Shanann Watts’ mother said she knew something terrible had happened to her even before the Colorado woman and mother was reported missing.
Last year, Sandy Rzucek remembered waking her slightly from her sleep and she sat up in bed. “I heard the Holy Spirit say ‘Shanann’,” she said, and whispered the name.
“I felt the spirit of my daughter when she died,” she said on Monday during an appearance on “Dr. Phil.” “I knew it. I swear to god I knew … I woke up the whole house. I said, ‘Something is wrong with Shanann.’ “
Shanann Watts’ pregnant body and the bodies of their children Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, were found in August in a remote oil field where Shanann’s husband, Chris, worked. He later pleaded guilty to the murders and served five life sentences – three consecutive and two at the same time – after Shanann’s family agreed to drop the possibility of the death penalty.
Rzucek and her husband and son shared their reactions to the recently released tapes of Chris Watts’ five-hour confession to law enforcement, talking about how to deal with the deaths and understanding why Watts committed the murders.
Watts had initially denied being involved in the disappearance of his wife and children in August and had spoken to a local news channel about their welfare. He pleaded guilty in November.
Shanann Watts’ brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., said they did not believe Chris Watts killed his wife “until we saw this interview on TV”.
“It eats him up”
Last week the authorities released Watts’ five-hour interview with the authorities, which was taped in February. Watts spoke about his state of mind in the weeks and months leading up to his sentencing and what made him confess guilty to his crimes.
“Why do you think he’s telling the truth now?” asked host Phil McGraw.
Rzucek said he think Watts spoke honestly about the murders because “I think it is eating him up.”
“I think he was more than happy to talk to someone who was in a box around the clock for five hours,” said Rzucek, the children’s godfather.
“We loved him like a son and Frankie loved him like a brother,” said Sandy Rzucek. “I just do not understand.”
In an appearance on Dr. Phil last week, an attorney for Watts’ family said Bella knew her mother and sister had just been killed – and feared she would be next.
“Please Daddy, don’t do what you just did to Cece,” Bella said, according to attorney Steven Lambert.
Sandy Rzucek said the hardest part was knowing that her granddaughter saw her sister die and beg for her life.
“To hear my granddaughter beg for her life … it’s pretty tough,” she said.
“She told me she was at peace”
Rzucek said she also felt the presence of her daughter and grandchildren when authorities told them they had found their bodies separately.
“That night I was in bed and I felt a presence and I heard my daughter. I felt her and heard her say, ‘I love you mom and I’m sorry,’ ”she said.
“She told me she was at peace,” said Rzucek.
Rzucek said Bella told her, “I can go to Disney World whenever I want.”
“I said that’s right Bella,” said Rzucek.
A new mission
Rzucek said the murders gave her a new mission: comforting women whose children have disappeared.
“I’m still on a mission for my daughter and grandchildren because they wanted to live. They had the right to live and they had a good life,” she said.
“They loved each other. They loved their family. They loved everyone around them.”
She put her hand on her upper chest.
“Mom is here,” she said. “And I will stand up for you, Dr. Phil. If you will allow me, you will help me.”
“We are together for 38 years. Our children are our one and only and our grandchildren were our one and only,” said Rzucek.