A Colorado man who spoke of worriedly leaving the lights on for his pregnant wife and two small daughters when they failed to come home as expected has been charged with killing them.
Chris Watts, 33, was taken into custody on Wednesday night and faces three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with a body in the Denver area of the western US state.
A TV station, Denver 7, said Watts has confessed to the bizarre killings. There was no immediate word on a possible motive.
The body of Watts' 34-year-old wife Shannan, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was found earlier on Wednesday on the property of an oil company where the father used to work.
So were the bodies of their daughters Bella, 3, and Celeste, 4, Colorado Bureau of Investigation director John Camper told reporters on Thursday.
The three had gone missing on Monday. Watts told TV station KMGH on Tuesday that he thought his wife had taken the kids to a friend's house when she did not answer his text messages.
Watts also said his wife had come home from a business trip in the early hours of Monday and the couple had exchanged fraught words.
"We had an emotional conversation, I'll leave it at that. I just want them back. I just want them to come back," he told KMGH.
Monday night without the chatter of his little daughters at the dinner table and the family routine at home was tough, he said.
"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."