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Suspect wanted for abandoning husband’s corpse in custody

Joplin Police have arrested a woman from Joplin after finding her husband’s corpse in a freezer inside her home, where it may have been stored for nearly a year.

Sixty-seven-year-old Barbara Watters was charged Wednesday with abandonment of a corpse and arrested Thursday afternoon at a home in the 800 block of South Jackson. Their home was at 2602 S. Vermont.

An affidavit says a witness told police that Paul Barton’s body had been in Watters’ freezer since his death on Dec. 30, 2018. The witness says Watters threatened to kill him if he notified police.

Police say in the affidavit that she has unspecified “mental disorders.”

Police said in a Facebook post that officers got a tip about the body while canvassing the neighborhood in an unrelated arson investigation and served a search warrant Tuesday.

An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.

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