Colorado man arrested after pregnant woman, 2 children disappear

FREDERICK, Colo. – A Colorado man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of his pregnant wife and their two young children, authorities say, after earlier media tell you how annoying it was to be alone in their normally bustling house after she disappeared earlier this week.

Chris Watt, 33, was taken into custody Wednesday, according to the police in the city of Frederick, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Denver. His 34-year-old wife, Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, were reported missing Monday by a friend of the family.

The police said on Twitter early Thursday that Chris Watt will be held at the Weld County Jail. He has not yet been charged, and it was not immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Authorities are not quite information on the whereabouts or the conditions of Shanann or the girls, but plan to have more information at a morning press conference.

Chris Watts spoke earlier with Denver TV outlets about missing his family and his hope for their safe return. He said that his wife returned home around 2 pm Monday after a flight for a work trip was postponed.

He said that the two had an “emotional conversation” before he left for work a few hours later, and that he is worried after she did not return his call or text, or that of her friends. He said that he came home to an empty house after a friend knocked on the door at noon and got no answer.

He told KMGH-TV about how traumatic it was to spend the night in the family is unusually quiet house, and missing the tell of his daughters to eat their dinner and turning on their bedroom monitor.

“Last night, I had all the lights in the house. I was hoping that I would just be ran by the children running in the door, just barrel-rushing me, but it didn’t happen,” he said.

Shanann Watts’ Facebook account paints a portrait of a happy family, with a constant supply of photos and videos of her family, friends and themselves. Her comments are usually cheerful and say how happy she is, whether she’s running errands, playing with her children, and to promote the health of the program.

She posted selfies of her and her husband smiling in restaurants, in front of the ocean on holiday and their house. On one of the 5 of May, she wrote: “I love this man! He is my ROCK!”

She posted a photo on June 19 of some of the texts with her husband after sending him an echo. He replied that he loved the baby already. She wrote: “I love Chris! He is the best father our girls could ask for.”

Her page has photo collages and video slideshows praising Chris Watt to take care of her and their girls, and how their love was stronger, and how he was the reason why she was brave enough to agree to a third child.

The couple bankruptcy protection in 2015. They estimated they had the same range of assets and liabilities, according to court records.

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

“She was here for about three weeks. I spoke to her a few times,” he said in a telephone interview. “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 quite satisfied.”

He said that he knew her parents well and had known Shanann since she was a teenager. Beach said she was a nice person with two beautiful children, who he had seen, about their recent visit.

“They were sweet. The oldest child was very talkative for her age,” he said.

He said that he has not spoken with her parents since the tragedy, but a neighbor told him, she flew to Colorado.

“I’m surprised that it happened,” he said. “I would not expect for something like that to happen. She was good people.”

Shanann’s father, Frank Rzucek, said on Facebook that the family would not talk to the media.

She moved to Colorado from North Carolina with her husband in 2012, according to property records and her social media accounts. She was in a hurry to sell a home in Belmont, west of Charlotte, on and behind the furniture as part of the sale, said the man who bought him, Byron.


Drew reported from Raleigh, N. C. Associated Press writer Colleen Slevin in Denver and researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.

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