FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The prosecution has called a husband and wife from Pineville, Missouri charged in a deadly kidnapping a “serious risk” of fleeing before trial and a potential threat to the public.
Amber Waterman, 42, was charged with kidnapping resulting in death and her husband, Jamie Waterman, 42, was charged with being an accessory after the fact to kidnapping resulting in death after a pregnant woman was found dead near their residence on November 3. Both suspects were charged in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in Springfield.
Ashley Bush’s cousin Lainey Blackburn said it’s a relief that Amber Waterman will remain behind bars before a trial. Blackburn said she and her family believe officials are working hard to ensure a just outcome.
“We’re not vengeful people, our family’s not vengeful people but we’re hopeful that they will never be able to get out and do this to anyone else,” Blackburn said.
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 a pretrial hearing to address the matter.
“Given the nature and circumstances of the offenses charged, the weight of the evidence against the defendants, and the danger to the community by the defendants’ release, the United States submits that there is clear and convincing evidence that there are no conditions that would reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance in court or the safety of the victim(s) or community.”
U.S. vs. Amber Waterman/Jamie Waterman, November 8 motion for pretrial detention
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. The suspects are currently being held in federal custody.
Court documents state that Amber Waterman abducted Ashley Bush, 33, “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.
Blackburn said the family’s grief dealing with the loss of Ashley and Valkyrie comes in waves everyday. She said they are relying on one another as the justice process begins for those accused of taking away their family members.
“We’re trying to stay strong and just rally together as a family,” Blackburn said. “We are grateful that things are kind of picking up speed and the process toward healing is beginning.”
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.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Clay Fowlkes said that the circumstances of the case could potentially carry the death penalty in federal court. The investigation is ongoing.
Jamie Waterman will appear in court on Thursday morning.