BREAKING NEWS Little Falls, N.Y. -- Multiple fire departments are on the scene of a structure fire in the city of Little Falls. Full Story

Chris Watts' daughter knew her mother and sister were dead. She pleaded for her life, attorney says

The details about the disturbing Watts' familial murders were revealed by Steven Lambert, the attorney for Shanann Watts' family, on the "Dr. Phil" show.

Posted: Mar 5, 2019 7:40 PM
Updated: Mar 5, 2019 7:40 PM

Chris Watts' 4-year-old daughter knew her mother and younger sister, Celeste, had just been killed -- and she feared she would be next.

"Please Daddy, don't do to me what you just did to Cece," said Bella, according to a lawyer for the family of Shannan Watts, the girls' mother.

Earlier, Bella had walked into the room just after Watts had strangled his wife, Shannan, and was wrapping her in a sheet to dispose of her body. "What are you doing with Mommy?" Bella asked her father.

Bella's last words and other details about the disturbing familial murders were revealed by attorney Steven Lambert on Tuesday's "Dr. Phil" show.

Lambert's summary of the events provides a chilling picture of how Chris Watts killed his pregnant wife, Shanann, 34, and their two children, Bella and Celeste, 3, and then disposed of their bodies at a secluded oil field where he worked. Weld County, Colorado, prosecutors said he strangled his wife with his bare hands, suffocated the children, and loaded them in his vehicle and drove away to hide their remains.

Watts initially denied involvement in the August disappearance of his wife and daughters, and even spoke with a local news station about his worry for their well-being. However, he later pleaded guilty to the killings and was sentenced in November to five life sentences after prosecutors and Shanann's family agreed to drop the possibility of the death penalty.

Colorado Bureau of Investigations spokeswoman Susan Medina said Watts provided investigators with "additional information" about the murders of his family on February 18. The CBI said a written report and audio file from that interview will be released on Thursday.

Why he did it

After his sentencing last November, prosecutors had said they may never know what led Watts to kill his wife and daughters.

"I don't think he will ever tell us. I don't think he will give an honest assessment of why he did what he did, how he did what he did," Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said.

But in the "Dr. Phil" interview, Lambert said the couple got into a fight and Chris Watts confessed he was having an affair. He also said he wanted a divorce and declared that their relationship was over.

"And she had said something to the effect of, 'Well, you're not gonna see the kids again.' As a consequence of that conversation, he strangled her to death," Lambert said.

As Watts was preparing to move the body, Bella walked in and asked about her mother, Lambert said.

"She's 4, what we've been told she's quite smart -- was quite smart -- and knew something likely was up. And what he said was that, 'Mommy is sick, we need to take her to the hospital to make her better,'" Lambert said.

Lambert said his understanding is that Chris Watts put Shanann's body in his truck and then put his children, who were alive at the time, into the truck. He took Celeste's favorite blanket and smothered her, Lambert said.

"At this point, Bella had unbuckled herself from the vehicle," Lambert said. Watts walked back to the truck and that's when Bella made the plea for her life, Lambert said.

At Watts' sentencing, prosecutors said Bella fought back, but was killed. Prosecutors also argued that Watts did not kill her in a rage but deliberately and viciously.

The "Dr. Phil" episode also features video of Chris Watts watching a neighbor's surveillance tape of him backing up his truck and putting something in the back. As Watts watches that surveillance tape, he puts his hands on his head, and the neighbor later notes that he was acting fidgety.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2108510

Reported Deaths: 53522
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28043910447
Queens2771309949
Suffolk2008953399
Nassau1835453174
Bronx1833236585
New York1381274497
Westchester1296002286
Erie895411803
Richmond749181839
Monroe688791110
Orange48281843
Rockland46924963
Onondaga38888677
Dutchess29460445
Albany24687355
Oneida22590513
Niagara20027371
Broome18607366
Saratoga15352168
Ulster13897257
Schenectady13190205
Rensselaer11222142
Putnam1060492
Chautauqua8948144
Chemung7754135
Oswego761591
Ontario740293
Steuben6946144
Sullivan667075
St. Lawrence662896
Cayuga633692
Jefferson612268
Wayne577570
Cattaraugus571891
Genesee5435124
Herkimer5182109
Clinton483533
Madison456089
Livingston451760
Fulton442091
Tompkins434452
Montgomery4254125
Columbia4061104
Cortland391962
Tioga382763
Warren365857
Wyoming358053
Allegany355587
Chenango349576
Otsego346047
Greene340279
Washington315955
Orleans311883
Lewis280536
Franklin256112
Delaware237738
Seneca200956
Schoharie169217
Essex159226
Yates117826
Schuyler107014
Hamilton3132
Unassigned9214
Out of NY0247
Utica
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 69°
Oneonta
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Herkimer
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 69°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Enchanted Forest Water Safari Summer Fun Giveaway
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
18 Facets of Summer Photo Contest brought to you by Herkimer Diamond Mines
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Alivana Ready for Summer Giveaway
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve