Chris Watts' wife Shanann and the couple's two young daughters were found dead on Thursday at the oil and gas exploration site where he worked.
Shanann's body was found earlier in the day at the Anadarko oil and gas site where Watts was employed near the family home in Frederick, on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado.
The bodies of the couple's two daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three, were found later at the same industrial site.
Prosecutors say they believe the victims were killed in their home and the bodies later moved, but no cause of death has yet been made public in the case.
The Watts family murder – what is known so far:
- The bodies of Shanann and her kids have been found dumped in a gas compound
- Investigators say they were killed at the family home before their bodies were moved
- Prosecutors have been told they now have until Monday to file charges against Watts
- Shanann had just landed a glamorous new job which kept her away from home
- The couple once filed for bankruptcy and were facing a hefty fine in court next week
- Family friends say there were no signs the well-liked couple were in any kind of crisis
Authorities have not revealed a possible motive or other details in the case. A judge sealed the arrest affidavit, which might have provided that information.
However, things are said to have changed recently after Shanann landed herself an $80,000-a-year job promoting health supplements and patches.
The perks of her new role inlcuded a Lexus company car and paid trips to Mexico, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic – taking her away from her family.
The young mum was on a work trip just hours before she and her kids were killed sparking fears her husband felt jealous about her great new job.
The children had spent the weekend at home with their father while their mother was away working, police confirmed.
Meanwhile a tragic text has emerged sent by Watts to his wife after she sent him an ultrasound photo of their unborn baby – who they planned to call Niko.
"Little Peanut!! Love her/him already!!!" he wrote in response to the ultrasound image.
Shanann shared the exchange on Facebook later writing: "I love Chris! He's the best dad us girls could ask for."
A chilling photo has also emerged which was also posted on Shanann's Facebook showing a "body" covered in a death shroud – days before she was killed.
The mum told how her daughters had wrapped a three-foot plastic doll in the mat from the game Twister.
"I don’t know what to think about this…" Shanann wrote while adding two laughing-tears emojis.
Family friends have now revealed they have been left dumbfounded by the brutal killings.
One man told how he spent time with Chris Watts and his daughters just a few days ago and all seemed fine.
“You know, the hardest part about it all is – when you're closer to the family… is the 'why?'” said Jerry Lindstrom. “The why gets bigger.
"We're dumbfounded,” Lindstrom said Thursday night. “We don't get it. Lost.
“He was a good mechanic if you needed help with your car – he'd help you. If you needed help with furniture, he'd be over there in a heartbeat to help you out.
"It's just horrible,” he said. “Why do people do this? Why does it come down to this? There had to have been an easier route."
On Wednesday, Watts, 33, appeared on US TV to claim he had absolutely no idea where his wife and kids had disappeared to hours before "confessing" to cops.
He was filmed outside the family home as he pleaded for the safe return of his missing family – hours before reportedly confessing to killing them.
He looked into the cameras as he said: "I have no idea, like, where they went. I don't feel like this is even real right now. It's like a nightmare I can't wake up from."
During the interview – now seen around the world – he told how he called in the cops after learning his house was deserted.
However, just hours later legal sources claimed he had confessed to killing his family.
Watts has not been formally charged. A judge ordered him held without bail. As he was escorted into the courtroom, Watts did not speak.