The true-crime special, titled “American Murder: The Family Next Door,” features newly revealed letters and texts between the now-35-year-old and his spouse Shanann.
The film also includes social media posts, law enforcement recordings, as well as never-before-seen home videos that piece together how a seemingly happy marriage turned deadly so quickly. Netflix also shared the documentary is “the first film to give a voice to the victims.”
The slayings were previously the subject of two Lifetime films that aired earlier this year, titled “Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer” and “Beyond the Headlines: The Watts Family Tragedy.”
In 2019, the murders were also explored in a documentary released by true-crime network Investigation Discovery (ID) titled “Family Man, Family Murderer: An ID Murder Mystery.”
A source close to Watts told People magazine on Tuesday that he is aware of the Netflix release.
“Just knowing that the documentary is out there has sent Chris to some dark places,” the source, who talked to Watts as recently as last weekend, told the outlet.
“He hates knowing that it’s out there but realizing that he will never see it,” the source shared. “He’s reliving a lot of what happened, and he hates not knowing what people are seeing about his private communications. Not that he wants to spend that time watching the darkest days of his life, but he wants to know what the documentary looks like and how it tells the story.”
A source previously told the outlet that Watts “can’t see it, and he’ll probably never see it.”
Chris and Shanann Watts with their daughters.
“He’s curious about it, but he hates even knowing that his texts are out there for the public to read,” shared the friend. “It brings back awful memories of 2018 for him.”
The source also revealed that Watts is aware his life is “out there for public consumption.”
“He hates it,” said the insider. “It makes him feel a lot of shame. But he also knows that he brought it upon himself.”
This undated file photo from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office shows Chris Watts, who pleaded guilty in the deaths of his pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.
(Weld County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
On Aug. 13, 2018, Watts strangled Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, in their home. Then he murdered his daughters – Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3 – at his job site on an oil field.
In 2019, just three months after Watts was sentenced to life in prison, he gave a grim account of the killings to authorities.
Watts said he strangled Shanann in their bed after he told her their marriage was over and she responded he would never see their children again. According to Watts, his wife suspected he was having an affair.
After he killed Shanann, Watts said Bella came into their bedroom clutching a blanket, asking what was wrong with her mother. Watts claimed his wife wasn’t feeling well. Bella watched as Watts wrapped Shanann’s body with a bedsheet. She began crying when he pulled the remains down the stairs of their home.
Watts said he put Shanann’s body on the floor of his truck’s back seat. Celeste had woken up by the time he went back inside the home. He then put the girls into the backseat of his truck, where they occasionally napped on each other’s laps as he drove.
The body of Shanann Watts, 34, was found in a shallow grave near an oil tank on property owned by the oil and gas company where her husband had worked.
(Colorado Bureau of Investigation)
Watts claimed he had no plans for his daughters when he drove to his oil worksite. He told police the girls asked, “What are you doing to mommy?” when he pulled Shanann’s body from the truck.
Watts said when he went back to the truck, he used Celeste’s blanket to smother her. Bella watched from a seat beside her sister. He then put Celeste’s body inside an oil tank before returning to the truck. He used the same blanket to smother Bella. He told police Bella’s last words were “Daddy, no!” Watts then said he put her body inside another oil tank and buried Shanann’s body nearby.
Still, he insisted he didn’t plan to kill his wife or children.
“If I was thinking, this wouldn’t have happened,” he claimed.
Watts told investigators that he pleaded guilty to avoid a lengthy trial and did not feel pressured by his attorneys to make an agreement with prosecutors.
Photo of Chris Watts in prison during the five-hour interview where he detailed murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters.
(Colorado Bureau of Investigation)
Watts told police he read the Bible for the first time in prison and he writes down scriptures each day to send his parents. He keeps photos of his wife and daughters in his cell and talks to them “every morning and every night.”
Netflix’s “American Murder: The Family Next Door” is currently available for streaming. The Associated Press contributed to this report.