Couple transferred to Federal Custody, charged Kidnapping and Murder of Pregnant Ark. Woman
Pineville husband and wife were transported to Greene County Jail in Springfield, Mo. on Friday, November 4, 2022
Full Press Conference, Benton Co. Ark. Sheriff’s office, Nov 3, 2022.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Missouri) — A Pineville, Mo., couple has been charged in federal court for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of a pregnant Arkansas woman.
Amber Waterman, 42, and her husband, Jamie Waterman, 42, were charged in separate criminal complaints signed on Thursday, Nov. 3, and filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield Friday, November 4, 2022. The Watermans remain in federal custody pending detention hearings, which have not yet been scheduled.
Amber Waterman is charged with one count of kidnapping resulting in death. The federal criminal complaint alleges that, between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, 2022, Amber Waterman kidnapped Ashley Bush, who was approximately 31 weeks pregnant, in order to claim her unborn child as her own. She allegedly transported Ashley Bush from Maysville, Arkansas, to Pineville, resulting in her death.
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Jamie Waterman is charged with one count of being an accessory after the fact to kidnapping resulting in death. The federal criminal complaint alleges that he assisted Amber Waterman, in order to hinder and prevent her apprehension, trial, and punishment, knowing she had committed the offense of kidnapping resulting in death.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaints, Amber Waterman adopted the false on-line persona of “Lucy” in order to meet Ashley Bush, then lured her to meet a second time to give her a ride to a purported job interview. Instead, the affidavit says, Amber Waterman killed Ashley Bush.
Amber Waterman allegedly led Jamie Waterman to the body of Ashley Bush, who was clothed and lying face down next to a boat near their house, covered in a blue tarp. Amber Waterman removed a ring from Ashley Bush’s finger and rolled her body onto the blue tarp, the affidavit says, which Jamie Waterman then dragged to a fire pit behind the residence. The Waterman’s allegedly burned the body, moved it onto the bed of Jamie Waterman’s blue GMC pickup, and drove a short distance from their residence to hide the body.
Ashley Bush was reported as a missing person on Monday, Oct. 31. Her fiancé told law enforcement that he saw her being driven as a passenger in a pickup truck by a woman he knew as “Lucy.” They had originally met “Lucy” at the Gravette, Ark., public library a few days earlier, at which time “Lucy” was driving the same pickup truck. During this meeting at the library, “Lucy” and Ashley Bush had discussed employment opportunities, and later that day, “Lucy” offered to drive her to meet her supervisor at a Bentonville, Ark., company.
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On Oct. 31, Ashley Bush’s fiancé drove her to meet “Lucy” at a Handi-Stop convenience store in Maysville, Ark. He later received a message to pick her up at the same Handi-Stop store, but while he was waiting for her to arrive, he saw “Lucy” and Ashley Bush drive past without stopping. He attempted to contact Ashley Bush by phone, but his calls went to voice mail. He later found her phone on the side of the highway.
Detectives with the Benton County, Ark., Sheriff’s Department examined the phone and found the Facebook account for “Lucy.” Detectives located a public posting on the account that read “I have a bunch of baby items if any moms to be need them.” Detectives traced the Facebook account to Jamie Waterman, and learned from examining Amber Bush’s Google records that she had traveled to Pineville, approximately .15 miles from the Watermans’ residence.
When investigators questioned the Watermans on Tuesday, Nov. 1, they were initially told that Amber had a miscarriage. Detectives noticed what appeared to be blood stains on the inside of a pickup truck that matched the description of the vehicle given by Ashley Bush’s fiancé. The vehicle was seized by law enforcement and search warrants obtained on Thursday, Nov. 3, for the vehicle and residence.
Detectives questioned Jamie Waterman again on Thursday, Nov. 3. According to the affidavit, he told detectives that, after they had questioned them and left their residence, Amber Waterman told him she had killed Ashley Bush and then quickly changed her story and said “Lucy” had killed her. She then led him to the body, which he assisted in disposing.
The charges contained in these complaints are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie L. Wan and James J. Kelleher. They were investigated by the FBI, the Benton County, Ark., Sheriff’s Department, and the McDonald County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas and the Benton County, Ark., Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
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