Audio version now available here: https://fbwat.ch/1sBfTPWCCrJJzmPH
This was suppose to be the ending to, “Letters from True Crime Case Analysis Part 16” seen here: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/01/15/letters-from-true-crime-case-analysis-part-16/
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.
This is not the only recent story that the publics opinions, and their speculations were off base. You might remember me discussing the recent story of Heidi Broussard, and her infant daughter Margo. I spoke about this story at the end of Part 15 in this book series. You can find that post here: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2019/12/22/letters-from-true-crime-case-analysis-part-15/
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.
You can read the, “Letters from Christopher” book series here: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2019/10/12/letters-from-true-crime-case-analysis-part-1/
Here is a new series we began last week: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2020/01/07/never-say-never-part-1/
This link will give you all other past posts: https://truecrimecaseanalysis.home.blog/2019/12/29/all-in-one-place/
I want to share some screenshots of just a few comments that had been left under that creepy doll photo. They’re located on Shanann’s profile, and were made within the first few days of the case.
You can see the rest of the hundreds of comments if you would like here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155616213426935&set=a.10150584531431935&type=3
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 to do 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.
Here is the press conference link for anyone who may have missed it: https://fbwat.ch/1fV6DTWBML94dosg
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.
Until next time…