Shanann Watts’ father gives emotional speech at news conference

GREELEY, Colo. -- Shanann Watts' father gave an emotional speech to thank law enforcement and the community at a news conference on Monday afternoon.

The Weld County District Attorney’s Office said Christopher Watts, 33, has been charged with nine felony counts, including three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, in connection to the deaths of his wife, Shanann, and his two young daughters, Bella and Celeste.

"We would like to thank everyone in the Fredrick Police Department and all the agencies involved for working so hard to find my daughter, granddaughters, and Nico," Frank Rzucek said.

"Thank you everyone for coming out to the candlelight vigil and saying all your prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

"And keep the prayers coming for our family. Thank you very much."

RELATED: Full coverage of deaths of pregnant mother, two daughters

The body of Shanann Watts, 34, was recovered Thursday in a shallow grave near an oil tank on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, where Christopher Watts worked as an operator.

Officials said Thursday night they found the bodies of the girls, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. Court documents said the girls were found in an oil well in close proximity to their mother’s body.

Court documents filed by defense lawyer James Merson said the girls had been submerged in crude oil for four days.

The Weld County Coroner’s Office confirmed the identities on Friday. The cause of their deaths has not been made public.

Defense attorneys asked for DNA samples from the girls’ necks, but the motion was denied. The motion suggested they might have been strangled.

Shanann Watts, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and her daughters were reported missing at 1:40 p.m. on Aug. 13. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation issued a missing-endangered alert for the three on Tuesday.

The Frederick Police Department, the CBI and the FBI canvassed the area before arresting Christopher Watts on Wednesday night.

A close friend has said she dropped off Shanann Watts at home about 2 a.m. Monday when they got home from a work trip. She saw her go inside.

She said the two friends were supposed to meet later in the day, but Watts didn’t answer her phone.

Christopher Watts said in an interview Tuesday that he didn’t know where his wife and daughters were.

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