Nichol Kessinger was confirmed to be the mistress of Chris Watts when he shockingly killed his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, in 2018. Here are five things about her.
Nichol Kessinger was quickly put into the spotlight after being named the woman who was having an affair with Chris Watts, 35, at the time he gruesomely killed his 34-year-old wife Shanann, who was pregnant with their son, and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 4, in Frederick, Colorado on Aug. 13, 2018, according to the Denver Post. Although Watts initially denied having an affair in interviews after the murders, police said in an affidavit that they found out about his romance with Kessinger during an investigation. Watts eventually pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and nine other charges relating to the death of his wife and children in Nov. 2018 and now a new Netflix documentary called American Murder: The Family Next Door, which debuts on Sept. 30, is giving a more in-depth look at the tragic story.
Here are five things you should know about Kessinger, her affair with Watts, and what she thought about the tragedy involving a man she now deems “a liar.”
1.) She claims she didn’t know Watts was still married when they started a relationship. Kessinger told the Denver Post that she thought he was a “thoughtful, soft spoken man” who was going through the end of a divorce until his wife and kids went missing. She claims they were only dating for two months when he was arrested for the murders and although she was shocked by it, she “never doubted that he killed his wife.”
“I don’t think there is a logical explanation for what he did,” she said. “It’s a senseless act, and it’s horrific.”
2.) She reportedly met Watts at work. The former couple met in the environmental department of the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, where they were both employed, the Denver Post reported, but they didn’t speak until Watts went into her office to introduce himself. Kessinger told the post that he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring at the time and she thought he was handsome, so they continued to chat for a while. She claims he told her about his two daughters and said he was separated from his wife.
She further explained that when they first went out outside of work in June 2018, she asked him questions about his separation and he told her his mutual divorce was almost finalized and they were working out finances. They reportedly went on to start a physical relationship that July and when Watts was visiting his family in North Carolina at the end of July, he called her to tell her the divorce was finalized.
3.) Kessinger’s a geologist. She graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in 2013, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also has an Associate of Science, studying Geological and Earth Sciences and Geosciences from the Community College of Aurora. She started off her career as a bookkeeper and moved up to the position of a field engineer, once working for a company named Halliburton.
4.) She reportedly cooperated with police during the investigation of the murders. Kessinger said she went to police before Watts, who she described as “a good listener”, was arrested, and took part in several interviews about the nature of their relationship and what he had told her about his life, which can be heard in the video below. She explained that after the murders, Watts contacted her to tell her his family “was gone” after Shanann took the kids on a play date and never returned.
She went on to say he seemed unconcerned about the situation, so she decided not to make a big deal of it, but when she saw the news, she realized he had lied to her. “When I read the news, I found out he was still married and his wife was 15 weeks pregnant,” Kessinger told the Denver Post. “I thought, ‘If he was able to lie to me and hide something that big, what else was he lying about?’”
5.) After finding out about his lies, Kessinger asked Watts directly about his missing family. She said she asked him to look around the house his family lived in and to see if he noticed anything was off, like signs of a forced entry, but he kept changing the subject. “It seemed off,” she told the Denver Post. “It got to a point that he was telling me so many lies that I eventually told him that I did not want to speak to him again until his family was found.”
It was after that moment, that she decided to contact police. “I just wanted to help,” she said. “With a pregnant woman and two children missing, I was going to do anything that I could.”