Colorado girls bodies were immersed in crude oil for 4 days

The bodies of two young girls were immersed in crude oil for four days before authorities discovered them on Thursday, according to court documents filed Friday by a lawyer that the defense of the girls’ father against allegations that he killed his children and wife.

The motion is submitted Friday, of Christopher Watts’ lawyer, James Merson, also asked that DNA samples be taken from the girls’ neck. Request a quote with an expert who believes that the oil would not eliminate DNA and said samples may be obtained “after the strangulation.”

Governments separately announced that the Weld County Coroner’s Office had performed autopsies on Friday and confirmed the bodies of the 34-year-old Shanann, the 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste Watts.

The police has no incriminating information about how the mother and daughters died. More testing is scheduled to help determine the cause of their death.

Richard Eikelenboom, an expert quoted by Watts’ attorney, also recommended the taking of DNA samples of the girls’ hands and the hands and nails of their mother. Eikelenboom testified in several high-profile criminal cases, often to the so-called “touch DNA” as small samples of genetic material on a surface.

After his wife and daughters were reported missing on Monday and his arrest, Watt told reporters that he missed them, and longed for the simple things, such as telling his girls to eat their dinner and stare at them as they curled up to watch cartoons.

The authorities are expected to file formal charges Monday against Watt, an oil and gas worker who authorities said dumped his wife and daughters’ bodies on his employer.

The police said the mother, Shanann, was found dead on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of the largest oil and gas drillers, where the 33-year-old Christopher Watts worked as an operator. The researchers found the bodies of Bella and Celeste in the neighborhood.

Watts was fired on Wednesday, the same day he was arrested, the company said. He did not respond to reporters’ questions when he was escorted into the courtroom Thursday.

Merson, Watts’ lawyer by the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, left Thursday the court without commenting to reporters. He did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment by The Associated Press.

The police have not released any information about a motive or how the three were killed.

The family’s two-story house is located just outside Frederick, is a small town on the grassy plains north of Denver, where fast-growing subdivisions mixed with oil rigs and oil-wells.

According to a June 2015 bankruptcy filing, Christopher Watts had gotten a job six months earlier as an operator for Anadarko, and paystubs to give to his annual salary is approximately € 61,500. Shanann Watts was working in a call center in a children’s hospital in the time, earning about $18 hour — more for evening, weekends, or additional shifts, they sometimes worked.

But the family continued to be caught between a promising future and the financial burden of debt and other obligations.

The couple had a combined income of $90,000 in 2014. But they also had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, along with some student loans, and medical expenses for a total of $70,000 in unsecured claims on top of a hefty mortgage.

They said in the filing that their almost $3000 mortgage and $600 in monthly payments, formed the largest part of their $4,900 in monthly costs.

Details about what led police to arrest Watts late Wednesday night on suspicion of three murders and tampering with evidence were probably to be revealed next week.

Prosecutors asked the judge to unseal the declaration for the Watts’ arrest after the filing of formal charges, which is due by the middle of the afternoon on Monday, said Krista Henery, a spokeswoman for the district attorney Michael Rourke.

Family and friends of Shanann Watts are left searching for answers, trying to reconcile Watts’ cheerful Facebook posts about her daughters, her pregnancy and her love for her husband with the running costs.

Ashley Bell meets Shanann Watts about two years ago, when the mother of the two came to Bell’s new tanning salon in the near Dacono. The two women quickly became friends, and soon they were texting or calling each other almost daily. Their daughters played together during the salon visit.

“I don’t understand,” said Bell, who described Christopher Watts as a loving father.

Shanann Watts was from North Carolina, and her parents’ next-door neighbor, Joe Beach, said he saw her only when she visited the neighborhood of modest homes in Aberdeen.

“We were talking about general things, about how her two girls were doing and how life was in Colorado. They didn’t give me an indication that something is wrong. She seemed very happy,” he said.

Shanann Watts had recently shared with family and friends that she was pregnant with their third child.

The case has focused attention on the Colorado is the lack of a law allowing murder charges in the violent death of the fetus, and that is the case in 12 states. Proposals to allow murder and charges in the violent death of fetuses in Colorado have been hampered by the debate about how to prevent infringement on the right to abortion.

Republican lawmakers latest effort to change the law after the 2015 event in Boulder County. A woman by the name of Dynel Lane was indicted for attempted murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy for the child of a pregnant woman in the abdomen and removing her unborn baby girl. The prosecutors said that they could not count Lane with murder, because a coroner found no evidence that the child lived outside the womb.

Legislation of a member state is permitted a murder charge if the fetus was alive outside the mother’s body and then killed. State lawmakers in 2013 allowed prosecutors to additional crime against everyone who commits a crime that causes the death of a fetus.


Drew reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Associated Press writers James Anderson, Colleen Slevin and Thomas Peipert in Denver, Courtney Bonnell and Michelle A. Monroe in Phoenix, and researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to the correct spelling of the city of Dacono.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

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