Update: autopsy confirms identity of body in freezer, no foul play suspected

Update: Autopsy results confirm the identity of the body as Paul N. Barton. Authorities say the autopsy shows no signs of foul play. The investigation is still on-going.


Update: Police say Barbara J. Watters was taken into custody today without incident. at 814 S. Jackson Avenue in Joplin. The Joplin Police Department was assisted by the US Marshals Service. The investigation is ongoing after police say they found a body in a freezer in her home.


Update: Police believe the body of Paul N. Barton had been in Barbara Watters’s freezer for nearly a year.

Police received information on November 11th of 2019 that Paul N. Barton, husband of Barbara Watters, had died on December 30th of 2018. They learned that the corpse of Barton was being kept in a freezer in her bedroom at 2602 S. Vermont Avenue in Joplin.

Police found a human body stored in a freezer in Watters’s bedroom.

Jasper and Newton County Coroner’s were contacted and had no records of Barton being reported as deceased.

Update: Joplin Police say a warrant is issued for Barbara J. Watters, 67, of Joplin, for abandonment of a corpse. Police found a body in a freezer at a home at 2602 S. Vermont Avenue on November 12th.

Police say Watters lives at that address.

Authorities have released a photo of Watters, her vehicle license plate (MO TC4S9Z) and an example photo of her last known vehicle (Lincoln).

If you have information on the whereabouts of Watters, contact the Joplin Police Department or your local law enforcement agency.


Joplin Police investigate a death after finding a body in a freezer.

According to the Joplin Police Department, on Monday, officers were investigating an arson at 2605 S. New Hampshire Ave, when information was brought forward about a possible body at another location in an unrelated case.

Police conducted multiple follow-ups on November 12, 2019. A search warrant was served at 2602 S Vermont Ave, Joplin. Officers found a deceased adult male inside a freezer in the residence.

An autopsy is scheduled and the investigation is ongoing.

Identification of the deceased male is being withheld until notification of next of kin and positive identification of the body.

If you have any information or tips about this investigation you are asked to contact Sgt. Wolf at 417-623-3131 x881 or awolf@joplinmo.org.


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