Less than two months after a pregnant woman was rescued from a Houston home where she had allegedly been held against her will for at least four years, another woman was found dead in the same house, officials said Tuesday.
The body of Catherine Roberts, 61, was recovered July 5 from the Perry Street home where suspect Lee Arthur Carter, 52, allegedly imprisoned a woman, Houston police and Harris County medical examiner’s representatives told NBC News.
Roberts had been living in the converted garage where authorities say the pregnant woman had been held, neighbor Jedediah Beights said.
Roberts died from alcoholic liver disease and hepatitis C, complicated by internal bleeding, according to medical examiner’s records.
Beights, 44, had believed Roberts was the same person whom Carter, a rap artist, was alleged to have kidnapped before a rescue by first responders on April 7 after the victim used Carter's computer to call 911.
However, Houston police insist the rescued woman is alive, with sheriff’s deputies having last spoken to her Wednesday.
"The victim in that case is alive and well," Houston police spokesperson Shay Awosiyan said. "She was found to be in good health [and] did not appear to be in any danger. She's alive and well."
As far as Houston police are concerned, Roberts' death has nothing to do with the ongoing kidnapping probe and Carter is not being investigated in the summertime death.
"It wasn’t ruled a homicide. It was a natural cause, so there wouldn’t be any [police] investigation," Awosiyan said. "It wasn’t a homicide. The alleged kidnapping is its own investigation."
Pressed about the alleged kidnapping and the death unfolding at the same address, Awosiyan chalked it up to unrelated coincidence.
"I can only tell you what we know for facts: I am saying these are two incidents," he said. "One was reported in April, and then the other incident happened in July, the DOA call to that residence. As of right now, it's different incidents."
A spokesperson for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment Tuesday on any connection between the kidnapping case and Roberts' death.
Carter's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. The defense lawyer had said Monday that Carter did not kidnap the woman and that they are in a "romantic relationship" with a child together. A criminal complaint filed against Carter does not delve into the matter, and authorities have declined to offer details beyond the document.
Carter was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated kidnapping. He was released on a $100,000 bond.