FREDERICK, Colo. – The father of Shanann Watts traveled to Colorado from North Carolina to ask for only one thing: "Just stop. Please, just stop."
Frank Rzucek directed his plea to trolls on social media, whom Rzucek said have been spreading lies against their family. Shannan Watts, her unborn child and the couples' two daughters were murdered by her husband, Chris, last year .
"I don't want to go into the specifics, but I will say that our family, including Shanann and her children – and our grandchildren – have been ridiculed, demeaned, slandered, (and) mocked in the most vicious ways you can imagine," Rzucek said as he read a prepared statement outside the former Watts home. "This is so wrong. It is cruel. It is heartless."
Rzucek added that anonymous trolls subjected his family to a "constant stream of ugly, evil insults and attacks," which he said have, at times, turned into death threats against his family.
"Every time we turn around, there is someone trying to capitalize on our tragedy by spreading false rumors and outright lies about Shanann and our grandchildren," Rzucek said.
He added that the barrage of online harassment has prevented the family from grieving their loss for nearly a year.
Rzucek also called on Congress to pass laws that would protect "victims of unspeakable crimes from this kind of abuse."
Rzucek also said the family has tried to reach out to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to stop the harassment, but the response has been anything but positive. He called on those in charge to take "responsibility for your platforms and stop this despicable conduct."
Lastly, he addressed those who feel compelled to comment or discuss the case.
"Please stick to the truth. It is painful enough for us just dealing with the reality," Rzucek said. "Reading the insane conspiracy theories, ugly false rumors and lies only make it more painful."
Rzucek said he would like for her daughter to be remembered as a beautiful person.
"She would have defended herself, and now I'm here defending her," Rzucek said. "It doesn't need to be like this; I shouldn't have to be out here doing this. … Making money off of my daughter's death is ridiculous."
Chris Watts was sentenced last year to three consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of his wife and daughters, as well as two more concurrent life sentences for first-degree murder by a person in a position of trust for both children, and three 12-year sentences for separate accounts of tampering with a deceased human body.
This story was originally published by Óscar Contreras on KMGH in Denver.