Shanann Watts’ Facebook page painted a portrait of a happy married life – of a woman dedicated to her husband and their two young children. She called her husband Christopher Watts, “my ROCK!” and said he was “the best dad us girls could ask for.”
On Monday, the 34-year old Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was reported missing along with her two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.
According to CBS News, two days later, a body believed to be Shanann’s was found on property owned by Christopher’s employer, Anadarko Petroleum. Remains believed to belong to their two children were later found nearby. Christopher is now in jail facing six charges ― three for first-degree murder and three for tampering with evidence
The juxtaposition of Shanann’s seemingly idyllic life and its violent end has stunned the public and attracted widespread media attention. Many commenters expressed shock that a father who, by online accounts, appeared to love his family so much could brutally take their lives, as police have alleged. Yet experts in domestic violence say it’s impossible to know what happens behind closed doors, and social media accounts can act as a tool to hide turmoil in the home.
Shanann, who posted on social media as part of her job selling health products, interspersed her sales pitches with adoring messages about her husband and kids.
“I couldn’t imagine a better man for us. You spoil us with love an attention! You put up with 3 impatient, demanding women in the house,” she wrote on Instagram in April. “I love you so much and so grateful you hung around when I tried pushing you away in the beginning!”
On Father’s Day, Shanann penned a loving tribute to her husband on Facebook, and she shared over a dozen photos of him cuddling and playing with their two kids. “Chris, we are so incredibly blessed to have you!” she wrote. “You do so much everyday for us and take such great care of us. You are the reason I was brave enough to agree to number 3!”
On June 19, she posted a screenshot of their texts after she sent him a photo of her ultrasound; he replied that he loved the little peanut already. “I love Chris!” she wrote. “He’s the best dad us girls could ask for.”
The couple had a combined income of $90,000 in 2014. They also had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, along with some student loans and medical bills — for a total of $70,000 in unsecured claims on top of a sizable mortgage.
They said in the June 2015 bankruptcy filing that their nearly $3,000 mortgage and $600 in monthly car payments formed the bulk of their $4,900 in monthly expenses.
After his wife and daughters were reported missing and before he was arrested, Christopher stood on his porch and lamented to reporters how much he missed them, saying he longed for the simple things like telling his girls to eat their dinner and gazing at them as they curled up to watch cartoons.