Wednesday 5 July 2023

Woman accused of causing 'the death of a child in utero' in connection to fatal kidnapping of pregnant woman

 A Missouri woman has been accused of causing the death of a pregnant woman and her unborn child after allegedly arranging a plot to kidnap the pregnant woman and steal the baby for herself.

The allegations against 43-year-old Amber Waterman are very disturbing. According to reports, late last October, Waterman created a fake Facebook account under the pseudonym "Lucy Barrows" and began posting in a group designated for moms. As "Lucy," Waterman told the group that she had a job opportunity, and 33-year-old Ashley Bush, who was then almost nine months' pregnant, expressed interest in it. 

Bush and Waterman met at a public library in Gravette, Arkansas, on October 28 to discuss the position. Bush was later told that the supposed boss wanted to meet her and that she could travel with "Lucy" to Bentonville, Arkansas, for that meeting, but Bush never returned home from it. The last time Bush's fiancé, Josh Willis, saw her alive was on October 31, when he was supposed to pick her up from meeting with the supervisor. She was reportedly riding in the passenger seat of a pickup truck driven by "Lucy." "Lucy" reportedly made eye contact with Willis as she drove on by without stopping. Willis soon afterward reported Bush missing. 

When investigators looked into the Facebook account belonging to "Lucy," they discovered that it had allegedly been created by Waterman, who said that she used to work with a woman named "Lucy Barrows" but that she had not been close with her.

Waterman had also already been in touch with 911 that same day to report that she had gone into labor suddenly and had given birth to a stillborn baby. When first responders found Waterman at a convenience store, she had the baby with her, but paramedics could not save the little girl. Waterman allegedly had the baby's placenta in her pants and had refused to accept any medical treatment for herself.

Waterman and her husband, Jamie Waterman, also 43, then held a funeral service for the little girl they had named Dakota later that same day. But the Benton County coroner also arrived after the service to take the baby for an autopsy, and the Watermans became visually upset when they learned that a DNA test would likely be conducted, police claimed.

"Hands down craziest things I have ever dealt with as a coroner for 16 years," said McDonald County coroner BJ Goodwin.

Police now believe that Amber Waterman, who had reportedly endured four miscarriages, kidnapped Bush with the intention of stealing Bush's unborn baby and keeping the baby for herself. Her husband told police that Amber had shown him Bush's deceased remains and that she had attempted to burn them, court documents stated. The couple then allegedly moved Bush's corpse to another location. Jamie Waterman led investigators to her "charred" body. Evidence also suggested that she had been shot.

Goodwin characterized the deaths of Bush and her baby as "wickedness" and "evil." "That's the only way to describe it," he claimed. He also noted that the baby appeared to have been "cut out" of her mother's abdomen.

Amber Waterman was initially charged with one count of kidnapping resulting in death. Now, a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Missouri stated that Waterman will also be charged with causing "the death of a child in utero" in connection to Bush's unborn baby. "A Pineville, Mo., woman who was previously indicted for the kidnapping and murder of a pregnant Arkansas woman now faces an additional charge of killing her victim’s unborn child," the statement said. The statement did not use the word "fetus" once.

Jamie Waterman has also been indicted with one count of being an accessory after the fact to kidnapping resulting in death. He supposedly attempted to help his wife dispose of Bush's remains "in order to hinder and prevent [Amber's] apprehension, trial, and punishment, knowing she had committed the offense of kidnapping resulting in death."

Both Amber and Jamie Waterman have pled not guilty. Amber faces up to life in prison, and Jamie could face 15 years if convicted.

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