Girlfriend of Christopher Watts Talked with Officers About Fear of Publicity, Finding a Job
In one of multiple interviews with Colorado Bureau of Information agents, Nichol Kessinger, who was dating Christopher Watts in the months before he murdered his family, talked about her fear of media attention and how difficult it could be to get a job.
In a video recording of an Aug. 23 interview between Kessinger and CBI Agent Kevin Koback, she tells Koback that she lost her job, asks him how to go about changing a name and discusses moving out of state.
Watts, 33, on Nov. 19 was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and two young children, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.
The three were reported missing Aug. 13 and their bodies were recovered a few days later at a site owned by Anadarko Petroleum Co., where both Christopher Watts and Kessinger, 30, worked at the time.
Kessinger told police that when she met Watts, he said he was separated and was soon going to sell the home he owned with his wife .
The Times-Call requested the discovery information in the case following the sentencing hearing through the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act. The video interview between Koback and Kessinger was obtained as part of the request.
During this interview, Kessinger gave Koback her phone and signed a waiver allowing him to look at phone calls and texts between her and Watts. While Kessinger questioned why investigators needed everything from her phone, she consented to let them search it. Much would have to be recovered, though, as she had deleted everything involving Watts after she discovered he was lying to her.
“Initially, you drew concern from me when you told me that you deleted everything from Chris,” Koback said, but it appears that concern dissipated. Toward the end of the interview, he told Kessinger to take her mind off the case for a while, suggesting she go out with a friend and relax.
But Kessinger was concerned about the long-term effects of her connection to the case. When Koback said she looked tired again, she said it wasn’t just because of the shock of what Watts did.
“I lost my job yesterday, so that’s where that comes from,” she said. Kessinger had worked for Tasman Geosciences, which contracted with Anadarko Petroleum Co. She told the company her situation a few days after Watts’ arrest, she told Koback, and at first they said it was fine. Aug. 22, a day later, they said they were letting her go because her contract was up.
“I have a feeling that trying to get by for the next five to 10 years is gonna be really hard,” she said, expressing fears the media attention would make it hard for her to get a job. Kessinger also asked Koback how someone would go about getting a name changed, and he tried to encourage her by mentioning her ideas about moving out of state.
At one point, a victim advocate speaks with Kessinger about finding a therapist and getting her life under control.
“This shocked me just as much as it shocked the rest of the world,” Kessinger said toward the end of the interview. She didn’t think what Watts did happened because of a couple days, or a couple months, but that it had been developing for a long time.
She also told Koback that she thinks “he could have the capacity to do that whether I was in his life or not.”
“I think a lot of people are probably gonna assume I was a catalyst,” she said. But, she told police in multiple interviews that she always encouraged Watts to spend time with his children. So if she supports him being with his kids, “what would make me happy is him hanging out with his kids.”
Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, firstname.lastname@example.org