In 2018, pregnant Colorado mom Shanann Watts seemingly disappeared, along with her daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Shanann’s husband Chris Watts seemed distraught — but, in a case that gripped the nation, it soon came to light that he’d murdered his entire family. Now, Netflix is going behind-the-scenes of the heartbreaking headlines in its new true-crime documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door. And the first trailer, released on Wednesday, will send chills straight up your spine.
Even if you remained riveted throughout the case, like us, Netflix promises the documentary will introduce new information about the shocking triple-homicide. “Told entirely through archival footage that includes social media posts, law enforcement recordings, text messages, and never-before-seen home videos, director Jenny Popplewell pieces together an immersive and truthful examination of a police investigation into a disintegrating marriage. American Murder: The Family Next Door is the first film to give a voice to the victims,” the documentary’s official description reads.
That certainly seems to track, as Shanann’s voice nearly narrates the trailer. “I just want you to know a little bit about my story. I went through one of the darkest times in my life and then I met Chris, and he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she says in an old Facebook video. In another clip, she hauntingly observes, “We’re not promised tomorrow. We’re not promised anything.”
As is often the reality of true crime documentaries, American Murder will undoubtedly serve as a stark reminder that things aren’t always what they seem. On the surface, Shanann and Chris seemed… happy. They were both successful. They had two beautiful little girls, a lovely home and a baby on the way — Shanann was 15-weeks pregnant with their unborn son, Nico, at the time of her death.
But after initially feigning fear and surprise over his family’s disappearance, Chris ultimately confessed to strangling Shanann in their bed. He then drove his daughters to the remote oil field where he worked before smothering them and placing their tiny bodies in oil tanks. Chris is currently serving five life sentences without the possibility of parole at a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin.
American Murder: The Family Next Door will premiere on Netflix September 30.
Before you go, click here to see the most infamous murders in Hollywood history.