The charred remains of missing person Ashley Bush, 33, were discovered on November 3, 2022. Bush was 31 weeks pregnant at the time of her disappearance near the Missouri/Arkansas state line. Amber Waterman, 42, and her husband, Jamie Waterman, 42, were arrested for the kidnapping, resulting in the death of Ashley Bush and her unborn baby.
Ashley Nicole Boon Bush, 33, was born on August 1, 1989, to Randy and Rhonda Boone. She was born in Rogers, Arkansas but would eventually move to Jay, Oklahoma.
Ashley was engage to Josh Willis. Ashley Bush was a mother of three children and 31 weeks pregnant with her fourth child at the time of her murder.
Ashley Bush was a mother of three children and 31 weeks pregnant with her fourth child. She had had difficulties with her pregnancy, so she had been advised to take time off of work. So, she decided she would secure a remote employment position that would allow her to work from home. Ashley Bush’s fiancé, Josh Willis, supported her in the decision. Bush answered an advertisement in a social media group regarding a work-from-home remote position.
The Disappearance of Ashley Bush
On October 28, 2022, Josh Willis drove Ashley Bush to her job interview where they met a woman who portrayed herself to be “Lucy Barrows”. They met at the Gravette, Arkansas Public Library. Bush was told that she would have to meet the boss in Bentonville, Arkansas. Lucy Barrows offered to drive her.
Lucy Barrows stated that she had set up the meeting with the boss on October 31, 2022. Josh Willis drove Ashley Bush to a convenience store in Maysville, AR. He received a text message to pick up Bush at 3:00 p.m. because she had arrived back in Gravette. While waiting at the convenience store, a pickup truck containing Lucy Barrows and Ashley Bush passed by Josh Willis, but didn’t stop. Willis immediately started following the pickup but lost the vehicle as it traveled north on Highway 43. Willis tried repeatedly throughout the night to reach Bush by cell phone, but there was no answer. He contacted the company that Lucy Barrows was supposedly working for. A spokesperson from the company stated that they did not have anyone employed by their company named Lucy Barrows. He contacted authorities to file a missing person’s report. Authorities began an investigation for the possible kidnapping of Ashley Bush.
Amber and Jamie Waterman
On October 31, 2022, Amber Waterman contacted 9-1-1 emergency dispatch, stating that she had given birth to a stillborn baby. She met emergency crews at a local business where she presented a stillborn and placenta. Waterman was surprised to learn that the remains of the baby would be taken by the county medical examiner to the local mortuary. She was not expecting any medical examiner involvement.
The following day, on November 1, 2022, Jamie and Amber Waterman went to the local mortuary to arrange for a memorial service which they wanted to schedule immediately. Shortly before the memorial service was to begin, the Benton County medical examiner called to request a DNA sample from the baby. When the Greene County, Missouri medical examiner, arrived at the funeral home to secure the baby for an autopsy, Jamie Waterman ran out of the funeral home.
As they canvassed the area of where Ashley Bush was last seen, two witnesses came forward with information. They told detectives that on October 31, they had witnessed someone through what appeared to be a cell phone out of a vehicle window along Highway 43. Detectives located the cellphone and determine it to be Ashley Bush’s. They reviewed the GPS history of the cell phone and were able to track its location over the previous days. The history clearly showed that Ashley’s cellphone had been at the Waterman residence.
Authorities could also identify the social media account for Lucy Barrows had been created on October 25, 2022, and that the originating IP address was listed as belonging to Jamie Waterman.
Investigators interviewed Jamie Waterman the following day. He stated that his wife, Amber, had allegedly confessed to him she had killed Ashley Bush in order to take her unborn baby. She did not expect the baby to die during the crime. Jamie further explained that when she had confessed, Amber led him to their small sport boat that had been parked next to their home. Ashley Bush was lying face down on the ground. Amber retrieved a tarp, removed a ring from Ashley’s finger, rolled her onto the tarp, then Jamie Waterman dragged the body of Ashley Bush to the firepit in their backyard. The Watermans burned her remains for over an hour. Waterman further stated that after approximately an hour, Amber retrieved another tarp and the couple wrapped Bush’s body in the second tarp, placed the remains in the bed of their pickup, and drove it a short distance from their property. They dumped the remains in a heavily wooded area alongside a rural road.
Following his statement, Jamie Waterman led investigators to the remains of Ashley Bush. The medical examiner determined that Ashley Bush’s cause of death was due to a gunshot wound.
The medical examiner from Benton County Arkansas and the medical examiner from Greene County Missouri were able to collaborate with their DNA findings. They determined that the remains of Ashley Bush and the remains of the stillborn baby were mother and child.
Arrest and Arraignment of Amber and Jamie Waterman
On November 28, 2022, Jamie Waterman appeared in the Western District of Missouri federal court where he pleaded not guilty to the charge of “accessory after the fact to kidnapping resulting in death” of Ashley Bush.
December 2, 2022, Amber Waterman appeared in the same court as her husband just a few days later. She was charged with “kidnapping resulting in death.” She pleaded not guilty after waving the formal reading of the indictment.
The Next Steps
Amber Waterman’s pre-trial hearing was held on December 14, 2022, which determined the movement of the upcoming trial. A judge set a for January 9, 2023. Any upcoming dates for Jamie Waterman have not yet been announced.