A 54-year-old Southeast Washington woman who was a Bible class member at a downtown church was found dead yesterday in a vacant house in the Shaw area after being abducted at gunpoint on Saturday after the class.
A second woman, who police said had been raped, was found in the same house yesterday and admitted to Howard University hospital suffering from multiple injuries.
Police arrested a 21-year-old Southwest man and charged him with armed rape in connection with the alleged attack on the second woman.
Police said they did not know the cause of death of the 54-year-old woman, identified as Marie R. McCoy, of the 1100 block of 46th Street SE. They refused to say whether they found any sign of injury. An autopsy is scheduled.
The woman, a telephone company enploye and a longtime member of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church, was reported missing Saturday after she railed to return home after a Bible class at the church, located at 15th and R streets NW.
Mrs. McCoy drove her own car to the class, which ended at 12:15 p.m. According to the Rev. John L. Pharr, pastor of the church, who conducted the class, she reportedly was abducted sometime Saturday afternoon while in the car.
The pastor said it was his understanding that the second woman, who was a friend of the victim, was with her at the time, and that neither woman knew the assailant.
The clergyman said he knew of no connection between the women and the house at 1512 Eighth St. NW where they were found yesterday at 11:10 a.m. while services at the church were under way.
"That's part of the mystery," he said, adding that it was not clear if there was any connection between the house and the women's abductor.
Pharr said Mrs. McCoy had been a member of the church for many years and that she, her husband, Frank, and their college student son were closely involved in its activities.
According to the minister, Mrs. McCoy had not missed more than one session of the 90-minutes Saturday Bible classes since the course began in November.
"She was willing to discuss any issue that disturbed her," he said. "She kept the class lively by some of the questions she would ask." The class had just completed 13 weeks of study of the Gospel of Mark, using as a test a book titled "Believe the Good News."
Reports of Mrs. McCoy's death spread slowly yesterday on 46th Street SE, which residents described as a quiet street where people often know little of the personal affairs of their neighbors. One of two of the neighbors, noting the arrival of many visitors to the McCoy home, said they thought at first it might have been connected with a Father's Day celebration for the victims husband, who recently underwent heart surgery.
Pharr said that when he told worshipers at the 11 a.m. service that Mrs. McCoy had been reported missing, "it stunned them."
The announcement "left them in a state of shock," he said. Although a church-sponsored Father's Day dinner had been scheduled, "hardly anyone felt like eating."
D.C. homicide detectives identified the man charged with rape as Bryson Cogdell, of 1200 Delaware Ave. SW.
Full details of the incident could not be learned last night, but one detective said that investigators were led to the house by a telephone call believed to have been made by the second woman.
Police in the 3rd District said last night that Cogdell was arrested at the two-story brick row house on Eighth Stret where the women were found.
No charges have ben placed in connection with Mrs. McCoy's death.