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Chris Watts Murder Case: ‘Partial Motive’ and Autopsy Results Will Be Announced After Sentencing

A Colorado chief prosecutor confirmed after Chris Watts’ guilty plea that more information about the murder of Chris’ wife, Shanann Watts, and their two daughters will be announced later this month.

“We believe we have a potential motive, but I am not sure if it is the entirety of the motive,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said during a news conference on Tuesday, November 6. “I will be happy to comment on that following the sentencing hearing.”


Chris Watts
Chris Watts in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colorado, on August 21, 2018. RJ Sangosti - Pool/Getty Images; Instagram

Related: Chris Watts Murder Case: Everything We Know So Far

Chris, 33, pleaded guilty in court earlier on Tuesday to murdering pregnant Shanann, 34, and their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, in August. He entered his plea in exchange for being spared a possible death sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison without parole on November 19.

Rourke confirmed during the news conference that the results of Shanann, Bella and Celeste’s autopsies will also be released at some point after Chris’ sentencing.

“Those are still sealed at this point,” he said. “I need to have a conversation with the coroner’s office, with Shanann’s family and with the county attorney representing the coroner’s office about what point in time those will become a public record. … Going forward, we will not be asking those be kept sealed any longer after the sentencing hearing.” (Rourke had previously filed a motion to seal the autopsies, arguing that their early release could taint witnesses yet to be interviewed.)

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The district attorney said that he has also spoken with Shanann’s family members about possibly making victim impact statements at Chris’ hearing.

“That is the conversation that we started when they flew in yesterday,” Rourke said on Tuesday. “I’m going to give them some time to thoughtfully decide how they want to proceed at sentencing. If they don’t … I will be happy to speak for them on their behalf.”

Related: Most Infamous Family Murders in History

Shanann, Bella and Celeste went missing on August 13 after the 15-weeks-pregnant mom returned home to Frederick, Colorado, from a business trip in Arizona. Three days later, authorities announced that all three were found dead on a property belonging to Chris’ former employer.

Prior to pleading guilty, Chris claimed that he killed Shanann after witnessing her “actively strangling” their youngest daughter. An arrest affidavit obtained by Us alleged that Chris had been “involved in an affair with a coworker” and had spoken to his wife about separating shortly before he strangled her.

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