it the right thing. I think it’s human nature to instinctively defend someone who may have similarities with ourselves. If you are still around discussing this legally closed case, then you are around for the same reason many of us are; the truth. If you feel the truth has been unveiled in its entirety, then it’s safe to move on into greener pastures. Not all of us are pacified by the official narrative, or have closure on what happened to that family. We will analyze, and discern what may and may not be relevant. We will discuss this case, and others old and new, whether what’s being said is disliked or liked or neutral. This is true crime discussions and they have been happening for centuries, only the format in which they are discussed has changed. Most times the facts and speculations are not unicorns, rainbows and butterflies.
Speaking of discussing the case, another turn of events unfolded as I was writing this post. With no real notice word spread quickly a couple days ago that Shanann’s parents were holding another press conference later that day. The last press conference they held was done in front of the Watts home on Saratoga Trail in July, with Shanann’s father & their lawyers. The public majority believes the media & law enforcement narrative, which resulted in a lot of support for Shanann’s family. Chris’s possible innocence of killing their children is not a popular opinion accepted amongst the majority so, his family are vilified due to the public believing their son killed his entire family. That being said, I have no doubt both families receive unnecessary cruelty, and by that I mean in the form of what the true definition of harassment is. There’s always a few bad seeds in a bunch who lack sympathy & empathy, and even some that bait for a reaction. From my experience following the case I have hardly seen hate towards the Rzuceks, but most certainly have seen it against the Watts family. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist or happen to the Rzuceks.
The first press conference involved discussing online harassment. According to the new press conference they held, the prior one did help them to weed out some of the online harassers. I would never condone the harassment of a family who has endured the unimaginable. It is never okay to harass anyone, and is illegal too.
The second press conference that occurred last week, wait hang on a minute here. This is feeling a lot like Chris’s confessions. We often talk about Chris’s first confession, second confession, and third confession. Now we are talking about this family’s first press conference, second conference, and let’s not forget 20/20, and Dr. Phil. This case gives me and others a massive headache. Anyways, this second conference was again about online harassment, but with everything else about this case that was not all.
Before I break down my objective thoughts about the press conference:
-Shanann’s family are victims.
-They lost an entire family as they slept states away.
-They did not ask for this to happen or for their lives to be turned upside down.
-I am certain they are in deep grief, and mourning.
-I am certain that waking up everyday to the realization it wasn’t a nightmare is horrendous. Some days they may even wish they had not woken up.
-I am not heartless, and I am able to sympathize with what they have to endure. I have no idea what it’s like, and hopefully won’t ever know.
-This should not have happened, and their loved ones should still be here.
Did I make that clear enough before I begin? As a member of the public these are my objective thoughts of what was discussed during the conference, and I know for a fact that many feel or view it the same way. Here we go:
1. Lifetime Movie Network did not need permission, nor need to consult either family to make their movie. The story is considered public domain, basically anyone can make a movie of the endless information that has been released to the public. They’ve known about the movie since August, but waited until a week before the movie debut to speak up about any thoughts that may have concerned them. While I agree it does not appear to be an accurate depiction, and Lifetime missed the mark, they did portray it as they perceived the story to be. Probably similar to the way people that don’t know in depth details about the case see it. I am sure it is painful to know there is a movie debuting about the life, and murders of the people you love. Unfortunately, with a case as widely known as this one has become, it was bound to happen. Likely many movies will be made, and all from a different viewpoint. There are already several books, and more in the making. There is nothing they can do about it. They cannot control the narrative and force the public to stick to what they believe to be the truth. Nor should they try as it is an exercise in futility.
2. At the press conference they mentioned a law about defaming a murder victim. That is highly unlikely to ever happen. Shanann is not the first, nor the last publicly known victim of murder who will be discussed in a good, bad, or indifferent way. Discussing her own words, the posts and pictures she took the time to create and put on her social media, her behaviors that she recorded and posted for anyone to see, and her actions that are recorded in different documents is indeed discussing facts. Speaking truth is not defamations, and you also cannot defame or slander someone who is deceased. Shanann left a sizable social media footprint, and she tried too hard to portray a certain image, in spite of that many were able to see through the imaginary perfect image. If anyone tainted Shanann’s image it was Shanann herself when she made the decision to open her life up to the public. The family continued in this public display with the decision to broadcast the funerals to the public. When you open the door to the public they will help themselves. Going even further in trying to preserve her image, and silence discussions about her just makes people wonder what they want hidden so badly. It sparks more interest not less. We are lucky citizens here and are afforded the Constitution and the First Amendment.
3. The lawyers also spoke about harassment the family has received. Which by the way, no proof has ever been shown of any true harassment in the legal sense, or of any that has been documented to having taken place. Although, I am sure some forms of it exist. Seems the public as a whole has been blamed for a few peoples unsavory comments and perhaps even some minor actions. If you are going to accuse the public of harassment you need to be sure it really is harassment, and that you provide proof of these claims. If it’s a few individuals, out of literally millions, and you are addressing them as members of the general public that is unfair to the majority who are not committing any kind of infraction. When they spoke about the different forms of harassment I nearly fell off my seat when it was said that even discussing Shanann killing the kids was harassment. That is definitely not harassment, and again they cannot control the narrative! They cannot stop opinions, speculations, or interrupt freedom of speech. People will always talk about this case, and many others, with varying different views. These discussions happen in coffee shops, hair salons, bars, homes, etc., They are also discussed within social media groups, YouTube channels, blogs, Reddit, Facebook, etc., and they are not meant for the eyes of either family. In order to join social media groups many of them have a statement that say it is not a place for friends or family members. It is easy to disguise oneself online though and it seems that is exactly what has been happening in order for them to be privy to what is being discussed. They should not be seeing, hearing, listening, watching, or engaging in any of the discussions. If they are seeking it out, it is not the public’s fault. They have a choice to not see any of it. They also have the choice to tell anyone who may send them anything from these platforms to refrain, and stop immediately rather than condemning the public for having discussions. If they read this blog, or you send them this blog it is most definitely your fault and theirs alone if the decision is made to read it.
4. I am sure while watching TV it is heartbreaking to have a trailer appear on the screen about the murders of your beloved family members. The great thing though, is in this day and age you can choose which channels to watch. They can choose not to even have cable and instead can purchase Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming TV. If they decide to keep cable, they can block individual channels. There is choice, and when you have a choice you can have control.
5. The lawyers also made a point to say the family has not made money off the television broadcasts they participated in but, neglected to mention they did make money from fundraising sites, merchandise, restitution, and more. I mean, how else does the public think they are paying for a team of three attorneys? They were not wealthy enough to afford such attorneys prior to this tragedy. The Watts family it would seem does not even have, and likely can’t even afford one attorney. The attorneys should know, based off our constitution, that much of what they conveyed for the family was absurd. I have to wonder if they agreed to it because it provided publicity for their law firm. I am also reminded that their son (Shanann’s brother) has been all over YouTube collecting money and other things of value too, for well over a year.
6. They discussed merchandise being sold and said they are not a part of the vendors who are currently selling it. Meaning, only so called endorsed by them merchandise should ever be purchased, which also translates into selling things for a profit. I follow this case very closely, and have never seen anyone but the family selling merchandise. I am curious to see this supposed merchandise. Is it really about not buying merchandise, because people are profiting? Or, is it because they aren’t profiting?
7. After speaking about how hurtful it is for them to see the movie trailer that airs for two minutes during commercials, the lawyers were asked if the family would be watching the movie. The answer contradicts the claims that the two minute trailer was harmful. He said he didn’t know, then continued on, basically saying that it’s been discussed but no final decision has been made. Why on earth was this not a hard and fast, unapologetic NO? Why watch it?! Beyond that, they say the trailer is hurtful yet they are considering enduring the entire full length movie. It is not in their best interest to inflict further heartbreak to see such a movie. If they watch it, then it will not be Lifetime’s fault. The movie was made for public entertainment and public consumption, not for any other purpose whatsoever.
