The Frederick Police Department arrested Chris Watts, 33, Wednesday evening in connection with the missing persons case involving his wife, Shanann Watts, 34, and their daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.
Watts agreed to show investigators where the bodies of his wife and daughters are buried, local affiliates for ABC, CBS and NBC reported Thursday. He was being held in Weld County Jail, police said in a tweet.
Police announced in a news conference Thursday that they had recovered Shanann Watts’ body and have “strong reason” to believe they’ve located the two girls’ bodies.
Watts is expected to appear in court later Thursday for a bond hearing, but officials said formal charges will likely not be presented against him until Monday. An affidavit for his arrest has also been sealed by a court, but officials expect it to be unsealed for the public Monday as well.
Frederick Police Sgt. Ian Albert called the killings “earth-shattering” for his department of just over 20 police officers.
Shanann’s family, in a statement to CBS4, noted Chris Watts’ confession:
It is with deep hurt, confusion and anger to confirm our beautiful cousin Shanann Watts, her unborn child, and her two angelic daughters, Bella (4), Celeste (3) were viciously murdered by husband Chris Watts; who confessed to the killings. Please keep Shanann’s parents and brother in your prayers.
Police during Thursday’s news conference would not confirm reports that Chris Watts had confessed to the killings.
Shanann Watts was reported missing at 1:40 p.m. Monday after she didn’t answer texts and phone calls from friends and family, according to investigators.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation issued an endangered missing alert on Tuesday for Shanann, Bella and Celeste.
Chris Watts told ABC7 on Tuesday that he had an “emotional conversation” with his 15-week pregnant wife after she had returned from a business trip around 2 a.m. Monday.
“My kids are my life. Those smiles light up my life,” Watts told the station. “I just want them to come back. If they’re not safe right now, that’s what’s tearing me apart. Because if they are safe, they’re coming back. But if they’re not, this has got to stop. Like somebody has to come forward.”
Police have not commented on a motive. Local media reported the family had been struggling with financial issues.
Shanann Watts announced her third pregnancy June 11 in a series of Facebook posts, and provided her followers with updates in the months to follow.
“Chris, we are so incredibly blessed to have you!” she wrote on Facebook on Father’s Day. “You do so much everyday for us and take such great care of us. You are the reason I was brave enough to agree to number 3!”
This story has been updated to include new details about the case.
Sebastian Murdock contributed reporting.