Houston, TX — Four elderly men were allegedly held captive by a 31-year-old man, Walter Renard Jones, who was arrested and charged on Saturday. Police discovered the malnourished men locked in a garage after a tip Saturday morning.
Investigators believe Jones held the men there with no bathroom or beds, but it is not known for how long. He was charged with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission.
NBC News reports that Jones’ grandmother, Essie May Scranton, owns the home where the men were kept. Investigators believe Jones used his own garage in north Houston as a prison for the men. It had only minimal furniture.
The men alleged that Jones stole their social security and veteran benefits checks while in captivity. They added that Jones lured them with the promise of food and cigarettes.
But instead, the elderly men were allegedly fed scraps of food. It is unclear how long they were locked in the garage before help arrived. Three of the men were taken to the hospital in stable condition. Their ages are 80, 74, and 65. The remaining man who wasn’t hospitalized, Stephen Davis, stated that the other men “weren’t good.”
He added that he was in the garage for six months, but wasn’t sure how long the other three elderly men were there, notes The Chicago Tribune. Four women were also living in the home, according to police. However, they weren’t in the same conditions as the men. One woman was a caretaker and the other three are mentally disabled.
Tax records show that the home is just over 1,400 square feet. But Police believe that almost 10 people were living in the three-bedroom, 1.5-bath home. The converted garage where the four elderly men were allegedly held captive was painted bright purple and had bars on the door and windows. Houston police spokesman Kees Smith added:
“All four are telling the officers at the scene they were enticed to that location with promises of beer and cigarettes and not allowed to leave, and then forced to turn over checks such as veterans’ checks.”
The allegations are being fully explored. Meanwhile, the man who allegedly held four elderly men captive remains in Harris County Jail without bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
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