8. It was asked if the family is contributing any personal input to any other broadcast type productions. One lawyer replied he wasn’t at liberty to say. This was not a NO which means we can likely expect more to come, and the family has contributed to other productions. The lawyer went on to say, “ they (the family) would be happy to assert control & power.” Wow! They cannot assert themselves into a position to control the public, or what the public wants to do with a very public story. Which means, unfortunately for them, loss of power.
9. Overall the PUBLIC press conference was filled with contradictions, confusions, and was rather absurd. They ended with a request for the PUBLIC to stop discussing the case, and move on with their lives. Know the song titled, “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now’? That is word for word how the conference felt. Seems they only want our attentions when it is on their terms. It is a bit ridiculous to claim one broadcast victimizes them all over again, but then continue to show up on PUBLIC platforms. People are still talking about the Peterson case from 17 years ago, Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, Nicole Brown Simpson, and the list goes on. People cannot move on, because Shannan brought us into the family’s lives with her social media footprint. There is a feeling of connection to the family now. People want the truth, the facts, and some closure. More importantly in my opinion, the story is very relatable, and has so many lessons that can be taken from it. The discussions will continue, and this blog will not stop discussing any of the facts about the case. We will continue speculating, sharing opinions, and asking questions too.
10. Here is the final objection before I wrap this up. It was mentioned they would be willing to pursue legal actions when and if necessary. They sure seem to spend a lot of time doing tv shows, keeping up with any and all merchandise that might be being sold, holding press conferences, meeting with their three lawyers, working on a law that would be a Constitutional failure if entertained, and now even considering enduring litigations. More time spent than they seemed willing to spend in a courtroom on a quest to find out what happened to their grandchildren, and their daughter. It is known they were highly motivated for wrapping the case as quickly as possible.
If they believe in their hearts, minds, and the pit of their stomachs that their daughter is innocent of any crime, why do they care what other people think? How are someone’s thoughts, typed words, or spoken words of any concern to them? Just last week a member of the family said, “We know the truth and that’s all that matters”. Okay, then why the press conference telling people to stop discussing the case? The comment included, “everyone has free will” which contradicts the attempt at asserting power over what the public says or does? They are attempting to try to preserve Shanann’s memory when their memories of her are all that should matter.
My takeaway, based off everything I have analyzed throughout this case, is that their press conference exhibited strong traits that Shanann possessed.
Control – This was confirmed by everyone who knew Shanann, and even herself in words & actions.
Power – Which is what she had gained from controlling every single aspect of their life.
Attention seeking – This should be self explanatory just look at her social media presence.
Sympathy seeking- This can be seen in all Shanann’s endless posts about herself, and the children’s illnesses. Her texts also show sympathy seeking, which differed in degree depending on who was on the other end. And, how about all the posts about her monster children, and seeking sympathy for being a mom.
Disconnect from reality – She tried so hard to present the perfect image, but evidence shows something entirely different. Example: Santa video.
Deflection- That summer alone she deflected any conflicts to Chris, his mother, his father, and even his sister, who was guilty by association. She never took any responsibility for her part in what happened within the family. Shanann also deflected much of the marital issues to Chris, and it took weeks for her take any sort of responsibility. Even then though, she downplayed her contribution to the demise of the marriage as “itty bitty things.”
At the end of the day, no matter what happened on that fatal morning, control & power was at the root of it all. There was far too much control unfolding within the the family dynamics. One wanted & gained all control whilst the other allowed & relinquished all of it. Both adults are at fault. If you go with the first confession it would translate to a woman who could not handle losing control over their lives, so much so that she had a death grip hold of it out of desperation. Making what happened a final act of control and power. If you go with the second confession, or even the third, or any other future story where Chris makes claims that he killed his children, thusly fulfilling his nickname of an evil monster then the translation in that case is that it was due to trying to exert power. That sadly resulted in a literal power struggle that ended in violence, and yes, deadly. Why repeat the cycle of trying to gain control & power over this entire story when those are the very two things that destroyed the family to begin with? Break the cycle, and allow this story to be used for the greater good. There was more at play in this family than an affair. Much more. That affair occurred, because the marriage had already started to spiral into breakdown territory.
The power of choice. Remember the commenter we discussed at the beginning of this post? That person had a choice to read the blog, to stop reading it, to leave a comment, or to never read it again. I had the choice to ignore, engage, reply, hide, or block. My decision was to reply, because if they stick around for other posts at that point it is no longer my fault if the content bothers them. I hope someone within Shanann’s family circle guides them to the easiest solution, which is to remove the public from their eyes & ears, instead of trying to remove the public’s voice, or make new laws. While they are victims, and relatives of those involved in the story, the fact is that what happened that morning is not theirs to try to control. They seem to be more upset at the public discussions than they are Chris Watts himself. Why is that? Oh, no I just asked another question.
Cadle’s book has caused quite a stir for several different reasons. The plagiarism aspect we discussed in part 15 was the cherry on top of the entire ordeal. I considered stopping this series, but we have made it this far, we may as well finish it. There are several chapters that are mostly copied from the Discoveries so, we will not bother covering those chapters. Here is a link to the prior posts in this series for anyone new to the blog: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2019/10/12/letters-from-true-crime-case-analysis-part-1/
Let’s begin, and get right back to where we left off in part 15.
-True Crime Case Analysis
Since it has been a few weeks since part 15 was published let me share the last section of the book we covered:
Chris’s letter ended, and Cadle took over, adding her thoughts about that tragic morning.
“After Christopher killed his family and drove away, Nikki texted him to look up the song by the Metallica band called, “Battery.” I challenge you to look up up the full lyrics of the song. I find it interesting that we should believe it’s only a coincidence.”
—Chris did not dispose of his family’s bodies and drive away. He was at that oil site, Cervi 319, for a few hours with coworkers. All of them as a group did not move on to the next oil site, two miles away, until 9:39 a.m. on August 13th. There is no way to know if Nichol K. texted him or not about the song as her text messages had been deleted. There was outrage at the fact that Nichol had deleted text messages, and people wondered what she had to hide. This matches up with what we’ve discussed in part one of “Never Say Never”, about how we cannot know what we would do in a situation such as Nichol’s. She was dating a man, and suddenly his entire family was missing. We have all seen news stories, and movies, to know it doesn’t look good that the two were engaging in an affair. Chris & Nichol barely knew one another, and self preservation could & probably would have kicked in. Beyond self preservation, and how an affair would look to others, there’s also the fact that there was likely sexually explicit texts contained on her phone that had been exchanged between them. Who would really want anyone to see that? Talk about embarrassing!
I do not know what I would have done in her situation, but have thought of several reasons why one would delete that information. Nichol received further backlash for looking up, “ Can cops trace text messages?” and “How long do phone companies keep text messages?” and finally “Difference between text message content and text message details?” These searches were done on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. in the evening. Nichol contacted the police on Wednesday 8/15 after informing her father about the situation. Why are we so quick to question other’s motives rather than give them the benefit of the doubt? So many people tend to think “Guilty until proven innocent”, remember it is actually “Innocent until proven guilty”. Have you ever deleted something, quickly regretted it, and scrambled to see if you can recover it? I have! Maybe, she deleted it quickly and when she realized the family still had not been found, she then decided she needed to contact police about the affair. The google searches were possibly conducted to see if the cops can get the information they would need back as a means to help the investigation. I feel the need to reiterate that this is a possibility, not a certainty of what & how it happened, because we do not know what actually happened. I do not know how things transpired concerning this matter, only Nichol & possibly her father know. I am also not saying what exactly I do believe, because I am not even sure. I strive to stay neutral, unless otherwise stated at the end of my blogs. I am simply stating that this, or any number of other scenarios, are possible. Perhaps if there had been a trial we would have heard all the details of what happened concerning this matter, and so much more in every aspect of this case. Please, just keep in mind that none of us knows exactly what we would, or could, do in any given situation.Never say Never.
