Bella Watts, Celeste Watts and Shanann Watts

This photo combo of images provided by The Colorado Bureau of Investigation shows, from left, Bella Watts, Celeste Watts and Shanann Watts. The Frederick Police Department said Chris Watts was taken into custody. Watt's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. The police said on Twitter early Thursday that Chris Watts will be held at the Weld County Jail. He has not yet been charged.

Excruciating details about the murders of Shanann Watts, her unborn child and her two daughters, at the hands of her husband, and father of the children, Chris Watts, were aired Tuesday on national television.

Chris Watts strangled his wife, Shanann, after the coupled had argued and Watts admitted to his wife that he was having an affair, according to dialogue on Tuesday's episode of the Dr. Phil show.

When Chris, on Aug. 13 at their Frederick home, told Shanann that their marriage was over, that he wanted a divorce, her response was: "You're not going to see the kids again."

That's when Chris Watts strangled his wife to death, according to show interviews.

Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, the show's host, sat down with the "legal team" of Shanann's parents, Frank and Sandi Rzucek. The information and material discussed was passed along to the legal team by Sandi based on a five-hour post-conviction interview Watts gave to investigators on Feb. 18 in a Wisconsin prison.

Watts is serving a life sentence for the murders. Audio of his exchange with Colorado Bureau of Investigation, FBI and Frederick police investigators will be released Thursday in compliance with Colorado Open Records Act requests.

Watts was wrapping the lifeless body of Shanann in a sheet when their daughter, 4-year-old Bella, walked into the room.

"What are you doing with momma?" the child asked. Watts told the girl Shanann is sick and they are going to take her to the hospital, according to show interviews.

Loading the wrapped body in his truck, Watts took his daughters with him for a 45-minute ride to a remote oil-and-gas field work site in Weld County. Once there, Watts smothered 3-year-old Celeste, known to family and friends as CeeCee, with her favorite blanket as Bella watched, a family attorney told McGraw.

Watts removed Celeste from the truck. When he returned for Bella the girl had unbuckled herself from her seat. "Please daddy, do not do to me what you just did to Cee Cee," Bella pleaded with her father.

Shanann's body was buried in a shallow grave. The girls' bodies were dumped in an oil tank.

The hour-long episode of the Tuesday show was entitled, "Chris Watts' full confession. His daughter's final words." Frank and Sandi Rzucek, along with Shanann's brother, Frank Jr., will appear on Dr. Phil on Monday.

Portions of the Tuesday show used news video clips and segments on the case which drew national attention. Video clips, photos and social media segments of the family in happy times were also shown.

Initially, Watts claimed Shanann had run off with the children. He gave video interviews to police investigators and news outlets. On television, he begged for his family's return. He was arrested two days after the murders.

"It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from," Watts said in a video clip before his arrest. "I want the kids back, so bad."

McGraw and the attorneys, four in all, pick apart Watts' video pleadings. Watts, for the most part, is not using any of his victims' names, and he talks of them, in most cases, in past tense. It's an attempt at "distancing himself" from the murders, McGraw said.

Bella "was going to be starting kindergarten," Watts says in a clip. McGraw notes that Watts used "was," the past tense, because he knew that wasn't going happen. Watts shook his head in the negative, from side to side, when he talked of getting his children back. All signs that tipped off investigators, the host and panel agreed.

Before confessing and entering a guilty plea in the case, Watts had tried to blame the girls' murders on Shanann. He initially told investigators that she killed the children and he killed her in a fit of rage.

Shanann was a "good and loving mother," said McGraw, toward the show's conclusion. "That is the message we want to leave with America."

"One-hundred percent, she was never capable of harming the children," an attorney said earlier.

(c)2019 The Denver Post

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