Netflix recently added American Murder: The Family Next Door to their streaming options, and the documentary is the chilling account of a horrific crime committed by Chris Watts.
American Murder: The Family Next Door is real-life horror and there is not much that is more chilling than the story of a man killing his own wife and daughters. Add to that the fact that his wife was pregnant, and you have a story far more horrific than a fictional masked killer hunting teenagers in the woods.
In August of 2018, Shanann Watts and her two little girls, Bella and CeCe, disappeared the day after Shanann returned from an out-of-town business trip. A friend of Shanann’s was the first to report the disappearance; she was concerned because she was unable to reach her by phone, and Shanann had missed a doctor’s appointment.
When the police arrived at the Watts’s home, they were met there by Chris Watts, who claimed to not know where his wife and daughters were. He had spoken with Shanann that morning in an “emotional” conversation, the girls blankies were gone, and Shanann’s phone had been left in the house.
Though Chris proclaimed that he was innocent of any wrong-doing, his story quickly fell apart, and the bodies of his wife and daughters were located on property belonging to his employer. Shanann had been buried in a shallow grave, and the bodies of four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Cece had been hidden in oil tanks.
American Murder: The Family Next Door is a fascinating film, consisting of law enforcement bodycam footage, social media posts by Shanann, text messages between Chris and Shanann and Chris’s video recorded interviews with law enforcement. It’s a must-see for those of us who follow true crime.
It’s very interesting to watch Chris’s demeanor during the initial search of the house, as he nonchalantly plays with his phone. Later, he begins to look panicked when a police officer watches security camera footage from a neighbor.
Though he agrees to a polygraph test, he fails it miserably, but continues to profess his innocence for a while longer. Eventually, Chris received five life sentences without the possibility of parole. He pled guilty to all charges after Shanann’s family requested that the death penalty be removed from the equation.
Even though you may think this little piece gave away the entire story, trust me, there is so much more to learn about Chris Watts and his professed reasons for committing this awful crime. And I defy you to look at the video footage of his sweet little girls and not tear up a little.
American Murder: The Family Next Door is currently streaming only on Netflix.
Do you watch true crime documentaries? Tell us which ones we should watch in the comments section.