The tissue had decomposed but the experts determined it was a fetus and reports suggested it was a boy who the couple had named Niko.
Trigger warning: This report has graphic details violence that readers may find disturbing
The case of a Colorado father who killed his wife and two small daughters shocked the nation. It has now been revealed that the fetus within the mother, Shanann Watts, had been expelled from her body when she was buried in a shallow grave. The new information emerged in a complete autopsy that was released. Chris Watts killed his wife of six years, Shanann, and his daughters, Bella and Celeste, aged four and three, in the hope of living with his mistress on August 13, 2018. Initially, Watts filed a missing complaint on his family while pretending to be a concerned father but under interrogation, he admitted to killing the three of them. The police soon found that Chris Watts had been having an affair with a fellow co-worker at the oil company. Their bodies were found four days later from a shallow grave near the oil fields where he worked.
The autopsy reported the cause of death as the "asphyxiation due to manual strangulation by another individual. The manner of death is homicide." In Shanann's case, the autopsy revealed that the fetus was attached to the mother's internal genitalia that was protruding from her body. The tissue (fetus) was largely decomposed. After an initial probe, they determined the tissue to be a fetus. Shanann Watts had been 15-weeks pregnant at the time. The experts couldn't determine the gender of the fetus from the tissue and handed it over to the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) for genetic analysis. Watts was expecting a boy and had named the 'baby' Niko.
"The external genitalia are normal for the adult female, however, the internal genitalia are protruding through the vaginal vault," the autopsy stated. "This likely represents prolapse of the uterus due to pregnancy and postmortem artifact. Adjacent to the probable uterus is a largely degraded portion of tissue that is unfortunately covered in sandy debris from the gravesite. Upon further examination of this tissue, it is revealed to be a largely decomposed fetus. Gender and age cannot be determined, however, it has the following measurements: crown/rump length of approximately 10.5 cm and a foot length of approximately 0.7- 0.8 cm. There is an approximate 17 cm umbilical cord extending to the disrupted placental disc. The membranes are ruptured and covered with sandy debris. Portions of the placenta, umbilical cord, and membranes will be retained and the fetus will be transferred to the jurisdiction of CBI for subsequent genetic analysis."
Watts strangled his wife to death in their bedroom before driving his wife's body to his job site where he buried her. His daughters were waiting in the car watching Watts bury their mother. They asked him, "What are you doing to Mommy." On returning, he started to smother his three-year-old daughter Celester before turning on Bella. "He walks over, takes CeCe’s [Celeste’s] favorite blanket, and smothers her," attorney Steven Lambert, who represented Shanann Watts' family, told Dr. Phil McGraw, reported PEOPLE . "Then, he takes her body, takes it out of the vehicle. At this point, Bella had unbuckled herself from the vehicle. He went back to the vehicle. Bella said, 'Please, Daddy, don’t do to me what you just did to CeCe.'" Watts then killed Bella and put his daughters' bodies in oil tanks.
It was Shanann Watts' friend who informed the police after Watts didn't return any of her calls or respond to her messages. Chris Watts told the cops his family was missing, suggesting she may have walked out on him. He also made passionate pleas, via the media, for his family to return. "I hope that she's somewhere safe right now with the kids," said Chris Watts to local media. Later, he admitted to killing his family after cops confronted him with evidence. He was formally charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. However, he later entered a guilty plea in exchange for five life sentences without parole.
COVER IMAGE SOURCE: Netflix