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

7 months 3 weeks 2 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
COOPER COUNTY - A man from Gravois Mills was killed Tuesday afternoon in a crash on Route B, north of... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 10:37:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - At the entrance to the playground at Cosmo Park in Columbia, you'll find a brightly colored message waiting... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 9:28:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia Public School District gave parents and students the option of attending in-person classes, or attending online classes... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 9:27:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
CORINTH, Miss. (AP) — A Missouri man suspected in a Tennessee kidnapping was found during a traffic stop in Mississippi.... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 9:01:42 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - It's official —masks will be required in Columbia starting Friday. KOMU spoke to several different Columbia businesses... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 6:42:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — The CPS Board of Education is holding four virtual meetings on Wednesday to review elementary attendance areas. ... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 5:23:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Monday marked the deadline for parents to fill out a Columbia Public Schools survey asking whether families prefer... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 5:21:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in Continuous News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 5:00:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY —A Jefferson City businessman pleaded guilty to tax evasion in federal court Tuesday. According to a Missouri... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 4:28:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's National Guard held a free COVID-19 testing event in Cole County on Tuesday. Tuesday was... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 2:44:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Missouri — and Boone County — have loosened restrictions on businesses about COVID-19 in recent weeks. But some... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 2:07:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - City officials announced Tuesday they will suspend curbside recycling pickup indefinitely, effective July 8. A press release... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 2:04:48 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — After the Columbia City Council voted to approve a mandatory face mask order Monday night, the City of... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 1:49:00 PM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — After COVID-19 caused Rainbow House to cancel its biggest fundraiser of the year, a mid-Missouri couple took it... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 11:31:37 AM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
Editor's note: Vivek H. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States and is the author of... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 11:23:26 AM CDT July 07, 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 >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 11:19:00 AM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA—The topic of police reform dominated the public comment portion of Monday’s Columbia City Council meeting. ... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 10:00:44 AM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council voted 6-1 in favor of the mandatory mask ordinance Monday night. The order will go... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 12:46:00 AM CDT July 07, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
7am 75°
8am 79°
9am 82°
10am 86°