Jane, MO – The dead bodies of a missing pregnant woman from Arkansas and her unborn baby were found in separate locations in southern Missouri this week and a married couple has been arrested for her kidnapping.
Police said that 33-year-old Ashley Bush was last seen in Benton County, Arkansas at the intersection of Highway 72 and Highway 43 on Oct. 31 after she got into the passenger seat of a tan pickup truck with a woman she had met online named “Lucy,” KHSB reported.
Bush was 31 weeks pregnant and had been looking online for a job where she could work from home.
“Lucy” had offered to give her a ride to a job interview in Bentonville and picked the pregnant woman up at the Handi-Mart in Maysville, KHSB reported.
Police said that Bush texted her fiancé at 3 p.m. to let him know that she was in Gravette and on her way back to Handi-Mart so that he could pick her up.
But when the pickup truck got near the convenience store, it went north of Highway 43 instead of pulling into the parking lot, KHSB reported.
That was the last time Bush was seen alive, according to authorities.
Law enforcement officials have identified “Lucy” as Amber Waterman, KTUL reported.
The dead body of the unborn baby was found in southern Missouri on Wednesday, and her murdered mother was found in another location in the same region on Thursday.
‼️BREAKING: Ashley Bush, the preganant woman reported missing from Benton County has been found dead. Her baby was also found dead in a separate location, according to the Benton County Persecuting Attorney. #NWAnews pic.twitter.com/jmX0b9yrDu
— Chelsea Helms (@ChelseaHelms1) November 3, 2022
Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith told reporters that Bush appeared to have been killed by a gunshot wound, KHSB reported.
Authorities arrested Amber Waterman and her husband, Jamie Waterman, on Nov. 3 and charged them with kidnapping.
#BREAKING: Amber Waterman was just transported from the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office. Waterman is being charged with kidnapping resulting in death in connection with the murder of 33-year-old Ashley Bush from #SiloamSprings, according to the U.S. DA for the W District of MO. pic.twitter.com/jepsoON9Wf
— 40/29 Emma Claybrook (@4029emma) November 4, 2022
Investigators are still trying to determine in what state the mother and her baby – who was to have been named Valkyrie Grace Willis – were killed, so homicide charges have not yet been filed, according to KHSB.
“This is just a reminder that there is evil in the world,” Smith said. “People do evil things. And that someone would prey upon a pregnant woman at her most vulnerable state is unimaginable but unfortunately that’s the world we live in.”
Police officials have said they do not yet have a confirmed motive for the kidnapping and murders, KHSB reported.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as law enforcement agencies from both Missouri and Arkansas are cooperating in the investigation.
#AshleyBush was #abducted and her unborn baby have been found murdered in separate locations. 2 arrested. I have no words to describe the evil and horror. Feel so sad for her 3 children and husband who now have no mother and wife. pic.twitter.com/n9O0tIo9y5
— Serena (@Serenams76) November 3, 2022
Bush was also the mother of a two year old, a seven year old, and an eight year old, KHSB reported.
Her fiancé, Josh Willis, released a statement after the bodies were found, KHSB reported.
“I’m disgusted in the whole situation,” Willis’ statement read. “I wish that Ashley and Valkyrie were alive and home with us all. I can’t believe that there are people out there that would do something like this.”
“She was a great mother, a wonderful wife, a very outgoing, caring, and kind person,” the statement continued. “They didn’t deserve any of this. There are 3 amazing kids here that just lost their mother/best friend and little sister. I just lost my wife and daughter. We are all going to support each other through this but we are all devastated in the whole thing.”
“We all were hoping and praying they would come home safely. I’ve lost all hope in humanity. I appreciate all the help out there from everyone,” the grieving man wrote.