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A Missouri woman accused of kidnapping and killing a pregnant Arkansas woman, had wanted to raise the unborn baby as her own, according to court records.
Amber Waterman, 42, is now facing federal charges of kidnapping resulting in death after the burned body of Ashley Bush was found not far from Waterman’s Pineville, Missouri home, according to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
Waterman initially told authorities that she had given birth to a stillborn baby the same day that Bush disappeared.
“The federal criminal complaint alleges that, between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, 2022, Amber Waterman kidnapped Ashley Bush, who was approximately 31 weeks pregnant, in order to claim her unborn child as her own,” authorities said in a statement announcing the arrest.
Amber’s husband, Jamie Waterman, 42, has been charged with one count of being an accessory after the fact to a kidnapping resulting in death after authorities alleged that he helped dispose of Bush’s body.
Amber Waterman is accused of using the fake persona “Lucy Barrows” to lure Bush to a meeting under the guise of helping the expectant mom arrange a job working from home.
Bush’s fiancé, Joshua Willis, told authorities that the couple first met “Lucy” at a Gravette, Arkansas public library on Oct. 28 to discuss a job with a company, called Conduent, after Bush had first connected with her online, according to the affidavit.
Willis noted that “Lucy” had been driving an older model tan pickup truck.
“Lucy” allegedly told Bush that she wanted to introduce her to her supervisor for a job interview on Oct. 31 and the pair agreed to meet at a Handi-Stop convenience store in Maysville, Arkansas. Willis dropped his fiancé off at the store and once again noticed the same tan pickup truck, the affidavit alleges.
Around 3 p.m. that afternoon, Willis told investigators he got a text from Bush’s phone saying she was on her way back to the convenience store and needed him to pick her up. However, when he got to the convenience store, Willis said he saw the tan pickup truck — with “Lucy” behind the wheel and Bush in the passenger seat — pass by him, turn onto Highway 43 and head north.
He tried to call Bush but the calls kept going to voicemail and he later found the phone discarded along the side of the highway, according to the affidavit.
Using data they gathered from social media and the registered internet protocol address linked to the Facebook account “Lucy Barrows” — which had been set up just days earlier, on Oct. 25 — investigators were able to link the fake persona to Amber Waterman, a resident of Pineville, Missouri, according to the affidavit.
Detectives met with Amber and Jamie at their residence and noticed a tan colored Chevy pickup truck in the driveway with what appeared to have “blood stains” inside the vehicle on the center console, steering wheel and headliner, authorities allege.
Amber initially told detectives that she had been at home on Oct. 31. She said she had gone into labor that afternoon and drove to a store in McDonald County, where she met up with an ambulance. She said she had given birth to a stillborn baby.
Although she said that she did not know Bush, she claimed that she had once worked with a woman named “Lucy Barrows” at Walmart, who she hadn’t seen in a couple of weeks, according to the affidavit.
Jamie Waterman told investigators that he had been at work on Oct. 31 and received a call around 4:30 p.m. from his wife saying she was having a miscarriage.
During a second interview at his workplace, he allegedly told investigators that he had gotten home that night and saw what he thought was blood inside the truck, but believed it had been the result of his wife’s pregnancy complications.
He said Amber cleaned up the blood and he burned the rag in a burn barrel on their property. He told investigators that after law enforcement had arrived at the couple’s property, Amber allegedly confided that she had killed Bush and led him to her body, which was lying face down in a blue tarp near a boat next to the house, according to the affidavit.
Jamie allegedly told investigators that he had dragged the body to a fire pit behind the house, according to the court documents. Investigators allege that Amber lit the body on fire after pouring oil on it. After about an hour, investigators said Jamie confessed to taking it out of the fire, wrapping it in another tarp and then driving it, along with Amber, to a dump site not far from the couple’s home, the affidavit alleges.
He later led authorities to the body, authorities said.
In a press conference held last week in Arkansas by Benton County officials, District Attorney Nathan Smith said it was possible the couple could face additional charges, but authorities were still working out jurisdictional issues in the case.
“This is just a reminder that there is evil in the world,” he said of the disturbing allegations against the couple. “People do evil things. And that someone would prey upon a pregnant woman, you know, at her most vulnerable state is unimaginable, but, you know, unfortunately that’s the world we live in.”
The couple is currently in federal custody in Missouri.
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