By all accounts, Catherine Goins looked pregnant.
But she apparently had faked pregnancy before.
Catoosa County, Ga., Sheriff Gary Sisk said Goins had been "living a ruse" of being pregnant, and when her boyfriend found out that she was not, he left her.
That prompted Goins to lure a woman she had just met to a friend's home, where Goins killed her so she could steal the victim's infant to cover up her own faked pregnancy, Sisk said in a news conference Wednesday.
"Catherine Goins killed Natalia Roberts because she wanted her baby," he said.
This is how events unfolded on Sept. 19, the day of the killing, according to Sisk and a Catoosa County Sheriff's Office news release:
Goins met Roberts for the first time that morning. She allegedly told Roberts she had baby clothes she wanted to give her.
Meanwhile, Goins had told her friend Tony Richards that she was going to come over to his house that afternoon to hang out, Sisk said.
While Richards was at work, Goins went to his house, letting herself in with a key he had left out for her. Sometime around 11 a.m., Roberts came to the house with her two small children, a 3-year-old and a 3-week-old.
Around noon, Goins shot Roberts in the back of the head with a pistol as Roberts walked down a flight of stairs inside the house, Sisk said. Roberts crashed to the bottom landing, where she was later found dead by police.
Sisk would not say whether Roberts' two children were inside the home when their mother was shot.
After this, Goins attempted to clean up the scene and called Richards, who was still at work, to tell him she had shot someone in the house, Sisk said. Richards told her to hang up and call 911.
Instead, Goins took the victim's two children and fled in her car, Sisk said.
Meanwhile, Richards left work and eventually convinced Goins to come back to the residence. She returned with the children around 1 p.m., and Richards called police.
Goins told police that she had shot an intruder in the home, and she was released without charge.
Meanwhile, officers continued their investigation. On Tuesday night, they arrested Goins in Marion County, Tenn., and charged her in Roberts' killing. Goins is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. She has been sent back to Catoosa County.
Sisk said there was no evidence that Goins had had a miscarriage or was pregnant.
The homeowner, Richards, has not been charged.
On Wednesday, when Chattanooga and Catoosa County police cars drove into the mobile home neighborhood where Goins lives, neighbors came outside to talk with each other about what had happened.
Dorothy Hyder, who has lived in the complex for 11 years, said she couldn't believe Goins hadn't really been pregnant.
"She looked like she was ready to have that baby any minute," Hyder said.
But Hyder said this was not the first time that Goins had claimed to be pregnant. Another neighbor, Jo Soos, concurred.
Soos said Goins had claimed pregnancy twice before that she was aware of, and that Goins had also told Soos' late husband several years ago that she was unable to have children at all.
"She said [this pregnancy] was such a shock because doctors told her she couldn't get pregnant," Soos said.
Although Goins has a teenage daughter, Soos said Goins is not the girl's biological mother, but rather the girl is the child of an ex-husband. Soos and Hyder said Goins received custody of the teen during or after the divorce.
Police on the scene at Goins' home Wednesday afternoon said the teenager will be taken in by Goins' sister, whom they did not identify.
Sisk said there are still many questions to be answered in the case.
Hyder said the neighborhood has always had bouts of "drama," but she said this was unbelievable to her.
"It's like something from a horror movie," she said.
Contact staff writer Hannah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6731.