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Man kidnapped pregnant woman, locked her in garage for 4-5 years, Texas police say

A Texas man was arrested after a woman told police he kidnapped her and kept her locked inside a garage for four to five years, officials told news outlets.

“It makes me sick as a human being,” Houston Police Cmdr. Michael Collins told KTRK.

Lee Carter, 52, is charged with aggravated kidnapping.

The call in April 2023

In April 2023, police were called to a Houston home after the woman contacted 911 from a texting app and told authorities she was being held against her will, according to KPRC.

Police then rescued the woman from the garage where they said she was being held captive, KHOU reported.

The woman told police she met Carter when she was pregnant and panhandling about four to five years prior. Carter pulled up next to her to give her a dollar, then asked if she needed help, KHOU reported, citing court documents.

She got in the car with Carter because she was in a vulnerable position, she told police. Carter took her to his home, then locked her in the garage, police said, according to KHOU.

The woman told police Carter raped her and forced her to take drugs for years, according to KTRK.

Investigators who responded to the home went inside the garage and found a broken toilet, a dirty mattress, food, clothes and diapers, court documents said, according to the outlet.

The woman told police there was no shower in the garage, so Carter would take her in the house from time to time, KPRC reported.

Court documents said the woman told police that Carter would give her chips and snacks, but she rarely got a full meal, KPRC reported.

Police said they were called to the home eight times in the past year. The woman had been taken to a hospital multiple times, but Carter would come pick her up, KTRK reported.

On one occasion, a neighbor said they spoke with officers about what was going on at the home.

“At one point, maybe a year ago now, the cops come banging on my door claiming somebody had called from inside the house and was kidnapped or not able to leave on her own,” Jedediah Beights told KTRK. “Right then, as the cops are standing at my door, a gal comes crawling out that window just there, just clawing her way out, pregnant, eight months.”

Police said the woman would beg Carter every day to let her go, but he would threaten to hurt her. She told offices there were times she tried to escape, but Carter would catch her and take her back to the garage, KHOU reported.

Carter’s arrest

Carter was not arrested when police were called in April. Collins told KRIV that Carter was not at the home at the time police got there and would not comment on why it took so long to find him.

On Jan. 4, Carter was found at a motel and arrested, Collins told KRIV.

He remains in jail, and his bail was set at $100,000, KPRC reported. He was ordered to not have contact with the woman, and the public defender representing him said if he bails out he will be required to wear an ankle monitor.

McClatchy News could not find contact information for the public defender.

The call in January 2024

On Jan. 5, officers were called back to the residence after receiving a tip that the woman was possibly still there, KPRC reported.

“Due to the very serious nature of the warrant and aggravated kidnapping, we had exigent circumstances to make entry,” Collins told the news outlet. “We would not have entered a residence without a warrant unless we had serious concerns about somebody’s safety. And again, due to that, the nature and the severity of the allegations in that incident report and the complainant’s statement.”

After knocking with no answer, police entered the home and garage, but did not find the woman, according to KRIV.

Police do not know the current whereabouts of the woman. They also do not know what may have happened to the possible baby, KRIV reported.

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