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Episode 86: Nichol Kessinger Police Interview

Nichol Kessinger, 30, was hired as a contract employee at Andarko Petroleum in Platteville, Colorado, where she worked in Health and Safety. In either May or June 2017, she met and got to know Chris Watts (see episode 85), who also worked at Andarko. The two began a heavy affair that lasted for ten months. Watts told Kessinger that he and his wife Shannan were separated, and had joint custody of their two daughters. He said he lived in the basement of the family home in Frederick, Colorado, which, according to Watts, the couple were getting ready to sell. Nude photographs of Kessenger taken by Watts were retrieved from his cellphone by investigators.

On August 13, Shanann Watts and the two girls, Bella and Celeste, went missing; Chris denied knowledge of their whereabouts, but after failing a lie detector test and being confronted about the contradictions in his story, Watts finally confessed to murdering his family.

After his confession was made public, Nichol Kessinger came forward to police and told them about her affair with Watts. Police do not believe Kessinger was aware of Watts’ crime. In fact, she was totally duped by him, and seems to have been expecting him to propose. In early August 2013, right before the family went missing, she spent over two hours looking at wedding dresses online.

In most respects, Watts fits the pattern of family annihilators, who are generally white  middle-class males in their thirties; their crimes generally take place in August, before school starts, which may delay detection and investigation. However, unlike Chris Watts, most family annihilators commit suicide after the murders. Ironically, despite his murder conviction, Watts has been receiving love letters, while Kessinger has been the target of public threats, and has been placed temporarily in the witness protection.

Listen to the episode here.