Hiding daughters' bodies in oil might make investigation difficult in a notorious murder case

Edduin Carvajal
Oct 21, 2018
07:47 P.M.
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The investigation of Shan’ann, Bella, and Celeste Watts’ murders are getting more difficult than expected as the bodies of the children were hidden in oil tanks.


Chris Watts was charged with the murder of his wife and two daughters. Initially, the man claimed that Shan’ann killed the 4 and 3-year-old girls after he told her that he wanted to end their six-year-long marriage.

In a fit of rage, Chris allegedly killed Shan’ann. All family members were reported missing on August 13, and soon after that, their bodies were found at the oil field that belonged to Watts’ former employer, who fired him the same day of the arrest.



On August 15, Chris was identified as the killer of the three ladies and was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, as well as three charges for tampering with a deceased human body.

People reported that one of the main aspects in dispute in the pre-trial phase of the prosecution is the DNA. The bodies of Bella and Celeste were found on August 16 submerged in oil for four days.



Soon after that, two speculations were created. The first one is that Chris hid the bodies in such a way to destroy his DNA on their bodies, and the second one states that the DNA tests were an inflection point in the investigation.  

However, Dr. Phil Danielson, a professor at the University of Denver’s Department of Biological Sciences who specializes in DNA collection and analysis, revealed that DNA from Bella and Celeste wouldn’t be a decisive factor in confirming if it was Shan’ann who killed them or not.



The doctor added that the oil would certainly make the DNA retrieval more difficult, but it wouldn’t destroy the traces.

He added that burying them in the ground would have been riskier when it comes to retrieving DNA as oil is “relatively sterile.”



Danielson finally said that even though prosecutors consider that running the DNA tests is necessary, it wouldn't be “all that informative” in these kinds of cases, especially because both parents lived with the children, so they were in constant contact with their DNAs.

All the details of the crime are cruel and gruesome, but a few weeks ago, a video of one of the children praising Chris went viral. Bella, sitting in the backseat of the family’s car, was singing a song and calling her father a “hero” a couple of days before he allegedly killed them.


"My daddy is a hero; he helps me grow up strong. He reads my books; he ties my shoes, you're a hero, through and through. My daddy, daddy, I love you,” sang the young lady.

Chris is scheduled to return no court in November.


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