Chris Watts Murder House Sale Delayed Again: Last Chance for Auction?

A memorial placed on the lawn of the Watts family home after the news broke. screen capture
A memorial placed on the lawn of the Watts family home after the news broke.
Will the home where Chris Watts killed his pregnant wife, Shanann, in August 2018 before taking the lives of Celeste and Bella, their two young daughters, ever be sold? That's becoming less and less clear. The auction of the residence, first announced in early 2019, has been pushed back again, and the new date, set for mid-April, may well be the last chance for the transaction as currently configured to take place under state law.

Although the auction of the property at 2825 Saratoga Trail in Frederick was originally supposed to take place last April 17, a postponement moved it to July 17. The house didn't land on the block then, either, but a slew of articles and reports marking the passage of a year since the tragedy announced a third date, September 18.

That turned out to be wishful thinking, as predicted by attorney Jessica Hale, whose law firm, McCarthy Holthus, LLP, represents the seller, JPMorgan Chase Bank. "Unfortunately, we cannot provide any detail as to why the sale has been postponed," Hale wrote in an August email. "I predict the sale will not be taking place 9/18/2019."

She was right. Despite all those references to September 18, the website of Weld County Public Trustee Susie Velasquez listed the date as January 8, 2020 — which came and went without any action. The auction was rescheduled for February 12, shortly after the debut of Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer, a Lifetime movie about the tragedy, which essentially blamed Shanann for her own slaying; she peddled weight-loss pills and patches that were portrayed as changing Chris from a doting husband into a homicidal sociopath.

February 12 proved to be a false promise, too. The Weld County Public Trustee page about the Saratoga structure now boasts an auction date of April 15.

Neither Hale nor any other McCarthy Holthus, LLP, representative has responded to our questions about whether a sale is actually apt to happen. But Velasquez suggests that additional postponements probably won't be allowed.

"Pursuant to [state statute] C.R.S. 38-38-109(1), no sale shall be continued to a date later than twelve months from the originally designated date...with certain exceptions," she notes. "The original sale date was 4/17/2019. Consequently, the latest possible sale date is 4/17/2020. However, this office holds sales once a week on Wednesdays, so the latest date that it could be continued is 4/15/2020."

Velasquez confirms that "in most cases, this office is not provided a reason for the continuance," then notes that "it is not uncommon for foreclosures to be continued past the twelve months. Most common is when a homeowner files for bankruptcy. Sale dates can be continued past the twelve months because of bankruptcy, court order, etc."

Bankruptcy won't come into play in regard to the house; Watts is in prison, but the property is owned by the bank. So without future legal action, this house will remain on hold.