UPDATE: Missouri woman charged after husband's body found in freezer

7 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Thursday, November 14 2019 Nov 14, 2019 Thursday, November 14, 2019 3:50:00 PM CST November 14, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a woman whose husband’s corpse was found in a freezer in a bedroom inside their southwest Missouri home, where it may have been stored for nearly a year.

Barbara Watters, 67, of Joplin, was arrested Thursday, a day after she was charged with abandonment of a corpse, a felony that is punishable by up to four years in prison.

The grim discovery was made after a witness told police that Paul Barton’s body had been in Watters’ freezer since his death on Dec. 30, 2018, a police officer wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

Watters was arrested without incident at a home in Joplin, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service, The Joplin Globe reported.

"She was standing in the yard there," police Capt. Nick Jimenez said.

The witness said Watters threatened to kill him if he notified police. Watters also threatened to kill police, firefighters and emergency medical workers if they attempted to come into her house, the witness said, according to the affidavit.

Police said she has unspecified “mental disorders” and is known to carry firearms.

An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death and confirm the identity of the remains. While the criminal complaint says Watters “knowingly disposed of or left” Barton’s corpse at her home without notifying law enforcement, Jimenez said formal identification of the body is pending.

No charges have been filed in his death.

Jimenez said in an interview that officers got the tip about the body Monday while investigating an unrelated Nov. 5 fire that damaged a home in the neighborhood. Officers served a search warrant Tuesday and found the body just where the witness said it would be.

Jimenez declined to describe how the witness knows Watters, although the affidavit said he was at her house on Nov. 7 when officers attempted to contact the occupants. The witness said Watters stood at the door pointing a handgun at officers on the other side and refused to allow him to answer the door.

The affidavit doesn’t explain why officers were at the house that day, and Jimenez said he didn’t know whether it was related to the arson inquiry.

Police weren’t immediately able to provide a call history to the home. The Associated Press submitted a records request.

Watters had only minor past convictions for driving with an expired license and operating a vehicle on a highway without a valid license, according to online court records in Missouri.

More News

Grid
List
TIPTON – Governor Mike Parson signed two bills on Thursday to expand internet broadband in rural Missouri. HB 1768... More >>
32 minutes ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 4:56:00 PM CDT July 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Cities like St. Louis and Kansas City passed mask ordinances this week, and Columbia's city council will decide... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 3:33:00 PM CDT July 02, 2020 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses at the Lake of the Ozarks are preparing for large... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 2:38:00 PM CDT July 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Mayor Brian Treece gave an update Thursday morning on his thoughts about the proposed mask ordinance. "On... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 2:07:00 PM CDT July 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The extended deadline for filing income taxes is fast approaching, but help is available for those who need... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 1:43:00 PM CDT July 02, 2020 in Continuous News
(CNN) -- Sleep problems in early childhood may be linked to the development of certain mental health disorders in adolescence,... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 9:26:54 AM CDT July 02, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 7:31:00 AM CDT July 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County has seen its number of COVID-19 cases rise over the past few weeks. This has prompted... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, July 02 2020 Jul 2, 2020 Thursday, July 02, 2020 4:51:00 AM CDT July 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - After a yearslong battle between local activists and the city that featured environmentalist Sutu Forté... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 10:00:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Jonathan Irons was wrongfully convicted for almost 23 years in the state prison system, however Wednesday, July 1... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 9:19:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council plans to review an ordinance on July 6 that would require people to wear... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 8:26:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Officials in Dubuque have been informed that the IBM Client Innovation Center will close within four... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 5:47:27 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —MU's Greek Life is looking at changes after the university released its new Show Me Renewal Plan for the... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 5:34:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 5:30:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -— With COVID-19 limiting public firework displays this Fourth of July, health experts are warning people of the dangers... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 4:44:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— June saw the highest numbers of COVID-19 tests in Missouri so far. Some testing centers are struggling to... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 3:59:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
HALLSVILLE — For Mid-Missouri high school football coaches, this summer is a little bit different. Due to the COVID-19... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 3:44:00 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Jefferson City Police Department arrested a suspect after a shots fired disturbance on June 26 at... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, July 01 2020 Jul 1, 2020 Wednesday, July 01, 2020 2:46:54 PM CDT July 01, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 87°
6pm 87°
7pm 86°
8pm 84°
9pm 80°