Missouri Couple Charged in Connection With Kidnapping, Killing of Pregnant Arkansas Woman: Feds

Couple charged
Amber Waterman, Ashley Bush and Jamie Waterman.Handouts

The Missouri couple allegedly burned the pregnant woman's body and dumped it not far from their home, federal prosecutors said.

A Missouri couple has been federally charged for their alleged roles in the kidnapping and killing of a pregnant Arkansas woman, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Amber Waterman, 42, and her husband, Jamie Waterman, 42, were charged in criminal complaints filed Friday in Missouri's U.S. District Court in Springfield Friday.

The Watermans will remain in federal custody pending their detention hearings, which haven't been scheduled, authorities said.

Amber Waterman was charged with one count of kidnapping resulting in death, according to the federal complaint. Prosecutors contend that Waterman, between Monday and Wednesday, kidnapped Ashley Bush, who was 31 weeks pregnant, "in order to claim her unborn child as her own," according to the complaint.

Bush was reported missing Monday by her fiancé in Benton County, Arkansas. 

Waterman traveled to Arkansas last week using the alias of "Lucy" and met the nearly eight-months pregnant woman at a library, federal prosecutors said. Waterman returned Monday, under the guise of taking Bush to an interview with her employer, the complaint said.

Instead, Waterman transported Bush to Missouri, "resulting in her death," prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say the fiancé had dropped Bush at a store, where she was to meet "Lucy." He watched them drive away in a truck. Later that day, when the man returned to pick up Bush, he watched the truck drive by with "Lucy" at the wheel, the complaint said. But the woman kept driving, authorities said he told them. He followed in his vehicle but couldn't catch up, investigators said. 

He found his fiancée's cell phone in a ditch. Investigators used that and social media to determine that "Lucy" was a pseudonym and false identity created by Amber Waterman, the complaint said.

Jamie Waterman is charged with one count of being an accessory after the fact to kidnapping resulting in death. He is accused of helping his wife burn Bush's remains and then the couple drove and dumped them a short distance from their home, the complaint alleges. 

"This is just a reminder that there is evil in the world," said Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith, speaking to reporters Thursday in Arkansas, where he and the sheriff announced the gruesome discovery by Missouri investigators. "People do evil things. And that someone would prey upon a pregnant woman at her most vulnerable state is unimaginable, but unfortunately that's the world we live in."

The Watermans may face additional charges in Arkansas and Missouri, authorities said.

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