The family of a pregnant Colorado mum have paid tribute to her in a moving obituary - which failed to mention her husband who is accused of murdering her and their two children.

Shanaann Watts, 34 and daughters Bella Marie Watts, 4 & Celeste Cathryn Watts, 3, were killed on August 16. Her husband Christopher Watts is charged with three counts of first degree murder, two of murdering children in his trust, one of terminating a pregnancy and three of tampering with bodies.

In her obituary, her parents Frank and Sandra Rzucek, described her as "our pride and joy" and "a true gift from God".

"We were so blessed to have such a joyful and wonderful daughter whose beauty was that of a doll," they wrote in the obituary, posted in the Sandhills Sentinel.


They wrote that Shanann was delighted to become a mother, especially because she was battling lupus, the Daily Mail reports.

In an affidavit, Watts claimed that he watched on the baby monitor as his pregnant wife killed one of the two daughters she had struggled so desperately to conceive. Photo / Facebook
In an affidavit, Watts claimed that he watched on the baby monitor as his pregnant wife killed one of the two daughters she had struggled so desperately to conceive. Photo / Facebook

"She spent every minute thanking God and taking care of her precious gift that the Lord had blessed her with," they said of Shanann after she gave birth to her first child, Bella. "How she loved and cherished her."

After the birth of Celeste, she was "determined to stay healthy" and found that "every moment with her was a blessing."

"Shan'ann wanted one more child praying for a baby boy. She named him Nico Lee. With the anticipation of her son to join them she knew he would be loved by his sisters and family."

Her funeral will be held at 1pm on September 1 at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Pinehurst. The family have asked for donations to the Lupus Foundation of America in lieu of flowers.

Meanwhile Chris Watts, 33, was in court last week as he was charged with the murders of his wife and children.

Watts is accused of murdering his 15-week pregnant wife Shanann and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, at their home in Frederick, Colorado.

Shanann Watts reveals to Chris Watts she's pregnant / CNN

Judge Kopcow told him that if found guilty of the murder charges he could face the death penalty and in any case will never see life outside of prison.


District Attorney Michael Rourke has nine weeks to decide whether to seek execution.

According to an affidavit unsealed on Monday, Watts claimed that he had been having an affair with a workmate at Anadarko Oil and he told his wife he wanted to separate after she returned home following a business trip to Arizona.

He claimed he then left the bedroom and when he returned he watched on the baby monitor as Shanann strangled Celeste. Bella, he claimed, was already lying on the bed, dead.

Shanann Watts, 34 and daughters Bella Marie Watts, 4 & Celeste Cathryn Watts, 3, were killed on August 16. Photo / Facebook
Shanann Watts, 34 and daughters Bella Marie Watts, 4 & Celeste Cathryn Watts, 3, were killed on August 16. Photo / Facebook

He became enraged, he claimed, and strangled Shanann. He then bundled the bodies into his truck and drove 35 miles to a windswept plain outside Roggen, Colorado, where he buried his wife in a shallow grave and dumped his two daughters into a tank filled with crude oil.

But investigators do not believe his version and say he killed all three.

A lone protester stood outside the court on Tuesday waving a placard. Andrew O'Connor, an attorney from Lafayette, Colorado, told that Anadarko had to share the blame for the murders.

"Wherever Anadarko does business, murders, aggravated assaults, rapes, STDs and human trafficking all go up," claimed O'Connor.

"What Chris Watts did to his wife and kids, Anadarko is doing to my community."

Hours after emotional plea on TV, Chris Watts confesses to killing his pregnant wife and kids. Video / CBS

According to the affidavit, Watts told cops he had seen Bella turned blue and sprawled out on her bed as Shanann was "actively strangling" Celeste.

"Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death," the affidavit reads.

"Chris said he loaded all three bodies onto the back seat of his work truck and took them to an oil work site."

After a two-day investigation, police discovered that Watts "was actively involved in an affair with a co-worker" - something he had initially denied.

He later told police where he had hidden the bodies and they found a bed sheet near the oil tanks that matched other linens in the house.

His claim that it was Shanann who killed his daughters is likely the reason that his court-appointed defense lawyer Megan Ring had asked for DNA swabs to be taken from the girls' necks.

Police had originally been notified that Shanann was missing by her workmate Nickole Atkinson, who had been on a business trip to Arizona with her, returning early in the morning on August 13.

