The Mysterious Case of Nichol Kessinger, Mistress of Family Murderer Chris Watts

On August 13, 2018, a tragic case rocked the nation when Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife Shanann and their two young daughters, Bella and Celeste, in their home in Frederick, Colorado. As details emerged about Chris Watts’ personal life, the spotlight soon fell on his mistress, Nichol Kessinger, with whom he had been having an affair prior to the murders. Who is Nichol Kessinger and what was her role in this devastating case that ended in familicide?

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Nichol Kessinger first met Chris Watts in June 2018 when they were both employed as contract workers at Anadarko Petroleum in Platteville, Colorado. Kessinger worked in the health, safety, and environment department while Watts worked as an operator. The two struck up a romantic relationship despite Watts still being married to his wife Shanann and Shanann being 15 weeks pregnant at the time.

Kessinger has stated that Watts told her he was at the end of divorce proceedings when they first met. Their affair rapidly became intense with the two texting and calling each other frequently and even telling each other they loved one another. However, Kessinger was unaware that Watts was still very much involved with his wife and children throughout their relationship.

Kessinger’s Background

Not much is known about Nichol Kessinger’s background prior to her job at Anadarko and her affair with Chris Watts. It’s believed she is from Colorado but her exact origins remain unclear. Her age at the time of the murders was 30.

Kessinger earned her Bachelor’s degree in geology from Colorado State University and was employed by Tasman Geosciences as a field engineer before contracting with Anadarko. She had only been working at Anadarko for two months when she met Watts. Her previous role with Tasman involved extensive travel and time in the field.

The Affair

Chris Watts and Nichol Kessinger quickly fell into an intense affair after meeting at work in June. The two were spending up to five hours a day talking on the phone when they were not together in person. Kessinger later told authorities Watts would call and text her all day long from his work site.

Watts even created a secret email address in order to communicate with Kessinger outside of work. The two exchanged explicit photos and text messages expressing their love and desire for one another. They would meet up in person during work breaks for rendezvous in Watts’ truck parked out in a remote field.

It’s believed Kessinger did not know at first that Watts’ wife Shanann was pregnant with the couple’s third child. She found out the details about Watts’ family situation in late July and was shocked that he had lied about already initiating divorce proceedings.

Kessinger’s Suspicions

In the weeks leading up to the murders, Nichol Kessinger grew increasingly suspicious about the reality of Watts’ marriage situation. On August 4, she drove by the Watts family home to check for signs that he was still involved with his wife. Not seeing Shanann’s car in the driveway, she still wondered if Watts was being truthful about separating.

Her suspicions rose further when Watts texted her on August 13 that he was busy with his daughters all day. Kessinger knew this didn’t align with Watts’ story about being estranged from his wife already. She texted him demanding answers about the discrepancies in his stories.

Just hours later on the same day, Shanann, Celeste and Bella were murdered and Kessinger’s texts to Watts demanding the truth went unanswered.

Kessinger’s Actions After the Murders

The morning after Shanann, Celeste and Bella Watts were murdered by Chris Watts, Nichol Kessinger learned from news reports that Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant. Horrified, she became worried Watts had harmed them and urgently tried to contact the police.

Kessinger was brought in for multiple interviews with investigators in the days following the murders. She described her relationship with Watts to the authorities and allowed them access to her phone so they could document their correspondence. Prosecutors do not believe she had any prior knowledge of Watts’ plan to murder his family.

In the aftermath of Watts’ arrest, Kessinger went into hiding after her identity was leaked to the press. She deleted all of her social media accounts and changed her name to avoid a frenzy of unwanted attention as the murders became a national news story. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.

FAQs about Nichol Kessinger

Where is Nichol Kessinger now?

The current whereabouts of Nichol Kessinger are unknown. It’s believed she is living under an assumed name after going into hiding due to the media circus around the Watts case.

What was Kessinger’s profession?

Kessinger worked in oil fields as a contractor with a degree in geology. She was employed by Tasman Geosciences before contracting at Anadarko Petroleum where she met Chris Watts.

Did Kessinger know about Watts’ pregnancy?

Kessinger did not know Shanann Watts was pregnant until after the murders took place. Chris Watts had lied to her and told her he was separating from his wife.

Did Nichol Kessinger talk to the police?

Yes, Kessinger approached police the day after the murders when she became suspicious of Watts’ behavior. She voluntarily submitted multiple formal interviews describing her relationship with Watts.

Did Nichol have anything to do with the murders?

Prosecutors do not believe Kessinger had any prior knowledge of Chris Watts’ plan to murder his wife and children. She cooperated fully with the investigation and was cleared of any suspicion.


The tragic Chris Watts familicide shocked the nation in 2018 when the Babies Case came to light. Nichol Kessinger became unwillingly embroiled in the crime through her affair with Watts and the fact that she unknowingly dated a married man who was expecting another child with his wife.

Kessinger cooperated fully with investigators once she suspected something was wrong. However, the media storm surrounding the case prompted her to go into hiding to escape attention. Nichol Kessinger remains an enigmatic figure who somehow became entangled in one of Colorado’s most high-profile murder cases. Her whereabouts today are unknown as she lives under an assumed identity just hoping to move on with her life.

Table: Timeline of Key Events in Nichol Kessinger’s Involvement with Chris Watts

June 2018Nichol Kessinger begins contracting job at Anadarko Petroleum where she meets Chris Watts
June 2018Kessinger and Watts begin having an affair and spending extensive time talking on the phone
July 2018Kessinger learns that Watts is still with his pregnant wife though he claimed he was separated
August 4, 2018Kessinger drives to Watts’ home to investigate whether he is still living with his wife
August 13, 2018Kessinger exchanges suspicious texts with Watts about his whereabouts
August 14, 2018After learning of the murders, Kessinger contacts police to offer information
August 2018Kessinger cooperates with multiple formal interviews with investigators
August 2018Kessinger goes into hiding after her identity is leaked publicly

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