Netflix has become a hub of content for fans of true crime shows and documentaries, with hits like the viral Tiger King, Unsolved Mysteries and The Innocence Files. On Wednesday, September 30th, the streaming service premiered a new true crime doc called American Murder: The Family Next Door. This documentary is about the the disappearance and murder of Colorado mom Shanann Watts (who was 15 weeks pregnant) and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, by her husband Chris Watts on August 13, 2018.
The documentary features a lot of personal footage that Shanann Watts shared on her Facebook page before her death, and documents the days following her disappearance. During the investigated, Chris failed a polygraph test and eventually confessed all to the police.
Viewers learn that one reason Chris murdered his family was because he wanted to start a new life with his mistress/girlfriend at the time, Nichol Kessinger.
So where is Chris Watts now? Here's what you need to know.
Chris Watts is in prison.
For the murders, Watts was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in November 2018. He is currently being held at Dodge Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison, in Waupun, Wisconsin, according to PEOPLE. Watts was allegedly purposefully moved out of Colorado for security reasons. He is on lockdown for 23 hours a day in prison.
He's "haunted" by what he did.
"He knows exactly what he did," a source told PEOPLE. "He's haunted by what he did. He says he can't shake the memories of his family, and they haunt him. He is in his own psychological torment, every day of his life."
"He knows he deserves it," the source continued. "He knows that he made many mistakes in his life, and this is his punishment."
And he's also full of regret and remorse. "He’s sad that everyone is hurting," another source named Kim told PEOPLE. "He wishes he could go back in time. He wishes he had handled things differently."
She added, "This is his life. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Full of regret and remorse for the choices he made."
Watts has not seen American Murder: The Family Next Door.
And he probably never will. The now 35-year-old "hates" the very public nature of his case, a source who has "regular contact" with Watts told PEOPLE. "It makes him feel a lot of shame. But he also knows that he brought it upon himself."
In the advent of the Netflix film, which uses archival footage including Facebook videos and text messages to piece together the story of the Watts' marriage, there has been an influx of public fascination with the case. "He can't see [the film], and he'll probably never see it," the source added. "He's curious about it, but he hates even knowing that his texts are out there for the public to read. It brings back awful memories of 2018 for him."
Instead, he occupies his time by writing letters.
Instead of following his media coverage, Watts spends his days in prison answering fan mail and love letters. After seeing him on the news, multiple women wrote letters to Chris. "He got a lot of letters at first," a source told People. "Many of them are from women who thought he was handsome and felt compassion for him. He had nothing better to do, so he wrote them back. And he started having penpals. A couple of them stood out, and they've kept in contact." Despite his horrific murders, the women seem to have forgiven him. "They have compassion on him, despite what he did," the source said.
Even in prison, other inmates find Watts compelling. "There's a lot of curiosity about him in prison," the source said. "He's the most high-profile inmate and what he did is incomprehensible, so everyone wants to know more about the case."
Watts reportedly found religion while incarcerated.
Watts has found religion in prison, according to PEOPLE. Watts allegedly is allowed to have a Bible and family photos, which he keeps next to his bed.
"A day doesn’t go by—a minute doesn’t go by—where he doesn’t think about his family," the source told the magazine. "He's in a hell of his own making."
In a letter he wrote to his mother in June 2019, he called himself a "servant of God." "I’m still a Dad! I’m still a son! No matter what. Now, I can add servant of God to that mix!"
He had to pay $6 million to Shannan's family.
Shannan's family also filed a civil lawsuit against Chris, according to PEOPLE. Watts reportedly agreed to pay the family for the damages: $1 million for each death plus $3 million for emotional distress, with an 8 percent annual interest rate, according to the Denver Post.
He contributed to a book about the murders.
Watts worked with author Cherlyn Cadle through letters and interviews for the book titled Letters from Christopher: The Tragic Confessions of the Watts Family Murders.
According to the Daily Mail, Cadle learned a ton of information from Chris after she started corresponding with him in prison.
Some grim details include that Watts tried to cause Shanann to miscarry their son Nico, after his mistress/girlfriend Kessinger told him she wanted to "give him his first son." He also reportedly felt no remorse after he killed Shanann. "All I could feel was now I was free to be with Nikki. Feelings of my love for her was overcoming me. I felt no remorse," he said.
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