Barbara Watters

Barbara J. Watters

A warrant was issued Wednesday for the arrest of a Joplin woman after police found the corpse of a man in a freezer inside her home.

Barbara J. Watters, 67, is wanted on a charge of abandonment of a corpse.

Police were seeking the public's assistance in locating Watters and released photos of her and the model of white Lincoln car she may be driving and its Missouri license plate number: TC4 S9Z.

A positive identification has yet to be made on a male corpse discovered Monday in a freezer in Watters' home at 2602 S. Vermont Ave. An autopsy is being scheduled to confirm the identity of the deceased and the cause of his death, according to police.

Police Chief Matt Stewart said there were no obvious signs of foul play. But the autopsy is needed to determine how the man died and to rule out any chance of foul play, he said.

Police have not indicated how long the body may have been in the freezer.

Investigators located the body on Tuesday when they served a search warrant on Watters' home. The search warrant was obtained after officers probing a recent fire at 2605 S. New Hampshire Ave. learned during a canvass of the neighborhood that there might be a dead body inside Watters' home.

Stewart declined to say if the body is believed to be that of Watters' husband, who has not been seen by neighbors for several weeks.

Police said they are asking that anyone with information about Watters' whereabouts or the corpse found in her home is being asked to contact Sgt. Austin Wolf at 623-3131 or awolf@joplinmo.org.

Capt. Nick Jimenez of the Joplin Police Department said the arson investigation is not related to the investigation of the body in the freezer. The only link between the two cases is that information about the body was obtained in the course of the investigation of the fire, he said.

$100,000 bond

The warrant issued for the arrest of Barbara Watters carries a $100,000 bond.

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