TEXT messages from a US man who reportedly confessed to killing his pregnant wife and their two young daughters seem to show a loving family man excited by the impending arrival of their third child.

The Sun reports that Chris Watts, 33, sent the moving messages to wife Shanann, 34, on June 19, after she sent him an ultrasound pic showing their third pregnancy.

"Little Peanut! Love her/him already!!!" he wrote in response to the photo she pinged to his mobile phone after looking at the tiny embryo of the child they planned to call Niko.

Chris Watts sent his wife Shanann this loving text months before he killed her and their daughters. Picture: Facebook
Chris Watts sent his wife Shanann this loving text months before he killed her and their daughters. Picture: Facebook

Shanann shared the exchange on her Facebook page writing: "I love Chris! He's the best dad us girls could ask for."

The tragic mum frequently heaped praise on her husband, writing on Facebook in April while on a work trip to New Orleans: "He's my rock!"

"He takes care of us girls unconditionally! Thank you baby for holding down the fort this weekend! Love you," she wrote.

Chris Watts with his wife Shanann and daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three. Picture: Facebook
Chris Watts with his wife Shanann and daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three. Picture: Facebook

In one online video she said meeting Watts was the "best thing that ever happened to her".

She said: "I got a friend request from Chris on Facebook and I was like, 'Oh, what the heck, I'm never going to meet him.

"I accept, one thing led to another and eight years later we have two kids, we live in Colorado and he's the best thing that has ever happened to me."

Chris Watts and his wife Shanann. Picture: Facebook
Chris Watts and his wife Shanann. Picture: Facebook

 

This booking photo from the Weld County Sheriff's Office shows Chris Watts. Picture: AP
This booking photo from the Weld County Sheriff's Office shows Chris Watts. Picture: AP

Shanann and the couple's two young daughters were found dead after being hidden inside gas and oil tanks at a plant where her husband worked in Frederick, on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado.

The bodies of the couple's two daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three, were found later at the same industrial site.

They were allegedly hidden inside "mostly full tanks in order to conceal the smell, Denver 7 news reports.

Chris Watts with his daughters, Bella and Celeste. Picture: Facebook
Chris Watts with his daughters, Bella and Celeste. Picture: Facebook

While Colorado does increase penalties for crimes committed against pregnant women, it does not confer "personhood" status on an unborn foetus.

Although a person can be charged with foetal homicide only if it can be proven that the baby could survive outside the womb.

Prosecutors say they believe all the victims were killed in their home and the bodies later moved, but no cause of death has yet been made public in the case.

Chris Watts confessed to killing wife Shanann and daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three. Picture: Facebook
Chris Watts confessed to killing wife Shanann and daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three. Picture: Facebook

Appearing in court last night, a shackled Watts didn't speak and looked down for much of the hearing only making eye contact as the judge reviewed his rights.

Though formal charges have not yet been filed, it's reported he could face three charges of murder and three charges of tampering with evidence.

Judge Marcelo Kopcow told prosecutors they had to file formal charges by Monday and set a date for a Tuesday hearing to review the case against Watts.

He also approved a request by the suspect's lawyer that police preserve all written notes and notify the defence team before any of the autopsies are performed.

Authorities have not revealed a possible motive or other details in the case. A judge sealed the arrest affidavit, which might have provided that information.

Christopher Watts glances back at a Weld County Sheriff's Deputy as he is escorted out of the courtroom at the Weld County Courthouse. Picture: AP
Christopher Watts glances back at a Weld County Sheriff's Deputy as he is escorted out of the courtroom at the Weld County Courthouse. Picture: AP

They had previously faced financial difficulties, and filed for bankruptcy in 2015 to escape credit card debts.

However, things are said to have changed recently after Shanann landed herself an $80,000-a-year job promoting health supplements and patches.

The perks of her new role included a Lexus company car and paid trips to Mexico, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic - taking her away from her family.

The young mum was on a work trip just hours before she and her kids were killed sparking fears her husband felt jealous about her great new job.

Chris Watts and his wife Shanann. Picture: Instagram
Chris Watts and his wife Shanann. Picture: Instagram

 

Chris Watts and his wife Shanann. Picture: Facebook
Chris Watts and his wife Shanann. Picture: Facebook

The children had spent the weekend at home with their father while their mother was away working, police confirmed.

Family friends have now revealed they have been left dumbfounded by the brutal killings.

One man told how he spent time with Chris Watts and his daughters just a few days ago and all seemed fine.

"You know, the hardest part about it all is - when you're closer to the family … is the 'why?'" said Jerry Lindstrom. "The why gets bigger.

"We're dumbfounded," Lindstrom said Thursday night. "We don't get it. Lost.

"He was a good mechanic if you needed help with your car - he'd help you. If you needed help with furniture, he'd be over there in a heartbeat to help you out.

A photograph sits amid the tributes as they grow outside the home where a pregnant woman, Shanann Watts, and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, lived. Picture: AP
A photograph sits amid the tributes as they grow outside the home where a pregnant woman, Shanann Watts, and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, lived. Picture: AP

"It's just horrible," he said. "Why do people do this? Why does it come down to this? There had to have been an easier route."

On Wednesday, Watts, 33, appeared on US TV to claim he had absolutely no idea where his wife and kids had disappeared to hours before "confessing" to cops.

He was filmed outside the family home as he pleaded for the safe return of his missing family - hours before reportedly confessing to killing them.

Chris Watts confessed to killing wife Shanann and daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three. Picture: Facebook
Chris Watts confessed to killing wife Shanann and daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three. Picture: Facebook

He looked into the cameras as he said: "I have no idea, like, where they went. I don't feel like this is even real right now. It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from."

During the interview - now seen around the world - he told how he called in the cops after learning his house was deserted.

However, just hours later legal sources claimed he had confessed to killing his family.

Watts has not been formally charged. A judge ordered him held without bail. As he was escorted into the courtroom, Watts did not speak.

Cops said Watts made the shocking confession earlier in the week, according to Denver7. The police later tweeted Watts is being held at the Weld County Jail.

The FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation are also investigating the incident, local legal sources told reporters on the ground.

During the interview, Watts claimed he texted his wife numerous times but didn't get any response which he thought was odd. He then raced home but found it empty and quickly filed a missing persons report with the cops.



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