Woman Who Kept Dead Husband In Her Bedroom Freezer Loses Legal Battle To Get Body Back

Woman Who Kept Dead Husband In Her Bedroom Freezer Loses Legal Battle To Get Body Back

A Missouri woman has lost the legal battle to retain possession of her late husband’s remains, which she kept in a freezer in her bedroom. Barbara Watters, 67 and from Joplin, was originally arrested in November 2019 and charged with abandonment of a corpse, though the charges against her were later dropped in January 2020. However, her later filing in Jasper County Circuit Court to get her husband’s body back was unsuccessful despite her lawyer’s protests.

  1. Watters has now filed a lawsuit to have her husband’s remains turned over. Police believe that Paul Barton died sometime in late 2018 and that Watters kept his body in a bedroom freezer for much of 2019 before his remains were seized. Now, after being unable to get the body back, Watters is suing the Joplin police, the city coroner, and the city government over the matter, reports the Joplin Globe.
  2. She wants more than just her husband’s body back. Watters also wants other items that were seized by police during the search of her home including but not limited to her marriage license and an official document which she claims grants her power of attorney. The case has since been forwarded on to federal court.
  3. Watters insisted her husband would have wanted her to have his body. She says that he died at 71 of Lou Gehrig’s disease and that he was “terrified” about the prospect of his organs being harvested and/or donated to anyone else. “We both believed that carving people up and using their organs is ghoulish and goes against God’s word,” she said. She also claims one doctor was going to steal his spinal cord and brain for research and that she kept his body in her freezer to prevent that from happening.
  4. Watters’ attorney believes the court has no right to keep Barton’s body. Attorney Austin Knoblock says that there’s “no legal reason why they would continue to withhold his remain” and that Watters will “suffer irreparable harm if Mr. Barton’s body is not returned to her in the condition in which it was seized.”

 

Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.
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