LAKE CHARLES, La. (WSVN) – A Louisiana man was arrested after allegedly driving around with a deceased woman’s body in his SUV for a month.

On Sunday, August 20, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana received a report of a missing person, Sheila Ortega, 72, from Lake Charles. Family members informed deputies that they had not been in contact with her for approximately 30 days.

During the missing person investigation on Monday, August 21, detectives located Ortega’s SUV in a mall parking lot, and shockingly, her deceased body was found inside. The person of interest, Christopher T. Cater, 41, an acquaintance of Ortega, was discovered nearby at a business.

According to officials, Cater admitted to detectives that he had killed Ortega about a month prior. Additionally, he confessed to using Ortega’s information to secure loans after her death.

Christopher T. Cater was arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center. He now faces charges including 2nd-degree murder, unlawful disposal of human remains, and identity theft.

“We have seen some strange cases here in Calcasieu Parish, but this case is definitely an unusual one for us. We have never seen someone drive around with a dead body in the SUV for 30 days.” Calcasieu Sheriff Tony said in a Facebook post. “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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