After his pregnant wife and two daughters disappeared, Christopher Watts stood on his porch in Colorado and told reporters how much he missed them.
He longed for the simple things, he said, like telling his girls to eat their dinner and gazing at them as they curled up to watch cartoons.
“Last night, I had every light in the house on. I was hoping that I would just get ran over by the kids running in the door, just barrel-rushing me, but it didn’t happen,” he told Denver TV station KMGH.
On Thursday, Watts was in jail after being arrested on suspicion of killing his family, probably before he spoke those words. Authorities did not offer a motive.
The body of 34-year-old Shanann Watts was found on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of the state’s largest oil and gas drillers, where Christopher Watts used to work, police said.
Investigators believed they knew where to find four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste and were working to recover their bodies.
“As horrible as this outcome is, our role now is to do everything we can to determine exactly what occurred,” John Camper, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said at a news conference.
Watts, 33, has not been formally charged. A judge ordered him held without bail and told prosecutors to file charges by Monday afternoon. He set a Tuesday hearing to review the case.
Watts’ attorney, James Merson of the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, left without commenting to reporters. He did not immediately respond to a voicemail left at his office Thursday by The Associated Press.
A family friend reported Shanann Watts and her daughters missing on Monday, police said.
In his previous interviews with Denver TV outlets, Christopher Watts said his wife of nearly six years returned home about 2am on Monday after a flight for a work trip was delayed.
He said the two had an “emotional conversation” before he left for work a few hours later and that he became concerned after she did not return his calls or texts or those of her friends.
He said he came home to an empty house after a friend knocked on the door at noon and got no answer.
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The couple had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, along with some student loans and medical bills — for a total of $70,000 in unsecured claims on top of a sizable mortgage.
A spokeswoman for the oil company said Christopher Watts was fired on Wednesday, but she declined to provide any details, citing the active investigation.
On Thursday, friends and family created a memorial of stuffed toys, candles and flowers on the lawn of the Watts family home.
Friend Ashley Bell said she never detected that anything was wrong between Shanann and her husband. Ms Bell also got to know Christopher Watts and described him as a loving father.
“I just don’t understand it,” she said.
Shanann worked from home as a saleswoman for a freeze-dried food company and took her two girls everywhere, Ms Bell said.
“She was always about her girls. She would do anything for her girls.”
Shanann’s father, Frank Rzucek, said on Facebook that the family did not want to talk to the media.