Judge rejects dismissal motion for wife with body in freezer

Posted at 4:01 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 17:01:16-05

JOPLIN, Mo. — A judge on Friday denied a motion to dismiss a charge against a Missouri woman who allegedly left her husband's body in a freezer for nearly a year.

Barbara Watters, 67, was charged with abandonment of a corpse after her husband's body was found in a freezer in their Joplin home on Nov. 11. Police believe the man died in December 2018.

In his order Friday, Associate Judge Joe Hensley cited a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that the question of whether someone abandoned a corpse should be decided by a trial, judge or jury, The Joplin Globe reported.

Watters' attorney, Cobb Young, argued earlier this week the charge should be dismissed because she never abandoned her husband's body. He argued she “preserved” the body by placing it in the freezer in their bedroom.

Prosecutor Theresa Kenney argued Watters violated state law by failing to report his death, and that she abandoned the body by leaving it in the freezer.

Court records say Watters told police she didn't report her husband's illness or death because she believed police would help a doctor take his brain for research. An affidavit states Watters suffers from mental disorders.

Watters is under house arrest.