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A 36-year-old Indiana woman is behind bars after police discovered two people tied up and shackled in her home—one of them “deceased and beyond help.”
The woman, identified by Evansville authorities as Heidi Carter, faces a string of charges in connection with the Tuesday night incident, which police say took even them by surprise.
It all began after a woman flagged down an Indiana state trooper late Tuesday night, saying she’d stopped by Carter’s home only to find “a dead body” inside, Evansville Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Gray told reporters late Wednesday. The woman said she’d gone to the home to help clean ahead of an inspection, and took a seat on a pile of blankets only to realize “that under the blankets was a dead body,” an arrest affidavit says, according to The Evansville Courier & Press.
She ran out of the house screaming and alerted authorities. State police and officers from the Evansville Police Department responded around 11 p.m., assuming they were dealing with a “possible kidnapping and murder.”
Once they arrived, things took a bizarre turn. Carter was located outside, with a gun, police said. She told them there were still “several people” inside the home, and officers began issuing commands for those inside to come out, starting with one unidentified man who complied and was released.
A second man then came out and is said to have “rushed out of the front door in an aggressive manner” with an object in his hands that he pointed at police. He was fatally shot by several officers in what Gray said “appears to be a suicide by cop situation.”
Officers then entered the home and found a woman “who had been tied up, shackled, and had visible injuries,” Gray said.
“Another individual was located inside the residence but unfortunately was deceased and beyond help. The manner of death appeared suspicious and gruesome. He had been restrained, duct-taped, beaten, and strangled,” she said.
The shocking turn of events—which also played out with two teenagers in the upstairs of the home who were later safely evacuated—“took officers by surprise,” said Gray.
According to the affidavit, investigators later determined that Carter had met both victims on a dating app and invited them over, but the male suspect who was shot at the scene had “arrived home during their sexual activity.”
He allegedly beat up both guests with a baseball bat before both he and Carter chained up the two victims.
“They also tied and shackled the female victim while the male suspect raped her multiple times throughout the day, from Oct. 19 to Oct. 20,” Gray said.
The extent of the female victim’s injuries was not immediately clear, but police said she had been hospitalized. Carter, who has been booked into the Vanderburgh County jail, faces preliminary charges of criminal confinement and abuse of a corpse.
It was not immediately clear if police were also weighing whether to charge her with murder.
While Carter was reportedly found brandishing a gun at the scene, she told investigators she had only gone along with the male suspect in restraining the victims out of fear he might harm her.
The male suspect has yet to be identified, but police said he is believed to have a criminal history.