This Metallica song “Battery” has been talked about endlessly in groups and all across social media. It can mean something, or it can mean absolutely nothing at all. I enjoy the song “I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie”, that does not mean I agree with the lyrics or that it means anything to me. To others, song lyrics are very deep, relatable, and meaningful. Chris was a Metallica fan, why would he need to look up the lyrics anyway? Or the meaning of the song? Surely, a staunch fan would know what the lyrics were and/or what they meant. Here’s what the lyrics are:
Lashing out the action, returning the reaction
Weak are ripped and torn away
Hypnotizing power, crushing all that cower
Battery is here to stay
Smashing through the boundaries
Lunacy has found me
Cannot stop the battery
Pounding out aggression
Turns into obsession
Cannot kill the battery
Cannot kill the family
Battery is found in me
Crushing all deceivers, mashing non believers
Never ending potency
Hungry Violence seeker, feeding off the weaker
Breeding on insanity
Circle of destruction, hammer comes crushing
Powerhouse of energy
Whipping up a fury, dominating flurry
We create the battery
After a little Google search, I found this explanation for the song lyrics:
“The theme of the song revolves around the San Francisco thrash scene of the 1980’s. The prominent club played by Metallica was on the Old Waldorf located at 444 Battery street in downtown San Francisco. The tone of the song is one of familial ties and the positive release of energy through the common interest of metal. The lyric, “Cannot kill the family, battery is found in me” is a statement that while society at large doesn’t understand the scene, those within it (i.e. “the family”) will fiercely defend it as a show of solidarity against the glam scene that was popular in the Los Angeles area.”
Does it mean anything that he looked up the lyrics? I don’t know. Is it possible his mind was racing a hundred miles an hour and he needed a distraction? Possible. Is it possible he was talking about Metallica with coworkers while at the job site, and couldn’t recall some of the lyrics? Maybe. Is it possible he looked up the lyrics, which takes you to the audio to play the song? Another possibility. Did Nichol ask him what the song meant, and it’s just a coincidence? Anything is possible. There are so many reasons as to why he might have looked up the lyrics. There are also many ways one can interpret these lyrics, and it will mean something different to each person. When I read these lyrics the very first line doesn’t equate to family annihilation, but rather, could go with his first confession “Lashing out the action, returning the reaction”. Personally, I take that as reacting to someone else’s reaction. It may mean something different to you. The theme of the song I quoted and translated, could be, that the world wouldn’t understand what had happened that morning, or why. Who knows. No one knows why he looked it up, and with his ever revolving stories we will likely never know why.
Chris looked these lyrics up at 10:10 a.m., while at the second oil-site location with coworkers, and after calling their realtor, Anne Meadows. He was at that location until 12:57 p.m. that day.
Here is summary of what he told detectives about the song in his second confession :
Chris’s Internet search does not reflect that he looked up the meaning behind the song, but showed the search was for the lyrics. Chris told detectives he didn’t look it up going to or from the oil site after the murders. He is right, he wasn’t driving, but he did look it up. According to his Internet results, it was late morning after the murders while on location. In that second confession Chris made it seem as though Nichol had asked him prior to that day, and he just happened to look it up later. Here’s my problem, why did the detectives accept this answer? I am a nobody who knew that the search was done from the oil-site after the murders, yet Chris told them it was not from the oil-site after the murders. It was! Why and how did they not know that information to reply; “But Chris, your internet searches showed you did”.
I’ve never seen anyone say “Maybe, it was Shanann’s favorite song”. Everyone discussing the case automatically jumped to it being a negative thing that he was searching the lyrics. Shanann’s profile reflects the fact that she enjoyed Metallica as well, and to my surprise some of the band members use Thrive. No, I am not kidding. See the following:
“After Christopher wrote this letter to me, I asked him if he really put the girls in the oil batteries so he could make sure they didn’t get back up the second time. He replied, “Yeah, it seems.”
—It seems? Is this all a guessing game now because of his poor recollection of the series of events that morning? Chris’ nonchalant reply to Cadle completely cancels out any credibility of his original claim, which was the same; that he put them in the tanks so, they couldn’t get up a second time. Either that was the reason, or it wasn’t.
“Christopher went back to work that day like it was a normal day.”
—Not sure what Cadle means by “back to work” he didn’t go back to work. Chris went to the oil site, disposed of his family’s bodies, and then continued on with his work day once coworkers arrived.
“Later the morning of August 13th, 2018, Shanann’s friend, who had dropped her off the night before, came over to the Watts’ house. She and Shanann were suppose to go look for a car for her to rent through Thrive.”
—Cadle is talking about Nickole Atkinson. It was a rumor that Shanann and Nickole were gonna meet up to go look at cars for Nickole that day. Did Cadle even listen to Nickole’s police interview? What Nickole said in her actual interview with detectives was that usually after a Thrive trip, Shanann would get pumped up, and would want to meet up with her to do business. Another local friend of Shanann’s said in a discussion group that she and Shanann had plans to meet up for a playdate that day. Shanann’s friend Cassie told detectives that Shanann tried to get an earlier flight out of Arizona on Sunday. Cassie explained that Shanann wanted to get home sooner, because Bella & Celeste were to start school the next day, and she would be tired. That makes no sense if Shanann had made plans with two different friends the following afternoon.
In another part of this series, I said it seemed that Shanann was really hung up on the now infamous Lazy Dog Salmon dinner. It would make more sense that she was eager to get home due to that dinner and finding out details, rather than because she wanted to get home to avoid being tired the next day. I mean if she woke up early, dropped the girls off, then went to her doctors appointment, she could have then gone home to nap. Why look to change the flight, which costs money, instead of just cancelling the plans with friends? Shanann never did change her flight, as we know, as a matter of fact she had gotten home even later than previously expected. She did not cancel plans with friends for the next day either.
“She had not heard from Shanann that morning, after she had texted her several times. She contacted another friend, who also usually heard from Shanann every morning. That friend became very worried when she heard others had to tried to contact her also to no avail. Shanann had not reached out to anyone, and was not on Facebook all morning, which was unusual. Her friend was concerned maybe she was sick and passed out. She knew the girls were too young to get help.”
—One day I plan to do an entire post on just Shanann Watts’ friends, and their behaviors throughout this entire ordeal. It is far too much to cover in depth for this particular post. We have seen Shanann’s text messages, and from the ones disclosed to us, I didn’t see her sending anyone morning text messages every single morning, as they claimed she normally did. Nickole Atkinson said that while Shanann was away in North Carolina she wasn’t on Facebook as much, and her profile reflects that to be an accurate observation. I understand you cannot see that her profile reflects that as I can. Nickole did say it though, and if you don’t trust me, then wonder why Nickole would say that if not true. If her Facebook posts were minimal, and texts don’t reflect their claims about contacting them every morning, why were they adamant to police at first that it was unlike her?
People in general have specific patterns of behaviors, but Shanann was also described as very regimented. I am sure that is a correct assessment however, Shanann had not been in her normal day to day routine since June of 2018. When Shanann returned to Colorado after weeks away the Watts’ marital issues were active and in full force. Shanann was only home Wednesday & Thursday before she departed for Arizona on early Friday morning 8/10. She had barely any time to settle back into her normal routine, and likely the marital strife was hindering any adjustment back into a form of normalcy. Again, why were her friends so worried?
