A pregnant Arkansas mother of three was kidnapped and killed in a twisted attempt to steal her unborn child, officials said, and her husband assisted in covering up the heinous crime.
Amber Waterman, 42, allegedly created a fake Facebook account on Oct. 25 under the name “Lucy Barrows” to lure Ashley Bush under the guise of a job opening, according to a criminal complaint obtained by 5NEWS.
Authorities believe it was a ruse to steal her fetus. Bush was 31 weeks pregnant.
Bush’s fiancé, Josh Willis, told 5NEWS that his partner had complications during her fourth pregnancy and was told to take time off work.
However, the mother decided to look for a work-from-home job in a Facebook group for mothers, he said. On Oct. 28, he and Bush went to the Gravette public library to meet with “Lucy” about a job.
Bush was then instructed to accompany “Lucy” to Bentonville, Arkansas, to meet the alleged boss, according to the new outlet.
Willis said he dropped Bush off at a convenience store in Maysville, Arkansas, on Oct. 31 and returned to pick her up at 3 p.m. after she texted him that she was back in Gravette.
“All I saw was her and the lady she rode with both pass me, neither one stopped, the driver looked at me and kept going,” Willis told the station.
He said he tried following the vehicle but lost it heading north on Highway 43.
“We tried all night long texting her, calling her, trying to get her to answer,” said Willis, who contacted the company “Lucy” allegedly worked for and was told there was no one by that name employed there.
The family finally tracked down Bush’s phone, which was found in a ditch less than a mile from where he last saw her.
Meanwhile, Waterman told investigators that she had been home all day on Halloween when she “went into labor,” NEWS5 reported, citing arrested documents.
She called 911, met an ambulance at a shop in Missouri and told authorities she gave birth to a stillborn child, officials said.
McDonald County Sheriff Robert Evenson told KOAM that his officers responded to a report of a newborn baby who was not breathing.
After EMS were unable to revive the baby, the county coroner was summoned to transport her to a funeral home, according to 5NEWS.
The Watermans went to the funeral home the next day, Nov. 1, and said they wanted to plan a memorial service for the baby the next day, according to the coroner, BJ Goodwin.
The memorial service was scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday when that morning the Benton County coroner called asking for a DNA swab from the baby.
When the coroner arrived to take the baby to perform an autopsy, Goodwin said, the couple’s demeanor immediately changed.
When the husband heard about the procedure, he “got up and ran out of the funeral home,” Goodwin told 5NEWS.
“Hands down craziest things I have ever dealt with as a coroner for 16 years,” he added.
On Thursday, investigators questioned the husband, Jamie, who allegedly told them that his wife admitted to him that she had killed Bush.
Waterman allegedly led her fiancé to Bush’s body, which was lying face down next to a boat near their house, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, she removed a ring from Bush’s finger and rolled her body onto a tarp, which Jamie dragged to a nearby fire pit where the couple allegedly burned the body.
The couple then allegedly drove the body a short distance away and dumped it.
The Watermans were arrested on Thursday and booked into the Greene County jail in Missouri the next day.
Amber Waterman has been charged with kidnapping as a result.