Pineville couple face kidnapping, murder charges in death of pregnant woman

Nov. 4—PINEVILLE, Mo. — A Pineville woman has been charged with kidnapping and murder in the death of pregnant Arkansas woman.

Amber Waterman, 42, was charged in U.S. District Court in Springfield on Thursday with kidnapping resulting in death. Waterman purportedly lured Ashley Bush, of Maysville, Arkansas, to Pineville under false pretenses on Monday and killed her in order to claim her unborn child as her own.

Bush was 31 weeks pregnant at the time, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.

Amber Waterman's husband, Jamie Waterman, was charged with being an accessory to the crime after the fact. He purportedly helped his wife burn Bush's body in a fire pit behind their home and then dispose of it a short distance away.

An affidavit filed in the case states that Amber Waterman's first contact with Bush was online using the persona "Lucy," which led to an initial meeting with Bush and her fiance at the public library in Gravette, Arkansas, where they discussed employment opportunities. Later the same day, "Lucy" offered to take Bush to meet her supervisor in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The victim's fiance took her to meet "Lucy" a second time at a convenience store in Maysville on Monday and the two women drove off together in a pickup truck, presumably to meet the supervisor about Bush getting a job.

The fiance told investigators that he received a message later the same day to come pick Bush up at the store. But while he was waiting there for her, he saw the two women drive past in the same truck without stopping. He tried to call Bush, but his calls went to voice mail, and he later located her phone on the side of a highway, according to the affidavit.

The fiance reported her missing at that point, and detectives with the Benton County Sheriff's Department located the Facebook account for "Lucy," which had a posting that read: "I have a bunch of baby items if any moms to be need them."

The account was traced to Jamie Waterman and investigators learned from Ashley Bush's Google records that she had traveled to Pineville, where the Watermans reside.

Investigators consequently questioned the Watermans on Tuesday and were told that Amber had a miscarriage. Detectives looked inside a pickup truck that matched the fiance's description of the truck that "Lucy" had been driving and spotted blood stains in its interior.

The vehicle was seized and search warrants obtained Thursday for both the truck and the Watermans' residence.

According to the affidavit, when questioned a second time on Thursday, Jamie Waterman told investigators that after they left on Tuesday, Amber admitted to him that she killed Ashley but then claimed "Lucy" had done it.

Jamie Waterman allegedly admitted that Amber then led him to the body, which was lying face down next to a boat near their house. The body was covered with a blue tarp that Amber rolled it up in after removing a ring from Bush's finger, the affidavit states.

Jamie Waterman dragged the tarp and body to a fire pit behind their home, and the couple burned it before loading the corpse into the bed of the truck and disposing of it a short distance from their home in an effort to hide the slaying.

The document does not state if the body has been recovered by authorities.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.