Netflix 'latest documentary on real crime, American Murder: The Family Next Door, takes an in-depth look at the Chris Watts case and the terrifying moments that led to him murdering his entire family. In 2018, Chris & # 39; wife Shannan Watts and their two daughters – 4 year old Bella and 3 year old Celeste – went missing in Frederick, CO. The documentary – which premieres on September 30th – takes a close look at the subsequent investigation with Chris as the prime suspect.
After Shannan and the children were missing for several days, Watts was called in by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning. During the investigation, Chris was given a polygraph test – or lie detector test – to determine how much he was involved in the case. Chris denied any claim that he had anything to do with the Shannan's death or the death of their children, insisting that he had no idea where they were. In a 2018 Lifetime Documentary entitled Chris Watts: Confessions of a MurdererCBI agent Tammy Lee, who edited Watts' polygraph test, stated that he was extremely untrue during the investigation, as evidenced by his polygraph score. "With the type of test format I've used, we'd consider someone to be misleading if they were a negative four or less," Lee said. "Chris Watts scored a negative 18."
Although Chris failed the test, he insisted he be honest, which led some to question the reliability of polygraph tests. In the past, crime investigations often relied on polygraph exams to exclude suspects and move the case forward. Over the years officials have debated the validity of polygraph tests on the basis that "there is no evidence that a pattern of physiological responses applies only to delusions," according to a 2004 report published by the American Psychological Association.
Polygraph tests examine heart rate or blood pressure, breathing, and skin conductivity. All of these can indicate someone is being honest, but do not provide definitive evidence that someone is lying or to what extent. While it is often believed that polygraph tests can tell when someone is lying, in reality they only indicate that someone is lying.
Aside from Chris Watts' polygraph score, the investigation provided enough additional information to ultimately lead to his arrest. Watts was finally sentenced to five life sentences without parole on November 19, 2018. To learn more about the investigation, you can watch the whole thing American murder Documentary when it hits Netflix on September 30th.