Barbara Watters Joplin Missouri woman, 68, who kept dead husband’s body in freezer loses lawsuit to have body returned to her. Had kept corpse in freezer close to a year.
She really must miss him. A 68 year old Missouri woman kept her husband’s body in a freezer for nearly a year, has lost a lawsuit to have his corpse returned to her.
Barbara Watters demanded that Joplin officials return the remains of her dead husband, Paul Barton, after she was arrested for keeping them in a fridge in the bedroom of her home in Joplin for almost a year the Joplin Globe reports.
But a federal judge dismissed her lawsuit earlier this month, claiming that Watters didn’t respond to court orders.
‘I’m not done,’ Watters who was busted late last year said of her legal battle. ‘They think they got away with something. But I’m not done.’
Watters has claimed that she kept 71-year-old Barton’s body in a freezer in her bedroom after he died of Lou Gehrig’s disease because she feared that a doctor would cut up the remains for medical study.
‘He told me to buy a freezer and to put him in it, so he could not be dug up,’ Watters told via the Joplin Globe.
In November 2019, authorities discovered his body and determined that he may have been dead since December 2018.
Leading up to her arrest, it was believed Watters may have had unspecified ‘mental disorders’ along with being armed, according to police, who said the woman had threatened to ‘kill’ a male witness if they reported her to authorities.
Watters was charged with abandonment of a corpse, though the case was dropped because a judge reasoned that she had only intended to ‘preserve’ the remains and keep her late husband close to her.
Meanwhile, Barton’s body has been stuck in limbo at the local coroner’s office, where it’s been stored for the last year.
Jasper County Coroner Rob Chappel acknowledged that it was a long time for a body to be kept at the morgue, but added that ‘due to the circumstances, there’s been no choice.’
Following Watters losing the suit, Chappel said the only options are burial, cremation or donation to medical science.
‘We want to honor [Paul Barton],’ he told the news outlet. ‘We would like to honor [Barbara Watters] as well but within the parameters of the law.’