After Nickole spoke with Cassie, and both women became concerned, Cassie sent a text to Chris. This is what she said, “Shanann is in a very bad way emotionally, and I’m worried about her…I know you are having issues, but I don’t know to what extent, but I do know I have never seen her so broken to an extent I am worried.” Wait? I thought they were worried Shanann was sick, and passed out at the house? Because that is what the police were told, but here, Cassie clearly states that Shanann’s emotional health was of concern, not her physical health. Why? What was going through Cassie’s mind about Shanann’s emotional state? And why was she considering the possibility that something happened in relation to her emotional well being? Her text to Chris sounds like it’s in code, like a way to say she was worried Shanann may have been suicidal.
“She could see Shanann’s shoes that she had worn the night before sitting by the door. Shanann wore those shoes every time she left the house. She was convinced something was wrong.”
Nickole did tell detectives that Shanann always wore those black flip flops that were sitting by the door. Here’s the problem, how does anyone who didn’t live with Shanann, know what she wore every single time she left the house? Without living there, or being with Shanann every time she left the house, there’s no way anyone can know that positively. Shanann had an entire shoe closet for Pete’s sake, that her father built for her, so an abundance of shoes to choose from. Nickole was aware of her shoe closet, and even told detectives about it, why was she so adamant the flip flops by the door were alarming?
“Thank goodness she was persistent, or it may have been days longer before the police could have pieced everything together. This just shows how good it was that Shanann was connected to a lot of people, what a benefit that ended up being.”
—Shanann’s connections with Thrive led her to know a lot of people, but I am not sure if that was a “benefit” or “good” in the overall picture. Her connection with Thrive took her attention away from her family & marriage. The trips, Bella and Celeste in daycare 45 hours a week, always attached to her phone, neglected the family’s finances, she even admitted to penciling in family time, etc. . .
I am also not so sure that had Nickole A. not gone by the house that morning, that it “could have been days” for the police to piece it together. The school would have noticed the girls’ not in attendance, and her family FaceTimed the girls every evening. There would have been the matter of trying to explain to Nichol K. that his family, whom he flew back to Colorado with, is suddenly not around now. Neighbors in police interviews said they noticed Shanann and the girls were away over the summer, any of them could have noticed they had returned, then suddenly they were gone again.
There were hurdles Chris would have had to jump over to stay off police radar for days. No evidence was found that Chris was trying to flee the area either. The prosecutor tried to imply at sentencing that the Aspen trip was secluded and a place he planned to go after the murders with Nichol K. It turned out when the Discoveries were released that Chris was not trying to flee with Nichol to Aspen. It was Shanann who planned, and booked that trip for them. I wouldn’t consider Aspen as “secluded” or a place one would flee to after murdering their entire family. Mexico, Panama, South America? Sure, but not Aspen located in the same state. When he did get on police radar it is not like he would have gotten away with all this. He left his family’s bodies at a work location, which logically thinking points to it being an act of not premeditated. I have said in other blog posts that Chris knew those tanks got checked often, and that his truck had GPS. At some point, Bella & Celeste would have been located, and when they were it would have pointed right back to Chris. The dots would have been connected that his last known location when his family vanished, was at the very location their bodies were found. He might have gotten a few extra hours to collect his thoughts, but the second he left his family at that site his time was ticking down fast.
“In his mind he could not believe how quickly they had found out she was gone. That was not something he thought about ahead of time.”
—This is incredibly hard for me to believe. Chris knew his wife, her daily routine, how many people she spoke to on a daily basis, what times she spoke to friends, and of course that she was attached to her phone. In his porch interview, Chris said the words “her people”, which was not said passively about how she always answered the phone calls of her Thrive friends. Chris was well aware of her connections through Thrive, which had taken over their lives. On top of that, Chris was aware the girls were headed back to school, and of course how grandparents would be waiting for those exciting first day of school pictures. Was Chris really surprised how fast someone realized they were missing? I don’t see how this is plausible at all given the context of his awareness of Shanann’s normal daily activities.
Who starts to frantically panic when a friend is missing for only a few short hours? Shanann’s mother called the girls’ school before Chris even did early that morning. Why? Two hours later, she called Chris, at only 10 a.m. By this time Nickole had already texted Shanann three times. By 11:46 Nickole texted Shanann, “ I am very worried about you I am coming to your house.” Which was before even knowing Shanann had not made it to her doctor’s appointment, Nickole found that out an hour later.
Consider full context here for a moment in this timeline:
1:48 a.m. Nickole dropped Shanann off at home
7-7:30 a.m. was the normal average timeframe Shanann took the girls to school
8:15-8:30 a.m. Sandy had contacted the school. Why would she call the school if she couldn’t get in contact with Shanann? Why not call Chris first instead?
8:30-8:45 a.m. Chris now called the school
10:28 a.m. Sandy makes her first text to Chris who then called her back
10:51 a.m. there was another call between Sandy & Chris
11:46 a.m. Nickole is very worried, and on the way to the Watts home
12:43 p.m. Cassie texted Chris about Shanann being emotionally broken to the extent she was worried
12:47 p.m. Nickole sent another text to Shanann, after learning she’d missed her appointment.
Cadle continues to write; “Shanann had a doctor’s appointment at 10:00 and Shanann’s friend knew her well enough to know she would never blow off her doctor’s appointment.”
—I think her Thrive friends thought they knew their friend, except they didn’t, or couldn’t have. Several of these Thrive friends didn’t even live locally to Shanann, had never been to her house, or maybe only visited once, they only knew her a little over the two & a half years of her Thrive involvement, and some had only met her in person in that past year. If you listen to their police interviews though, they all speak as though each were her best friend, and knew her every move. Some of them had not even met her daughters, Bella & Celeste. How close can you be if you’ve never been to her house, met her kids, or her husband? Despite all of this, every one of them were adamant about certain things they could not have definitively known. Examples:
1) The flip flops we discussed earlier, and Nickole adamantly saying Shanann wore those every time she left the house, and not being able to definitely know that.
2) Nickole claimed Shanann always made the girls’ beds. How would she know whether or not Shanann made the girls’ beds at all, let alone everyday? Was Nickole there at their home every single day inside the girls’ rooms to know that? Nope.
3) Several friends said Shanann would never leave without an Epipen, but unless they saw inside her purse every single time she left the house they couldn’t know that.
4) Nickole said she wouldn’t go anywhere without the girls’ car seats, and even said to the detective, “Who has spare car seats just laying around?” The cop agreed with her that no one does, and chuckled. Well, Shanann did have spare car seats. In the Discoveries, it mentioned that not only were carseats in the Lexus, but there was also spare car seats on the side of the Lexus, right there in the garage. It is not far fetched that a friend of Shanann’s could have had extra car seats for her and she left with them, or there were even two that Shanann herself took from her garage. We know that is not what happened, but it was not out of the realm of possibility at that time. Back to main point though; how would Nickole know Shanann would not have taken the girls without their car seats, unless Nickole was at the home every single day to know what she would and wouldn’t do?! Nope, Nickole couldn’t know.
That is just a few quick examples, and there’s plenty more.
“The officer commented to Christopher that he couldn’t imagine what he was going through. Christopher did not seem to have any emotions and did not seem to respond in an appropriate way. His facial expressions did not change and when they did, he would smirk or smile inappropriately, showing a lack of empathy, especially when speaking of his girls. His voice remained low and even-toned and his nonverbal cues were very apparent. Christopher had an erect and tense posture, with his arms crossed the majority of the time. He lacked eye contact, and kept looking around appearing nervous.”
—For clarification purposes, in case you cannot tell this entire quote is Cadle’s own observations, interpretation, and opinion of police body camera footage. Did you notice it is noted that the officer said to Chris, “ I cannot imagine what you are going through?” We just talked about that statement in the, “Never Say Never” series! Yet, the rest of this quote is all Cadle judging Chris’s demeanor as if she knows how one should act, speak, or present themselves in a situation she has not ever been in before. This entire paragraph in this chapter is a prime example of what was discussed, and here’s the link to that series in case you missed that one: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/01/07/never-say-never-part-1/
To cover this book quote, we need to remember that Chris did know where his family was when these videos were recorded. As it was unfolding, we did not have access to the video, and saw them months later after knowing he had part in whatever transpired. We do know at minimum Chris was guilty of something.
