Where is Nichol Kessinger now? Start Here

Nichol Kessinger

Chris Watts’ senseless murder of his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, Celeste and Bella, is back in the headlines following the release of his mistress’s police interview. Watts strangled his wife and buried her in a shallow grave before smothering the kids and dumping their bodies in oil tanks. 

Watts’ motive: he wanted to start a new life with his mistress, Nichol Kessinger. In the 3-hour video released by Shannan’s family, Nichol details her relationship with Chris, saying that she thought Watts had separated from his wife when the pair started dating. 

Nichol Kessinger adopted a new identity and lives away from the limelight

At no point did Nichol Kessinger appear complicit in the murders. In a way, she was also a victim of Chris’ wickedness. After learning of Shannan and the kids’ disappearance, she texted Chris: “If you did anything bad, you’re going to ruin your life and you’re going to ruin my life. I promise you that.”

Kessinger cooperated with investigators, and after Chris’ incarceration, she adopted a new identity and moved locations. Nichol needed to adopt a private life as part of the public blamed her for the murders. 

Some reports indicate that Nichol is in the Witness Protection Program, which makes sense considering the program involves adopting a new identity and relocation. However, it’s unclear whether Nichol enjoys witness protection. 

Nichol has impressively stayed hidden, considering that the case garnered national attention. She clearly wants to be left alone. 

Chris Watts allegedly believes that Nichol wrote to him in prison using her new identity. Watts told his pen pal Cheryln Cadle that he still had feelings for Kessinger. Cadle wrote the book Letters from Christopher based on correspondence between him and Chris. 

In March 2021, fellow inmate David Carter reiterated Watts’ alleged assertion that Nichol wrote to him in prison. “He told me she said that she needed to speak to him to clear some things up,” David Carter told The Daily Mail. “He wouldn’t tell me exactly what she had said.”

Watts allegedly claimed that prison officials discovered the communication and punished him by suspending his email and monitoring his mail. “He wasn’t supposed to have any contact with her, but she initiated it by writing to him,” Carter added. 

Chris supposedly told David that he killed his family because he didn’t want to pay child support and have a third child. Carter viewed it as a pathetic excuse for murder. “I don’t buy any of that though,” Carter said. “I couldn’t ever kill my entire family just because I didn’t want a child or didn’t want to pay child support.”

Kessinger refused to communicate with Chris until his family showed up

Nichol Kessinger and Chris Watts
Nichol Kessinger and Chris Watts | Netflix

Nichol Kessinger graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology. She later earned an Associate of Science Degree from the Community College of Aurora. 

Kessinger met Chris after Chris’ company, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, contracted Tasman Geosciences, Nichol’s employer. The pair started a whirlwind romance, with Nichol believing Chris had separated from his wife and working on divorcing her. 

Chris killed his family a little over a month after he started dating Nichol. Nichol told police that she didn’t know Watts was still with Shannan or that the couple were expecting a third child. He’d asked Nichol to search for a house he would live in with his daughters. 

Nichol told investigators that she learned the truth after watching news of Shannan and the kids’ disappearance. In the newly-released footage, Nichol tells police that Kessinger suspected Chris did something wrong. Kessinger says:

“I kept asking him, ‘What did you do, Chris? What did you do?’ I was still in my head. I was stressed out. He responded, ‘I didn’t hurt my family, Nicky.’ And that was the last text. I never said another word to him after that.”

Kessinger cut communication with Chris and vowed to assist investigators. “I eventually told him that I did not want to speak to him again until his family was found,” she told The Denver Post. “With a pregnant woman and two children missing, I was going to do anything that I could.”

Nichol told investigators that Chris said nothing to suggest that he wanted to hurt his family. He spoke about his kids, but he never expressed hostility or aggression towards them, Nichol said. In the footage, Nichol says:

“It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary or anything that would scare me. Even to this day, even after everything that I’ve found out, I still look back at that, and I don’t see any red lights about the way he spoke about his family.”

“I don’t think there is a logical explanation for what he did,” Kessinger told The Denver Post. “It’s a senseless act, and it’s horrific.”