Colorado father, Christopher Watts, may have strangled his family, according to court documents

Monday, August 20, 2018
Colorado family may have been strangled
New court filings suggest the Colorado family victims may have been strangled.

FREDERICK, Colorado -- A Colorado father suspected of killing his pregnant wife and two daughters may have strangled them, according to new court filings.

Chris Watts was arrested on three counts of first degree murder and three counts of tampering with a human body in the deaths of his wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste.

Court records show Shanann's body was found on the property of a petroleum company where Chris used to work.

The girls' bodies were found in a tank filled with crude oil for several days.

Chris' attorneys had requested pathologists swab the girls' necks and hands for DNA. They also wanted the coroner's office to look for DNA under their mother's fingernails and hands.

A judge denied the request saying he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job, according to KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder.

Meanwhile, a motive has not yet been released in the murders.

Friends of the Watts say the family struggled with debt. The family filed for bankruptcy in June 2015, according to court records.

They were about $70,000 in debt at the time of the bankruptcy filing.

"She mentioned them having problems, Shanann and Chris. It's just heartbreaking and devastating," Darnell Search, a co-worker of Shanann's mom, told WRAL.

Authorities are expected to release an affidavit on Monday explaining why investigators believe Watts killed his family.

RELATED: Friend who says she was the last to see Shanann alive knew something was 'seriously wrong'

Nickole Atkinson believes she was the last person to see her friend alive, before she and her two daughters were found dead three days later.