Records: Christopher Watts’ co-worker went to site, looked for clues day after family’s disappearance
WELD COUNTY — The day after Shanann Watts and her two daughters went missing, Troy McCoy found himself out at the site where their bodies eventually would be recovered.
McCoy, an Anadarko co-worker of Christopher Watts, didn’t yet know Watts killed his wife and kids or that he placed the girls’ bodies in separate oil tanks and buried his wife in a shallow grave at the rural tank battery north of Roggen.
But he had suspicions.
McCoy detailed those suspicions in an at-times emotional interview with law enforcement Aug. 17, saying he knew it looked bad that he was at the site Aug. 14, the day after Watts dumped the bodies.
“This is horrible; I’ve never been in trouble in my life,” McCoy told investigators. “I know this looks terrible.”
So why did he go?
After attending a training, McCoy had some time on his hands, he said. He had been thinking, “What the hell’s going on?”
“I thought, ‘Well, if nothing else, I’ll go out to 3-19 and see if there’s something out of the norm,” McCoy said.
It was the first place he saw Watts after the family disappeared. It was the place Watts told co-workers he would go to alone the morning of Aug. 13. It’s where Watts was wearing different boots than normal, where he parked in a weird spot and where Watts left rather casually the day before when his family was missing.
“I’m a father,” McCoy said. “If my wife was gone, I’d be freaking out. He’s just like, ‘Hey guys, I gotta go.’
“Everybody’s looking for clues and tips, and I just wanted to help.”
He wouldn’t stay long, seemingly spooked by a guy out at the site with a water truck. He lied about why he was out there, signed a form and slowly drove away.
McCoy said he didn’t have a good answer for investigators when they asked why he didn’t tell the truth at the site, but he was adamant he was telling the truth in the interview.
It’s doubtful investigators fingered him for any wrongdoing with Watts being arrested on suspicion of murder two days before the interview, and they let him know in the interview they understood his reasoning.
The day before, Aug. 16, police were re-interviewing Watts, who confessed to killing his wife and dumping his family’s bodies at the tank battery site. They wanted to know if he was lying about where he put the girls’ bodies. Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, were small, but the hatches at the top of the tanks were much too small, the interviewer said.
Watts explained how he dropped them in feet first while holding their arms.
But why in different tanks, the interviewer asked.
“I wasn’t thinking,” Watts said. “I was scared out of my mind; I didn’t know what to do.”
The interviewer was concerned for first responders’ safety, and how the process of getting into the tanks could set off an explosion and hurt more people. That would be on Watts’ hands, he said.
“They’re in there,” Watts said.
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The city of Craig in January settled a lawsuit alleging excessive force against two officers over a 2018 tasing incident, the second civil rights complaint of its type filed against police force members since July.