Man drove around with body in SUV for 30 days, sheriff says
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC/Gray News) - A body found in a vehicle at the Prien Lake Mall had been in the SUV for about a month, authorities said.
Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office officials said Christopher T. Cater, 41, of Lake Charles, admitted to killing Sheila Ortega, 72, of Lake Charles, about a month ago, then opening several loans using Ortega’s information.
Kayla Vincent, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said Ortega was reported missing around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 20. Family members said they had not spoken to her in about a month.
During the investigation, detectives found her SUV in the mall parking lot on Monday with her body inside, Vincent said. Cater, an acquaintance of Ortega, was found at a nearby business.
When detectives spoke with Cater, he told them he killed Ortega approximately a month ago.
Cater was booked into Calcasieu Correctional Center on counts of second-degree murder, unlawful disposal of human remains and identity theft. His bond is pending.
“We have seen some strange cases here in Calcasieu Parish, but this case is definitely an unusual one for us,” Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said. “We have never seen someone drive around with a dead body in the SUV for 30 days. My prayers go out to the family and friends of Mrs. Sheila, this is a senseless and inhumane tragedy. The body has been sent off for further testing and to determine the cause of death. The investigation is continuing.”
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