Frederick, CO – The father of a pregnant woman whose husband murdered her and their two little girls called a press conference in order to plead with the public to stop harassing his family.
“Just stop. Please, just stop,” Frank Rzucek said from the shadow of the home that his daughter Shanann Watts had shared with her husband and daughters.
Rzucek traveled from North Carolina to his daughter’s former home in Frederick on July 22 to address the social media keyboard warriors who have been attacking his family since his daughter and granddaughters’ murders on Aug. 13, 2018, KMGH reported.
When Shanann Watts and her daughters, four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste, disappeared, her husband initially said he had no idea where his family had gone, and begged for their safe return during several media interviews.
Hours after he issued a dramatic plea to television cameras, 33-year-old Christopher Watts was arrested for the murders of his pregnant wife and daughters.
He then told investigators a bogus story that Shanann had killed their little girls, and that he subsequently murdered her in a fit of rage, according to The Denver Post.
Christopher later admitted the truth, and pleaded guilty to murdering his family in November of the same year and is currently serving three consecutive life sentences in prison, NBC News reported.
Shanann’s father told reporters that his family had been repeatedly subjected to false rumors and lies that were being spread against them on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter since his daughter and granddaughters were murdered, KMGH reported.
“I don’t want to go into the specifics, but I will say that our family, including Shanann and her children – and our grandchildren – have been ridiculed, demeaned, slandered, [and] mocked in the most vicious ways you can imagine,” Rzucek said. “This is so wrong. It is cruel. It is heartless.”
He said family members had been targeted with a “constant stream of ugly, evil insults and attacks” that had turned into death threats, KMGH reported.
“Every time we turn around, there is someone trying to capitalize on our tragedy by spreading false rumors and outright lies about Shanann and our grandchildren,” the grieving father said.
Rzucek said they have repeatedly contacted Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for help stopping the harassment but that the social media platforms have ignored them, KMGH reported.
From his dead daughter’s doorstep, he called on the social media giants to “take some responsibility for your platforms and stop this despicable conduct.”
The grieving father also had a message for people who felt compelled to continue discussing his daughter’s murder.
“Please stick to the truth,” Rzucek said. “It is painful enough for us just dealing with the reality. Reading the insane conspiracy theories, ugly false rumors and lies only make it more painful.”
He said he wanted his daughter to be remembered as a beautiful person, KMGH reported.
“She would have defended herself and now I’m here defending her,” the father said. “It doesn’t need to be like this, I shouldn’t have to be out here doing this… Making money off of my daughter’s death is ridiculous.”
After Christopher Watts was convicted, attorneys for the Rzucek family announced that Shanann’s husband found God in prison and finally told Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents what had really happened the night he murdered his family.
According to the Rzuceks’ attorneys, Christopher and Shanann began arguing after he admitted that he was having an affair and that he wanted a divorce.
Shanann ultimately told him that she would make sure he didn’t see their children again, at which point he strangled her to death.
As Christopher was wrapping his wife’s body with a sheet, Bella walked into the room.
“What are you doing with mama?” she asked him, according to the attorneys.
Christopher told the four-year-old that her mother was ill, and that they were taking her to a hospital so she could get well again.
He then took the girls out to his truck, loaded Shanann’s wrapped body inside, and drove them to his remote worksite 45 miles away.
When they arrived, Christopher smothered Celeste – who went by the nickname of “Cee Cee” – with her favorite blanket, while Bella looked on, the attorneys said.
He took the little girl’s body out of the truck, then went back for Bella.
She had already gotten herself out of her seatbelt and began pleading with her father not to kill her.
“Please daddy – do not do to me what you just did to Cee Cee,” she said, according to the attorneys.
"There was a struggle from Bella,” one of the attorneys explained, according to NBC News. “There were signs that she fought for her life."
"I think of the things that have been hard for the Rzuceks to comprehend and to accept [is] this reality, what happened to Bella in those last moments have been the hardest," the lawyer added. "Obviously the question becomes how much were Bella and Cee Cee aware of what might have been happening in those 45 minutes on that drive to where their bodies were placed."
Christopher buried his pregnant wife’s body in a shallow grave, then dumped his daughters’ bodies into a tank of oil.