With that in mind, let’s now learn about body language in connection to murder suspects or persons of interest. In an article for the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Dr. Brian Fitch, Ph.D., a lieutenant with the Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff’s Department was quoted as saying, “There is no universal sign of deception. Many individuals believe they can detect when a person is lying because of the way a person shifts around in their seat or avoids eye contact. But this kind of behavior could also indicate shyness, nervousness, a medical condition, or simply be part of their typical demeanor.”
Wesley Clark, a retired detective with 22 years on the job, and founder of LIES, LLC (Linguistics Interrogation Expert Services) a company that trains law enforcement in investigative interviewing detecting deception and accessing credibility said, “No matter how good a person is or how long they have been doing investigations [no one can automatically tell when someone is lying]…but it looks good on TV to say they can.” When asked, “What about not being able to look someone in the eye-is that a common sign of lying?” Clark answered, “There is no research that supports that. Actually, the research counters that—because a lot of people believe that to be true. If you believe that, then when I ask you a question you are going to lie and you are going to look me in the eye.”
The interviewer then asked, “And are there body-language tells?” Clark answered, “People talk about analyzing body language, but they read too much into it. They are guiding tools. What we look for is behavioral stuff that changes in a person’s baseline. We look at how a person normally communicates, carries their body, talks with their hands and uses expressions. Once you’ve done that when you are asking your relevant questions, you notice: Does the behaviors change? It’s not necessarily indicative of deception, but it guides the investigator because something has changed with their comfort level.”
Let’s compare how Chris carried his body before and after August 13th, 2018 with a few side by side analysis.
Cadle says he lacked eye contact, but body camera footage shows otherwise. Chris even looked the reporters in the eyes during his interviews, and even with investigators during his interrogation. She said he spoke low and even toned, but if you listen to his father speak he is the exact same way. If you watch Shanann’s videos he talked that way too, and everyone did say he was on the quieter side. Cadle said he was tense, why wouldn’t he have been tense one way or another? If innocent and his entire family is missing, one would be tense because of the fear of the unknown. If he was guilty of something he would be tense, because of fear of what is going to happen. How is one suppose to display empathy through body language, especially when you are distracted by cops combing through every crevice of your home?
Exhibiting empathy through body language is a significant part of the commutation process. Chris was not communicating with his missing family to display any empathetic body language towards them. Cadle said he kept looking around nervous, who wouldn’t be? Guilty or not isn’t it normal human behavior to look around at people in your home? If he tuned them out, and stared into the distance that would have been an issue too. If he cried, screamed, or caused a scene that would have been a distraction and an issue too. There is no guideline for how one should present themselves in these circumstances. With public opinion, you do not win either way. One husband will give a media interview when his family is missing, and is convicted in the minds of the people, but another husband declines an interview and that means he is guilty too. Cannot win.
“He would wake up in his dream and all the lights in his house were on. They were on upstairs and downstairs. Then in his dream he would realize he was all alone, that his family was gone, and it was just him. The dream gave him an awful feeling; somehow, he knew that dream was going to come true. Was it his mind preparing him? Or was it god’s warning? Sure enough, the night of August 13th, the night after he had just killed his family that morning, he said he turned off all the lights and went to bed. He woke with a start and realized all the lights in the house were on. He knew he had turned them all off before lying down.”
—For five weeks, Chris was alone in their large home on Saratoga Trail. Sure, he was visiting Nichol’s apartment, and stayed with her in the evenings much of the time. He did however, have to go home to take care of Dieter, get clothes, and workout. There are also a few instances where Nichol and Chris had a conflict where he had returned to his home. Every time Chris walked into that home for whatever reason, he was alone for five whole weeks. Was the dream preparing him? Depends on whether or not you believe he even had a dream like this. In his police interview and media interviews, he said he left all the lights on that evening of the 13th. Which is the opposite of him now claiming to Cadle that he turned all the lights off, and when he woke they were all on. Chris really seems to talk often about dreams, nightmares, visions, and visitations, even hallucinations. With how many times he has spoken in this way, how can he decipher between what really happened and what is just in his head? What is going on in the mind of Chris Watts in his prison cell? I would really like to see a psychological evaluation done. Should be noted that officers noted the lights were on all night as Chris had said in his police interviews in August. No mention of them being all off prior to that.
Cadle continued, “He laid downstairs the rest of the night. He was creeped out; he could feel the spirits in the home.”
—This seems too far fetched to me that he was thinking about spirits back in August, within hours of the tragedy. He reconnected with God later, and many of the references to spirits, evil, and darkness talk are all connected to the Bible, which is the only thing he had access to during his time in Weld County Jail. This would be more of an in hindsight thought, if the dream is even true.
“On August 14, the day after the murders, Shanann’s friend, who still didn’t know what happened to Shanann and the girls, reached out to the media for help. She did not ask Christopher how he felt about it first. She called them and then told him they wanted to do an interview. Christopher did not want to do an interview, and sought advice from a friend, his friend told him it might not look if he didn’t do the interview. So, he agreed to meet with them if they would come to his house.”
—The first reporter that had met with Chris gave an interview shortly after he was sentenced. In that interview, she described what it was like to interact with Chris, and how the interview came to be. She named the friend who had contacted her, and that friend was Nickole Atkinson. It is no surprise to me that Chris did not want to do the interview. He did not even like to be on Shanann’s Facebook live videos, was introverted, and quiet. The interview was definitely out of the comfort zone for someone with a personality like Chris’s. With all we know about his personality, it is no surprise either that he submitted to the interview. Chris really didn’t seem to know how to say no, is passive, submissive, and avoided conflicts. What intrigues me the most about these tv interviews is:
1) Shanann’s mom said on the TV program 20/20 that she did not want Chris to do the interview, but she was glad he decided to do it in the end. Why on earth would she not want him to do that interview? I cannot find a single reason for advising him not to do it, or even to feel as though he shouldn’t do it. At this point, she was already trying to push the cops to look at Chris. There was even a phone call made from her to police in the early hours of the day of his interview, she told cops he might pour oil on the bodies. Unless, she was worried Shanann did do something, and was concerned the investigate would switch to Shanann. Other than that, why NOT do the interview? It seems apparent that many of Shanann’s friends were concerned about her emotional state, so why would her mother try so hard to accuse Chris of such an act? And so soon?
2) Our behaviors can rub off on the people we are around or talk to the most. There have been studies of it, you can look them up. Calling the media just after 24 hours for Chris to give an interview, without asking if he thought it would be a good idea first, is quite frankly disrespectful. Let me point out another friend who seemed to cross a boundary, and even the detective’s summary said this friend chastised Chris. That friend was Cassie who said, “My only concern is your damn wife, and her well being” and “So unless you want the police to bust your damn door down you get home and check on your family.” Chris told her he was on his way and not to call police. Cassie replied, “Nikki and I know what state she was in all weekend and we want to see she isn’t in the house, because this is seriously a concern.” It appears to me that from being in the presence of Shanann all weekend and hearing how she spoke of him, and also having spent some time with Shanann and Chris in the past, that how Chris was treated by Shanann had rubbed off on her friends in the ways they were treating him. There was a lack of empathy and inquiry about how he may have felt doing an interview, being given orders, and even ultimatums. What if he was entirely innocent, and Shanann had done something? Did anyone ask how he was doing too?
