The woman from Joplin who is charged with abandoning her husband’s corpse after it was found in their deep freezer, appeared in court Wednesday. 67-year-old Barbara Watters Defense Attorney Cobb Young asked a judge to drop the charge, saying she didn’t actually “abandon” Paul Barton’s body because she knew where it was, which was in the freezer, in their bedroom.
Joplin Police received a tip in November that Barton’s body might have been in the house. Police discovered his body after executing a search warrant at the house in the 2600 block of S. Vermont on November 11th. The autopsy revealed Barton had been dead for nearly a year. In the meantime, Watters was nowhere to be found. She was charged with abandonment of a corpse on November 12th and captured on November 13th at another home in Joplin.
Young also argued that Watters is protected under the law because it’s up to a spouse or family member to decide how another family member’s body is disposed of after they die.
Watters told the police she put her husband’s remains in the freezer after he died because she was worried his doctor would want to use his body for medical research.
The judge is considering her attorney’s argument, and plans to have a decision by Friday.