Several elderly people, including invalids, homeless people, and veterans, have been freed in Old Lege in North Houston, Texas, after being held captive in a “prison room” for up to 10 years, Houston police told Heavy.com that the men were lured to the house after being promised “beer and cigarettes,” reports The Houston Chronicle.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. Police are Saying They Found ’8 People’ at the Home
BREAKING: Houston Police tell CNN as many as 8 elderly people found living in a home against their will, some possibly as long as 10 years.
— ed lavandera (@edlavaCNN) July 19, 2013
It was originally reported that four people were freed from the home but it now appears that as many eight people have been released from captivity. Reports are still varying on the number of people found at the home.
2. Cops in Houston Got a 911 Call on Friday Morning Telling Them to Check the House
Police in Houston received a 911 call about four men being held captive at 8646 White Castle near Old Ledge in North Houston. Cops went to perform a welfare check at the house and found the men, reports Click2Houston.
When police arrived at the residence, they found the front-door to the house nailed shut. After breaking it down, they found a “prison room” which was holding a number of elderly, malnourished people, reports CNN.
3. The Male Victims Are Being Reported as Elderly
Some of the victims are said to be between 54 and 80 years old, these are being reported as the male victims. Investigators think they may be homeless and could have been drawn by promises of beer and cigarettes in exchange for social security and VA cheques, reports ABC13.
According to HPD Sgt. JW McCoy:
One of them seemed to think he was picked up off the street and brought here, in exchange for beer and cigarettess and a place to stay, he had to turn over his Social Security check.
4. Four Women Found at the Home May Be “Mentally Ill”
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) July 19, 2013
Four women were also inside the home, but its not known they were prisoners. The have been described by CNN as being “mentally ill.” HPD Spokesman Kese Smith told Heavy.com:
Four women were found to be living in the main part of the house, in not at all the same living conditions as the men.
5. Police Have Arrested One Man
— KSAT Newsroom (@ksatnews) July 19, 2013
One man is in custody but no charges have been filed. One neighbor, Monica Brooker, told The Houston Chronicle, “a mother, her son, daughter and granddaughter,” lived at the residence, but that she had also seen elderly men living at the house “for years.” The man, who HPD told Heavy.com, we could refer to as a suspect, was not a resident of the home.
6. The Captives Were Held in a ‘Prison Room’
The men were locked inside a “prison room,” said to be in the garage. The men were forbidden to live, according to Kese Smith, a HPD Spokesman who was speaking to Heavy.com.
7. Some of the Victims Couldn’t Walk
Three of the men were unable to walk, another seemed to be in better condition. All have been taken to hospital for further examination.
8. The Living Conditions Were Not as Horrible as First Reported
One of the men didn’t want to leave the home, according to ABC13, though he described the living conditions as “not good.” Houston Police Department Sgt. Steve Murdock referred to the conditions as “very deplorable.” The man who was hesitant to leaving had been there for six months.
But Kese Smith, HPD Spokesman, told Heavy.com:
[They] were living in a converted garage. What that means is that the garage had a linoleum floor, one chair, so essentially no furniture, and no bathroom facility. Now it’s our understanding that those men tried very hard to keep their living courters clean. You may have heard reports about it being filthy and this and that. No, they tried to keep where they were living clean.
9. Neighbors Reported Hearing ‘Loud Music’ Coming From the House
Neighbors have described noticing nothing unusual about the house, reports The Houston Chronicle, Robert Paris, who lived across the street, on the block of Old Ledge Road (above), said he often heard loud music coming from the house on weekends.
10. This Incident Eerily Echoes the Horrific Ariel Castro Case
This comes just over two months since three women were found to be held hostage by Ariel Castro – Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus in Cleveland, Ohio. They had been held there for various amounts of time and were used as sex-slaves by Castro.