The Chris Watts Fever

For anyone who is into true crime or crime drama, Chris Watts is a genre household name.
Chris Watts is a convincted murderer native to North Carolina. He killed his pregnant wife Shanann Rzucek, and his two daughters, four year old Bella and three year old Celeste.

As a result, he was sentenced to five life sentences without the possibility of parole in the state of Colorado.

Because Watts’ motive was to commit familicide over getting a divorce, many have found the news to be shocking. The Watts were also your typical next door neighbors, with the beautiful children and quiet neighborhood.

No one suspected that the husband would commit such despicable murder, which resulted in media craze surrounding the case.

It is this craze that spikes interest. When searching on google “Chris Watts”, there are over 87 million hits, and an astounding amount of YouTube videos retelling the story.

Most famously, is Bailey Sarian’s video, with over 10 million views, a documentary by Mark Payne with 15 million views, and a jail interview by Denver7 with 9 million views.

However, the film that would resonate with the audience most is Netflix’s documentary, “American Murder: The Family Next Door”, which gives a detailed account of everything that happened from beginning, to end. The documentary even uses real police footage, and goes into depth as far as the texts sent between Shanann and friends.

So the question is, why is there so much media attention on a single case?

It might be how shocking the events were. The Watts were your typical American family, and so it became a dramatized sensation stemming from something very tragic.

That is the mystery of true crime. Are viewers or content creators of said genre inherently heartless for retelling such tragic story?

I prefer to think that by sharing these stories, we spread awareness. Not only do they serve as cautionary tales, but also to put out there the names of the victims who were lost.

As long as the content is told with respect for the family first, which is common in the true crime genre on YouTube, true crime serves to keep the victim’s name alive and provide entertainment content.