Kidnapped woman ‘held captive in Texas rapper’s garage for five years’
The latest headlines from our reporters across the US sent straight to your inbox each weekday
Your briefing on the latest headlines from across the US
A Texas rapper was arrested after he allegedly kidnapped a pregnant woman off the street and held her captive in his garage in Houston for several years.
Lee Carter, 52, also known as Viper, was taken into custody at a local motel on Thursday and charged with aggravated kidnapping. He was being held on a $100,000 bond at the Harris County Jail as of Sunday night.
The next day, police conducted a welfare check at Mr Carter’s Houston home on Perry Street to investigate a tip that the woman might still be there, nine months after an initial incident in April 2023.
Inside the home, police found a dog, an empty mattress and a deadbolt that closed from the outside. But the woman was nowhere to be found and her whereabouts are still unknown, police said.
Nine months earlier, on 7 April 2023, officers first responded to a kidnapping in progress at the same home after a woman contacted them through TextNow, according to the complaint.
They arrived to find the woman who weighed about 70 pounds and who looked “extremely malnourished” and “filthy,” according to court documents obtained by KPRC.
Police also found a makeshift toilet that did not work, a mattress covered with “fresh vomit,” a box of chips, a few Twinkies, and diapers.
The woman told police at the time that Mr Carter had abducted her four or five years ago after he approached her on the street, while she had been pregnant and where she was panhandling, and offered her one dollar.
He then promised to help her before driving her back to his home where he instead locked her up in his garage where she was forced to take drugs, have sex with him and rarely got a proper meal or shower, according to the complaint.
It is not clear what happened with the woman’s pregnancy or whether she gave birth. There was no mention of a child in the court documents.
After the April incident, police, who confirmed receiving eight calls to the house in the past year, took her to the hospital but Mr Carter picked her up and took her back home.
“It makes me sick as a human being,” Houston Police Department Commander Michael Collins told KTRK when Mr Carter was arrested.
“And I can tell you, as a police department, we are here for the citizens of Houston. We are here for the community, and we are here to make sure that this individual and her family gets justice.”
Officials have not given a reason for the nine-month gap between the April incident and the arrest, local station KHOU reported.
Mr Carter has performed as a rapper under the name “Viper” and his 2008 song “You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack” has garnered over 4 million views on YouTube.
He is also a real estate broker, according to corporate records and the Texas Real Estate Commission, who owns and operates a moving company in Houston, which is registered to the address where he allegedly held the woman.
“It’s just a creepy situation. We have no idea what’s really going on,” a neighbour told the local news outlets. “You can’t write this stuff. It’s strange to see with your own eyes.”