Young Girls Allegedly Killed by Dad Were 'in Oil for 4 Days'

Court documents filed by Christopher Watts' defense attorneys suggest they were strangled
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2018 8:00 AM CDT
Girls Allegedly Killed by Dad May Have Been Strangled
Christopher Watts is escorted into the courtroom before his bond hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Greeley, Colo. Watts, of Colorado, whose wife and daughters disappeared this week was arrested on suspicion of killing them.   (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool)

Confirmation came Friday from the Weld County Coroner's Office that the three bodies found this week on a Colorado property belonging to Anadarko Petroleum were those of Shanann Watts and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, whose father, Christopher Watts, was arrested Wednesday in connection with their deaths. While the Denver Post says much remains undisclosed about the case, including when they were killed and what a motive might have been, it does make an inference about how the girls were killed based on documents filed Friday by Watts' defense attorneys after they consulted with a DNA expert, per Fox 31. The attorneys requested that DNA swabbing be performed on the girls' necks "in spite of the fact that the remains were in oil for four days."

The Denver Channel, which notes the motion was denied, has more from the recommendation that was provided to the defense attorneys by the DNA expert: "In my opinion the presence of oil will not destroy the DNA. ... After samples are taken the nails should be cut preserved. I have a lot experience taking samples from dead bodies getting good results after strangulation. The hands of the children should be sampled as well." Formal charges are expected to be filed against Watts by Monday afternoon. (Friends say Shanann wanted to leave her husband.)

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