Court dismisses Barbara Watters’ lawsuit to get husband’s body back

gavel, scales of justice graphic

JOPLIN, Mo. – A Joplin woman who was charged with and cleared of abandoning her husband’s corpse – has lost a bid to get the body back.

The U.S District Court – Western District of Missouri dismissed a lawsuit filed by Barbara Watters for the corpse of her husband and other documents that were taken during the investigation.

The suit was dismissed without prejudice due to Watters’ “failure to respond to court directives.” She missed two deadlines, so a judge dismissed the lawsuit.

Read the full lawsuit here: Barbara Watters lawsuit 2020

Case History

In November 2019, Watters was charged with abandonment of a corpse after police found the body of her husband, Paul N. Barton, in a freezer in their Joplin home on S. Vermont Ave.  The Joplin Police Department said the autopsy on Barton showed no signs of foul play.

In January 2020, a Jasper County Judge dismissed the case against Barbara Watters after he says evidence did not prove that her intent was to abandon the corpse according to state statute.