Cops: 4 Men Found Held in 'Deplorable' Texas Home - News - @ JEMS.com


Cops: 4 Men Found Held in 'Deplorable' Texas Home

Paramedics transported three of the malnourished, emaciated men to hospital

 

 
 
 

Juan A. Lozano and Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press | | Friday, July 19, 2013


HOUSTON (AP) — Four men found living in "deplorable conditions" in a Houston garage on Friday told police that they were being held captive after being lured by promises of food and cigarettes so that their captor could cash their public-assistance checks, authorities said.

Three of the men were malnourished and taken to a hospital after being discovered by officers responding to a 911 call about the home, Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said. Sgt. Steven Murdock described the living conditions as like a "dungeon."

Investigators were still trying to determine how long the men lived there, but they said it may have been weeks.

Silva said the men told investigators they were forced to live in the garage — which included just one chair, no bed and a possibly malfunctioning air conditioner — so their captor could cash their assistance checks. She said the men were "given scraps to eat."

"They clearly stated to us they were being kept against their will," Silva said.

Silva said one person has been detained but no charges have been filed. He apparently did not live in the house, she said. Four women were also found living in the house, three of whom appeared to have mental disabilities, Silva said. She described the other woman as a caretaker. Unlike the garage, she described the living conditions inside the home as more normal.

A neighbor called authorities Friday morning expressing concern about men in the house in North Houston. Murdock, the police sergeant, said at least one of the men is a military veteran. He described them as malnourished and "almost invalids," saying they lived in "deplorable conditions."

Alberta Ewing, whose brother lives next door, said the men looked "very weak" and were hauled out on stretchers by paramedics. She said one of the men had approached her asking for help just weeks earlier during a Fourth of July gathering, but that she didn't take him seriously because he wasn't crying and she couldn't get him to explain further.

"He said, 'Could you help me?'" Ewing recalled. "I said, 'What's the problem?"

Neighbors said they occasionally saw the men sitting outside. Virginia Rogers, who lives five houses away, said she greeted them with a wave when she drove by.

"I'm shocked," Rogers said. "I'm baffled. I didn't have a clue."

The men were found in a working-class, residential neighborhood of one-story, brick homes. Harris County property records show the home was built in 1969 and is about 1,400 square feet.

Police were going in and out of the house's bright purple door and black gate Friday afternoon, removing evidence as neighbors stood outside watching.

A portion of the block was cordoned off with police tape.

 




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Press Conference, East Village Explosion and Collapse

Fire is contained to four buildings; 12 people have been injured.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Mayor Adds Ambulances to Peak Demand Period

10 additional ambulances will be on the streets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Utah Commission Privatizes Ambulance Service

Mayors in Iron County loose management fight.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ambulance Delay Raises Concerns over Response Times

Officers give up after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Patient Carry during Snowstorm

Firefighters, medics and officers lend a hand in Halifax.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Terror Attack in Tunisia

19 people killed outside of a museum.
More >