Husband in custody after his pregnant wife and 2 young daughters vanish without a trace

Christopher and Shanann Watts with their two daughters, Celeste and Bella. (Facebook)

A Colorado man has been arrested and charged with murder after his wife and two young daughters went missing early this week. Police took Christopher Watts, 33, into custody late Wednesday night after they say he confessed to murdering his wife, Shanann Watts, who was 34 years old and 15 weeks pregnant, and their two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. They were last seen on Sunday at their home in a Frederick, a suburb just north of Denver. On Thursday, investigators said they recovered the body of Shanann, The Associated Press reported, and believed that had located the bodies of the two young girls.

Shanann, Bella and Celeste were reported missing by a family friend on Monday after Shanann missed a scheduled doctor’s appointment. She was 15 weeks pregnant. In the immediate aftermath of their disappearance, Chris Watts went on a local TV station and pleaded for his wife and daughters’ safe return.

“I just want them back,” he told local news station KMGH in Denver on Tuesday. “If you’re out there, just come back,” he said, staring straight into the TV camera. “If somebody has her, please come back.” He said he last saw them at about 5 a.m. on Monday morning when he left for work.

“When I came home and then walked in the house, nothing. Vanished. Nothing was here,” Watts continued, adding that she hadn’t taken her purse, cellphone or car keys. “My kids are my life. I mean, those smiles light up my life.” But, he said in another interview, “I have no inclination of where she is.”

Christopner Watts (Weld County Sheriff’s Office)

However, investigators say that the appearance on local TV was nothing but a series of lies. He also provided a small clue in his remarks to the news station about what happened on Sunday night into early Monday morning, hours before Shanann, Bella and Celeste went missing. “It wasn’t like an argument — we had an emotional conversation, but I’ll leave it at that.” The FBI joined the investigation and began searching the Watts home for evidence earlier this week as well.

On Wednesday evening, authorities said Watts admitted to having killed his wife and children and told detectives he would lead them to the bodies. The following day, according to Fox News, detectives discovered Shanann’s body on the grounds of Anadarko Petroleum, the company where her husband works. “This is absolutely the worst possible outcome that anyone could imagine,” John Camper, director for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, reportedly said. “As horrible as this outcome is, our role now is to do everything we can to determine exactly what occurred.” Watts has been booked on three counts each of first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Photos and videos shared by Shanann on social media painted a portrait of a happy, young family — with two effervescent girls who seemed to the the center of their parents world. And another family member was on the way. “I’m excited about August,” she recently posted on Facebook. “Gender reveal for baby Watts #3!” In a statement, Shanann’s family said they are “deeply saddened by this senseless, in humane murder.”

Authorities have not revealed a motive. For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at ABC News.


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