While we are discussing how everyone was treating Chris that day:
Chris arrived home that day, and entered the home through the garage. Nickole, her teenage son Nicholas, and Nathan could have all followed behind Chris and entered through the garage door. They didn’t, and Chris never said they couldn’t. There was a minute lapse in the body camera footage from when he entered the garage door, and when he opened the front door. While they waited on the porch, Nickole was on the phone with Shanann’s mom. The phone call was on speaker, and Nickole had asked the cop if they could go in. The cop replied that he needed Chris’s permission as he was the homeowner. At that moment, Shanann’s mom said in a very stern demanding voice, “Nikki I give you permission to go in my daughter’s house.” Technically and legally it was Chris’s house, but both adults did live there as a married couple, making it the home of both of them, and their children. The fact she said, “my daughter’s house” shows not only a lack of respect for Chris, but it also disregards him as a husband and father that has provided that house for his family. It also mirrors Shanann’s behaviors towards Chris in how he was treated within the family. Let’s not forget, Shanann would not even allow him to hang a picture on the walls of their home. Again, what if Chris was entirely innocent? He was being ordered around, demands placed on him, dismissed, and disrespected by all the people closest to them.
I understand that those who believe in Chris’s full guilt couldn’t care less about him being disrespected, and I can understand that feeling. The problem is though, their initial concern was not about Chris and what he may have done, at all. It was Shanann they were highly concerned about, her emotional state and maybe what she had done while being in such a high emotional state, and it was not until after his arrival home that their focus seemed to switch. If they were initially so concerned that her emotional, mental, or even her physical well being caused some type of catastrophe, why treat him in this manner? Were they acting this way, because they knew he did something? Unlikely, as no one could have expected this from him and no one said a bad thing about him. Or, was it learned behavior from hearing Shanann speak about her husband and having witnessed Shanann with Chris? I am going with the latter. I know Chris’s word is not fact, but he did claim to Nichol K. that the kids had started to mimic Shanann too, and kids are not the only ones who mimic.
I usually end these posts in the book series with a letter from me with an overall point. We are near the end of this book series, and have maybe one or two more posts to cover the book in it’s entirety. We spoke in this post about body language, and behaviors before & after a crime, briefly. In keeping with that, I am going to make a new post about behaviors that have piqued the interest of people concerning the first confession. I will include educational material to go with what I share.
Welcome back, again! Hopefully, you have processed everything we’ve discussed in part one, and ready to gain more knowledge. Knowledge is power as the saying goes. We are going to jump right back into false confessions.
Arnett Gaston a clinical psychologist and criminologist at the University of Maryland College Park, on voluntary type false confessions, “Voluntary false confessions often arise from a toxic psychological brew of obsession, delusion, guilt, or self loathing.”
Dr. Jack Vaeth, a psychiatrist with the Sheppard Pratt Health System, said “Another common reason people own up to crimes they didn’t commit is a sense of guilt about something they did do.”
The most common type of false confession is the coercive compliant form directly resulting from an interrogation with law enforcement. Voluntary false confessions are harder to find, because if they are doing it to cover up for someone else, why tell anyone? If they are doing it because they feel guilty, why tell anyone? If they falsely confessed because of self loathing, why tell anyone that? I am sure you get the point. There could be many voluntary false confessions by innocent types of individuals in prison right this moment. Coercive compliant false confessions are the most commonly heard of type, because usually the confession is recanted, they fought in a trial, or the verdict is/was appealed. In other words, they were proven to be innocent later. A cognitive psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, explained the persuaded type of false confessions with a perfect analogy, “False memories are like a Wikipedia page that can be edited by you, and others.”
Further she said, “Once people believe something to be true, their imagination kicks in, and they begin to visualize the situation using past experiences from themselves, others, even movies. When the patchwork of memories get stitched together and internalized, truth and fiction become indistinguishable.”
Still think you would never confess to something you didn’t do? College aged students participated in a (Shaw 2015) study, and 70% of the participants were able to be convinced they committed a crime. Not only did they confess, but also gave a full blown detailed account of the crime.
That’s quite scary, especially when you take into account everything we’ve discussed at the beginning of part one of this series. We are all very different people who handle and respond to matters, situations, and circumstances, in vastly different ways. Why is it that despite that, so many participants came to the same conclusion? Makes you wonder how many people are sitting in a prison cell right now who still believe they committed the crime they were convicted for, but are entirely innocent! The persuaded type of false confession.
Going with the theme of sayings, you all should know, “Eye for an eye” right? Some people are convinced in this concept, and others are fully opposed to it. Charging and convicting someone for a murder is an attempt to take their life in exchange for taking someone else’s. This can happen either through a long term prison sentence, life without parole, or the death penalty. Eye for an eye. Ironically, in the coerced false confession type category, law enforcement are allowed to lie to seek a confession, which then results in the suspect lying to police. Doesn’t make any sense, does it? Lie to gain a lie, both sides creating one spinning tale of lies, all while seeking a life for a life during an interrogation. Seems in an interrogation room, and courtroom you are guilty until proven innocent, and once you confess you are guilty until you jump through rings of fire to prove your innocence.
Let’s say someone gave a false confession to a murder, whether coercive, voluntary, or persuaded. The case went to trial, their confession was the biggest piece of evidence, and the innocent was convicted. They were given life in prison without possibility of parole, or death sentence. Stan V. Smith, a forensic economist & expert on compensation for exonerations said, “In some respects, the wrongly convicted may actually suffer a loss greater than death. It’s not just the years they lost and the mental anguish of being incarcerated wrongfully. Your earnings are going to be impaired for life. It’s also like being thrown into a time warp.”
The next statement on the list from part one was, “He is not covering for Shanann, a person would never go to prison for rest of his life for someone else.” Well, the voluntary false confession proves this statement wrong. As mentioned earlier, this is one of the very reasons for voluntary confessions. It happens enough to have made it to a list of types of false confessions, only three types, but that’s just off cases experts were eventually made aware of. How many voluntarily go to prison for someone else who take the truth to their grave? How can we know if the entire point is to cover for someone else’s crime? Why would someone want to cover for someone else’s life, and sacrifice themselves? I, personally can think of few reasons: love, guilt, regret, fear, self loathing, or repaying a favor or debt. Technically, if someone gave any type of false confession and was convicted, they went to prison for someone else’s crime. This is a little different than intentionally and deliberately choosing to lie with the motive to cover for someone else.
Speaking of, “Taking it to grave” which is another known saying:
The new study, released in 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed 1 in 25 sentenced to death in the U.S. are innocent. “Tells you that a surprising number of innocent people are sentenced to death,” said Samuel R. Gross, the lead author, in an interview with Newsweek. “It tells you that a lot of them haven’t been exonerated. Some of them no doubt have been executed.” In his study it showed that more than half of the innocent people sentenced to death in the past 41 years are unaccounted for. Probably wondering why I am bringing up wrongful convictions when we are talking about false confessions. Well, if you recall in part one I listed the following statistical finding: 25% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA involved also false confessions. In that post, it was also listed that false confessions are the leading cause of false convictions in homicides. How many are sitting on death row who gave any type of false confession? How many took it to their graves? How many fought all the way to their grave, or the defeat gave them no more will to live?
We will never know. But, someday it could be someone you know.
The next statement on the list from part one of this blog series was, “I would never take a plea deal if I wasn’t guilty.” It actually flabbergasts me when I stumble on these comments in discussion groups. Where does one even begin with this? How about starting with a statistic: 97% of criminal cases end in plea deals. That leaves only 3 % of criminal cases going to trial. Never say never.
The reason this statement flabbergasts me is, because they seem to think there’s no reason one would take a plea deal if innocent. When there are many reasons why, and for some people it’s multiple reasons not just one sole reason. As we’ve discussed, we simply cannot know what we would do in a circumstance where a plea deal is even being considered. Let me do another comparative to the Watts case, then I’ll list reasons why others may take plea deals.