Christopher was formally charged Monday with nine felony counts - including unlawfully terminating a pregnancy.

He was also charged with three counts of first degree murder, two counts of first degree murder of a child under 12 while in a position of trust and three counts of tampering with bodies.

District attorney Michael Rourke said he had not decided on whether to seek the death penalty in the case that has shocked the nation. Watts, 33, is due in court in Greeley, Colorado, on Tuesday morning.

The charges come exactly one week after Watts had reported his wife and children missing.

Shanann Watts, 34, and her two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, disappeared from their home in Frederick, Colorado last week.

He even went on local television to plead for them to return home even though he already knew they were dead, police say.

Since then, as inmate number 18-12255, he has been held at Weld County Jail on the outskirts of Greeley. He is being kept away from other prisoners for his own safety, according to Fox News.

Shanann's body was discovered on Wednesday two days after she disappeared from the family's five-bed, four-bath home in Frederick, Colorado, 30 miles north of Denver. She was 15 weeks pregnant with a boy the couple intended to call Nico.

She was in found in a shallow grave dug on land owned by the oil company Anadarko, where her husband worked as an operator.

The bodies of the couple's two daughters, Bella and her younger sister Celeste were found the following day submerged in cans of crude oil nearby.

Shanann's father made an emotional appearance Monday to thank everyone involved in arresting his son-in-law.

Frank Rzucek teared up as he spoke briefly to reporters at a press conference in the courthouse in Greeley, Colorado.

"I'd like to thank everyone in the Frederick Police Department and all the agencies involved for working so hard to find my daughter, granddaughters and Nico," Ruczek, 55, said between sobs.

"I'd like to thank everyone for coming to the candlelight vigil and saying all your prayers. They are gratefully appreciated — and keep the prayers coming for our family," added Rzucek.

Rzucek's son Frankie, 32, also appeared at the press conference but did not speak.

Since the bodies were found, well-wishers have left several hundred soft toys, along with dozens of flowers, candles and balloons in the front yard of the $400,000 house on Saratoga Trail in Frederick that the couple bought in 2013.

Despite the image of a blissfully happy marriage that Shanann projected through frequent Facebook posts, in which she called her husband her 'rock', friends of the couple, who are both originally from North Carolina, have suggested they were having marriage problems.

Nick and Amanda Thayer said Shanann had told them she thought her husband was cheating and on Monday Atkinson, who had dropped Shanann off at her home after the two had been on a business trip to Arizona told Good Morning America that after his wife had disappeared, Christopher had told her they were planning to separate.

Atkinson, 37, said in the weeks previous to her friend's murder the couple had not seemed quite so loving, but that Shanann had not told her they were considering splitting.

"I didn't find out that they were going to separate or anything like that until I called Chris that morning. When I called him and asked him where she was, that's when he told me and I basically told him that that wasn't my (concern) at that particular moment."

Atkinson, who believes she is the last person apart from the killer to have seen Shanann alive, said she thought all along that Watts had killed his family as he did not seem concerned after she couldn't get in contact with her colleague and friend.

"He just kept saying that he didn't know where she was and that she was on a playdate," she told ABC's Clayton Sandell. "But he couldn't give us the name of the friend.

"I knew he had something to do with it the day I was at his house with him, but I didn't want to think that.

"Anyone in their right mind will start piecing things together and think something had happened, but you don't want to go there. You want to believe the best in people," added Atkinson.

"He was defending himself, but it just didn't make sense. Like in that moment it is kind of surreal. He was just sitting there waiting for something to happen; it just didn't seem right to me."

Chris and Shanann Watts were also known to live well beyond their means and have had money problems. They filed for bankruptcy in 2015 owing some $70,000, and were due in court on Friday this week after their homeowners' association had sued them for an unpaid bill of $1,533.80.

Shanann suffered from lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own healthy cells. Her brother Frankie said on Facebook that because of the disease she had had to "beat the odds" to get pregnant.

But things had started to look up for them after Shanann landed a well-paid job with Le-Vel, a nutrition supplement company, which involved her making frequent business trips, leaving her husband at home with their children.

Investigators have said all along that they believe the 5ft 10in, 225lb, Watts had killed his family in their home and transported them to the windswept high prairie land that he had intended would be their final resting place.