Ex-girlfriend of notorious family killer Chris Watts, Nichol Kessinger, seemingly disappeared into thin air. Is she in witness protection? What was her role in the tragic slaughtering of Chris Watts' pregnant wife Shanann and their daughters Bella and Celeste?
Before we dive into Nichol Kessinger's sightseeings, let's go through the events that put her name in the news.
The Horrific Killings Of Shanann Watts, Bella, And Celeste Watts
Chris Watts and his wife Shanann had two lovely daughters, and a third child, a boy, on the way. They were a typical Colorado family, with similar everyday struggles as the rest of us. Or so it seemed.
Chris Watts, however, had a girlfriend, Nichol Kessinger, and to this day, no one knows how much Nichol knew, if anything.
Watts confessed to killing his wife and two daughters. First, he killed pregnant Shanann. Then he went after the girls—his children, and in the early morning of August 13, 2018, he erased his whole family.
Despite crying wolf, the authorities quickly revealed that the family was not missing. They were all in shallow graves.
First, Chris Watts claimed that his late wife killed their daughters, and he killed Shanann for what she did to his daughters. However, he changed the story and finally confessed to killing all his family.
According to many, he wanted to start a new life with his girlfriend, Nichol Kessinger.
Nichol Kessinger Talks To The Police
The recording of Nichol Kessinger talking to the police is public knowledge, raising many red flags. She was never a suspect, and her only crime was falling for the wrong guy. She went to the police willingly and answered every question.
So what are the red flags? Chris claims Nicole knew he was married. Kessinger denied it.
Nichol Kessinger says she never met Shanann Watts, and while talking to the police, she kept referring to her as Chris' significant other. She added she did not even know her name.
According to her search history, Kessinger googled Chris Watts in August 2017 and Shanann Watts in January 2018.
This is important because Chris and Nichol started dating only in the late spring of 2018. Yet, it could've been a typo, as some suggested.
Perhaps Nichol Kessinger simply liked Watts and was ready to be the other woman. Maybe she wanted Chris to divorce and have her happy ending. But, that is not a crime.
Once Chris Watts pled guilty, Nichol Kessinger was no longer on the police's radar.
Steamy Affair Between Nichol Kessinger And Chris Watts
Nichol was working as a field engineer for Tasman Geosciences in 2018, which had a contract with Anadarko Petroleum Co., and that is where she first met Watts.
E-mail exchanges between Nichol and Watts suggest they started being more than co-workers in early June 2018. A quick search would reveal that he was a happily married man with two kids and a third on the way.
Yet, Nichol Kessinger told the police that she knew nothing about the children, let alone a pregnant wife.
Then, around Father's Day, Watts told her he has two girls and is in the process of divorcing their mother.
On June 27, Shanann took her girls to North Carolina for five weeks, and that is when the relationship between Nichol and Chriss got heated.
This is also when things get tangled up, which is the "he said she said" situation. Nichol Kessinger said she wanted Chris Watts to work on his marriage. He said the exact opposite, even claiming that Nichol did not want children at first and then suggested that she wished she was carrying his son first.
Yet, Nichol still did not force Watts to murder his family, so even if all this is true, perhaps she was merely trying to save face.
Nichol Kessinger Deletes Chris Watts From Her Life
On July 27, Watts and his girlfriend went camping. Four days later, Chris Watts flew to North Carolina to spend a week with his wife and children.
On the first night with his family, Watts slipped his pregnant wife 80mg of oxycodone. Apparently, he wanted her to lose a baby, and as he later explained, he thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn't carrying his baby, whom they named Nico.
To this day, we don't know how Chris Watts got oxycodone.
While Watts was trying to cause a miscarriage, Nicole Kessinger was googling "man I am having an affair says he will leave his wife," "wedding dresses," and Shanann Watts. Despite all the searches, Nicole did not see that Shanann was pregnant.
When the lovers were reunited, Nichol gave Watts a key to her place. According to the book Letters From Christopher, this was the final push.
When the news about a missing pregnant woman and her two young children broke down, Kessinger and her dad went to the police.
She told the FBI that she deleted his messages, e-mails, and phone number, claiming she had just learned that his wife was pregnant and only realized that he was a liar.
This was when Nicole Kessinger knew that she was done with Chris Watts. But was that indeed the end of this deadly affair?
Nichol Kessinger Arrest
The infamous mistress of Chris Watts was arrested, but it was back in 2007.
Nichol was arrested for disturbing the peace and unusual noises. She was jailed for a brief time, but it indeed had nothing to do with the murder committed by Watts.
However, when Nichol was 19 years old, this arrest gave an insight into her world since not much is known apart from what she told the FBI. And yes, what Chris said, and what was found in her search engine.
Nicole, at the time, was a bookkeeper, and apparently, she was hanging out with her stepbrother when she refused to obey the rules and showed disrespect to the authorities.
However, 11 years later, her approach to the authorities was much different. In the tapes, you can see Nichol Kessinger almost being playful and flirty with the agent, despite the circumstances.
This detachment is why many perceived Kessinger as a catalyst for the tragedy that will happen only six weeks after she started the relationship with a convicted killer, Christopher Watts.
Nichol Kessinger Now
When Kessinger met Watts, she was into healthy living and working out, and she initially helped him get in shape.
Though their relationship was brief, the consequences will last a lifetime. Shanann's family knows that very well.
So, where is Nichol Kessinger now? Some suggest that she is in witness protection. In her interview with the FBI, she claimed that she was afraid about her public image, and rightfully so. It is not that being a mistress is illegal, but it is not a witch hunt when you have a dead pregnant wife and two dead children. It is a desire to understand what drew Chris Watts to commit the ultimate crime.
Before Kessinger disappeared, she googled, "did people hate Amber Frey?." Fey was the girlfriend of Scott Peterson, who killed his pregnant wife Laci in 2002.
In 2019, it was reported that Kessinger has a new job and has moved out of Colorado.
In the same year, Chris Watts contacted his pen pal Cherilyn Cadle claiming he still had feelings for Nichol Kessinger. Other sources added fuel to the fire by alleging that Chris is still receiving secret letters from Nichol.
It is reasonably certain that Nichol Kessinger now lives under a different name. Last October, the news broke that Kessinger is in the process of changing her name. She applied for the process in Jefferson County, Colorado.
Inmate Claims Chris Watts Got Back In Touch With Nichol Kessinger
While we cannot say where Nichol Kessinger is now, the last time we heard about her was in April 2021.
Watts' fellow inmate David Carter spoke to Daily Mail and revealed:
"He wasn't supposed to have any contact with her, but she initiated it by writing to him."
Here's the plot twist: no one but Nichol knows whether she wrote the alleged letters or someone pretending to be her. And, keep in mind that in many ways, Kessinger was a victim, too, since dating a killer always carries not just guilt but actual fear of what could have happened to you.
Nichol Kessinger did nothing wrong, yet she did so many things to make people angry with her. Chris Watts is safe behind bars, and he will spend the rest of his life in jail.
But, Nichol, who might or might not be in contact with him, will forever be known as the woman who encouraged a man to leave his pregnant wife. It is quite a burden for a reasonably young woman, and no, it is not fair.
But, it is nothing compared to what happened to those two little girls and their pregnant, young mom.
And unlike Amber Frey, Nichol Kessinger never apologized to the people who knew and loved Shanann and her girls. Nor did she show remorse for being a willing participant in breaking a family. The rest is up to Christopher Watts' soul.