HOUSTON — Several people were held captive in a north Houston home, possibly for weeks.
Houston police said the call came in at around 8:30 a.m. Friday at a residence in the 8600 block of Whitecastle near Diplomat Way.
At a press conference Friday, police officials said they were called Friday to the residence for a welfare check on information that men were being held against their will in a converted garage area.
According to police, four men, between the ages of 50 and 80, were forced to live in less than standard living conditions; they had no beds, no bathrooms and minimal furniture. Officials said there were locks on the doors and they could not leave on their own free will.
"There were locks. They were apparently given scraps to eat. Very little food was provided to them. They didn't have access to a restroom," said HPD Spokesperson Jodi Silva.
The men told investigators that they were forced to hand over their social security checks and/or VA checks.
"They were just people, laying there," said Stephen Davis, one of the four men held captive.
There were locks. They were apparently given scraps to eat. Very little food was provided to them. They didn't have access to a restroom.
–HPD Spokesperson Jodi Silva.
Davis said the other three men were weak.
"They weren't good," he said.
He told told Local 2 he had been at the home for six months, but it's unclear how long the others had been there.
Police say four women were also living in the home, however not in the same conditions as the men. One was a caretaker while the other three had some type of mental disabilities. They were talking with police and were described as witnesses.
Officials said three of the men were transported to a local hospital. There was no word on their condition, but they appeared to be malnourished and were unable to walk on their own.
Monica Booker's family has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. She said she'd seen homeless people come and go from the home for years, but she just thought they were getting help from the family who lives there.
- Injury to the elderly by act
- Injury to the elderly by omission
"It's terrible. We see them people over here but we just thought they needed a place to stay. We didn't know they were keeping them, locking them in and not letting them out," Booker said.
A woman in the neighborhood said another neighbor saw a man in the window of home motioning with his hands that he was hungry.
The grandson of the owner of a house has been charged with two felony counts in the case, police said Saturday.
Walter Renard Jones, 31, was charged with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission, Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva told CNN.