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Missouri woman accused in fatal kidnapping planned to claim pregnant woman's baby as her own, authorities say

Amber Waterman was charged with kidnapping resulting in the death of Ashley Bush, 33, and transporting her across state lines.
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A Missouri woman arrested in the fatal kidnapping of a pregnant woman allegedly carried out the abduction to claim the baby as her own, federal court records obtained Friday show.  

Amber Waterman was charged with kidnapping resulting in the death of Ashley Bush, 33, and transporting her across state lines, according to a complaint filed Thursday in federal district court in Missouri.

Waterman’s husband, Jamie Waterman, was charged with assisting his wife and trying to prevent her arrest, according to the documents. 

Amber Waterman faces a possible life term in prison or execution, according to the complaint. Jamie Waterman faces a maximum 15 year sentence.

Bush, who was 31 weeks pregnant and from Benton County, Arkansas, was found dead Thursday and is believed to have been shot, authorities there previously said.

Ashley Bush.
Ashley Bush.Benton County Sheriff's Office via Facebook

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, Jamie Waterman told investigators that Amber Waterman allegedly burned Bush's body in a fire pit.

Amber Waterman also allegedly burned rags that she used to clean up blood from her pickup truck, he told investigators, the affidavit says.

In an interview with authorities at her home in Pineville, Missouri, Amber Waterman denied knowing Bush and said that she delivered a stillborn baby on Monday, the same day that Bush went missing, the affidavit says.

Bush's fetus, Valkyrie Grace Willis, was found dead this week in a different location than Bush, Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith previously told reporters.

The affidavit does not say what happened to Valkyrie. Authorities have previously declined to say how the fetus was removed from Bush's body.

Before Bush disappeared, she corresponded online with someone who identified herself as "Lucy," the affidavit says. The two were discussing job possibilities, and they later met at a local public library, according to the document.

Authorities believe "Lucy" was actually Amber Waterman, Smith has said.

On Monday, Bush believed she was going with "Lucy" to meet a work supervisor in Bentonville, Arkansas, the affidavit says.

Bush's fiancé dropped her off at a convenience store where she planned on meeting up with her new acquaintance before the job event, the affidavit says. Bush later told him via text to pick her up at the same shop, according to the document.

But after arriving, the fiancé, who declined to speak to NBC News, saw "Lucy" drive past the store without dropping Bush off, according to the affidavit. The fiancé saw Bush in the truck's passenger seat, but calls went to voicemail, the affidavit says.

Bush's cell phone was later found on the side of a state road in Arkansas, the document says.

In an interview with investigators at her home, Amber Waterman described Lucy as a person with whom she previously worked at Walmart and had last seen a few weeks before, the affidavit says.

During a separate follow-up interview Thursday at Jamie Waterman's job, he told authorities that after an initial visit and voluntary search by law enforcement, Amber Waterman told him that she killed Bush — though she later blamed the death on "Lucy," the affidavit says.

Amber Waterman then led her husband to Bush's body, which he said was covered by a blue tarp and lying face down next to a boat. He told investigators that he helped her drag Bush's body to a fire pit, where she set it alight, the affidavit says.

The couple drove Bush's body to a nearby location and dumped it, the affidavit says. Jamie Waterman led authorities later Thursday to the charred remains, the affidavit says.

A lawyer for Jamie Waterman declined to comment. Lawyers for Amber Waterman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.