Charges dropped against woman who kept deceased husband in freezer, Now suing the city of Joplin

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JOPLIN, Mo. — The woman who kept her husband’s body in a freezer for a year is in federal court to try and get her husbands body back.

in November of 2019, Barbra Watters’ home was searched by the Joplin Police Department after obtaining a warrent for abandonment of a corpse.

The police found her husband of 20 years, Paul Barton, in a freezer in their home. The coroner examined the body and saw no signs of foul play.

in January of 2020, the lawsuit says a Jasper County judge dismissed the charges saying the evidence didn’t prove her intent was to abandon the corpse.

Watters has now filed a lawsuit against the Joplin Police Department, the city of Joplin, and the Jasper County coroner, Rob Chappel, for the return of her husband’s body.

The lawsuit says the body of her husband was, and still is, in possession of Rob Chappel dispite her several requests and a certified letter.

Watters also says her civil rights were violated because officers took things outside of the warrant and suffered from emotional harm back in November 2019. Some of those items include a marriage license, Barton’s signed affidavit of a refusal to donate organs, books, a handgun, a “legal pad located on desk in front room” and several “miscellaneous documents from file cabinet in fron(t) (sic) room.” She also wants her attorney fees and court cost be awarded.

Police say the freezer used to hold Watters’ husband was seized and eventually destroyed.

To read the full lawsuit, click here.

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