Deception usually occurs in clusters, which is easiest to see when we have a clear baseline of known truths to compare against potential lies.
Chris Watts is a great example of a clear baseline of known truths (his name, spelling, kids names, ages, police activity which we know to be true) and compare it against what he states about his missing wife and children which we know to be deceptive. Watch the video above and read the text below to see if you can spots signs of deception.
1:07 – 1:30 – Right now its they’ve got K-9 units, the Sheriff’s Dept., everybody’s like, they’re doing their best right now to figure out if they can get a scent, see where they went, if they went on foot if they went in a car, if they went somewhere. And right now it’s just like, they’ve been on point, they’re going through the house trying to get a scent and hopefully they can pick something up to where it’s going to lead to something.
1:35 -2:13 – She came home from the airport at 2 a.m. and I left around 5:15, she was still here. And about 12:10 that afternoon her friend showed up at the door, like I had texted Shanann a couple times that day, called her to say, hey, you know, but she never got back to me. But she wasn’t getting back to any of her people as well, and that’s what really concerned a lot of people, is like if she’s not getting back to me that’s fine, she gets busy during the day, but she didn’t get back to her people which is really concerning. And Nicole called me when she was at the door and that’s when I came home and then walked in the house and nothing, just vanished, nothing was here.
2:14 – 2:17 – I mean she wasn’t here, the kids weren’t here, nobody was here.
2:22 – “Bella and Celeste”
2:30 2:33 – “Bella’s 4 and Celeste is 3.”
- The beginning where he answers his name, spelling and his children’s names and ages is a great baseline for what Chris looks and sounds like when he is being honest. He is straight forward, direct, normal moving eye contact, standing straight and firm. At times he sways slightly but not consistently. He keeps his honest answers short, direct and to the point. Pay attention to when we know he is telling the truth (names, ages, etc…) and how that changes in various ways during the interview.
2:37 – 3:01 – “I called her 3 times, texted her about three times just to say, you know, what’s going on. Like after I called her and texted her once it was like, maybe she was just busy, she had just gotten back, you know. Like everybody’s probable calling her from her trip you know. She just got back from Arizona and I figured she was just busy, but when her friend showed up that’s when it just registered — like alright, this isn’t right.
- Towards the end of this portion, you notice his blink rate unnaturally changes for a brief moment. This doesn’t mean that he’s being deceptive but it does indicate that he’s uncomfortable with the questions and really has to think and/or create the responses.
- His body language changes slightly with more swaying and extended, unnatural eye contact. These minor red flags clustered together all add-up. IMHO, he’s engaging in perception management and attempting to establish an alibi.
3:04 (Tomas asks, “Do you think she just took off?”)
3:06 – 3:49 – I mean right now I don’t even want to just like throw anything out there, like I hope that she’s somewhere safe right now and with the kids, but I mean could she have van…could she have just taken off, I don’t know, but if someone has her and they’re not safe I’ll want them back now. Like, that’s, that, that’s what’s in my head is like, if they’re safe right now, they’re gonna come back, but if they’re not safe right now that’s the not knowing part, like if they’re not safe. Last night I was, I had every light in the house on, I was hoping that I would just get just ran over by the kids running in the door and just like barrel rushing me, but it didn’t happen and it was just a traumatic night trying to be here.”
- Chris Watts shook his head back and forth to say “no” but verbally says: “I mean, right now, I don’t even want to just like throw anything out there.” – This is is a huge red flag. His body language contradicts his verbal statement. His verbal statement isn’t much of an answer. He never directly answered the question. He did, in many ways, communicate “no, I don’t think she just ran off”. He then goes on to move the conversation away from the question and attempt to make himself appear like a grieving father (perception management). This is polar opposite to his baseline of short, direct answers of known truths. This is a huge red flag!
- The use of the word “if” throughout the entire interview is very concerning but gets worse as the interview goes on.
