Shanna & Diederik Vandewege Murders: Unraveling Craig Vandewege’s Whereabouts

‘American Monster: Say Daddy’s the Best’ on Investigation Discovery details how Shanna VanDeWege, 36, and her infant son, Diederik, were savagely killed inside their Fort Worth, Texas, home in the middle of December 2016. The brutality of the double homicide astonished the authorities, who promptly detained the killer a week after the horrible crime. Here is what we know if you’re interested in learning more, including the identify and whereabouts of the murderer.

How Did Shanna and Diederik VanDeWege Die?

Mark and Paula Riddle welcomed Shanna Danee Riddle VanDeWege into the world on June 4, 1980 in Walsh, Baca County, Colorado. She graduated in 1998 from Walsh Public School, where she attended. She completed her schooling at Redlands Community College, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and Oklahoma State University before earning a nursing degree in 2006. Shanna participated in the Walsh 4-H Busy Bee, junior and senior high school sports, track, volleyball, basketball, and cheering during her formative years.

In 1999, she competed in the Miss Baca County Pageant and won the title of First Attendant. In 2007, she relocated to Longmont, Colorado, where she started working as a Registered Nurse at St. Joseph Hospital. Being outgoing and cheerful, Shanna acquired a lot of friends at her job and her church. On May 18, 2014, at Restoration Messianic Fellowship in Boulder, Colorado, where they both attended, Shanna married her best friend, Craig VanDeWege. Before coming to Fort Worth, Texas, the young couple lived in Fort Lupton, Colorado, up until May 2016.

In accordance with reports, Craig obtained a promotion that necessitated the move; on May 3, 2016, they closed on their first house. Shanna was employed by Texas Health Huguley Hospital as the young couple prepared to welcome a new child into their home. The excited VanDeWeges gave birth to their first child, a son named Diederik Jonas “DJ” VanDeWege, on September 5, 2016. The newborn was the centre of attention for his parents, grandparents, and extended relatives as they eagerly explored and learned about Fort Worth as a new family.

The discovery of Craig’s wife, 36, and son, one year old, dead at the family’s north Fort Worth home in the 8500 block of Cactus Flower Drive, when he contacted 911 on December 15, 2016, came as a shock. Shanna and DJ were found by the Fort Worth police with their throats severely cut in their beds and bassinets nearby. They were both pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of both fatalities, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner, was a “incised neck wound,” or a cut neck caused by a short instrument.

Who Killed Shanna and Diederik VanDeWege?

When the investigators got to the crime site, they noticed something didn’t seem right. The house appeared to have been plundered, with drawers being ripped open and objects being pushed over, but despite Craig’s allegation that the double murder was the work of a burglar, the police felt it was staged. They highlighted one instance where Shanna’s pocketbook was left unattended on the counter while the kitchen cabinets were ransacked. The detectives discovered a closet next to the bedroom that was packed with firearms and rifles, but they were unable to find the murder weapon.

When Shanna discovered she was being burgled, she did not defend herself with a weapon, which baffled the authorities. They added that most burglars avoid conflict, thus it appeared strange that they would choose to cruelly kill an infant who posed no threat. The blood splatters under the master bedroom sink countertop also gave the cops the impression that the crime scene had been thoroughly cleaned. Investigators were certain it was targeted assassinations rather than a burglary gone bad at first glance.

Craig was taken to the station for questioning by the police after the home had been cleared by them. He appeared in control in the face of such a devastating loss, according to the investigators, and provided all the information requested. The cops, however, soon became aware of a number of inconsistencies in his testimonies as he appeared to alter the specifics over time. Although they quickly discovered the VanDeWeges were having financial difficulties, they claimed it appeared to be a weak attempt on his part to clear his record and present he had a happy marriage.

Craig informed the detectives that he had a life insurance policy of around $130,000 on Shanna and between $6,000 and $7,000 on DJ. However, the police found out he was lying, and after the passing of his wife and children, he was eligible to receive more than $700,000 in life insurance. The detectives concluded that the double murder had a financial motivation after noticing the significant discrepancy between the quoted and original amounts. Finally, they looked over the 911 call recording and spoke with the first responders to discover that Craig sounded composed.

His calm demeanour and tone of voice were described as “unusual given the circumstances of the situation” by both the dispatchers and the first responders. Despite the fact that he was a person of interest in the case, the police were unable to connect him to the crime through physical evidence, therefore he was freed. But when the police searched Craig’s car, they discovered latex gloves, which seemed strange. Additionally, they looked through his phone and discovered some strange and misleading texts to an ex-girlfriend, where he was spotted flirting and even pretending to have served Shanna with divorce papers.

Additionally, the police contacted former coworkers and friends to uncover that Craig “frequently spoke negatively of his wife and commented on her physical appearance and the relationship even before the marriage.” He told the police on December 19 that he would meet with his lawyer before speaking with them while he was a suspect in the double homicide, but he never did. On December 21, a caller said that Craig had borrowed his cell phone and discussed murder.

Craig said, “It’s been a long week,” when he was stopped for a driving violation about 30 minutes later in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. In Texas, my wife and child were killed. However, when the police stopped him for a traffic infraction, they discovered several loaded handguns, an AR-15-style rifle, ammunition boxes, and various prescription bottles in the car. He allegedly “was minutes away” from being released on bond from a Colorado jail when Texas authorities obtained an arrest warrant for him on the murder allegations, according to reports.

Where is Craig VanDeWege Now?

Craig VanDeWege allegedly became a suspect after a coworker claimed he made remarks about supposedly hearing voices telling him to kill his wife. Early in January 2012, he was extradited to Fort Worth and accused of murder in the first degree. Early in November 2021, a court handed down a life without parole verdict after finding him guilty. Mark, Shanna’s father, expressed hope after the trial that “I might finally be able to at least put my mind to rest and at ease.” Craig, a 41-year-old prisoner, is housed in Bee County, Texas’s William G. McConnell Unit.

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