FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The married couple charged in a fatal kidnapping that left a Benton County woman and her unborn child dead have been ordered to be held without bail.
Amber Waterman, 42, was charged with kidnapping resulting in death after the burned body of Ashley Bush, 33, was found near the Waterman residence in Pineville, Missouri on November 3. Jamie Waterman, 42, was charged with being an accessory after the fact to kidnapping resulting in death.
Court documents state that Amber Waterman abducted Bush “for the purpose and benefit of claiming Ashley Bush’s child as the defendant’s child,” and that she transported her across state lines, from Arkansas to Missouri. Bush was reported missing to the Benton County Sheriff’s office at approximately 6:30 p.m. on October 31.
The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office says that Bush’s unborn baby was found dead in a separate location on November 2. According to Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith, Bush died from an apparent gunshot wound.
In a November 8 court filing, the government noted that a pretrial release of the suspects would “present a substantial risk to the victim(s) and the community” and requested pretrial hearings to address the matter. On November 9, Judge David P. Rush released a minute sheet stating that the court “finds an adequate basis for detention and will issue a written order” in Amber Waterman’s case. He did the same regarding her husband on November 10.
On November 15, Judge David P. Rush issued orders that Amber Waterman and Jamie Waterman each be held in custody without bail.
“The Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is a danger to the community,” the judge said. Individual detention orders were filed for each suspect.
He added that the court “notes the nature of the instant offense, defendant’s mental health history, and safety concerns for the community” in Amber Waterman’s order. In Jamie Waterman’s, he noted the “violent nature” of the offense as well as his juvenile criminal history.
Amber Waterman was also charged with two counts of capital murder in Benton County on November 10. Clay Fowlkes, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas federal court, noted that four jurisdictions—Arkansas and Missouri each at county and federal levels—have “very significant facts that would give them venue over this case.”