A federal judge has yet again delayed the trial of a Pineville, Missouri woman accused of kidnapping and murdering a pregnant woman with the intention of stealing the baby, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Amber Waterman, 42, faces both local and federal charges after allegedly kidnapping 33-year-old Ashley Bush, who was 31-weeks pregnant, then killing her in order to steal the unborn baby to pass off as her own, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) statement.
Amber and her husband, Jamie Waterman, were both indicted of Nov. 16, 2022 for their alleged parts in the murder, the statement says. Amber faces one federal charge of kidnapping resulting in death, while Jamie faces a federal charge for being an accessory after the fact to kidnapping resulting in death, as he allegedly confessed to helping Amber dispose of and burn Bush’s body.
However, the kidnapping occurred in Maysville, Arkansas, when Amber allegedly lured Bush to a convenience store on the promise of a new job, though Bush disappeared after meeting up with Amber, who gave her name as “Lucy” online to the mother-to-be, the statement says.
The murder happened in Benton County, Arkansas, though prosecutors in that state will have to wait for their chance at convicting Amber, since federal charges take priority, the Gazette reported in February. The remains of Bush’s infant were found in an undisclosed location in Missouri.
Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green originally rescheduled Amber’s state arraignment hearing to June 13, 2023, according to the Gazette.
The federal trial was set to begin on June 5, though has now been delayed to December 4, 2023 after Federal Judge Stephen R. Bough granted motions to delay filed by Amber’s attorneys, the Gazette reports.
Bush was 31-weeks pregnant when “Lucy” picked her up from a convenience store in Maysville, Arkansas on Oct. 31, 2022, which was the last place Ashley’s fiance, Joshua Willis, saw her, the criminal complaint states.
Willis told police he recalled “Lucy” driving an older, tan pickup truck, according to the complaint. “Lucy” made arrangements with Bush to meet at a convenience store at 9:00 a.m. to meet “Lucy’s” supervisor. Willis also said he saw the truck drive by at the time “Lucy” was supposed to drop Bush off, but it kept on driving and turned off.
Bush’s body was discovered three days later in Missouri, when Jamie led police to the site on the Waterman property where he helped his wife burn the remains, the complaint says.
Benton County prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Amber, the Gazette says. Amber and Jamie are both being held in a Missouri prison without bond.