A woman from Missouri has filed a complaint and is suing to have her husband's corpse returned. The woman, Barbara Watters, allegedly stored her husband's corpse in a freezer inside their bedroom before authorities seized the body last year.
Watters stated that Hasper County Coroner Rob Chappel ignored her requests to return her husband, Paul Barton's remains after she was charged for abandoning a corpse which was later dismissed.
Keeping your spouse close
In November 2019, Watters was charged by police after they discovered her husband's body. Officials believe that Barton was last seen alive in 2018 and that Watters kept his corpse refrigerated for most of 2019, according to Fox News.
The lawsuit that Watters filed against the Joplin Police Department along with the city and coroner's office stated her husband lost his life in September 2019, a mere two months before authorities discovered the corpse. Watters also claimed in the suit that Chappel denied requests to provide a death certificate.
Watters informed police officers that arrived for a wellness check that her husband had Lou Gehrig's disease, which targetted the victim's brain. She was afraid that her husband would be experimented on by doctors which led her to hide her husband's corpse from authorities.
"She kept making mention of Paul's body being used for research," reported one wellness check conducted beforehand. "She said they did not want his body to be taken apart. Barbara said due to them refusing to consent to research; they were having a hard time finding a doctor to help them."
Newsweek reported that an anonymous witness tipped police off on November 5 about Barton's body being kept in a freezer while the authorities were in the vicinity investigating a different case.
The witness also told officers that Barton died on December 30, 2018, and that Watters threatened their lives if they told law enforcement. An autopsy of Barton later revealed no proof of foul play.
Director of the division of senior and disability services, Jessica Bax, said that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services was prohibited from giving out any information regarding the case or the investigations.
Captain of the Joplin Police, Nick Jimenez, said that Watters' claims had no evidence that their department was aiding a doctor who, according to her, was aiming to take her husband's brain, as reported by the Associated Press.
The charge against Watters was punishable by up to four years in jail was filed after police received a report of the death of Barton on December 30, 2018.
On Thursday, Watters was transferred to house arrest and her attorney, Cobb Young, said that her husband's body was to be kept in their home as required by statute even with her failure to report of his death.
Cobb Young refused to comment regarding the reports that police repeatedly arrived at Watters' residence saying, "I have no knowledge of any of that."
In June 2018, two Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services employees were shown to have visited the couple's home after Watters allegedly refused to give her husband care.
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