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Formal charges to be filed against Frederick man accused of killing family

Posted at 6:19 AM, Aug 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-18 08:30:56-04

FREDERICK – Attorneys for the man accused of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters filed motions Friday suggesting that the two girls were strangled.

33-year-old Chris Watts, was jailed Wednesday on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with a deceased body in the killings of his wife, 34-year-old Shanann and their daughters, Bella and Celeste. The girls were 3 and 4-years-old.

Formal charges are expected to be filed Monday by Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke.

Defense attorney James Merson wrote in one of two motions that he’d spoken with a DNA expert, Richard Eikelenboom. According to the filing, Eikelenboom told him “that even though the bodies of two of the decedents have been in an oil well filled with crude oil for several days, DNA would still be present.”

Shanann Watts and her daughters were reported missing on Monday.

Chris Watts initially said his family was asleep when he left for work early Monday morning. After a friend stopped by to visit Shanann Watts on Monday and got no answer at the door, they were reported missing.

On Wednesday, police took him into custody. A body believed to be Shanann Watts’ was found first. The bodies of the two girls were recovered late in the day Thursday.

It also asked for testing of Shanann Watts’ hands in an effort to find evidence.

“The hands and nails of the mother should be sampled as well,” Eikelenboom wrote, according to the motion. “After samples are taken, the nails should be cut preserved.”