-Chris had 9 charges stacked against him. Prosecutors charge individuals with as many charges as they can, so it keeps the assumed perpetrator in jail. It is also done to leave wiggle room for bargaining a deal later. They charged Chris with every possible thing they could. Fighting 1,2,3 charges is a whole lot more feasible than, 4,5,6,7,8,9 of them. If Chris’s defense would have been exactly as his confession then, he already owned 5 of those charges. That still left 4 charges to fight! When you admit you did more than half of the charges against you, how difficult is it to prove to a jury you didn’t do the rest? I would imagine not easy at all.
-Chris had public defenders, and they work for the state. Basically it is state versus state. We know Chris was broke financially at the time of his arrest, and his family did not have the funds needed to supply him with a criminal defense lawyer. When a case is so widely known the price of a defense lawyer can skyrocket, even more if you want a prominent one who has a good track record of acquittals. With a private criminal defense lawyer you have more defense possibilities, resources, and an array of experts. They also tend to have more experience to handle cases of this magnitude.
-It would have been years before his case went to trial if it had been a death penalty case, which would have been years of proceedings for both families, witnesses, and friends.
-Waiting around for his trial would have left him in the Weld County jail, where his presence was definitely well known. His own life was in danger there from other inmates, to the point he had to be entirely secluded during his 4 month stay. Waiting, again, would have resulted in years of isolation from any human contact except, guards & lawyers. Can you imagine? Any clue what that must feel like? For weeks, months, the idea of doing that for years?
-We have discussed over, and over, that Chris is/was submissive, passive and avoided conflicts at all cost. That’s not really up for debate, even Shanann recognized this in him. A weak personality would not be able to handle the long trial process. It takes a very strong individual to fight. It’s you versus basically everyone else. For a man who wouldn’t fight with his wife, not even when she tried to provoke him, why would anyone expect him to fight against the jury, judge, prosecution, and public? In hindsight, it makes total sense why someone like Chris took a plea deal.
-Chris was in solitary confinement for a lot of his stay in the Weld County Jail. Anything is better than solitary it seems, and we will get to solitary confinement soon.
Now let’s discuss why people in general take plea deals. Obviously, some do because they are in fact guilty. Tara Burke, a psychology professor at Ryerson University said, “Sometimes the accused may feel the evidence against them is insurmountable, or may not want to cause further harm.”
For those who are innocent, the stacked evidence could just be circumstantial, not irrefutable concrete proof. The fear that the circumstantial evidence would be enough to convict you, and not wanting to take that chance, is a reality for many.
“The cost of defending yourself against serious charges is very, very high. There are a lot of people who are just not able to do that” says Sandy Garossino, a former prosecutor.
Maddy DeLone, Executive Director of Innocence Project said, “Our system makes it a rational choice to plead guilty to something you didn’t do.”
The general public who have never been in the position to decide whether or not to take a plea deal cannot comprehend how it is a rational choice. Plea bargaining is also a coercive process that makes innocent people feel they have no choice. Going to trial is a tremendous risk, and it’s completely unpredictable what the result will be. Some people are gambling addicts, while others find the concept of gambling to be risky, and imperil.
Many states that have capital punishment use sparing a person’s life as a threatening means to try to seal a plea deal. Taking death off the table as a tool shows there’s more concern for a notch on their belt, instead of facts, and truth seeking justice. Randomly, I stumbled upon this article about Colorado using removal of death penalty in plea bargains when researching plea deals. Here’s the link: https://www.enddeathpenaltyco.org/plea-bargain and also found a Colorado timeline on the death penalty history in Colorado: https://coloradosun.com/2019/03/04/timeline-the-death-penalty-in-colorado/
From website Fairtrials.org, “Trial waivers is a process not prohibited by law under which criminal defendants agree to accept guilt and/or cooperate with the investigative authority in exchange for some benefit from the state, most commonly in the form of reduced charges and/ or lower sentences.” Otherwise know as a, plea deal. They go on to say that trial waivers have a place in our justice system, but without any safeguards can cause injustice. Here’s some points they further shared against trial waivers/plea deals:
-An estimated 20,000 innocent people are in prisons after taking a plea deal.
-There is an inequality of “arms” and a lack of transparency when deals are made behind closed doors.
-Public trust in justice can be undermined.
-Gives up your rights to have the case against you tested by an impartial court and to have the actions of the police scrutinized. Without fair trial protections, you can end up with a stacked deck in favor of the prosecution.
Here are two interesting info graphics from their site:
To relate this to the Watts case, Chris had the death penalty taken off the table during the bargaining phase. Here’s the problem though, in Colorado with the state of the government he would have not been put to death for a very long time, if ever. On the day of Chris’s plea deal it was actually Election Day, and one of the governors who was leading in the polls is adamantly against the death penalty. At the press conference after the hearing, the prosecutor said there was an original offer to which he countered that he wouldn’t take anything less than all the charges. In exchange, he would remove death penalty. Wow! We have never seen that original offer. After Chris was sentenced, two weeks later, there was another press conference. The prosecutor was questioned about the two plea deals, and his answer was there was only one. This confused a lot of people, because that contradicted the previous press conference. He was right though, it was only one pleadeal. A deal meaning the terms that Chris agreed to, and signed. There was bargaining, but that isn’t a deal until it’s hashed out and made official. This seems to have been left out of a lot of discussions about the case, overlooked, even ignored, or maybe some weren’t paying close enough attention. We should all wonder what Chris originally wanted to plead guilty to for the prosecutor to have to counter with the fact that he wouldn’t take anything less than ALL the charges. Oh, and that person leading in the polls that is against the death penalty, is now Governor.
What deal did Chris really get in taking a plea deal? Sure he had death penalty removed, but that was never really something that would have become a reality. Chris actually gained a lot by not gambling. For one, he saved loved ones further harm, time, and stress having to deal with the court proceedings for years. He avoided a conflict of mass proportion which is a huge gain for a man who avoided conflict, no matter the cost; like the cost of the rest of his life spent in prison. Just a few short weeks after Chris was officially sentenced, he was transported out of state, away from the Weld County Jail which had become his own personal hell. That’s a lot to gain, and likely made the deal very appealing.
Throughout the Watts case, Chris’s family has been under a lot of scrutiny, and criticism. I am not gonna get heavy into that, but I bring it up for a reason. One of the things often said is that the Watts are in denial. We have no idea if they are in denial, simply because we are not them. Further, how can anyone deem them in denial when the truth has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt? On the other hand, from a different view, isn’t a plea deal a form of denial? Meaning, isn’t a plea deal denying the facts to be put forth at trial? Those facts that would possibly lead to the truth? Especially after everything we’ve now learned about plea deals, interrogations, and all the facets that lead to plea deals.
As far as Shanann’s family, the District Attorney told the public that her mother asked him, “Why didn’t you accept it already” when speaking of the offer on the table. Their daughter had been accused, by Chris. Accusations against their daughter and eagerness to put an immediate end to the case, and avoiding any aspect of truth coming out in a court of law, can be seen as a form of denial. Denying that the statements he made originally couldn’t possibly be true. But, what if it is? Now, I am not saying either family is in denial, please don’t misunderstand me. What I am saying is; how can we deem only one side of being in denial, when the entire plea deal process is denial of true justice in & of itself, from all parties involved?