3:54 3:55 – (Stutters) I mean, er, I mean my kids are my life3:56 – 4:46 – I mean those smiles light up my life. And it’s like, I mean last night, like during like at like you know when they usually eat dinner, it was just like I miss them. Like, I mean I miss the telling them like you got to eat that, like or you’re not going to get your dessert, or just, like you’re not going to get your snack, after, you know (laughs). I miss that, like I miss them cuddled up on their couches, they have like a Minnie Mouse couch and a Sofia couch that like they cuddle up on or watch you know Bubble Guppies or something and it was just like you know, I miss, I was (sigh), it was tearing me apart last night and I needed that, I needed that last night and for them, for nobody to be here last night and to go into their rooms and not, and know that I wasn’t going to turn their rain machines on and know that I wasn’t going to turn their monitor on and know I wasn’t going to kiss them to bed tonight it was, (sigh) it was, I, I, that’s why last night was just horrible
- He never stutters or uses filler words such as “um” or “like” or “I mean” when he was asked other direct questions where we know he was being truthful which we can use as a baseline. This indicates he is creating rather than remembering.
- I do believe, to some extent, he did love his children and feels some remorse for the loss of his children.
- At the end, he closes down his body/arms even tighter, tension in his shoulders, bites his lips and unnaturally blinks holding eye contact far too long. He wants to say something but is holding back. Unfortunately, the camera shifts.
4:46 – 4:55 I couldn’t do it, I just, (laugh), I want everybody just to come home. Like, wherever they’re at, just come home. That’s what I want.
- The placement of the laugh is very telling. He’s really trying to show emotions but can’t. He’s trying to display the worried husband/father but he can’t. In my humble opinion, that tiny little laugh was a small but significant tell that he wasn’t even buying his own BS. It is followed again by the biting of his lip, unnatural blinks and self-soothing swaying. Unfortunately the camera shifts again and the interviewer completely changes the conversation.
4:55 – 5:24 – Tomas moving camera, Chris explaining just timeline of when she was supposed to get home, flight delayed, when she got home at 1:48, got home, got to bed at 2.
5:36 – I left for work early that morning, like 5:15 to 5:30, so like, she barley, I mean, she barely got, barely gotten into bed pretty much.
5:46 – 5:50 (Tomas – I know this might be a tough question, but did you guys get into an argument or anything before she left?)
5:51 – 5:55 – It wasn’t like an argument, we had an emotional conversation but I’ll leave it at that.
- He is clearly trying to minimize what happen here as well as avoid any direct answer to the question.
- He is also holding himself and swaying back & forth which is a form of self-soothing. He does this several times during the interview but not the entire time. It indicates that that some questions are making him more uncomfortable than others.
5:55 – 6:01 – “But it’s, sigh, I just want them back (smiles and laughs) I just want them to come back.”
- He does an asymmetrical smirk which is a universal sign for contempt. He then laughs while shaking his head no while stating “I just want them back.” – This is a huge red flag!
6:02 – 6:14 – And if, if they’re not safe right now, that’s what’s tearing me apart, because if they are safe, they’re coming back, but if they’re not, this, this, this has got to stop, like this, somebody has to come forward.”
6:38 – 6:46 – Colorado is, I mean, um, you can’t just drive around and look, I mean it’s just like, you wouldn’t really know what you were looking for that’s what the cops pretty much told me.
6:46 – 6:50 – That first day I was like I want to get out and drive around and they were like you wouldn’t know what to look for.
- His wife and two small kids go missing and he never even goes looking for them – not once! Huge red flag!
7:51 – 7:56 (Tomas: “If your wife could see this, if she could watch this, what would you like to tell your wife?)
7:56 – Shanann, Bella, Celeste, if you’re out there, just come back, like if somebody has her, just please bring her back, I need to see everybody, I need to see everybody, again, this house is not complete without anybody here. Please bring them back.
- At this stage of the investigation they are considered “missing” so why is he saying “IF”? Chris prefaces everything with “if”.. Why “if”? and if they aren’t out there, where else would they be? The reason for the “if” is because he already knows they are dead.
- Also, notice he’s actually shaking his head back and forth saying “no” in his body language even though his words are saying come back. At the very end, he is actually biting his lips shut again. He clearly knows much more.
Shanann, Bella & Celeste where all found dead shortly after this interview.
Chris Watts was later charged with the murder of his wife and two children. He is currently awaiting trial.
Until next time my friends, keep on bravely seeking the truth!
Legal Disclaimer: Chris Watts is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The above analysis is for training purposes only.