Now let’s discuss solitary confinement. Whether for weeks, months, or years it can lead to severe symptoms and issues. I saw one case while researching solitary confinement of a man who spent 44 years in solitary confinement, and was then released. Can you imagine going from solitary confinement to the outside world? Especially without being weaned back into society slowly? Anyway, there is extensive research that has been done, and here is some of what one may experience in solitary confinement:
-Isolation panic or anxiety
-Question who they are
-Declining cognitive functions including memories and concentration
-Hypersensitive to large places, sounds, and touch once out of solitary
-Negative overwhelming thoughts
-Shrinks parts of the brain, including the hippocampus which is responsible for memory, spatial orientation, and control of emotions. Per Sandra Schank, a psychiatrist
-Active imaginary life (vivid mental imagery) per David Pearson, a cognitive psychologist
-Obsess uncontrollably as if their mind didn’t even belong to them over tiny details or personal grievance
Here’s some health symptoms: headaches/migraines, sweating, dizziness, heart palpitations, hypertension, weight loss sometimes to the extreme, digestion issues, and abdominal pains
Just like with anything else, not everyone will experience all of these issues listed, some will experience many of them, others a few, some maybe none at all. I think 23 hours in a small cell that is as long as your bed would definitely cause some form of suffering or harm, even if minimal. Now, let’s say you are in that cell and are one of the people who are experiencing some of those symptoms that are listed. Are you imagining? Then a plea deal is offered to you. That plea deal will get you out of your current circumstance, not right away, but eventually. Maybe, you are experiencing memory or cognitive issues. You take the deal, because you are not in the right mental frame of mind and cannot process such a life altering decision.
Dr. Richard Smeyne , a professor of neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University said about solitary confinement, “Looking at the areas of the brain involved in the sensation and motor behavior the neurons shrunk after one month by about 20%, and by three months, 25%.”
Terry Kupers of the Wright Institute, and prominent critic of solitary confinement said, “What we’ve found is that a series of symptoms occur almost universally . They are so common that it’s something of a syndrome. I’m afraid we are talking about permanent damage.” He likened the symptoms to those seen in soldiers suffering from PTSD. The conditions are so similar, and from studies about soldiers, show it severely alters pathways in the brain.
From USA Today, “Even more harmful to the ideas of justice is holding someone in isolation prior to trial. This has a powerful effect of forcing innocent people into taking a plea of guilty, as some will do anything to stop the torture.”
Seems one tragedy can lead to another tragedy.
Chris Watts took a plea deal, and was sentenced in November of 2018. The entire case was wrapped up in three months. It’s not common for a plea deal to be in place, especially before even making it to a preliminary hearing. In fact, it’s practically unheard of. By the beginning to the middle of December, Chris had already been transported out of Colorado. It appeared to the public that the case was finalized, and nothing more would come from it. February 2019, on Presidents’ Day, the lead detectives from three different agencies (FBI, CBI, FPD) who had worked on Chris’s case appeared in Wisconsin where he was located. This has always left my mind to wonder if there had been a discussion before they made the trip. For three different agencies to put forth the expense and time to fly several states away for a closed case just doesn’t add up when they have many open cases. Chris was under no legal obligation to speak with any of them. Oftentimes plea deals require allocution, but Chris’s deal did not require that of him. For those who do not know what allocation is, it’s when a defendant explicitly admits, specifically and in detail, his actions & reasonings for reduced sentence. Prosecutor Rourke said they waived allocation, because they all agreed they would never believe what he had to say.
Never say never.
Suddenly, there was a change of heart and the three detectives flew out there to hear what he had to say. Isn’t that interesting? It is almost as if they knew for sure Chris would talk to them. They likely didn’t fly all the way there to hear Shanann killed the kids again, especially not after his plea deal. Chris maybe recognized that as well, because what would be the point in traveling there if he stuck to the original story. Although, there are people who do believe the purpose was for that, and that they wanted more details about the first confession. Then there are others who think they went to see about an accomplice. I’m convinced they didn’t go out there to hear that Shanann killed the kids again. All of this to say, that meeting was another form of an interrogation. Imagine having to go through that, again! Sit and listen to the audio of that meeting, it was very interrogative, besides the giggling exchanges towards the end. We had one interrogation in August, and had another in February for an additional almost five hours. Cheryln Cadle also did a form of interrogation for her book when she met with him for six hours over two occasions not long after he already gave a second confession. Then add in any calls they exchanged in between the two meetings, and of course his supposed letters too.
I was diligently writing this post, and to my surprise I received Chris’s intake form from Dodge Correctional Institute dated January 2019. It was just a few pages, but only one section stood out to me seen here:
The documents quoted Chris as saying, “Honestly, I am still trying to piece it all together myself.”
This intake form was done a month prior to his meeting with the three detectives when they visited him in Wisconsin. During that second confession, Chris told the detectives he knew right away what happened and had told his lawyers the truth. If he was still trying to piece it together months later, how did he tell his lawyers anything? January there’s a claim he was still trying to piece it all together, February he met with detectives, and in April he told Cadle an entirely different story. I would say this explains why his story keeps changing, because he maybe hasn’t pieced it all together or does not remember.
Next sentence says, “He is trying to distance himself as much as he can right now from that moment.”
As I just said above, but also he went on to talk to detectives about that moment for five hours, and agreed to an entire book about that moment with Cadle.
Next section about his current attitude says, “He has been told to appeal it but is not in the right frame of mind to do this right now.”
If Chris was not in the right frame of mind after being sentenced, how was he in the right frame of mind to agree to a plea deal to begin with?
“He doesn’t want to make people go through the process for just 2-3 years.”
Wait, if he is fully guilty, why would he even try to fight it? See how he also weighed the options? Put families through the process to save himself 2-3 or just take the deal so everyone including himself can heal.
There was one other statement not in the screenshot above that stood out to me. It says, “When discussing his current offenses with Mr. Watts he showed emotions at the mention of the victims and appears to still be processing the crime.”
How many times have people said Chris has never showed emotions? Even during his sentencing with tears rolling down his face there were many who claimed he had no emotions. We have seen Chris a handful of times since the tragedy occurred, and have no way of knowing what emotions he shows when not in front of a camera. This statement discredits all the opinions that say he has no emotions.
When I discuss false confessions I don’t take the information and only apply it to false confessions during interrogations. False confessions can be held all the way through conviction, even to death. Apply the information to all three of Chris’s confessions. Yes, there are three total confessions. The idea pushed by Cadle that her book was just an extension of his second confession is false. Second confession, was a snapped rage domino effect type murder spree explanation. That is not what her now deemed non-credible book entailed. Three confessions, one man, one confession on video, one in audio, and one in written form. Which are you suppose to believe? I am going to end this series with some information from a website called, Police Watch Magazine. Keeping all three stories at the forefront of your mind and viewing his confessions of “interrogations”. Here’s some rather fascinating statements from the website, and the link: https://www.policechiefmagazine.org/i-did-it-confession-contamination-and-evaluation/
“False confessions come about through a combination of factors, including vulnerability of the suspect, the interrogation tactics and questioning style that are used, and, most importantly, tunnel vision on the part of the investigator.”
“Contamination is a concept well known to law enforcement. Officers wear gloves at crime scenes and separate witnesses so they do not share information…contamination has been identified as the third step in obtaining false confessions.”
“Contamination is usually found in cases where, due to the investigator’s sincere belief in the suspect’s guilt, tunnel vision and the accompanying verification bias kicks in. In other words, the interrogator begins to focus on signs of guilt, ignoring or explaining away any evidence to the contrary.”
Recall in Chris’s second confession, there really didn’t seem too much focus on Nichol Kessinger. Yes, he did speak of her, and they did ask about her. In Cadle’s book though, Nichol seemed to be the primary focus, and guess what Cadle believes? If you guessed she believes Nichol is at fault or involved, you are correct. Tunnel vision. You know when Chris used the word “nutgate” in the second confession? Remember him talking about how his family had told him about Shanann’s text messages? How his lawyers told him what Nichol said in her interview? Those examples all show contamination at some point between the first and second confession. I am sure there was more disclosed to Chris’s ears between the second and third confession too.
Here’s my favorite part of the article: “Since confession evidence can be so powerful, and tunnel vision plays such a huge role in many false confessions, an evaluation should be performed by someone outside the immediate investigation. A “devil’s advocate” should be assigned the specific role of challenging any assumptions made by the investigators, and their interpretations of the evidence.” And, on that note . . . . . . https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2019/12/29/all-in-one-place/